Here I am, in one house with 10 people on one square spot of land for an undetermined length of time unable to go out or come in. We have already been here like this for 7 days, but it seems like 2 months! We are locked down! Our food and drinking supply is running out. The government is very strict! If you don’t obey you will be fined and go to jail!
Let me explain. We have been working diligently in BYT, traveling to villages in the drenching rain and twisting around in the mud, wrecking in the mudslides, and picking off the leaches. It’s great! We have been praying, preaching, teaching, and encouraging people and treating the sick.
On the first of August, we came out of BYT to see BletJhaw’s family. They live in KhaneChue (I abbreviate: KJ), which is 40 minutes from MaeSot. Two days later, the headman of BYT notified us that he has locked down BYT and surrounding villages. We cannot return. Nobody is to come in or go out! We had planned to be back on Sabbath. The people had requested different sermon topics that they wanted to understand. I was so excited to explain the unpardonable sin, the 2300 days, (Simply), and the Judgement! But now we are locked out!
The next thing that happened took me totally by surprise. I had gone to MaeSot to purchase supplies, but when I returned to KJ, lo and behold a barricade was up with police guarding it! Would they let me in? I knew there were some COVID cases in that area, but I was not prepared to be totally locked out. I was kindly let through that barricade! But now I’m in and nobody can leave.
Many people all around us are COVID positive. Several have been sent to the hospital in serious condition. In fact neighbors on all sides of this house are taken to the hospital. It is not the entire village of KJ that is locked down, just our small section. The government takes serious action. Police guard the barricade. Hospital staff are seen entering in trucks all dressed out in total PPE. They have spray tanks on their backs and proceed to spray down every house where COVID patients have lived. Every day we hear of more positive cases. There is an Adventist dormitory in this section where students stay while attending Thai schools. Fifteen were diagnosed positive in one day. But that’s not all! We have double trouble – people all around us are also coming down with dengue fever which is a killer! Hospitals are overflowing!
Life has totally changed for us in an instant. We do not even go out to walk on the road in front of our house. It is only a bumpy dirt/mud road, but nobody is walking the street. Usually there are young boys on motorbikes speeding over the ruts, dogs fighting, children being carried in shawls, trucks hauling building supplies, those who work in the corn fields all day pass by on foot or motorbike, even trucks drive by selling cabinets, pig meat, mattresses etc., and yelling Thai over a loud speaker. But now all is silent. I see nobody pass by, not even a dog, a cat, or a chicken!
We are behind this gate: Time stands still
With 10 people in the house I realized how serious this was because the food and drinking water was almost all gone. At least we have electricity and Internet here, so I notified my sister of our situation. I told her that it sure would be interesting to see how God will take care of us. In the near future there will be such terrible trouble, but God says our bread and water will be sure! Over here that probably means our rice and water will be sure. We do have a good supply of rice. Fortunately I had brought a large pack of kidney beans in the past! I wonder how the other people down our street are fairing, and wish I could bring them food and water. But we don’t have any ourselves and there is no way to go get anything!
I find out that my sister has told our situation to her church family, (of which I am a member)! They all prayed for us this last Sabbath! Consequently, in answer to all the prayers, the next day, I heard from my best friend, Lisa! They are travelling to MaeSot and go right past our KJ turn off. We such good friends that I feel free to ask favors of her!!! How sweet!! We gave her a shopping list of 10 items! Guess what? They purchased all that and more!!
So here’s how we had to make the exchange of food and money. BletJhaw and I came to the barricade on the motorbike. (So refreshingly great to ride on it after such a long time)! But we stopped about 25 yards away and waited for Lisa and family. The police guard came instantly and watched while they placed the food on a table. After they backed away, we placed the money on the table on top of the food and backed away. Then Lisa came and took the money, but she had to wash it with alcohol spray immediately! After they left, we were able to step up and load our food onto the motorbike!
OH MY! We are treated like POISONOUS PRISONERS for sure!
But now we have fruit and vegetables! We thank God, Lisa, and LeRoy every day! They are willing to do this every Sunday!
God has a lesson for me in this situation. My worst nightmare is to sit dormant. I was born with lots of energy, and have always been very active. That is why God sent me to BYT because it is very strenuous work. However now I am to all appearances – useless. I have no job, nobody to reach out to help. I remember something my mother used to tell my sister and I:
“They also serve who only sit and wait!”
I am in the midst of 2 families, who already have their support in each other, and their own language!! I feel alone and in a corner. I know God has a purpose in this for me. Time is a talent. I am not used to sitting with all this time on my hands! I cannot even go out and run in the morning! But now Jesus says: “Be still and know that I am God.”
I have prepared several sermons for BYT. I am learning to play the Ukulele, and studying end-time events by Stephen Bohr. I am struggling to memorize Matthew 24. These 2 boys, Jonathan 8 and Brayden 6, need a grandma to teach and lead them!
I am learning at the feet of Christ!! “Oh dear Lord, I am all Yours. Whatever lessons you are wanting to teach me, may I learn them well! Make me willing, cheerful and obedient to you! Use me in any way during this time.”
“He works through those who discern mercy in misery, gain in the loss of all things. When the light of the world passes by, privileges appear in all hardships, order in confusion, the success and wisdom of God in that which has seemed to be a failure…Treat calamities as disguised blessings, of woes as mercies. Work in a way that will cause hope to spring up in the place of despair.” Counsels on Health 26-27.1
I have meditated on this chapter for days now!!
In the future we will face much worse trials and hardships than can ever be imagined. Right now may we use all of life’s situations to prepare us to stand in end times! God needs to do a special work of refining and polishing, which is not at all comfortable. Be encouraged, be cheered, be exuberant, whatever your lot – because Jesus goes through everything with us and next we will see His face!