Greetings from Thailand
Dear brothers & sisters in Christ,
May the peace of the Lord be with you all! Today, our life and work has greatly changed under the influence of Covid-19 all over the world. We have been forced to make various adjustments to deal with this change. I would like to share with you the impact of these changes on me and my ministries and also how God’s grace has helped me to continue on.
An Unprepared Change
Like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them aloft.
This Bible verse reminds me of our current situation. 2020 has been a very special year, as the unexpected pandemic strikes people’s health and lives. We were unprepared for this change. We are like young eagles who don’t seem ready to fly, but we are forced to leave our comfort zone and face new challenges. We have no choice but to face it with our bare hands and our poor performance shows. This challenge is not only for the medical and government departments. Schools, churches, seminaries and mission organizations have all been forced to make adjustment to face this crisis. Although it seems we are not facing the most difficult circumstances in Thailand compared to other countries, it is still enough to let people worry and panic.
The first change I have made is in regards to my working schedule for this year. There were several trips and SENT teams planned for this year that have been cancelled one-by-one due to the rising pandemic. But some unexpected ministry opportunities have been added to my personal ministry plans. There are extra courses for me to teach at Thailand Bethel Theological Institute (TBTI), our mission partner in the Golden Triangle Region, because teachers from overseas who were planning to come have cancelled their trips to Thailand. The weekend ministries that I have been participating in have moved worship and other ministries to online services. I have to preach before the camera, recording Bible study lessons and devotional video clips, which I am not familiar with. During this time, we were unprepared for this change, but at the same time we have a chance to learn new and exciting lessons. We are like the young eagle leaving their safe nest who is forced to spread their wings to learn to fly. But it also leads to a new journey.
For some courses, I have to teach online, which is new to me. Although I have to adjust my teaching content and teaching methods, the internet has made it possible for me to reach students who are in different places. The internet brings us closer together. I can experience God’s presence even when I am teaching on the screen. In all the changes that we made, we are walking with God in different ways. In churches, co-workers are working together to overcome obstacles like network and technical problems. We become more united in serving the church together. It is a new journey that we have never been on, but God is leading us. He is not letting us face these changes alone. He hovers over us and brings us on His wings like an eagle. He shows us that he is still in control of everything.
Go Back or Keep Moving Forward?
Recently, a phrase that I have heard frequently is, “After the pandemic, I will …” People are planning activities for after the outbreak, expecting life to return to its original way and hoping work and ministries will go back to its old model again. As the Covid-19 and economic situation in Thailand has become more stable, Thailand has gradually reopened to let specific visitors enter the country. Thailand has opened schools, allowed churches to hold normal services, and various work and factories have gradually resumed. People hope the outbreak would be like a nightmare that would be forgotten the next morning. They just can’t wait to live their old lives. However, with the reopening of the country, Thailand is facing new challenges. These include new cases of Covid-19, political issues, and the recent peak of the dengue fever season. People have lost confidence as they step into the unknown future.
Our mission partner, Thailand Bethel Theological Institute, started in-person classes in July, but more than a half of the students are still not able to return to the institute because the Thai-Myanmar border remains closed. Therefore, we have to conduct both physical and online classes. The church also resumed Sunday services, but we have to limit the number of attendants by separating the service into Chinese and Thai. I am continuing to teach at TBTI and I’m also involved in preaching and teaching at local churches. The ministries have continued, but we all know that everything is no longer the same. As the nest of the eagle is stirred up, the young eagles no longer return to the original safe nest. The only thing that we need to do is to try our best to keep moving forward. Our lives and work need to overcome obstacles and move on.
Many students of Bethel who remain in Myanmar can only attend classes online. They shared that a lot of them are not used to this way of studying online. They also have difficulties accessing the internet sometimes because some of them are living in remote places. They can’t wait to return to the institute. But it is time for every one of us to put down the desire of going back and putting in our effort to keep moving forward with courage. The important point is that God will carry us on his wings and lead us to new heights where we can have the new sight of the world and reach the further destination. I wish that every one of us won’t resist the change, which is uncomfortable for us. We can reach the better goal with God’s help. So instead of longing to go back, let’s keep moving forward!
In the time of Covid-19 outbreak, although there have been great adjustments to our schedules, life and work, I surely believe that God did not let us face this alone without his help. He has prepared his guidance and grace which will come to us in time.
Thank you for your support and prayer during this difficult time. Please continue to remember us in your prayers.
- Please pray for the outbreak, the economy and politics of Thailand. May God show his mercy and his love to people here in Thailand.
- Please pray that Thailand Bethel Theological Institute can overcome the shortage of overseas teachers and have wisdom in teaching and managing the institute. Pray that the institute can overcome the difficulties of running in-person and online courses at the same time.
- Please pray for the students who remain in Myanmar to have a positive attitude toward studying online and would be able to fix any internet problems.
- Please pray for me and my family. Pray for my teaching at Bethel Institute and serving at local churches. Pray that I would have wisdom and strength from the Lord. Please pray for my 11-yearold daughter as she has started a new school year. May God protect her and bless her studies.