For those of you who know me from Smithfield, NC or from California, you will understand what I am talking about here for a bit. In 2 days, April 1, will be the anniversary of my first wife, Malee’s death. At the time I was floored because it was so unexpected. She had only accepted Christ a week or so before, everything happened so quickly that I met myself coming and going and just could not understand what was going on or why it was happening. With 12 years of hindsight, and time to look at things more from God’s point of view; I am beginning to see a small picture of the miracle of God’s work. With hindsight, I see much of this began in about 1967 when I was sent kicking and fighting to Thailand the first time. From that time until today I have been involved with Thai and Lao people ever since.
At the time of my first wife’s death we were planning on coming back to Thailand; but again, with hindsight I can see that God’s plan and our plan was not the same. My wife’s idea was to live in Bangkok – my idea was to go out in the country. I still remembered my 4 ½ years here in Nakhon Phanom from 1969-1973. My wife and I did not see those years with the same eyes though. With hindsight, I see she suffered through them and I enjoyed them. However, God had his plan. Again, after 11 years here in Nakhon Phanom and hindsight, I know my first wife never could have lived here and done this kind of work. She was a city girl born and raised, and had come, after 25 or so years in the US so used to our “gadgets”. With hindsight, I see God, in his mercy, and after she had accepted Christ decided her work here on earth was finished and she died. At the time, I thought to leave me all alone. But God, in his miracle, was not yet finished yet. Once I got back here, I visited Nakhon Phanom and met Maeo – in 1969 Maeo was a 17 year old high school girl – the daughter of our landlords. My first wife loved her and she took care of our baby daughter, born in the local hospital. There was a problem for me, though, but not for God. Maeo was Buddhist and now I was Christian. However, to demonstrate nothing is too great for God, about 9 months later I got a call from Maeo saying she had accepted Christ and was baptized. Needless to say, within three months we were married and thanks to God and because of his blessings, the last 10 plus years have been the best years of my life and God continues to bless me beyond all of my most fancy dreams.
The reason for this is that we have had several major things happen in the Christian Mission during the last few months and I am asking you to pray with me that God’s mercy and grace will be shown to us here and that he will make the black turn to white and his name be glorified beyond everything. Two of our promising students decided that the world, lying and boyfriends were more important than Christ. One of our parents forced her daughter to go back home and has placed her under evil spirit control and refuses to release her. Several of our members have turned their backs on Christ during the past year. Tom and Kip, who have been with us for 5 years, have decided that Bangkok and money is more important than Christ and are leaving at the end of the month – or before.
You have heard about he Earthquakes in Burma and Thailand; flooding in southern Thailand; a government in turmoil and this morning news were told on the radio that winter will be extended for another 2 months; the temperature right now is about 66 degrees F, and that is COLD for us here. It is also raining and it has been raining for almost 48 hours. This is unheard of in this part of Thailand.
It is now March 31. Yesterday evening I received a call from Sririluk”s father. She is a 12 year old little girl that TLCB has been helping to fight Leukemia for the past 2 years or so. He told us that the hospital had sent her home because they could do no more for her. She had complications with Meningitis and some kind of lung infection. They could not treat those conditions and because of this she could not get her chemical treatments for the Leukemia. We decided that we would visit her today but when we got there we found out that she died about 8 pm last night. My cry of why has no answer yet; but faith tells me that somehow, somewhere good will come out of this. This is not a Christian family. I ask for your prayers the God will give me the wisdom and compassion I need when we go back today to talk to the father and mother. When we were there earlier today the father was not there, and upon receiving the news and seeing the casket, I was in no condition to talk to anyone.
In spite of all you read above, our faith is not shaken. God has sent Sririchai, his wife and son, and has sent Wah from northern Thailand to do their internship here – more on them later. Sririchai and his wife will be able to more than take the place of Tom and Kip, who have now decided, as of this morning that they will start moving out tomorrow and not help through Easter. Wah has already been accepted by the girls and she has only been here 24 hours; so it again appears that God’s plan is working very well and we continue to trust him. Thanks you for all of your prayers and support. It is all appreciated and we could not get along here without you. Please continue your support and I will get a little better newsletter out soon.
Thanks and God Bless.
John, Maeo and the rest of the Christian Mission Group