THE STORY OF AJALAA
This is the story of Ajalaa, a despised and illiterate old woman dying of advanced TB, told by her visitor Jaylund.
Jesus said, “Those who are well have no need of a doctor, but those who are sick” (Luke 9:12).
ལུ་ཀཱ 9:12 – ཉི་མ་ནུབ་ལ་ཉེ་བའི་དུས་སུ། ཉེ་གནས་བཅུ་གཉིས་པོ་ཁོང་གི་དྲུང་དུ་ཡོང་སྟེ་ “ས་ཆ་འདི་དབེན་སྟོང་ཡིན་པས་ཁོ་ཚོ་མཐའ་འཁོར་གྱི་ཡུལ་སྡེ་རྣམས་ལ་རང་རང་གི་ཟས་ཉོ་བ་དང༌། བསྡད་ས་འཚོལ་བའི་ཆེད་དུ་གཏོང་བར་མཛོད་” ཅེས་ཁོང་ལ་ཞུས་པ་ན།
She had been brought to the hospital slumped in a wheelchair.
Her real name was unknown; so, they just called her Ajalaa.
No one liked her; who could? They avoided her with her louse-ridden matted hair, her bony limbs, and her gruntings of unknown meaning uttered between spitting on the floor through her decaying teeth.
The visitor was Jaylund. The doctors, who did not know Tibetan, had asked her to come and speak with the sick woman because she had once known some Tibetan language.
As she approached, Ajalaa grunted a greeting. And spat. Then mumbled some words in a dialect that Jaylund could hardly understand. So she prayed, “Jesus, what can I do? Lord, please give me your love for this wretched woman.”
After the nurses had washed her hair, Jaylund tried to comb out the remaining lice in it. Food was brought, but Ajalaa would not eat. And when the time came to go, Jaylund said, “Ajalaa, I have a helper (rogs-pa); his name is Jesus. I will pray to him every day and ask him to help you.” In reply she muttered something. But after that no word of goodbye (g-le phebs), no light on her face, just dejection.
Jaylund returned after three days. But there seemed to be another woman with clean hair asleep in the bed, so she looked elsewhere for Ajalaa. It was in vain; had she died? But coming back she leaned over the bed and whispered, “Ajalaa.” The woman stirred and looked up.
Yes! It was Ajalaa! So improved! And Jaylund spoke with her for a little while telling her about her children, and a few other things that she knew how to say. Ajalaa listened, and then spoke, “Give me some money.”
Jaylund, “I haven’t come to give you money; the hospital is looking after you. But I could tell you about Jesus.” And Ajalaa replied at once, “Yes, tell me about Jesus. What’s money? Money doesn’t bring peace of mind. I want to hear about Jesus.” All that Jaylund knew to say was, “Ajalaa, Jesus loves you.” But, holding her hand, she prayed for Ajalaa before leaving.
She visited again a few days later and found Ajalaa clean and good-looking. “Ajalaa, you look pretty today.” And Ajalaa told her how Jesus had helped her. So, Jaylund played her tapes of the Good
News of how Jesus came “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).
ལུ་ཀཱ 19:10 – མིའི་རིགས་ཀྱི་བུ་ནི་བརླག་པ་རྣམས་འཚོལ་བ་དང་སྐྱོབ་པའི་ཆེད་དུ་ཡོང་ངོ་” ཞེས་གསུངས།
On further visits Ajalaa wanted to hear more stories about Jesus, and to sing Jesus songs.
And one day, as Jaylund prayed to Jesus, she also prayed.
But as days passed her relatives spoke against her new faith. Then, as she grew stronger, she sadly no longer wanted any visits from believers in Jesus.
Seven years later
Jaylund was in a town looking for a shop to buy momos (mog-mog). Suddenly an older Tibetan lady came up alongside her and peered into her face, and exclaimed, “Oh, it is you my helper (rogs-pa)! How good to see you! I saw your hairstyle; but I came up to be certain. And, yes, it was the same! And it really was you, my friend (rogs-pa)! You are the one who saved me!” She then invited her into her little house, and fed her cheese (phyur-ba) and tea (bod-ja).
And Jaylund finally realised this lady was Ajalaa. And she said. “Ajalaa, I didn’t save you.
It was Jesus. He is our true Rokba, our helper.” And she rejoiced because Jesus had arranged this meeting. Jesus had not forgotten Ajalaa.
They met again another year. Ajalaa was with her friends walking on the path of merit-making (dge-ba gsog) round a stupa (mchod-rten) and spinning her prayer wheel (maNi ’khor-lo skor). Jaylund stepped alongside her to greet her, and she seemed pleased.
But that was the last time that they met.
How difficult it was for Alalaa, being unable to read the Bible, and having no believers in Jesus among her friends, people who could have encouraged her and reminded her of what Jesus had done for her when she was sick and despised.
3 He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
There was of course no need for her to gain merit by going round the stupa. Jesus had suffered for believers on the cross for their sins. On it He had won for Ajalaa all the righteousness and merit that she needed.
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:14)
པེ་ཏྲོ་༡ 2:14 – ཁྱེད་ཚོས་གཙོ་བོའི་དོན་དུ་སྲིད་འཛིན་པ་ཐམས་ཅད་ལ་བཀུར་དགོས་ཏེ། དབང་ཆ་མཐོ་ཤོས་ཀྱི་རྒྱལ་པོའམ། ཡང་ན་ཁོང་གིས་མངགས་པའི་སྤྱི་ཁྱབ་རྣམས་ལ་བཀུར་དགོས། སྤྱི་ཁྱབ་རྣམས་མངགས་པའི་རྒྱུ་མཚན་ནི་ངན་པ་བྱེད་མཁན་རྣམས་ལ་ཆད་པ་གཏོང་ཞིང༌། ལེགས་སྤྱོད་མཁན་ལ་བསྟོད་པ་བྱེད་པའི་ཕྱིར་རོ།
And Jesus is the loving One who faithfully holds us fast in His grasp.
It was Jesus who caused Jaylund to meet Ajalaa again after that gap of 7 years.
If our relatives and friends with their merit-seeking habits are the only human company that we have, so that we forget to hold fast to our faith in Jesus, yet Jesus will always hold fast to us and welcome us back into His arms. He will never cast out those whom His Father God has given to him.
ཡོ་ཧ་ནན། 6:37 – ཡབ་ཀྱིས་ང་ལ་གནང་བ་ཐམས་ཅད་ངའི་རྩར་ཡོང་ངེས་ཡིན། སུ་ངའི་རྩར་ཡོང་ན་ཡང་དེ་ངས་ནམ་ཡང་བསྐྲད་པར་མི་བྱ།
We may be faithless, but He remains faithful.
ཐི་མོ་ཐེ། ༢ 2:13 – ངེད་ཀྱི་དད་སེམས་བསྐྱུར་ཡང་ཁོང་མིན་ཏེ།། ཁོང་གིས་རང་ཉིད་སྤང་བ་སྲིད་ན་དཀོན།། ཞེས་སོ།། གདེང་འཇོག་ཐོབ་པའི་ལས་བྱེད་མཁན་གྱི་སྐོར།
Footnote: I have tried to write the name of Jaylund in Tibetan characters. It could perhaps be gces-lon-da, because she showed love to Ajalaa.