Mission Thailand (Part 3)

If you have been reading through each step of this mission, you inevitably have begun to see a pattern or two emerging. First, you see that, although the Churches and the villages are the target areas, it is the Children and their schools that stand out. That is because the main focus, other than worshipping God, is truly focusing on the children and their future. That became glaringly obvious to us, and my hope is, that you can see that through my journaling of this mission. The future, a stable and reliable future, is what much of the attention is for the Karen living in Thailand. Instability and danger is what they have fled from, now the focus are the children. They need prayer and support. By the grace of God, we were able to give both.

In the early stages of our journey, and I won’t specifically say when, we were able to visit Maw Kwee. Maw Kwee is a village located in what is known as the “Black Area”. This is land, on the Thai side, which has no electricity, no sewer or running water, no phone lines and no paved roads. It is home to the “Unidentified”. These are people who have fled the Karen State (Myanmar) and brought with them no documentation proving who they are. They are not Thai citizens, and cannot prove they are citizens of any other country. They are allowed to live in Thailand, but there will be no extension of roads, water or power. Yet still, the focus remains the same, worship and education. A school has been established with faculty and many volunteer staff. All supplies are donated and the young people all shared with us their praise and thanksgiving that they are able to learn.

In walking through the village and praying, two things were of great joy to me. One, we met a woman who was 104 years old. We were told that she was previously a “Witch”. One week before our arrival, she gave her life to Jesus Christ. The second was more personal for me. We came to a clearing, just across a wooden bridge to see a large green building. Our guide said to us “Welcome to St. Mark’s Chapel”. This took my breath away as, if you know me, you know that I am called to be the Vicar of St. Mark’s Church in Silvis. It was as if God was letting me know “Yes, I am here”.

Our regular list of tour took us to St. John’s Church, Mae La. Located in a refugee camp, high up the mountain, is St. John’s Church and School. Children ranging from the tinyist of tots through High School attend. We were, again, greeted with a program that included singing, dancing, reflection of the work going on, and time for questions and answers. After a fantastic lunch, it was off to see the camp, and the many opportunities it offered. We met weavers and seamstress’, Stove Makers and new arrival families to the Camp. All along the way we met people who had come seeking refuge and shelter, food and an opportunity to live and work. I even met some men at the local Baptist Church who offered to paint my beard baby blue.

After our visit we made our way to Emmanuel’s Church. A brief visit to see the Church offered us the story of a Church elder who, before coming to the Church was a professed alcoholic. He told the story of how one Sunday Morning, while trying to drink away the drunkeness of the night before, he left his house in search of alcohol. He was led to Emmanuel Church by the beautiful singing from inside. It was then they he drank from the well and found himself thirsting no more. He gave his life over to Christ and is now a lay leader of the Church.

Overwhelmingly, we found that everywhere we went, the main things that the Karen people were seeking in Thailand was Shelter, food and safety. What they found was education, an opportunity to work, worship and be loved.

Stay Tuned for more…..

In His Name, Father Jason Bowden

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: