Sometimes the road is rough and the future unclear. Sometimes it appears that all those around us have turned away from the truth that we love and present time after time. Sometimes it seems the relentless devil has full control of everyone around us. Sometimes we feel overwhelmingly alone in such a vast vineyard, with no one who really cares, no one who understands. Sometimes all we see in any direction are obstacles, all we feel is rejection, all we hear is empty silence or worldly wicked music. Again and again the devil makes direct attacks on BletJaw and I separately in our personal lives and together as a team. Sometimes we have hand to hand combat with the devil over here! But is anything too great a sacrifice for one lost sheep?
It must have been 9:30 when I finally went to sleep on Wednesday night, April 16. At midnight I awoke suddenly with a heaviness in my throat and chest. In spite of the hot humid air around me, a chill shivered through my veins. My arms, legs, and hips were painful at the joints. The very atmosphere was oppressive. Oh my! This is the devil, I thought. My mind immediately went to the last verse in the Bible that I had read the night before:
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear, because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” 1John 4:18 I told the Lord: “I need Your perfect love so badly. Please give it to me just now, and in your name, dear Jesus, cast out the devil that is causing me to feel so terrible!” The heaviness and pain left me.
Just then a piercing scream rent the air from the village below, followed by what seemed like children’s voices screaming in agonizing, abject, terror, time after time! I can still hear it in my mind but cannot express it in writing. I shall never forget it. What could be happening? I expected loud knocking on our door any moment with the bleeding victims of some horrible slaughter! Then I heard an angry man yelling and howling in rage! It seemed his voice rang out through the entire length and breadth of the village. How are the dear villagers doing? Are they in danger? They must be terrified. Has someone been killed? These noises lasted about 15 minutes and then died away. It seems to me that the lives of these dear ones may never be the same again after such a traumatic night.
No one came knocking at my door that night. Two days later I found out that a BYT man, ChweeCoo, had become drunk and flew into a rage, kicking his wife, DahBlet, and threatening his two daughter’s lives, age 10 and 12. The poor little grandmother, age 75, who is blind in one eye, had bravely stood between this devilish brute and the 10 year old, perhaps sparing her life. This man has no restraint on the use of alcohol and opium. We know ChweeCoo well. He has a bad reputation and has been abusive like this before, but each time he gets worse. I was able to go to their house and help DahBlet and the girls. I hear now that soon both the man and his wife will move to Bangkok. The girls will stay here and go to school. They all need your prayers.
The school next door is holding a celebration with the monks. As we assemble on the Sabbath Day to worship God in our small church with our tiny frail congregation, we have competition in singing our Sabbath songs, because the monks are chanting loudly into a microphone, the monotonous monotone of their language, which nobody understands. They continue all day and far into the night! The entire schoolyard is filled with all the students, teachers and many villagers bowing with their faces to the ground and praying to a large ugly, shapeless Buddha idol filled with no meaning what-so-ever. Monks and idols receive the admiration and solemn, reverent worship of almost all of the Thai and Karen people, while the Creator and ruler of the universe is unknown, unrecognized and unwanted. He is not recognized nor wanted because they just do not know Him. Where are all the missionaries to tell them? You could put your finger on any spot in Thailand and it will be filled with people that do not know.
Oh, friends, don’t sit comfortably anywhere, just taking care of your own needs, your own families and your own safety, accruing your own possessions and laughing with your own friends, because if you do you will at last loose all. Give God all your time, all your money all your possessions, all your strength and all your energy right now. It belongs to Him anyway, and He will give you so much more in return! Work tirelessly in the place He sends you. You will know then what is true riches, true happiness and true security. To see a soul saved is more than worth all that you have!
DJ is our neighbor and also acts as an elder in our church. He holds worships in different homes throughout BYT and surrounding villages. He helped us get started four years ago by introducing us to people and villages. I am always thankful to him for what he does for the church. Even though all the people around him eat pig, drink, smoke, and do opium, he has stayed clean of all these things!
On the other hand, he does not know the Bible very well. He always tells the Bible stories by making up crazy things as he goes along. It is not correct. We try to help him, but he believes he is right. Another problem is that if anyone does him wrong, he never forgets it. He is angry at them for years on end. It seems he has something against everyone. His mind dwells and dwells on the things that upset him. Even when a dog that I used to love and feed, killed one of his baby chickens, he is still angry at me. (That was 3 years ago. They killed and ate that dog! Do you remember that story)?
Two weeks ago DJ disappeared. He left home about 8 p.m., telling his wife that he was going to visit me, then visit someone at the school. He would be gone a long time. But he never visited me, or the man at the school. In fact by morning nobody had seen or heard of him. We were all greatly concerned because the men here, have a dreadful habit of hanging themselves in a distant jungle tree, if even one little thing is bothering them. That day and the following day a team of 12 people set out through the jungle looking for DJ. Several men of the village would not go because they still have mental images of finding people hanging from a tree, looking so very grotesque, they could never forget it.
Finally someone reported seeing him. They said he had no shoes on his feet. They shone a flashlight towards him and he thought it was a camera. He threw his hat down and ran. He did not answer questions appropriately. He seems to be out of his head. Now we think he is still alive, but with no food or water he couldn’t last too long, and he still could be suicidal. The days now are intensely hot – April is the hottest month of the year here. His poor wife is exhausted and beside herself with worry.
By the afternoon of the second day, when the team of worn out rescue workers were about to go out for a second time, a motorcycle drives up to our house bearing the news that they found DJ at GweeWaWahKee village 2 hours away. Immediately his wife and son take off to that village followed by the pastor and several others. The next day they all came back – DJ included! How happy we all were to see him alive. He acted like nothing was wrong and laughed and joked as usual. But something was dreadfully wrong. He was seen by a psychologist in Chiang Mai two days later and given tranquilizers and heavy drugs. Now this is causing an even worse problem for him. Oh how he needs to look at the precious Saviour and dwell constantly on Him. I am trying to reach him with the good news from the book Ministry Healing and the chapter entitled “Mind Cure.” I wish I could send him to Neal Nedley’s course, which, through God’s power brings healing to so many people. Surely there is hope for this dear man way out in the jungles of Thailand and so far from the professional godly, people who work with mental depression. My heart aches for him. Though I am not a mental health professional, I know God will show me how to help him before it is too late, because He knows just how to handle it.
Please pray for DJ and if you have any suggestions please pass them on to me.
The above accounts are just a small sample of all the thousands of needs around me here. As I sigh and cry over the condition of my people in this country, and as I lift them up individually and as a whole before God in prayer, I read these words:
“For the conversion of one sinner the worker for God should tax his resources to the utmost.”
“If Christ left the ninety and nine that He might seek and save one lost sheep, can we be justified in doing less? Is not a neglect to work as Christ worked, to sacrifice as He sacrificed, a betrayal of sacred trusts, an insult to God?” PK 370
Oh, let’s tax our resources to the utmost, let’s work as Christ worked and sacrifice as He sacrificed for the precious lost sheep!