It has been raining since April here in the jungle mountains, not constant rain, but enough to make life difficult. Now it is full-fledged rainy season and it is time for us to abandon the truck and be relegated to the motorbike only. Hopefully we have adequately stocked up on medical supplies and enough food to last through October, as we cannot carry much on that motorbike! The weather reports say that the rainy season will last a lot longer than usual!
NIGHT OF TERROR
Two things I’ve never experienced this close up before:
- The devil face to face
It’s already 9:10p.m. Lights are out. We are settling to sleep when a motorbike is heard grinding up our steep hill with lightning speed. Oh Dear Lord, it must not be good. Someone coming so quickly after dark is never a good sign.
Two young men from WST stammer to describe a stabbing. “Knife went all the way through to the back!”
Two BYT guys are with us this night, so we all instantly jump in the truck. “Oh Dear Lord there’s big trouble, please help!” We are racing over the bumpy road to WST. On the way BletJhaw says: “It’s ChaPo!”
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I think about ChaPo. He is 60 years old, a very kind man. We helped him stop smoking 9 years ago, but he went back to it again. He attended our church many times, and later in 2017 he was convicted that the seventh-day was the Sabbath and wanted to join our church, so he pulled his membership out of the Catholic Church. We helped him and his wife both quit smoking for good, and they were baptized during our very first evangelistic series in December 2017.
He is sincere and has faithfully attended church since that time. God has blessed him with a tremendous rice harvest year after year – the tallest, strongest, highest yielding crop that I have seen in these mountains. He brought us to his garden last year so we could conduct thanksgiving worship. We hiked way up the mountain to praise the Lord with him. He told us that one tenth of his rice harvest he will sell and give that money for tithe – and he did just that!
Two years ago his relative, Bli, in MooDooKee village wanted to become a Seventh-Day Adventist but ChaPo didn’t know how to answer his questions, so he hurried to call us to come visit and help Bli understand the Bible. Since that time we have studied together and Bli, his wife, two daughters, and one husband were baptized during our 2018 evangelism series. The other daughter just got married and her husband was baptized December 2020.
We are very drawn to ChaPo. He is doing all that he knows to do that’s right.
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But now back to reality. At this moment I am breathless, my heart is standing still, or is it racing? I don’t know which. Wickedness and evil hit me square in the face with all the demonic forces of hell! Blood is everywhere – huge pools of it. ChaPo is lying there on the ground – dead. I lift the blanket covering ChaPo – such a large stab wound to the heart made by a very large knife. That wound went all the way through diagonally to the right lateral chest. Nobody is around all is eerie and ominously quiet. The wind is blowing sending shimmering shadows of leaves and trees from our flashlights. We see no lights in any of the houses. Two young men are there, the ones who had come to get us. They tell us that nobody knows where the murderer is. His house is just across the pathway from ChaPo’s house. He gets very angry when he drinks, plus he takes drugs, perhaps ‘mad horse medicine’ that causes horrific madness. He must have come to ChaPo’s house with all intentions to kill, because he began to pull the bamboo fencing across to enter his house. ChaPo heard the noise and thought it was a cow. We found out later that as he opened his door, before even stepping outside, the murderer, DeePo, stabbed him through and through, then while the knife was still in, he dragged him by the knife outside to the gate, then he pulled the knife out. It is a horror movie in reality! My mind cannot process what my eyes are seeing.
Now it is just the 5 young men and myself gazing at the horrifying scene and trying to process this atrocious heinous thing that just happened. Presently the 5 young men decided to go to the murderer’s house and see if the daughter or anyone is home. Each one selects a large stick of firewood as a weapon to investigate the house. I’m standing in the road praying under a starlit night. The half moon is calmly staring down at me. “Oh Lord,” I pray, “We don’t know where the murderer is. We are in a very dangerous position.” I lift my eyes to the moon and say: “Lord protect these people – what is going on?” BletJhaw did not go up to the house, but the others said only the man’s shoes were outside covered with blood. I said, “Let’s get out of here, we should not be here!” Little did we know how dangerous our position was!
