Our situation in BYT is very good compared to what I have heard about America and other areas around the world. Yet many of our mountain villages are locked up with big gates across the entrances. Nobody is allowed to enter or exit. Various provinces are shut down. Here in Thailand they have a rule that there will be no social gatherings. The soldiers and police will put offenders in jail as well as demand a high fine.
A lady in our village asked us to please go and help her daughter and son-in-law in MauGoKey village, who were suffering from stomach pain and other things. By the second day we were ready to go. I had decided to bring the entire medicine bag because there are 50-60 homes in this distant village. It is terrible to be caught without something important because we will not be coming back very soon. I packed way more than usual because we drove the truck and had lots of room.
BooChee, age 16 from BYT came with us and the lady.
We drove almost 2 hours – 27kms. The road was terrible, as you might imagine! The body gets really shaken up, but the scenery was so beautiful – the day warm and clear!
What a wonderful day, meeting new people – all so sweet and lovable from the very youngest to the oldest!
Probably because it is just a large sprawling village with so many people, and this was our first time visiting – the people seemed to come in shifts. First a group of ladies and babies, second a group of men, third a group of families with children, then the elderly, but they kept coming – each one sweet and abundantly thankful. What a joy to serve them. I gave all my vitamin shots, all my PO vitamins finished up many types of antibiotics, eye drops, gastritis medicine, and of course most all the baby syrups. But we had what we needed for everyone!
They cooked us a meal, but had nothing vegetarian. I am always causing people trouble because they never knew a white person or a vegetarian. Finally they found a package of MaMa noodles. BletJhaw told them not to put the powder in it because it was pork! So I had rice with just noodles swimming in hot water! I’m very used to strange meals, but very thankful for the people’s effort and any food that takes the gnawing hunger out of your stomach!!
It is now getting late. We have been here all day. We pack up all the medicine and head out, but here come more patients. This happens every time we try to leave! Pack – unpack – pack – unpack. Finally someone asks if we will do a worship!! I will NEVER refuse that request, so we go back in for the best part of the entire day! I tell the story of the 10 lepers, drawing the clear lessons of obedience and thankfulness to God!! The people listened with stark, and rapt attention.
We travel back to BYT in the dark, in silence, reflecting on the busy day, and all the patients, praying for each and every one.
May the seeds sown bear precious fruit.
The most precious, valuable, and meaningful person to me in this entire world, passed away December 22, 2019
At the age of 96, my precious mother sustained a fall December 15 in her apartment at Garden Plaza, TN. My sister called the ambulance and followed it to Parkridge hospital, where mother received surgery for her dislocated left femur the next day. She came through surgery wonderfully and for the next 2 days gave us hope as she visited with all the relatives and friends, giving them her blessing.
My story: On my side of the ocean, on December 14, I was in BYT preaching the Sabbath sermon. After the sermon, BletJhaw found out that his son, Brayden was quite sick, so we drove out of BYT all the way to his house. That night Brayden had a fever and was coughing and wheezing. We decided to take him to the doctor the next morning, but on Sunday morning he woke up perfectly fine! No fever, no coughing or wheezing. He was well! We decided to stay Sunday night just in case the sickness returned that night. Praise the Lord this was God’s perfect timing to bring me to a place where I had phone service, (We have no phone service in BYT), because in the middle of that Sunday night I received a desperate phone call from my dear sister. She was following the ambulance to Parkridge hospital and told me about mother’s fall. I was able to get on a flight to America in two days. I arrived at the hospital two hours before mother took a turn for the worse and slipped into unconsciousness.
My two boys also came from either side of America immediately to see their beloved grammy one more time. Micah got on an airplane from Montana right away, and arrived a day before me. Bradley left his house in Sarasota Florida immediately and started driving to Chattanooga at 3a.m. Monday morning. He got there before mother’s surgery. It meant so much to mother and all of us to have them both there!! Most all of our small family came together there.
Mother gave my sister and I directions on everything about her present care and about her funeral. We did everything exactly as she had told us. We had her transported to hospice per her request. They were wonderful and made sure to keep her comfortable.
As we watched her life ebbing away, We didn’t know how we would live without her. (We still don’t know). We have always had her love, care, admiration and great inspirational encouragement for 66 and 68 years.
