Missions Moment – Thailand

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Terry Gibbs, Wycliffe Bible Translators

Thank you for your faithful work of supporting what I do here.

It’s been more than busy at Payap this past month. Student computers with a failed battery, a defective keyboard, USB ports that don’t work in Windows 10, unable to log onto the Internet; many little things. Some students needed to change their class schedule, one student had to return to their home country, other students had visa issues. For me it took 5 trips to the immigration office to finally get a new Thai Visa in my passport. The immigration office had just revised the meaning of a Work Permit and that was now in conflict with the idea of being an unpaid volunteer. The solution turned out to be that Payap needed to include a copy of the SIL/ Payap MOU in my pile of papers showing that I was a volunteer and not working and earning money even though I did have a Work Permit. In one of the class rooms I’ve set up a small USB camera so that instructors can place a sheet of paper on the desk and the overhead LCD projector then shows that paper on the wall screen for all of the student to see. This also allows student to show the class what they have written, as they compare each others solution to a question. Last week it was decided that the staff office area needed to be reorganize. The student study area, became a storage area, and it took several days to completely rearrange the desks and bookcases. Then the curtains were replaced with vertical blinds.

Walking around town…

I used a ‘song thaew’ (the red pickup trucks with 2 bench seats) to go from one part of town to another part. When I got in the back of the truck, there was only one person, a college age girl who looked to be Chinese. I said hello and gave her a Chinese tract, suspecting that she did not speak English. She looked at it and said “Christian?” and I nodded my head and smiled. Then speaking in fairly good English, she said “can I ask you a question”. I said “yes”, and she said “What about bad people – what does God want us to do with them”. I said that God wants us to be kind to them. Bad people hurt other people, but God wants us to be kind to bad people”. She was surprised at my answer, and gave it some thought. I then gave her a larger tract that was a summary of the New Testament. She expressed interested in reading both of them so she could learn more about God. A minute later we arrived at her stop.

After I attend the Men’s Bible study on Saturdays, I usually park my car in a church parking lot near a coffee shop where I meet with a fellow ‘worker’. He helps foreigners that have gotten into trouble here. After our meeting yesterday I went back to my car and was getting the tracts for the day organized by their language names. I noticed a grounds keeper sweeping up leaves. He eventually¬† came around the car and began sweeping up some leaves behind me. He looked in the trunk where I was standing and said something in Thai. I didn’t know enough Thai to explain what I was doing, so I handed him a Thai tract to show what these things were. What I expected was for him to smile, seeing it was Christian literature, and hand it back to me indicating that he understood what it was. But instead he took the tract, stood there read the whole thing and put it in his pocket, and then continued sweeping up leaves. It had never occurred to me that some of the Thai maintenance workers at church may not be Christians.

While sitting in the lobby of a hotel, I notice a young lady come in and sit down. She looked distressed, so I walked over and talked to her for a minute or so. Her name was Kerstin and she was from New York, and had lived in Egypt, Africa, South America and was currently living in Thailand. I gave her the ‘Knowing God’ tract. She began to open up some more and told me that her mother was in a hospital here in Chiang Mai, and was dying of cancer, and she had a very short time to live. I could feel her sorrow about her mom, so without asking, I reached out and took one of her hands into my two hand and prayed for her for a few minutes. Praying that God would strengthen her, and that her mother would come to know Jesus before she passed away. I gave her a second tract ‘The life of Jesus’. She thanked me and left.

At a restaurant I met a guy who has been living in Chiang Mai for a year or so and was teaching math at a small school. He said that he was about to start teaching a physics class also, so I said that was great since I had a degree in Physics – it’s fun stuff. We talked a bit more, I gave him a tract which he showed considerable interest in, so I gave a second larger tract.

I walked over to talk to a lady who had short bleach-white hair. We talked for a few minutes. She made the comment that she needed some help with her web site. I said I didn’t know much about that. I gave her two tracts ‘The Life of Christ’ and ‘A Summary of the New Testament’. I went back to where I was sitting. When I looked at the business card she gave me, it said she was a Psychic/ Clairvoyant. When she left about 10 minutes later, she came to where I was sitting and placed the 2 tracts on the table in front of me, having never read them.

I saw an older lady, she looked to be Thai, so I walked over and tried to speak some Thai to her, but she did not understand what I was saying. A waiter came over and explained to her that I wanted to give her something to read, she agreed, so I gave her a Thai tract. I later saw that she read the entire tract, and then left. I eventually walked by the table where she was sitting and noticed she had left the tract behind. I thought it was good that she was willing to read it. I let the tract lay there knowing that whoever cleans up the table will remove it, and hopefully also read it.

I got into a long discussion with a guy and his girl friend who were from Europe. They firmly believed that there is no God.

I talked to a group of 5 guys and 2 girls who were all from Israel. I gave them two tracts. Awhile later they left, having never read the tracts.

I talked to 2 girls from China, one of them spoke fairly good English. They were both nurses, and were here on holiday. I gave them each a different tract. They both seemed very interested in reading the tracts. We talked a bit more, they invited me to come and visit them in China. A place that I never heard of before.

While sitting in a hotel lobby, I noted a young man and his wife come in and sat down. When I asked him where they were from, he said the U.S. and that they worked in the Bay Area in California. He said that they had come into the hotel for a few minutes to cool off because it was hot outside. I said that I had lived in Mountain View and work in Palo Alto several years ago. I asked if they were here on vacation. He said they came to visit the Linguistic Institute at Payap. No tourist would know about the Linguistic Institute (which is on the other side of the campus from the Linguistic Department where I work) unless they knew about Wycliffe and somehow knew about the computer programming work that goes on at the Linguistic Institute. We talked for a few more minutes and he said they were interested in joining Wycliffe and possibly working here. He said they had not yet figured out what raising financial support meant. Talking with them convinced me that they were genuine, so I spent the next half hour explaining who I was, and some details about the work that Wycliffe/ SIL does here. I then talked about how Lynn and I got into Wycliffe. This is one of those cases where I did not give someone a tract, but I did encourage them to let God make changes in their lives.