Watching the news tells you what is happening but it doesn’t usually tell you how to respond. In today’s guest post, missionary Erwin Kint reflects on how Christians are to respond in times of crisis, and how Thai Christians are responding to the flooding crisis in the Central Thailand province of Lopburi:
Everywhere in Central Thailand and in Bangkok, one can find all kinds of walls and dams erected to protect people’s property, like houses and shops. If I want to go to the 7/11 in our neighbourhood, I need to use a sand-bag step to climb over an approximately two feet high brick wall. If I want to go to the bank, a big step over a brick wall suffices. Many other people use sandbags to protect their property, but we all know that sandbags without a water pump are only temporary means of flood protection.
This phenomenon of keeping the water outside the gates occurs at different levels: individuals guard their houses, neighbours seal off their neighbourhoods, cities protect industrial parks, and provincial authorities protect their region. Nobody is happy to receive a massive deluge of water, and as a result provinces have been closing their gates, not allowing the water to spread out. The result is a massive unstoppable deluge that has been heading south towards Bangkok without losing much power. And Bangkok is also still attempting to keep its gates closed, swamping its suburbs under 1-3 metres of water.
What do we do as Christians facing such a crisis? We are also naturally inclined to close our gates and make sure our family and property is safe. And that is certainly a priority. But at the same time there is a risk that in the midst of crisis we close ourselves off from the needs of others as well. C.S. Lewis says that suffering and pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world. How can we as Christians then close our gates to others and be silent, particularly when our neighbours do not understand that it is God’s voice shouting through these events? Therefore, we need to seize these opportunities to share Christ in this world.
It has been great to see the Thai church here in Lopburi reaching out to flood-victims, including some people whose own houses have been flooded as well. They have been distributing food and drinking water. But as the affected people in this province have been quite well supplied, this team of Thai Christians and missionaries has been spending most of the time supporting the hearts of the people. They have been encouraging children through kids programs in temporary schools, sometimes on the side of the road. They have been giving the children a enjoyable time by doing games, singing songs, teaching English, and sharing stories about Jesus. Time is also spent with adults, listening to their stories and encouraging them. It is a privilege to be part of this, to work alongside Thai Christians, sharing the love of Christ with other people in the midst of crisis.
Please join us in prayer for this country, while thanking God for the wonderful opportunities.
- For all the affected people in
Thailand, particularly for those who have lost all they had, that they may find
- That the stories shared and the
love of the Thai Christians will touch the hearts of many Thai and bear fruit
for God’s kingdom.
- For an opening as we are seeking
to reach out to a group of approximately 8000 flood-victims from greater Bangkok
who have recently been evacuated to Lopburi.
If you cannot see the video above, click here to watch it on Vimeo.
Erwin Kint is a missionary with OMF International, serving in Thailand. He blogs at Tell It Thailand (Dutch language)