Our History: Mother trained us since we were born in the paths of eternal life, reading the book “Child Guidance” by Ellen G. White, seven times while raising us. She read us the “Bible Story Books” all ten of them through again and again until we knew what the next paragraph would say by heart.
She also read us all the inspiring mission stories of that time, instilling in our hearts a love for those in all the foreign countries and a longing desire for service. By the time we were 7 years old, my sister and I could make bread and cook healthy meals. We were also able to sew our own dresses and keep the house clean and tidy. Our father was a pastor. We were not rich. We rented a 250 acre farm in Virginia for several years. At seven years old I can remember my sister and I walking out into the forest to our own favorite spots every morning to have our personal devotions and listen to the birds and sounds of nature. At 8 years old I came in one day and told my mother that I think I should die now, because I heard about so many people when they get older forget about God. I wanted to die while I still loved Him supremely.
Mother also taught us to memorize the scriptures. At a very young age we were both able to recite the entire books of Daniel and Revelation word for word. This has greatly helped my sister and I all through our lives to understand prophecy better and to get a better grip on the blessed truths of the Bible. This is no sign of glory for us – it was all a tribute of our dear mother. All that we are and all that we do is from God and I can thank my mother for it.
Memorial Service: We did a memorial service for mother at Garden Plaza December 30, 2019. It was the hardest thing we ever did, but we were doing it for mother and God gave us the much needed strength to do it. It was not to mother’s glory, or to our glory, but to the glory of God. Mother was known far and near. So many people were touched by her life and came mourning her death, recalling the blessing that she had been to them. Mother had worked many years as vice president to Ellsworth McKee, president of McKee Foods Corp. Though she never was able to pursue her education and attend college, she more than made up for that with her practical knowledge, managerial skills, and “A mind that won’t quit!” -as Ellsworth described her.
To watch that memorial service you can go to:
Presently: I have returned to Thailand to resume my missionary work in BYT. (“Without my mother”) Even halfway around the world my mother has been the greatest supporter of my work. Though she was aging and loved to have my company, she knew God wanted me in BYT. She gladly released me to this work year after year, telling her friends when they questioned her, “We have every indication that God wants Gayle in Thailand and I am the happiest mother in the world because both my daughters love the Lord and work for Him!”
Personally: Sometimes sadness and emptiness overwhelms me. I have no one to go to here on earth, accept the God mother taught me to Love, – and He is enough! I have found that for everything that I have lost in this life time of mine, God replaces it with more love for others, and I have returned to my work carrying my mother’s torch with extra zeal, earnestness and love for the lost. I am doing this work for God who sacrificed everything for me, and for my mother who sacrificed all along the way to guide my feet towards the goal!
Please pray that many Karen people from these jungle mountains will be gathered with us around the sea of glass to see Jesus face to face! And at that time mother wants to see these people that she never met, but who are there as an answer to her prayers, and in reward for her faithful service to me.
And if I am faithful, I will be among those who: . . . .
“Will raise their crowns in sight of the assembled universe and, pointing to their mother, say, “She made me all I am through the grace of God. Her instruction, her prayers, have been blessed to my eternal salvation.” Child Guidance 564.1
I just now knelt and prayed that the Lord would put into my mind the words to portray to you the glorious beauty of this last week.
It is no surprise that we had a lot of trouble, leading up to these meetings! To mention one, I had invited a speaker from the Philippines 7 months ago with his team of singers to hold our evangelistic meetings this year, but at the last minute, due to circumstances of God’s leading hand in their lives, we found out they would be unable to come.
I then spoke to a lovely musical group of AFM missionaries here in Thailand. They were more than happy to come, but we could not coordinate the dates. (Happy to say we believe they can come later)!
Now, we are back to square #1. On my knees, I cry out to God saying that this is His project. He is in charge of events and their results. If He has another plan, He will lead me to it, and if I allow Him to lead, then I know He always brings success – evangelism or no evangelism!
I became unusually assertive and sent messages to several wonderful pastors that I respect so much. One of them suggested that I contact Pastor Jason Sliger. He and I had been speakers at PYC (Philippine Youth for Christ) two years ago. To my astonished amazement, he did not express doubt, but excitement in asking for Gods will that night!!
