As with much of the world, Thailand has been greatly affected by COVID-19. By mid-March, we were under stay-in-place orders, and by April 1, we were in a country-wide lockdown. Most of the businesses shuttered their doors, and the country’s borders were closed, including the international airport. We were only allowed out for emergencies or to purchase essentials like groceries and medicine. Masks had to be worn, temperatures had to be taken, and a curfew was in place. Our church members were greatly affected by the restrictions, but during these trying times, it has been amazing to see them trust in the Lord to meet their needs. Even when they didn’t know where their next meal was coming from, many were asking how they could give their tithe to the church. What a testimony! To date, not a single one of our church members has caught the virus, although it was quite prevalent in some of the areas outside of town where many of them live.
During this time, we have been having Sunday and midweek services online. It has been a lifeline for our people. The services have been viewed hundreds of times, and it has been amazing to hear of the different ones we know in the workforce who have never come to our church who have been watching as well. One air-conditioner repairman said, “It is amazing to hear these things because we are not taught this in school or in our families.” Please pray that many of these will come to church when we are open again. We were also able to stay connected to our people through phone calls and social media, and it has been a blessing to hear how they have taken the opportunity of this difficult time to bring the hope of the Gospel to their neighbors and coworkers. I tried my hand at making a few different videos for our Junior Church. It was a little unnerving putting it out there for all the world to hear my Thai; but the Lord was gracious, and for the most part, I believe it is understandable. Thank you to all of you who have faithfully prayed for my Thai language learning these many years. Please keep praying.
Our staff has been trying to do what we can to ease the suffering of our church members and others in our community. We were able to hand out bags of food that included tinned meat, rice, oil, noodles, eggs, and other basics to 60 of our church families before the lockdown started, as well as distribute other funds for food throughout this time. One day, I got word that one of our most faithful families had been sustaining themselves on chicken-bone broth. We were quickly able to get some much-needed food to them. There are many stories like that, and even now, it is still a struggle, as the economy is just starting to open up. Please continue to pray for us, as we will begin holding church services again starting June 7. In order to follow the rules and regulations, we will have to hold two different services in two locations in order to accommodate all of our church members, but it will be so wonderful to see each other again.
On May 1, we celebrated our 12-year anniversary since coming to Thailand. It was wonderful to spend some time looking back at all the Lord has done with our missions team over those years, but we are most excited about what God is going to do in the future. We are eager to start developing our new land, and we also hope to start our fifth church plant later on in the year. Praise the Lord!
Each of the faces in these photos represents a life that has been touched because of your faithful prayers and giving. May the Lord greatly bless you and help us to all reach those we can for His honor and glory while we still have time.
Serving the Master joyfully,