By: Reuel M. Lumilang
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippines 4:13).
We were caught by surprise by the Covid19 pandemic here in Phangnga, Thailand. We were preparing but preparing to go home to the Philippines to attend the Biennial Conference. But praise God for we were not able to be home. For if we did, then we cannot be back here in Thailand. So how do we view our situation? The Government has ordered us to stay at home be isolated from other people. They locked down our area without any public land transportation available and airplanes too. They put up a curfew from 10 pm to 4 am. Check points were in every place to monitor temperature and control the travel of people. They put-up an order not to allow entrance and exit in Phuket as it is the third highest place where Covid19 pandemic is very prevalent.
Our Church is place under quarantine and only my family is available to worship every Sunday. Even the people residing just at the back of the church…we did not encourage to come. So, what did we do to our missions work when this pandemic came?
First came the departure of those working in the Hotels and Resorts. The foreign tourist guests started to cancel their bookings. Those people working in places like Hotels and Resorts, restaurants, massage parlors, boarding houses, and the like did not have a better condition than others. After that the bookings were getting to zero that no one came to stay in their places. Some hope for better things and stayed but after they were disappointed. It is more than 3 months now since this crisis started.
God bless us so much that he allowed our family to be together this time. We never thought that we can be together because RJ was in the Philippines three years ago and Hangela was studying at Mahidol University in Bangkok and times were hard to be together. But praise God that he allowed us to be here together and has blessed so much. May his working continue even after this time.
Since the Covid19 Virus was an invisible to the human eyes we do not know who are infected. We were advised to wear face masks and quarantine ourselves and were further advised to stay out of the masses. All of that we did. And so… since we cannot get near to people and talk to them, we do not know how minister to others. Our people in the Church had done the same. So, our family decided on the first 3 things of the 5, namely:
At first, we did not know how to make ourselves productive except working in our church property. We had many things to do with our plants and things in the church. Actually, our time is not enough just to keep up the work that we have now but praise the Lord for his guidance that he provided us to take care of the place he had given us.
The Daily Family Devotion is a special time of our family. We had never had this kind of time together where we can talk and support each other. I pray that may the Lord provide further times in the future for the unity of our family. Our 2 children already graduated from College but they are unemployed and it is our prayer that may the Lord provide them jobs that they can stay here in Thailand to help the work here in Phangnga.
Our Theological Bible Studies is a basic Systematic study that I introduced to them. It was quite hard for the children for they do not have any biblical theological background from a Bible School but praise God for the things He taught us that we can cherish after our lessons.
We decided to launch an online Worship Sermon through the Messenger. Although those sermons were in Thai and English, yet I thank God for those people in many places like Philippines, Canada, USA, Thailand, and others who had been following us. They said that although they understood only a little but were blessed of the meaning of the thing that we were doing. Now we have ceased doing the online thing for our people can now come to Church. And since the Government advised not to get too close with our people, we maintain our distance communicated with them on their phones.
Our PABWE President, Rev. Eddie Rayos, has called us and informed us that we will hold a 25-days, 25-minutes and 3-times a day prayer time. We, missionaries in Thailand, had our time to chat together via ZOOM every Tuesday at 9AM. It is a joy to see the faces of our missionaries knowing that we bring blessings and burdens for us to pray. At first, we seem not to see the importance of it although we pray often. We were further advised if we can enlist 5 to 9 friends to pray with us outside our common circle. Praise the Lord for this opportunity to pray for each other.
About 4 weeks ago a friend introduced to us a SEATS graduate program. This is a graduate program for working Pastors and it is based in the Philippines. Although it is an academic study, yet they give consideration on the field work. I do not know any of the people handling the program, but it is a joy to know that we are not the only ones that is handling the Word of God.
In short how did handle the Word of God to the needy people of Thailand? The following are things we did in our area. Since we are in the rural area, we differ from other locations, in the urban areas, in their way of presenting the Gospel of Christ.
Praying for God’s grace to appear and move the Thai people to come to him. We trust that one day He will.
“And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 4:19).
Do pray for us here in Thailand as we further the Gospel of Jesus Christ. May people know Him and that they will trust in Him. And may we see each other one of these days. God bless you.