We drive to the headman’s house in BYT and get him out of bed. We all go to the school where there is just a little phone service. It is not too good. After many attempts to call, they finally get in touch with the chief of police in Omkoi, who will send police from MeDooGlow, but they don’t know where BeYoTa, or WaSuTa are located because we are so remote.
BletJhaw and I return home, unable to sleep. At 1:00a.m, two young men come to ask BletJhaw to help in the hunt down of the murder! Apparently the police are on the scene now. I do not go.
BletJhaw’s story: 1:00a.m. to 3:30a.m.
Finally the police arrived. There were 4 of them equipped with guns and M-16s. They had long metal forked sticks to push off offenders. Every villager in WST who knows what has happened is terrified because they heard the wife screaming and also know that this man has a big knife on him one and a half feet long, and owns an AK-47! Most of the bamboo houses are open and do not lock. Nobody is sleeping. They huddle in the dark in their houses, with knives and hunting guns ready. The search party consists of 30 people, equipped with knives and big sticks. They divided into 2 groups with 2 policemen heading each group. After searching high and low, up and down the mountainside, they finally find him in the bushes. They called for him to put the knife down, surrender with hands up and come out of the bushes, but he broke away and ran to his house, with police and others in hot pursuit. There was chaos while the police fought him down and got him under control.
ChaPo’s nephew, a soldier, hit him with the end of his gun. Others punched and hit him with sticks. One strong young man took a large heavy stick like a baseball bat and hit him in the forehead as hard he could. It made such a loud bang and caused him to fall and hit his head on the ground with great force. He should have been bleeding and knocked unconscious. The strange thing is this man did not bleed, no hematoma, and no sign of pain or swelling seen. He is conscious and alert. He just stood right up with a strange smirk. BletJhaw and the headman saw it! Later we learned that this man is super demon possessed and much more than that! Several years ago he received a very rare injection, after which they say he cannot be injured! That has been proven true today by the power of the devil!
It is the custom for all the villagers to stay with the family of the deceased for 2 or 3 days and nights so the family can be comforted. Also they stay together because they are afraid of the ghost, which they believe can appear after someone dies.
In this country, when there is a crime the police do a reenactment and bring the murderer back to show exactly what he did that night. We were all there at ChaPo’s house when they brought DeePo back to reenact his crime. The police had DeePo restrained with hands tied tightly together, a hard helmet, and a bulletproof vest. I soon find out why he is dressed so. This is all new to me. As he shows the police just what he did, the family and friends of ChaPo are furious, they want to kill this man. There is so much anger pent-up and boiling over in many of the relatives and young men. I never saw such unbridled anger before in my life, but suddenly I am in the midst of it. Strong young men are in a wild frenzy, yelling, screaming, racing to beat, stab, shoot, kill this murderer. By God’s grace I am able to move to the outskirts of the crowd. BletJhaw is able to calm one young man who has a large knife.
The judicial system here is not right for criminals. There is a limit of 20 years that a criminal can stay in prison, and then they are set free! But this man could work his way out in 4 years with bribery! If he does, the village people here all plan to kill him. (If possible).
I am home alone at times, but not afraid. I think back during the 11 years we have lived here in these jungle mountains. We are surrounded with devil worshipers. The devil is literally cordially invited all around us. Opium, mad horse, and other unknown drugs are sold and used right here in our village, and all villages for that matter! I have stayed by myself all alone countless nights in an unlocked house. I always have love in my heart for everyone here and give my life to helping each and every one to get well and, of course, in the process I want to lead them to Jesus. I realize now how our angels have protected us all along the way. A knock sounds at the door at night, and I always run to open it, so happy to help whoever is out there. So this could easily be me too.
Just last night, right in BYT we heard ChweeCoo, (an angry man), go crazy and out of control all night. (He almost shot his oldest daughter 2 times in the past). He is now angry at BletJhaw and especially me! He screamed and yelled and fought with everyone all night long, tearing up his bamboo house. Many strong men had to try to keep him in his house all night so he wouldn’t come to our house and kill us! No one in BYT slept that night. ChweeCoo hears voices in his head that tell him what to do. He says I’m supposed to put money in his account. In the past he walks around our house at night many times. Tonight as I listen all night long I hear him yelling my name. He is yelling, “She helps everyone around here but wont help me!” Thankfully the next day the police came and took him away.