…. And it was a very short notice. The meetings would start in three weeks!!! It was now November 6, and the meetings would begin November 26!
Next came the affirmative reply that they felt God had given them an opening in their schedule so that he could come! When I asked if he could bring someone who could do special music, he told me that in his opinion his wife had the greatest singing voice! It was agreed that she could come! My joy felt no bounds! When God orchestrates something it is rich, full, complete!
It was also a providential miracle that Mark and Jonalyn Martino could come. They are JFA “Foreign video correspondents” in the Philippines – you guessed it, I met them also at PYC and other locations where I spoke in the Philippines! Just like Pastor Sliger, they too were in a perfect opening in their schedule, and could come and make a video of the meetings, the special baptism and our work in BYT!
Harvey and Brenda Steck, JFA missionaries, from Chiang Mai were also available to come and help us out with music. Brenda brought her keyboard and provided piano accompaniment for song service and they sang duets during the meetings! As you know, Harvey is excellent at trouble-shooting the many problems we had. He worked diligently until he solved every one of them!
BletJhaw’s wife and sister came to do all the cooking! They prepared really beautiful and delicious food every day and received well earned compliments from the visitors!
It was Monday, November 25, 10:15a.m, when the Stecks, and BletJhaw and myself met these two couples at the MaeSot airport! My feet could hardly stay on the ground, with the joy of knowing that the Lord had brought us all together for the sole purpose of saving our people in the jungle!!
An average of 70 people attended the meetings every night! Pastor Sliger was so energetic and clear in presenting Jesus, salvation, the cross, how to overcome, and heaven, to the people. His wife resembles an angel and has an angel’s voice!! If you can go to my post on FB you can be blessed to listen to one of her songs!
I so admire BletJhaw who worked in all directions to take care of everybody and everything. He interpreted every sermon to the best of his ability to bring a clear understand of these valuable truths to our people!
This is all too good. It is over-the-top! I can’t hold any more joy! But wait! There’s more!
Remember Bli? He was the Baptist leader in MooDooKey village who was converted to Adventism through his personal searching of the scriptures. Nobody gets credit. All glory to God!! It was the Holy Spirit convicting his heart, even if his reading skills were minimal! He obeyed everything that he learned and was such a strong witness to his family, that they all joined him in baptism after the final evangelistic sermon on Sabbath. There was Bli, his wife, oldest daughter and her husband, and the youngest daughter!
Bli is over 70 years old and is quite deaf. We felt bad that he could not hear the sermons at all. Mark and Jonalyn were able to let him use their hearing device, which is wireless and communicates with a device that BletJhaw wore as he interpreted the sermons. Bli was so excited that he could hear every word! Just look at his smile! I will explore getting him hearing aids.
Now that meetings have ended and everyone has already left us, the glory of heaven remains in my heart! The prayers we shared in a circle every morning, the love, hugs, delicious food that BletJhaw’s wife and sister lovingly cooked every day, the smiles and companionship, will always linger in my memory till Jesus comes. And in that glorious day of His appearing, I am planning to see these Karen people, who have been touched by Pastor Sliger’s inspirational, and appealing sermons, the music, prayers, and combined effort of each team member!
It happened while returning from a long trip on the motorbike. The day was beautiful and my heart sang with joy at the result of our visit in DayBooSayTa village! It was worth the long trip because we were able to help the sick and pray with them.
A group of excellent plastic surgeons and other specialists from India began this foundation years ago, but now Physicians from many different countries volunteer to join them and donate their time and skills to help the poor. They come to MaeSot the first Sunday of every November to do free transformation surgeries on any and all the poor people of Myanmar, Thailand and beyond. Several NGO groups are merged into a foundation called: “Operation Smile!” It is a huge endeavor, costing millions of dollars! Volunteers from Bangkok, United Nations, America and Thailand, and all over the world come to participate, making it a beautiful time for all the patients that come crowding into the host medical facility. This year it was at the Ram MaeSot General Hospital. They tell us that there were over 175 surgeries already scheduled and the day was not over yet!
Cleft Palate repair comprises most of the surgeries, but so many anomalies are taken care of like burn contractors, extra fingers or toes removed, growths and lumps excised, and grotesque birth defects corrected to name a few!
