Back in the jungle surrounded by extensive corn fields, lies the village of ShurLaCaTee. It boasts approximately 80 dwellings, and is 9 kilometers east of MaeLaCamp, (Refugee Camp). There is a small Seventh-Day Adventist Church at the entrance to this village, of 30-35 church members. BletJhaw’s brother-in-law, Jerry has been the lay pastor of that church for 4 years.
The Seventh-Day Adventist Mission here in Thailand has just been divided so that the Karen churches on the western border of Thailand can run their own mission, and the present mission will serve the Thai side. This will officially take place the first of the year, but already the Karen mission is being organized. They specified that churches are required to put on a 4-part series with the theme: “The Time is at Hand.” Jerry invited us to come and do this 4 day series, in his church, Wednesday through Sabbath. I had some misgivings about it, because I felt my loyalty should be in BYT. But after praying about it, I felt God’s hand leading me to go forward and do it! So we agreed. Little did I know the shock that awaited me there!
The weather was certainly not agreeable. The devil was definitely working against us. Of course we prayed for the rain to stop so that it would be easier for the people to come. Usually bad weather means a bad attendance, however, the Lord saw fit to let the rain pour down continuously! We did not do this series without a huge struggle. I did not have much time to prepare. I’ve never done series of meetings back to back before, just a sermon with several parts Sabbath after Sabbath, but this was different and I longed to give the people what they really needed. I stayed up late into the night praying and preparing. I did not know these people! Oh how I pleaded with God, not only for HELP to do it, but that He would have to DO it, and let the Holy Spirit throw it out with great power!! On top of my struggles to prepare it, BletJhaw had his own struggles to interpret it. He had developed a dry cough which has lasted almost 3 weeks now. It’s an annoying cough because the tickle will not be reached or go away even with hard coughing. This has happened to him before and lasted for 3 months! I have used all the natural remedies that I know, and he has also taken medication. So far nothing has helped. We are praying constantly for relief.
It’s a muddy hilly road leading into ShurLaCaTee. We drove our truck to the turn off just past MaeLaCamp and Jerry met us there with a friend, both on motorbikes. They let BletJhaw and I drive one motorbike together. It was a disaster from the start. We became soaking wet and muddy, even with rain jackets on, but we arrived without wrecking. I had to change my clothes in what you would call a tiny, dirty, outhouse, but over here it is the proper bathroom, with the exception that this day they had no water. The heavy rain had clogged the pipes and the people had a muddy stream to wash in. As I entered the little church as clean as possible with my Karen clothes on, I thought we would be very fortunate if maybe 10 people came that night in all this rain. I told BletJhaw that this will be worth all the hardships, if only one person could be saved because of it!!
Jerry was happy, he rang the church bell (An old cog to a machine), with a metal stick, and it rang out into the evening air. It is Wednesday evening and the people began to trickle in. One after another they came, slipping down the steep grade to the church yard. I was amazed as I got up to preach that there were about 40 people there! My topic that night was:
“Come to Jesus as You Are”
This presentation was based on my discipleship class I took with Don MacLafferty last August! I had great freedom to talk because the people were paying strict attention. Eager to learn how to prepare for the time of the end! I was delighted as they responded to my questions and sat riveted in their seats! They were encouraged to come again the following night and bring a friend or two.
Wednesday: “Come to Jesus as You Are
Thursday: “To Hear His Voice”
Friday: “Walking with Jesus”
Sabbath: “Courage to Stand in End Times”
Thursday night over 53 people came. This meeting stressed the importance of getting up in the morning on God’s time. I told them to ask Him the night before, to wake you up when He wants to talk to you. Spend unhurried time with God in the morning. Don’t just rush off without waiting to hear anything from God. All these people work in the corn fields for a living, so I asked them how to plant corn – step by step. They all responded with many things to do. I then told them we will pretend I have a field and I want to grow corn, but I never did that before, so could they teach me how. Let’s pretend I became distracted and left in a hurry without even listening for the instructions that I needed so badly. How would my corn field do? Why, it would be ruined – no good. One man quickly spoke up and gave the meaning of this illustration.
“Oh,” he said, “It’s like us coming to church and listening to your sermon, but when we go home and don’t apply it, it won’t do us any good.”
I was amazed that he understood the meaning and spoke right up, even though my meaning was to be a little different – that we do this to God,- run off without listening or taking time. Then we make a lot of mistakes that day. This leads to our eternal ruin!
On Friday evening and Sabbath worship hour over 60 people crowded in that little church.
This group of people reminded me of a reenactment of a video I watched one time of William Miller’s preaching. The group of believers packed in that little church were so attentive, interested, and eager to learn how to face end times!! They were nodding, eyes fixed on the speaker, even leaning forward in their seats! Oh why can’t people wake up and be this attentive all over the world, because the time is at hand, when we cannot have a second chance?!
At the close of the last meeting, those people sang us a song, and presented us with gifts. Then there was a big meal that followed. These poor people that work so hard and have so little, yet they give so much! Lovely people! May we meet them in heaven is my prayer!
They will be forever in my heart!