February 27 â€“ March 3 in Chiangmai, Thailand
Five delightful days in principal city of Thailandâ€™s slightly cooler northern climes. Early mornings deliciously cooler than steamy Bangkok or equally hot and slightly less humid Maekhlong. Marvelous, leafy, cheap, guesthouse, centrally and beautifully situated on river. Two fulfillments of main objective here, to visit with dear sister in Christ, Wa, of the Karen tribe in the hills astride Burma border, who works as househelper for missionary family. We and she had great time together. Never thought weâ€™d miss American food in the land of superb Thai cuisine, but when we tasted some great and inexpensive salads here in the western style restaurant next door, we realized salad is the one healthful food style missing in some cultures. Healthful vegetables and fruits abound here, but not as salads. Relatively speaking, Chiangmai is thought of as â€œthe Bible beltâ€? of Thailand so we sought out the Christian bookstores here in order to buy hymnbooks in Thai for the church in Maekhlong which sings only choruses most of which are empty of Truth. Of the three we visited all were stocked with the junk prevalent in their American cousins, sad to say, and none had even one hymnbook, nor did they have an edifying book of Scripture choruses.
Thursday March 5, 2009 in Bangkok
Brother Artit took us to first meeting of new church in tiny hovel of dear sister in Christ who has absolutely nothing of material value this world but is rich in Christ. This was a great privilege for us, a gift from God. We are so encouraged by such brethren. Their life in Christ is so vibrant, so visible. That it will be mostly the poor who enter the Kingdom of our God and Christ is brought home to one with force here. We sat on floor in her 15×15 room, her only room, barely lit, with seven sisters and two brothers in the Lord, plus a few little kids joyfully running around. The two men being Artit and myself. Our host, sister Oom, has three children she supports and loves on the 3-to-6 dollars per day she earns from sales in her tiny ramshackle shop. Her husband who professes Christianity left her due to his laziness, his unwillingness to work, gross selfishness, yet at mealtime daily he shows up to sponge off her and she feeds him. What self sacrificial love she shows. He has two children by a former wife. He refuses to work and support them also; so they have been in a Christian missionary orphanage in another city for some years now. For this first meeting of the new little church Oom had bought coffee, hot chocolate, and sweets, with money she could not afford to spend. The joy of the Lord on her face during meeting is impossible to describe with our words, only with Godâ€™s words, â€œjoy inexpressible and full of glory.â€? Previous churches have done nothing toward loving this reprobate husband in the way of ascertaining the facts and telling him the truth in love per Matthew 18. This new church will probably obey the Lord in that way, weâ€™re hopeful. We took the opportunity of opening the Scriptures to the church elder (in fact, not in title) on this matter, and he appeared convinced that this is the Lordâ€™s way. The longer weâ€™re here the more evident it becomes that the church in general is very weak in teaching Godâ€™s word to His children, especially in the manner of personal application. It appears that the most important thing foreign missionaries could do here would be to teach faithful men who will be able to teach others also. To the best of our knowledge this is being done to only the slightest extent. We are practicing what we preach on this subject, so to speak, but this door is open to us only most narrowly at this time. The friendship evangelism door is open wide.
Sought out a Christian bookstore here in Bangkok, and we thank the Lord that they had one hymnbook available in Thai so we bought three for the leaders in Maekhlong to use. One of them has only Pentecostal type church experience, yet the Lord has blessed him with love for the work and lives of the Wesleys, so it should be easy to influence him to teach to the church the great God-glorifying hymns of Charles Wesley. Will also show them that we sing not only to God, but to each other, to teach and admonish one another. (Col. 3:16)
Saturday March 7, 2009
This a.m. on street approached by very nice Thai woman running pet store 3 doors away from our lodgings. She said her son heard us last night chatting in Thai with several young ladies, nursing students in the govt hospital nearby, and that he wishes to converse in English with us, he being 1st year student at university in BKK. He just now phoned us to set appointment. How generous is our Lord who for His purposes gives us such contacts so easily.
Will try to upload more photos today, so check the site.
Chuck & Judy Hazen