The day before this event we set out to find the patients that needed help. We jumped on the motorbike and took off to 2 different villages in opposite directions. We totaled over 3 hours on that bike, but the day was beautiful! The first home we entered was in a village called ClerGaChaTah. We had never stepped foot in this place before, and it took several inquiries from passers-by to retrieve directions. PaJaDa, age 29, has a boney deformation on and around his nose, stopping him from ever breathing through his nose. His right eye is blind.
Last year this young man came into our clinic and we felt so sorry for him that we determined to find him and see if he’d be willing to go to Operation Smile this year.
So here is PaJaDa’s sad history. His mother had died in childbirth. When he was one year old, small bumps appeared on his nose which developed into infections. For days pus drained from these bumps which had grown quite large. Finally the infection spread to his eye, causing blindness, and disfiguring his nose. Much more time went by and that eye was smelling really bad. He didn’t have parents to take care of him and they lived in this village far away from medical help. The people were all poor and ignorant, but somehow when he was 10 years old someone took him to the hospital where the rotten eye was removed, and the orbit filled with some yellow material.
He and his wife cooked us some rice and chilies to eat, and his wife gave me a beautiful Karen bag that she had woven. You won’t find sweeter, kinder, more appreciative people anywhere!
PaJaDa was eager to come with us to Operation Smile and would meet us early the next morning.
Our next patient is Bri’s wife, MeePo, in MooDooKey village. She has had a growth on the side of her neck for 7 years, but now it is a little larger and beginning to hurt. I was worried when I examined it because it was a vessel, and seemed to be wrapped around the carotid artery, but what did I know about this type of thing? She agreed to go also, so early the next morning we took off with our 2 precious patients, praying that they would receive the care they needed.
Operation Smile is amazing. The crowd was so great that I wondered where to take my patients to begin the process.
Because we had travelled so far, we were late to start. However don’t worry, never fear! There are helpers everywhere. They were all smiling and so happy to assist the people with anything. You could never loose your way. Different color ‘smile’ T-shirts were all over the place, showing people where to go and ushering them to the right places. There was registration, vital signs, photographs and lots of waiting! The patients all were seated, but we stood up all day! During the waiting periods, volunteer students came around with all sorts of toys, blowing bubbles, coloring books, stuffed animals, balls and dolls.
They freely gave these things to the children and babies. They brought tray after tray of different snacks, cookies, muffins, fruit, drinks, candy, you name it! Later complete dinner bowels were given to anyone and everyone! It was amazing. Upon checking out, they give gifts of toys for children, and pillows for adults along with money according to how far they had to travel to get there. MeePo got 800 THB ($26), and PaJaDa 700 THB ($23)
When our people were checked by the plastic surgeons, MeePo was told she needed to go to a bigger hospital and get an MRI etc. The vessel was large and complicated and could not be done in their time frame. It is dangerous to leave alone, but also dangerous to remove the doctor said. She does not want to do anything else about it. She is thankful because during that day she saw so many people with worse problems than hers. Some of the children and adults really looked terrible. (Ears all distorted and protruding out of the cheek! A huge mass on a child’s nose that protruded 3 inches, hanging down and covering the mouth! A man only in his late 30’s so badly burned from an explosion 2 years ago that his face and head has been melted down to his chest. His arms are contracted and the burn scars cover his entire upper body. He is unable to speak).
PaJaDa could not be done there either because he needed extensive work done with more than one surgery. He needs to go to ChiangMai. However, they will pay for all his work! We got referral papers for both our patients. At the first of the year we will take PaJaDa to ChiangMai and take care of him whatever it takes! You will hear more about him.
That old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, cannot tolerate the miracles and Divine interventions taking place in our villages. He attacks with all vengeance.
May “God in all things be glorified!” 1Peter 4:11
Sabbath, October 19, after church we drove the motorbike to Bli’s house in MooDooKee village. It is a long way to drive with mud and giant mountains to go over. Worship with him and other villagers was extremely inspirational. I spoke about faith and touching the hem of His garment. Bli is a prime example of being led by the Spirit and accepting the truth by the Bible alone! No human being can take any credit for his conversion!! His two daughters are right with him, excited and eager to be baptized! His wife even is slowly being drawn in by the Holy Spirit!
