That’s what we do at Peacehaven
by Ian Robinson, Captain –
Western officers Captains Ian and Isobel Robinson serve in Singapore as directors of the Peacehaven Nursing Home for the Aged.
Asfirrudin, a 14-year-old Malay boy, was admitted to Peacehaven shortly before we arrived in March 2004. He had an inoperable brain tumor, and doctors gave him only weeks to live. Our job was to make him comfortable—palliative care.
When I met him, he was a sorry sight—totally unresponsive, unable to move his flaccid arms and legs or open his sticky eyes. It was sad to see this boy who had been so active until they discovered the tumor when he was nine. The acrimony and hostility between his divorced parents just made matters worse. There seemed to be no hope.
Then, in his marvelous, mysterious, miraculous way, God began to work. Through his amazing grace, and the loving attention of our nurses, Asfirrudin began to make progress. At first he could only lift a finger, or blink an eye in response to questions. Chaplain Jimi visited regularly, praying for him and telling him about Jesus. Soon he was sitting up watching Chinese soap operas on television. On one occasion, I watched with fascination as the physical therapist helped him to exercise as he sat upright in front of a mirror. And all the time Chaplain Jimi continued to pray with him and tell him about Jesus. He seemed to be making such incredible progress that it was hard to accept the doctors’ prognosis that the tumor would keep on growing and eventually he would die. But what amazed them was the quality of life Asfirrudin was enjoying. By Christmas, he had already lived six months longer than expected. On Christmas Eve, my eyes filled with tears as I watched him wave a rattle in time to the carolers’ songs. His bleary eyes lit up when we showed him his Christmas gifts.
One day, Chaplain Jimi asked Asfirrudin, as he always did, if he wanted to receive Jesus into his heart. This time Asfirrudin indicated that he would, and within minutes his eternal life was secured. From then on, he began attending the Sunday chapel services, and the nurses taught him how to sing simple Sunday school choruses. How wonderful to watch even non-Christian nurses singing, “Jesus loves me” with him. They even taught him to blow kisses at visitors!
In July, he began to deteriorate and was hospitalized for two months. He came back to Peacehaven, and died just days later. But don’t cry for Asfirrudin. Jesus said, There are many rooms in my Father’s home, and I am going to prepare a place for you … When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. (John 14:2,3 – New Living Translation) I am absolutely confident that he is with Jesus today, in his perfect body and his perfect mind and his perfect mansion.
Two weeks after Asfirrudin’s death, we admitted a 40-year-old male resident who is totally unresponsive, unable to move his flaccid arms and legs or open his sticky eyes. However, Chaplain Jimi has already begun praying with him and telling him about Jesus, because that’s what we do at Peacehaven.