“Oh precious Father in heaven, life is short, it is like a vapor. It is like grass in the field, which today is, and tomorrow cast into the oven. Relatives are in shock and grieving, ChaPo is gone. His entire family is terribly traumatized. The end is near and the devil is angry and working desperately to take me down along with every follower of God. He works from underneath, but I will not fear, because your love and protection is streaming down from above in greater supply. Whenever You want to take me, I’m in Your hands, but if You still have work for me to do then nothing can kill me. I will work for You, Father with all my might while I yet live. By Your grace alone!”
Psalm 138:7 “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, Thou wilt revive me. Thou shalt stretch forth Thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.”
I leaned out the window as the truck was lurching along the narrow pathway and took a picture of this tree, not dreaming it would come out this strikingly clear. I learned some lessons from this tree.
Oh dear Lord may it be a picture of me!
1.Lord, this tree stands straight and tall, when all the other trees have been cut down so the field can be sown year after year with tapioca or corn. Lord, my desire is to be left standing throughout this crisis at end times – standing firmly on the truth of Your Word, no matter what goes on around me, and though I stand alone.
“Stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.” 1Corinthians 16:13
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand.” Ephesians 6:13
2.Lord, this tree is all alone.I too feel all alone much of the time. I am unable to travel to America this year, I have lost my Mother, and unable to talk much on the phone to my sister or my boys. I am the only American in these jungle mountains and not even able to be fluent in the Karen language, which distances me even more from human friendships and the companionship that I crave. But You are my all-and-all. Paul said:
“No man stood with me…Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me and strengthened me.” 2Timothy 4:16,17
“We can never perfect a round, full Christian experience until every earthly support is removed, and the soul centers its entire affections about God.” MR 926.
Jesus said: “I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.” John 16:32
3. Lord, this tree is dead.Year after year as I pass by it is the same dead tree silhouetted against the sky.
“There is a crucifixion that must go on in our lives, a constant dying to self and sin.” PCP 38.1
Paul said: “I die daily” 1Corinthians 15:31
“Self annihilation is a hard process, for self struggles for existence and dies hard. But prayer and faith place the weakest sinner on vantage ground, where the hand of faith can grasp firmly the hand of the Savior. In and through Christ we may come off more than conquerors.” 21 MR 406.3
“It is the daily dying to self in the little transactions of life that makes us overcomers. We should forget self in the desire to do good to others.” CCh 80.2
We are driving down our “Driveway” of 27 kilometers trying to make it in good time back to BYT. The road was dry and relatively easy to travel. We were praising God for His mercies because we did not see any elephants and had made it safely to the shortcut, which is a rugged, gnarled up pathway of 6 km, mostly downhill into BYT. It seemed strange that a very large tree branch had been freshly broken down over the road. BletJhaw chopped it up with the machete, and I drugged the pieces off the road. As we drove on, I noticed I still had a phone signal, so I continued the conversation that I was having with my sister on messenger. At 4:30 p.m. I said to her:
“Sister, going into BYT now, we will lose signal but praise the Lord, no problem with elephants today!”
At that very moment we saw a man standing beside his motorbike. He was shaking in terror as he told us that we just passed 3 elephants. He was too afraid to go back that way to his village. We thought about the tree branch down by an elephant and yes, we had heard noises in the jungle at one point. How thankful we were to have passed safely by! Relaxed and thankful that they were behind us we resumed the journey. Around the second blind corner, just before the LaGlah village turn-off we were suddenly, shockingly, face to face with the largest wild elephant that I have ever seen! We were just a few meters away from him. VERY CLOSE! His trunk went up, and BletJhaw fumbled with the gears. He had been driving in 4-wheel drive high; we needed to back up on the steep part in 4-wheel drive low, however, the engine roared and we weren’t going anywhere! I looked at the gears and said:
“You’re in neutral!”