That night we visit a BYT young man bitten the day before by a green pit viper. His leg was extremely swollen. We knew he needed to receive in-hospital care for at least 3 days. We have now taken 10 snakebite victims to the hospital recently – so we know! He did not want to go to the hospital, but BletJhaw persuaded him to go. It was late when we left BYT, but when we arrived at the hospital nobody came to help with a wheelchair; I went and got one myself. The emergency room was not busy. They drew his blood, but no nurse or doctor ever laid eyes on him or spoke to him. Nurses were viewing their iPhones. We all sat waiting for over2 hours.
He was in great pain and had to just sit in the wheelchair. Finally the patient said he wanted to go home. I thought we could persuade him to go to the next hospital in MaeRaMat, or even MaeSot, but he would not go. We finally had to drive all the way back to BYT with a promise to take him to Omkoi in the other direction the next day. It was near midnight p.m. and we were all extremely tired. The next day someone else took him to MeDooGlow clinic. They told him to go to Omkoi, but he did not want to go, so he went back home, now he is dealing with a huge build-up of poison in his body.
Early the next morning we went to do worship in DJ’s house next door. His son, SawWah has enlisted himself in the army as a volunteer and will go for blood tests the next day. He feels that if he volunteers, he only has to serve one year, but if they call him it would be 2 years, (Even though only 10% of eligible young men get chosen). In the worship I spoke about God’s army and the importance to enlist in His army, to decide now to stay true to God, keeping His Sabbath-Day holy. He must obey his superiors, but not if it goes against God’s commands. We must fight against the devil, because we are soldiers of the cross. I pray this will make a difference for SawWah because I have seen him grow in the Lord. He has been attending ChiangMai Adventist Academy and just last Sabbath he did a talk in SS about the importance of the Sabbath!! He needs our prayers.
We treated an old man, Po Son, who did not really reside in any village. He wanders around. BletJhaw had a very meaningful conversation with him in the clinic that morning about God. My heart went out to him in his ignorance and superstitions and homelessness!
After treating more patients we took the motorbike to MeDeLeeGwee village, mingled with the people, treated the sick, ate their food and prayed for them.
It was a full big day, and when we finally arrived back home we treated many patients, extracting teeth, and extracting a purple pencil lead out of a 5 year old’s left ear! What a challenge that was! We then looked forward to an early night’s rest, but that was not to be! Just when a peaceful sleep took over the body, a loud voice came at the door. A young man from WST said that his sister just had a baby and something is terribly wrong with the baby – it does not have a belly button! Well – I never heard of that before! It could mean anything from shocking, to normal, so we took off on the motorbike in the middle of the night, yawning all the way.
Upon entering the house and asking what the problem was with the baby, we got the answer that the baby is fine. It was born one hour before. I gave the mother and baby a physical exam and gave the usual advice that it’s OK for the Mother to lie down, and do not put heat to the stomach, and nurse the baby right away! But they never listen to that advice. No medication was needed.
“If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God. If any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth – that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever!” 1Peter4:11
How come is it Lord, that I feel so far from You at times, so worthless and unsuccessful. How come does loneliness come in the night, that I feel my prayers are too short and lifeless, that I feel I study my Bible too much on the surface, that I seem to lack the power to save souls, I don’t know much – can’t do much, and darkness shrouds my pathway?
. . .And yet here You are Lord, still answering my feeble prayers, still speaking to me simply yet clearly out of Your Word, still giving me words to say in worships and sermons and adding the power. My worthless state You change to value! What I do not know You teach and guide, and what I cannot do You perform a miracle! Many times You send immediate answers to my prayers. You are my companion during the night. Oh Lord the weaker I am, the greater the power I feel from You! As low as I am, You stoop to lift me up! As hopeless as I feel myself to be, the more inspiration You bring. I may be in the dark, but Your hand is always there and Your glory leads the way!
I need nothing more! I lack nothing! I have everything with You! Life is worth living with You! How can I thank you, how can I show my love, how can I wrap my arms around You?
“Thou hast beset me behind an before and laid Thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. It is high, I cannot attain unto it” Psalm 139:5,6
That old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, cannot tolerate the miracles and Divine interventions taking place in our villages. He attacks with all vengeance.
“Help me O Lord my God, O save me according to Thy mercy.” Psalm 109:26