It always seems endless, whether traveling by truck, motorcycle or on foot. It seems the difficulty of the path condition multiplies the distance. Once you have reached your destination, the pathway still continues … there is always more beyond. We have now made this walk in and out of BYT several times. Each time the rain has made the road conditions worse. When we return to BYT the surrounding villages still must be reached. Our walking and backpacks continue three days a week. The paths seem longer, steeper and more difficult each time because of the constant rain. We are sinking in the mud, soaking wet from rain and sweat, struggling onward. The storms and the rain make our way so toilsome. The backpacks add to the strain. We are cold when we treat the patients in the village because we are wet. Why do we do it? Why go to such lengths? Why not rest and stay dry and comfortable? .…I will tell you just 2 stories out of many to explain why!
1) Three patients came to our home at a time least desirable. We had just arrived from a long hike back to BYT from the main highway and just couldn’t wait to drink water, take a bath, eat food and sleep – in that order. But we had been gone and these patients had just walked a great distance from MeDaLaGwee to see us and were so happy that they found us. We treated them, and all but one left. Sixty- five year old GeeWah sat cross- legged on the floor as if he had not received everything he came for. As I looked at him I discerned something about him that longed for much more than medical treatment. He asked Blet Jaw a couple of questions and as I cooked the evening meal I could tell that Blet Jaw was explaining many things about the Bible to him. They talked for a long while. Later Blet Jaw told me that this man did not know anything about the Bible, but wanted to. He knew some people who kept Sunday. Blet Jaw had explained the seventh-day Sabbath. He had talked about the truth of the Bible beyond any other book. He explained that no person is to be believed unless what they say matches with what the Bible says. He told him that the love of God and Jesus is so great for us that Jesus chose to come down from heaven and die for us, so that we could be saved from sin. His conversation included many wonderful topics of forgiveness and heaven. This man was wistfully looking to heaven that day and a seed had been planted in his heart.
Just yesterday we hiked out to his village, and KryCo village. All in all it took us 6 hours of walking and 4 hours of village work. That day we met in GeeWah’s hut. Blet Jaw had an opportunity to ask him if he had a Bible. The man thought he had a Bible, but pulled out a small worn out book that had rosary prayers from the Catholic Church in it. “No,” said Blet Jaw, “this is not a Bible.”
The man took him over to the religious wall of his house, typical to many Karen homes. On it were Catholic pictures of Jesus, Mary the mother of Jesus as a saint, the Thai king, and the shelf where they offer food to the spirits. GeeWah told Blet Jaw that they are supposed to pray to Mary. The man pulled out a ragged page with the 10 Commandments written by the Roman Catholic Church.
Blet Jaw sat with the man and explained the 10 commandments as God has given them to us, and how human beings have tried to change it. He pointed out how it differed. He also told him that we only pray to God, not Mary the mother of Jesus. She is a human being just like us. She is not God. Again he had the opportunity to teach this man more unchangeable truths of the Bible! Again I could discern the man’s heart being drawn out after truth!
2) Chtwee Coo, 36, came to our house for lower back pain. He asked us quietly to please pray for him because he had just returned from a detox center and had quit using opium. Pray we did! Later we visited him in his house and discovered that his wife also had gone with him. She had used even more opium than he did and had a harder time getting off it. So far they have gone several weeks without using opium! We prayed with them again and encouraged them in the Lord, giving them a verse to claim in prayer. ChtweeCoo came to church two times since. Oh how all heaven rejoices when those whom the Father draws to Himself, actually come! Please pray earnestly for him and his wife!
Oh precious Jesus, no price is too high to reach these dear people for You! No other joy is this great to overpower our own discomforts and suffering and make them seem as nothing! Oh precious Jesus, the pathways are endless. Beyond these paths we travel, lay yet more and more villages, unreached and untouched by Your messengers. These pathways lead to sickness, suffering, hopelessness and those without a Saviour. Oh where are the workers who will help travel these paths and search out the lost sheep before it is too late? GeeWah, ChweeCoo and his wife are just a few examples of the fields that are ripe and ready for harvest.
I received a startling message from my friend who has been working in Thailand, but just recently took a furlough to America. He states:
“We are in a great battle and it is only by the mercy of God that we are not all destroyed by the enemy. We have heard many shocking things since we arrived in the U.S. Pray for our people in America, they seem powerless against Satan’s attacks. The Bible tells us that “…The love of many will wax cold.” We are surrounded by it. Many seem to be uniting themselves with the world. What a blessing it is to be struggling in service to others on the front lines away from the worldliness and selfishness. Service and obedience to God is our only safety.”
And you, reader, where do you want to be when Jesus comes through the corridor of the sky? -In your living room with your friends, comfortably eating and planning your own agenda? Or emptied of self and out traveling the pathway that God has mapped out for you? Reaching the people that only you can help before it is too late?
Oh dear fellow Americans, I was once unconcerned about missions too. I heard the reports in America that this gospel message had pretty much been taken to the entire world already. The satellite evangelism had done a great work and millions have heard about Jesus. This indeed is true and evangelists have done a terrific job and still are – but there are yet more endless pathways beyond all that. God has a great work for you to do! You can pick just any mountain and any pathway here and find those who do not know God. Don’t think you are unprepared and need more schooling. You already know way more treasures of truth than these poor people. You have something huge to share.
Oh please fall down on your knees at the feet of Jesus and let your heart be broken for a world in need. Tell the dear Saviour that you will give your time, your strength, your entire life to do His work wherever He directs. In going where He leads and doing His work, you will find the love of Jesus flooding your own heart for the people He sends you to save. You will find salvation for your own heart and will discover blessings from heaven filling you with joy overflowing. You will say with Paul, “I will very gladly spend and be spent for you!”
-Yes, the pathway will soon come to an end and we will all be gathered together around God’s throne. The dear Karen people here, and those you have worked with, will thank us, as we all “cast our crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power!”