It was a day like any other. Tha Tan Shay fed her family a meager breakfast and sent them off to the fields to work. Her husband was ill, and had been for some time.
When her children went out to work, their father was alive. When they returned, he was dead.
"They asked where their father was," Tha Tan Shay remembers. "I pointed to the corner of the field where I had buried him, wrapped in a bamboo mat."
Shock and mourning ensued. They grieved this loss, and questions and despair settled into the corners of their hearts and minds.
"I began to think much about death and where my husband's spirit was now. I did not have any good answers."
Tha Tan Shay was Buddhist and belonged to a long line of Buddhist ancestors. To this religion, she held firmly, to deny it was to deny her family.
Despite her devotion to Buddhism, during this time, one of her daughters heard the Gospel of Jesus from a friend in their village. Her daughter heard about the love and hope—even beyond death that Jesus offers, and she longed to be a part of this relationship with God.
"My daughter came and asked me for permission to become a Christian. In my deep grief, I was not really in my right mind, and I gave my daughter my blessing to worship this new God. So she began attending Bible studies through Reach A Village."
Tha Tan Shay continued to have a recurring dream. "In the dream, a kind man was chopping wood outside my home in a white robe. I offered him some tea; he called me by my name, though I did not know him. He told me his name was Jesus."
Not long after this dream began happening, Tha Tan Shay's second and third daughter also became Christians. Things seemed to be falling apart. Their family's faithfulness to Buddhism was slipping away, their father and husband was gone. Tha Tan Shay was intrigued by the dreams and her daughter's entreaties to follow Jesus also.
Despite her daughter's faith, this mother was determined to stick to her religion. "It was about this time that I had another dream. In my dream there was a terrible storm of heavy rain, I cried out to my gods' for help, but nothing happened. Then I called out to Jesus, and the storm calmed."
Not long after, during the monsoon season, Tha Tan Shay was visiting one of her Christian daughters. A particularly heavy storm struck. It grew violent outside, complete with slashes of lightning striking nearby trees and setting them ablaze. She felt deeply afraid, but didn't know to whom to pray for help.
Tha Tan Shay survived the ordeal and traveled to the city a few days later to visit another Christian daughter. It was here that she witnessed God's faithfulness to her in such a personal way that she responded back to His love.
"I grew gravely ill. We all thought I was going to die. I could barely move. I feared leaving my children without any parents. I cried out to my gods, and there was silence. So finally, I cried out to Jesus and believed.
"He healed me and now all of my family are believers and follow the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, despite the death we are still grieving, there is hope. Hope for our future and our family. A God who answers when we cry out to Him."