Hi wonderful friends!
Black. Black. White. Black. Black.Grey. Black.Black.
Imagine wearing those colors for a year. That’s what I and millions of Thais have been doing. Since October 13th last year, Thais have been mourning the death of the King they called ‘Father’. King Rama IX reigned for 70 years through 20+ military coups/ attempted coups and 30 different prime ministers (most of them army generals). I’ve been here for 30 of those years – those of you who have walked with me through some of those coups/attempted coups, know how dangerous and heart-breaking those times were. Imagine going through that for 70 years, always hoping this will be the last one, that democracy will finally take root and grow.
For one year we have been wearing black, white, grey, and dark blue to honor the king. Now it’s time for the King’s cremation. October 26th is the date and tears are already falling. Since the king’s death, 12,7 million Thais flooded into Bangkok to stand in 8-15 hour long queues just to kneel before the king’s funeral urn. To earn merit, they gave over $35 million baht to his memory. When I ask my dear Thai friends ‘what are you feeling?’, they all say ‘scared, nervous, not sure about Thailand’s future’. The rock they depended on, the one they called ‘father’, is gone. How I long for them to know the Rock who never moves – their real Father, the God who loves them and will never leave them!
It’s been hard sometimes to stay above the spirit of sorrow that has blanketed this nation for the last 11 months. To not get fearful as the military junta now in control of Thailand tightens its grip (but what’s the alternative? More mass protests on the street? More bombs and bullets as political rivals battle for power?). Your prayers, your emails, your love and care REALLY keep me ‘up’ where Jesus is…that is the ONLY place to keep perspective. Settled in Him, I simply keep on doing what HE is telling me to do right now. That means pouring His life, His love, His words into as many lives as I can, while I can. What fun!!
That meant going to Singapore in my role as ‘elder’ to T. Village, an incredible ministry of love to prostitutes there. Over 4 packed days it was my privilege (bring on the Kleenex!) to be God’s listening loving ear and heart for 11 of their team, one by one by precious one. God came in each session. No wonder we call HIM the Wonderful Counsellor! I also spoke at 2 meetings – my highlight was having everyone in the meeting pray for each other..two lines of God’s beloved praying for each person in the other line. No one wanted the time to end! If ‘brothers dwelling together in unity’ (Psalm 33) is this much fun on earth, what will heaven be like? Times like this, when I have been going FULL out, almost 24 hours a day, for days, pouring out and pouring out and seeing how it really is Jesus pouring out through me, I get so high in love for Him, it feels like I could go on forever. Mmm, I guess we will, eh? It’s called eternity with Him.
And more fun was to come:
“It changed my life”…”it’s not ministry that gives us value, we have value in ourselves”..”God answered questions in my heart” …”caring for myself is not selfishness”…”I had been making my work my idol” – 23 pastors came. 23 pastors met God. 23 pastors went away changed. WOW JESUS! In answer to your prayers and mine, my CRCF missions pastors, Bruce and Eva Robinson, came as teachers and trainers for 2 workshops I set up in the Northeast, as well as one in Bangkok. I LOVE helping leaders, because when they get it, really ‘get’ it, they just naturally pass it on to the ones they love and serve in Jesus’ name. When leaders get changed, then their teams, their churches, their ministries get changed and the ones they touch in this nation get changed. What made me want to cry (OK, I admit, I did cry!), was seeing with my own eyes, once again, how God answers prayer – each one of these pastors/leaders is HIS answer to you and I praying for years for God’s kingdom to come in Thailand. One life at a time! Keep on praying..there’s more to be done! Only 64 million Thais yet to believe!
One last praise report..Remember Root? He was the one-eyed beggar boy with the heart-grabbing grin that you, I and P. slum ministries prayed out of death into life. By a miracle of God, he came into a safe, loving home at My Home, one of the other ministries that started when I was PLF Director. I saw him (and of course hugged him) when My Home invited our teaching team to dinner with the children there. Root now plays the violin! Anyone who wants to see and hear him worship God on the violin, ask me and I’ll send you the video.
God is good! Keep your prayers coming my way please. Thailand needs prayer; at least 250,000 people are expected to descend on Bangkok for the cremation. I think that’s a low estimate. I’ve been down there praying many times already and will join a 24 hour prayer initiative near there on the 24-25.
In Christ Jesus, the Rock that remains,