This is what we’ve always dreaded, meeting elephants on the narrow difficult dirt pathway! It seemed like ages before the truck finally lurched into 4WD low, and backwards we went: – how to turn around in this part of the jungle??? BletJhaw finally managed a 4-point turn, and back to the man with the motorbike. We are now surrounded by at least 4 elephants. What to do? We sat there for a very long time silently praying. The large elephant did not appear – he had not charged us. Finally BletJhaw began walking down to see if that big guy was off the road or walking away so we could drive past and not annoy him with the truck. He was gone a long time. I looked at the man beside me, still shaking beside his motorbike. I began to walk down the road also to find BletJhaw. The man followed me. He had a homemade gun, but what was that compared to this huge jungle hulk of a beast that we must be so very close to? We heard elephant noises behind us and suddenly the sharp noise of a tree breaking in front of us. That was the only time my heart got nervous because I thought perhaps BletJhaw was in trouble, so I walked on. My companion with the gun was tiptoeing a ways behind me. Around the corner I went – determined to “save?” BletJhaw! There he was taking a video of the elephant that had just pulled down a small tree and was scratching his face with it!
All of a sudden the elephant stopped and both his ears came straight out! This is a sign that they will charge! BletJhaw and I turned tail and ran as fast as our legs could carry us! The man was running also ahead of us, uphill to where our truck was. (But even the truck is not a safe place from these mammoth beasts! Everything is like a grasshopper to them. The truck could make them even more furious)! The elephant was coming behind us, but not charging. If they charge you won’t get away because they can run 20 mph. This is the first time I had to run on foot from a wild elephant! If he had charged us, he would have killed us both for sure. We were in a very dangerous position.
You see the oil running down the side of his face? The male elephants sometimes go through this condition called MUSTH. Their testosterone levels can raise up 60 times above the normal! This results in highly aggressive behavior and rise in reproductive hormones. Their instinct to mate goes into overdrive and they become extremely violent and extremely dangerous. They are known to kill the female elephants and everything in their path. When I read information on this it says that at this time they must be kept in isolation! Well, there is no isolation in these jungle mountains. We are the ones isolated between him and the other female elephants behind us! We could hear them in the jungle. Extreme danger! What to do?
We began driving out, I was watching the elephant that is following us at a faster pace now. BletJhaw is driving and looking ahead for the other elephants. By a complete miracle, at 6:22p.m. we were relatively out of danger and taking a longer route around to BYT. But those past 2 hours were intense and full of danger.
You know, all the power of God’s word that created those elephants is in the Word of God! And He had said to me:
“The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them!” Psalm 34:7
I am beginning to understand a little bit more about the profound power so easily available to me personally from His Words!
The day dawned beautiful, bright, and clear. The morning dew glistened from the single pink rose in front of our house. The air was crisp and cool with not a single hint of the trouble that we know is raging all around the world. From our front porch, looking out over the mountains all is peaceful.
A lady, MooBree, had come to our clinic the day before, inviting us to come and have worship in her home at 9 oclock in CoDeJo village the next morning. The name, CoDeJo means, “Wait a minute.” This is a village far up in the mountains east of us. A while ago the only way we could get to that village is to walk through WST and keep walking up up up a very steep mountain for about an hour. We called this little pathway, leech lane because in rainy season this place is swarming with those slippery, slimy creatures! In those days CoDeJo consisted of only 3 houses. Now however there is a way to get there on motorbike taking a western approach on a rugged pathway and there are a total of 7 houses.
MooBree told us that of the seven houses, 3 of them were now Christian. She herself had just joined the Baptist church. Her 2 teenage children would be leaving for school soon, and she wanted prayers for the entire family, because it is time to clear the land for this years rice garden, which is very hard work. She had invited the Baptist pastor and us, so we thought that he would be conducting the worship. Just in case, I prepared a suitable worship for the occasion.
DeeMu and his brother, DaClay also came on their motorbike. They followed behind us. The road got worse and worse, until finally, very close to CoDeJo, our motorbike just slid halfway around as it bounced out of one big rut to another. We almost went down, but BletJhaw saved it and I bounced completely off the seat, spun around and had only one leg over the seat and one hand grabbing BletJhaw’s arm! Somehow I did not fall off, but I surely must have looked like some sort of contortionist – not very graceful!
