A Boy Named ‘Joseph-God-Saved’

A national missionary sacrificed personal comfort to care for an abandoned toddler in an unreached village.

From Message magazine issue "Ukraine Through Missionary Eyes"

All alone. In the dark. Waiting for the old woman to come home. Empty stomach.

The boy had been alone for years. His father had abandoned him when he was a few months old, and his mother soon after. The only person who offered to take him in was an elderly woman in the village.

For two years, the elderly woman did her best to care for him. But to feed him, she had to leave him alone for hours every day when she worked at the tea plantation.

Unable to walk and barely able to crawl, the little boy spent his days alone, locked in the hut, surrounded by silence. No one heard his cry. No one held him. No one comforted him or even touched him.

For two years, this continued. Until the boy was little more than skin and bones. One day the older woman looked at him and knew she couldn’t keep him alive. So, she began to walk around saying, “Anyone who wants a boy come get him.”

But no one wanted him—until Kyaw (name changed for security), a local missionary, visited this town.

The people living there were unreached and dear to his heart because his wife had grown up among them. When he heard the woman, he decided to follow her to the bamboo hut. The woman opened the door, revealing a small child sitting on the floor.

Radiating joy, the boy smiled up at Kyaw, welcoming him to the space. In that moment, Kyaw knew he couldn’t leave him alone anymore. Quickly closing the distance between the two, Kyaw picked him up and began the journey home.

A few months before, Kyaw’s wife had given birth to their first child, so they couldn’t take the boy in themselves. But their ministry partners welcomed him into their home and named him “Joseph-God-Saved” in his native language.

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Editor’s Note: This article has been modified from the original print version. The print version of the story included a few minor errors in the details of the account, such as mistakenly stating that the door to the bamboo hut had a lock and key. The corrected version is shown on this page.