When I told her the news, San Kyi could not stop her flow of tears, which she quickly wiped away as they streamed down her face. I was glad that they were tears of joy, but as I rejoiced with her, I could not help but think of the untold tears of grief she had wept in the months prior to our meeting.
Last October, her husband Kyaw Soe, a fisherman, was miles from home working his nets in Myanmar’s coastal waters, hoping to catch enough fish to eke out another day of existence for himself, San Kyi and their four children. Little did he suspect, however, that the dark clouds and unusually strong winds bearing down on his small boat were the forewarning of a category-4 cyclone named Giri.
Meanwhile, back at home, San Kyi grew increasingly worried. Their small home, built of bamboo and woven palm branches for a roof, offered little protection. As the winds grew stronger, she fled inland with her children. They huddled together for hours in a wooded area—the only place they could find that offered some protection from the ferocity of the storm.
In the days that followed, the children and their mother hoped in vain that Kyaw Soe would return. Meanwhile, they scavenged storm debris to construct a very basic shelter with no walls. Thankfully San Kyi managed to find laundry work at a very small hospital near her home to provide for her children.
My first encounter with San Kyi and her children came through a photo sent to us from one of our partners in Myanmar. He was in their region a few months ago, distributing rice from Heaven’s Family to desperate storm survivors. The photo showed San Kyi’s four children sitting under a tiny, tattered roof they called home, while their mother was away trying to earn enough money to feed them.
My second encounter with San Kyi and her children was in April when I traveled to Myanmar and sat with them under their simple shelter. It was there that I had the blessing of witnessing San Kyi’s tears of joy as I gave her money to build a new home.
About a month later I received another photo that showed San Kyi—smiling with her children—as they stood in front of their new home. It is for those like San Kyi and her children, all lovers of Jesus, that Heaven’s Family’s Disaster Relief Fund exists.
San Kyi and her children never saw their husband and father, or their home, again.