Arnol Kox, Eindhoven’s well-known street preacher, says he is ready to die. He is currently receiving care in Catharina Hospital.
Kox received 80 cards from Omroep Brabant listeners yesterday afternoon. He gratefully thanked the senders for their well wishes and compassion. But doctors say that Kox, who turned 67 last week, does not have much longer to live.
Despite his debilitating illness, Kox is happy. ‘I have seen enough on this earth, but I will return to a new earth,’ he says.
He says that humour keeps him and his wife, Gerry, in good spirits in the hospital. ‘His wheelchair is worn out and so is he,’ says Gerry. Even when Arnol had one of his legs amputated ten years ago, they remained positive. ‘At least he can never get out of bed with the wrong leg,’ Gerry says with a smile. ‘To get out of bed with the wrong leg’ is a Dutch expression that refers to starting the day in a bad mood.
Kox suffers from a condition where his body does not produce enough blood cells, meaning his resistance to infections is very low. He is attached to a drip and is receiving chemotherapy.
Last Friday, on his 67th birthday, he was allowed to go home from the hospital. On Monday, in the autumn sun, he went into Eindhoven city centre to preach his well-known message about Jesus. This may well have been the final time. ‘No one is immortal,’ he says.
For almost 40 years, Kox proudly preached Christian messages in the city centre. In his younger years, he was a gardener and an electrician. But after a serious accident, he could not work for a while. ‘The story goes that whenever he heard a church bell, he would rush into the church,’ his wife says.
Unsurprisingly, Kox says his faith gives support and meaning to his life. ‘When I was in hospital for nine months after a serious accident, I thought a lot about the meaning of life. Everyone is always in a hurry.’
He sometimes received negative comments when preaching in the city centre. He says it never affected him. Instead, he prayed for those people.
It is not clear exactly how long Kox has left. When his chemotherapy comes to an end, he will die soon after, his wife thinks. ‘Everything comes to an end, but I hope it will be a long time before Eindhoven comes to an end,’ he says with a tear.
Source: Omroep Brabant
Translator: Rachael Vickerman