We arrived shortly before 9 oclock, but the people were nowhere near ready for the worship. It is customary to serve some food after the worship and they found out that I did not eat meat. This put them in a flurry and they sent their daughter out to buy some eggs. We waited for over an hour. The Baptist pastor was there. I am always so happy to see him because I have been praying for him for over 10 years!
We all enjoyed the lovely view because CoDeJo is on top of a massive mountain and you can see 180 degrees of scenery. I made friends with a couple of ladies who took me to their house for a little visit.
Finally we assembled at MooBree’s house where I discovered that the Baptist pastor did not want to do the worship. He wanted me to do it. I’m so glad that I had taken pains to prepare something. It always thrills my soul to share Jesus with these people. Afterwards they served the usual meat dishes to everyone, but they gave me a wonderful dish of greens and also egg omelets.
As soon as that meal was finished, a second lady who was a Christian asked us to please come and have worship in her home because her small child would be going to school soon also. This time I was sure the Baptist pastor would conduct the worship, but no, he didn’t want to! I must do this one also and I had nothing prepared. Nobody else volunteered to do it. God helped me talk to this group of people also. The lady had some rice noodles served with meat water that she gave to everyone. I graciously declined as I do not and cannot eat any part of meat! It was a blessing for me because none of us were a bit hungry after our feast at the previous house!
No sooner had that worship and meal ended when the 3rd Christian family, not wanting to be left out, invited us to come to their house to do worship for them also! The lady couldn’t think of any reason for the worship, so she requested prayer for her shoulder, which sometimes gave her trouble. Thankfully there was no food at this house! BletJhaw and I decided that we could each one share something at this worship because the Baptist pastor still would not conduct the worship. So we went down the line and 5 of us shared, ending with the Baptist pastor who didn’t say much, nor did he use a Bible verse. I pray that somehow the Holy Spirit worked on his heart as well as the others, as he listened to the SDA worships because I felt the presence of Jesus and had been so blessed to be in these 3 homes and meet the dear people who are somehow happy to call themselves Christians, but who know almost nothing about God or the Bible.
At the end of the day, a lady who had walked up the mountain trail from WST by herself, asked if I would walk back down with her. She wanted me to check her husband’s foot that had been badly burned 2 weeks ago but not healing. BletJhaw didn’t mind staying by himself to treat the sick with the small amount of supplies we had brought, so down the mountain we trotted. It took us a long time to reach WST, but as soon as we entered her house, BletJhaw drove up on the motorbike! What excellent timing!
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In conclusion I must say that our lives are packed with opportunities to share Jesus in all different locations and circumstances throughout these jungle mountains. Most of the time the people will just show up at our door and ask us to come right away for a worship in their home. We have no time to prepare something suitable but must stop everything and go! Sometimes it is that their children are going off to school, or sickness in the family, or superstitions and fears from a bad dream, or because they experienced a bad omen. Recently worship were called because people had just been released from prison due to the possession and sales of opium. On and on the list goes. Some people must feel that having a worship will cast off a bad spell, or prevent calamities. Many times they call us because their sacrifices and ceremonies to the devil did not do any good, so they will try us! But our desire is that they will, in the process, fall in love with the dear Savior and that the truth of God’s Word will draw their hearts to Him!
Just came back from a missionary retreat in Sukhothai. A city just 3 hours 45 minutes from MaeSot. Kasey and Robert Norton have just moved to this beautiful property at the direction and miracle working power of God! They now have eleven children counting their own 5.
After being in Thailand for only one year, they already have a beautiful property outside of the city to train their children. They have a rented building in the city used for cooking and distribution of food to the needy, a church, and English classes. Their future plan is to have a school of their own on their property, and run a larger scale orphanage. They are also happy to invite different support groups to hold retreats there etc. They are trusting in God from day to day to take care of their needs. If you feel God calling you to bring your talents and join this work, just contact Jesus for Asia.org!
Our group was very thankful for the beautiful surroundings and inspired and blessed by the speakers and group discussions Wednesday through Sunday morning. December 23-27.
Let’s keep the fire in our hearts to surrender all and live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God! Surely He has spoken to us this week! Thanks to all!
