By Carl and Karen Groot, Covenant missionaries to Thailand
As the Abundant Life Center (ALC), the Groots and all of Bangkok prepared for the flood disaster that had hit the nation, we were at odds as to what reports to listen to and how to prepare.
We sent our team home to their villages for a week when the prime minister urged us to vacate the city if we at all could.
We measured up from street level at least one meter and put everything that was not waterproof up on blocks or tables.
Store fronts were blocked in by hastily made walls and everyone waited…..
Some people put walls around their home and sandbagged every possible entryway….and the water came up through their drainage pipes and flooded their homes.
Many people waited thinking they could prepare in time, but within a few hours their homes were flooded.
We have had everything up in our house and ALC for over one month…and not one drop of water has come our way. (We PRAISE GOD for this)
Be dressed and ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks, they can immediately open the door for him…You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. Luke 12: 35, 40
There have been so many instances during this flood disaster in Thailand that we can liken to being ready for Christ’s return.
- Hearing reports of when and where and not sure if we can believe it or not.
- Growing weary of having your home and belongings up when you can’t see any water in your vicinity.
- Being caught unaware when the flood actually came.
- The tendency to worry about our own needs and forgetting about the many around us who need to be ready as well.
Friends, as we return to give thanks this month and anticipate the celebration of Christ’s first arrival to this earth, may we remember that the story is not over yet. He is coming again and we must be ready to receive Him. May this truth infuse the celebrations ahead as we gather together with friends and family and in our work places and our neighborhoods.
While a few of us stayed back in Bangkok, the ALC team went out to Buriram and Surin to share their life in Christ with family back home in the village. All generations came to the gathering and for many it was the first time they had ever heard of a creator God and a redeeming Savior. The ALC-Surin team members, Ginny and Phaka helped cross the the cultural and language divide for our Issaan women and were able to “tell the story” of our God in the Khmer language. God’s people served, cared for and prayed for those who came. One young man, who used to be with us in Bangkok, was now a novice monk back in his village. He came out to see us but it was sad for his cousins and the team to see how the financial straits of a family and the religious merit system would cause parents to give their children to the temple priests to be raised for the remaining years of their youth.
Finally, dear friends, keep praying for those affected by the floods…there is major clean up work yet to be done as many have lost jobs, homes and work places. And yes, there are still provinces that are flooded and relief efforts are still needed.