Kuthi Muthu was with the church at Lock Street for as long as I can remember. In her younger years, she was married to leper and bore him eight children, yet she never contracted leprosy. I can’t remember her ever being ill enough to have to go to the hospital. She was a winner. Unfortunately she and her husband did not rear their children in the Lord because they did not know about the church until the children had grown up.
As she aged and became a widow, she sometimes spoke of being cold during the rain season. That complaint was easy to understand, because I too felt the cool dampness even in my house during the monsoons. I gave her a sweater and hoped it would warm her. Then one day she came saying her stomach hurt and she needed help to feel better. We took her to the local hospital where she was admitted for a few days for observation. The doctors there claimed she had cancer and sent her home to die. Not willing to give up so soon, we took her to another hospital in the area where we were told the same thing, except that these claimed she was too old to treat.
After trying four more hospitals, we finally took her to an elderly lady doctor in the village who had sympathy enough to try to find out what Kuthu Muthu’s trouble might be. The diagnosis was related to her feet and legs and she she was treated for tropical Filariasis (sometimes called elephantitis). It obviously affected her stomach too.
A younger teacher at CTTS volunteered to carry her breakfast every morning along with the prescribed tablets for treatment. The medicine was harsh and she seemed to grow weaker and sicker quickly. The young man continued to monitor her and give what the doctor prescribed. One day she fainted and sustained a rather nasty bruise and cut to her head.
In all this, Kuthi Muthu never wanted to miss an assembly of the saints. Even when she was so sick she could not walk, she asked for someone to carry her to the meetings. Likely because she thought her time was near, she came bringing a cloth bag filled with wadded up rupees (Indian money) and requested to be able to donate that to the church one day. Some covetous soul who heard about her gift berated her and said, “You should have given that money to your children!”
Her children…ah, yes, those eight she bore to the leper…those eight who were not members of the Lord’s body because they had been reared in paganism…those eight who couldn’t wait to occupy her house…
Not one of them wanted to take care of her in her old age! Mind you a son and his family had moved into her house–supposedly for that purpose, but they would not even give her a cup of tea in the mornings, nor would they feed her anything but waste food. Students and teachers from CTTS took it upon themselves to be sure she ate three meals a day and had the medicine she needed. We could not assume her family would allow her access to good food or medicine even if we sent it there, so this had to be part of our personal daily ministry. It was literally a trip to find her three times a day and give her what she needed–our chance to be used by the Lord to visit the widow in her affliction…(James 1:27).
Finding Kuthi Muthu was not always easy. She learned early to avoid the brutality at home, so she walked, and walked, and walked from morning until late at night. There were times we found her on the roof top of her four story apartment building. She lived on the third floor, so going up one more floor by the stair was nothing to her. Later, when someone blocked the stairs, she used the metal ladder bars outside the apartments to climb all the way up the apartment walls. She said sitting in the summer tropical sun was better than listening to the fighting in her home (Prov. 21:19). One day she complained about never having a chance to rest in her own house and cried about the treatment she was getting. Someone asked her if that gave her a chance to return good for evil, and she agreed it did (Matt. 7:12; Luke 6:31). She was willing to be defrauded (1 Cor. 6:7).
There were so many trials during those last years, but Kuthi Muthu seemed to conquor her temptations and remain strong. We too had trials along with her and were often tempted to give up, but the journey was a blessing for all of us. She passed from this life last month and many will miss her sweet, yet strong will to do what was right.