He died alone in the cold, damp, darkness. There was nobody to hold his hand. Nobody loved him. Nobody cared. Nobody even wanted him. Nobody missed him after he was gone.
I first met NewPoe in mid April. He came to my clinic all swollen up. I was very concerned because he was only 27 years old and now he has kidney failure. The man with him assured us that he would take him to Meta hospital. But we found out 2 months later that NewPoe never went to the hospital and now he was very sick at the point of death in CooDooMai village. He could not take care of himself and nobody wanted to take care of him. Nobody wanted him anywhere near them. Somebody had built a crude shelter for him out of tarpaulin outside of the village. Rice was brought to him occasionally.
His history: When NewPoe was a very little boy, his parents both died from opium abuse. He lived with his aunt for a while, but became friends with a boy in GeGhah village, who’s parents were kind to him, took him into their home and bought him a Thai citizenship card. He stayed with them for some time, but was a very naughty, unappreciative boy. Like his biological parents he became addicted to opium and other harsh, jungle drugs. He did not attend school, but was drafted into the army where his naughty behavior got him into trouble. He could not understand the Thai language, therefore the sergeant did not like him. Finally he left AWOL from the army, which is a serious offense, punishable by fines and jail time. So he is hiding and using drugs, and is selfishly, all-around, naughty.
After we heard about his deplorable condition in CooDooMai village, we went to visit him and evaluate his condition. It was now mid-June. I could smell it from far away! Down the mountainside was a crude shelter made of tarp. There he lay in his own filth. It was a horrible sight and a place for only the strongest stomachs to enter!
He couldn’t even lift the cover off his feet to show me how swollen they were. His breath was gasping and when he coughed it sounded like he would loose all his insides. How pitiful! How my heart ached for him! He has no one to care for him, no one to pray for him. We prayed with him right there in that stinking filthy cesspit.
We must take him to the hospital, but we need help to carry him out to our truck. Nobody wanted to help. Finally a few men volunteered to carry him, but we had to wait a long time while they drank a lot of alcohol to numb their senses. It was a terrible job.
We had brought a mat and a couple of new wool blankets, of which we had to burn later, but we are off to the hospital. New Poe had 2 brothers, one was in Myanmar not far away. He came for a couple of days, but the other brother in Bangkok could care less. NewPoe was sent to the big hospital in MaeSot where he stayed for almost 2 months, then they transferred him back to the smaller hospital in Meta to receive treatments. This was good news to me because he didn’t need peritoneal dialysis! I was greatly encouraged by this! However the village people called BletJhaw saying: “If he leaves the hospital please do NOT bring him back to our village! We do NOT want him here!” But wouldn’t you know it, NewPoe left Meta hospital AMA, (against medical advice), and did not continue his treatments. We lost track of his where abouts for a while, but learned that he had returned to the hospital later. He was worse, so they sent him to MaeSot where he was put on Peritoneal dialysis. Of course NewPoe would never continue to flush his abdomen three times a day!
Now BletJhaw and I are out for his surgery, returning to BYT September 24. The people of CooDooMai told us that they had exiled NewPoe far away from them. They put him in a small abandoned gasoline shelter on the top of the mountain where the north winds blow. There are a couple of old abandoned houses up there. Nobody lives anywhere near!
When we stepped into this tiny 6ft by 6ft mossy, damp, compartment we were surprised at how good he looked! The room did not smell because he could walk outside! His face was swollen, but arms and legs looked better and he was more alert!
We had brought some food for him, and BletJhaw had a lovely prayer with him about Jesus, His love and forgiveness and heaven! As we walked away we said to each other, we have some time with him, maybe he can be like the thief on the cross – we can visit often, pray and talk with him. Also we were excited to bring him an audio Bible next time! That was on September 24.
It was Thursday, September 29 when we were treating the sick in LaGlah village when BletJhaw got a phone call from the people in CooDooMai village. Sometime in the night NewPoe had passed away!
This is the last we saw of him.
Nobody cared …But I did
Nobody cried …But I did
Nobody misses him …But I do
Nobody loves him …But Jesus does