Even as I begin to type this blog entry, I’m conscious of the ‘turmoil’ that has been in the news for quite a while now: international strife; election campaigning; the housing market (did we mention we’re selling a house?) and extended economy. Movements that are impacting the west reverberate in Southeast Asia as well. For example, a couple of weeks ago I read about Sam’s Club placing limits on purchasing of rice. Now, here at the Top’s Supermarket – in the nation which is the biggest exporter of rice, world-wide, – the price per bag is more than doubled, and there are now signs posted: “Limit 3 bags of rice per family.”
This is very sobering, as rice is the main staple of most peoples’ diets in Thailand.
Perhaps that is why, in some ways, the last few weeks have felt almost surreal. Many inquiries have come since Cyclone Nargis’ overwhelming attack upon Myanmar became known world-wide. Then, the earthquake in China; this too has left families and communities devastated. For those who have questions about the situation in Myanmar and what can be done to help, please check out the United Methodist website: new.gbgm-umc.org/umcor where you’ll find that the United Methodist Committee on Relief is able to provide assistance, and how you / your congregation can help. Also, the UMCOR Advance Number for the Myanmar Emergency is #3019674. Of your gifts, 100% of funds received will go toward assistance).
All this being said, I am reminded of Dr. Wiseth at Pradumri. Often, in his preaching, Dr. Wiseth reminds Thai Christians that “the time is short” until Christ returns. He often analyzes world situations, and strongly believes that we’re living in the End-times. (For this reason, we should be steadfast, as well as evangelizing). I found myself thinking about the many that are suffering, as well as our limited ways of helping from a distance, and was drawn to open my Bible to the book of Revelation. Here’s two thoughts that emerged:
1) Where suffering abounds, we must be faithful in praying for the church of that area. Remember what the believers of the church of Philadelphia heard (Rev. 3): “You have little strength, yet you obeyed by word and did not deny me… Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown. All who are victorious will become pillars in the Temple of my God, and they will never have to leave it….” Believers in Myanmar as well as China are in particular position to be witnesses – even through their personal sufferings. We must pray for their strength, and that others will be drawn to Christ through their witness.
2) When things are ‘out of control,’ that’s not the ‘end of the story!’ Rev. 19:11 describes Christ’s return. Even his name gives us courage…. “Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. And the one sitting on the horse was named Faithful and True.” This is the nature of our Savior, and He can be trusted.
Well, as a final wrap-up, we’ve recently returned from visiting a city in Issan / Korat. (Northeastern Thailand). We were meeting with a group of believers in a community where there is no church. Please be in prayer for them, as they are hungry for the things of God, and they are seeking His will. We have a lot of trainings scheduled as well.
Blessings & appreciation for your prayers, support, and encouragement!