Tuesday, September 12, 2006

House Rent, Bills and One-year Visa

Everybody can say that after seven months of staying in a new place, you can consider yourself no longer a stranger. The sights and scenes become familiar. You wake up everyday and the moment you put your head out of your door, your neighbors smile at you and mutter words of greetings that you still understand but know what those words mean. The one place we consider our refuge is our home in familiar place, with familiar neighbors who become our friends.

We continue to experience God's faithfulness after a seemingly long seven months. We are thankful to the people who are actually supporting us and those who are willing to support us financially. However, we are in the situation right now when our money in the bank is not enough to pay for our house rent for this month (and our house rent is cheap). God in his graciousness provides us a "big" house, a 3 storey row house where we welcome short term missionaries and accomodate Filipino Christians almost every month. They come here to renew their visa. This is one of our ministries here--a place where people can stay for free. This is our home but most of all a home for all God's people.

In addition, we need to pay for our visa extension before the end of the month. We are going to the Thai Immigration office again to extend our visa to one year. The cost for the visa is 1,900 baht for each one of us (total for five person is 9,500)and 3,500 for the working permit (all in all approximately U$360). This is the last time we will do it at this time because after this we only need to renew our visa once a year.

God is always on time. We just got our non-immigrant visa last month just before the Thai government changed its policy about 30-day tourist visa. I will quote what the immigration officers said regarding this:

'Under the current rules, people from those countries can stay in Thailand as long as they want. Some even stay here for one year,' another bureau official said.

The bureau had learned that a growing number of foreigners from the 41 countries worked illegally in Thailand, Suwat said, adding many were employed in bars and restaurants in the popular seaside resort of Pattaya, east of Bangkok.

'Tourists are taking advantage of the visa exemption law. Instead of sightseeing, they are doing business here,' Suwat said.

From October, tourists from the designated countries can still enter Thailand without visas and stay for up to 30 days, but their entry stamps will be renewable twice at most for a maximum stay of 90 days.

Tourists who stayed for 90 days must leave the kingdom for at least 90 days before being permitted to re-enter Thailand, Suwat said.

God is indeed faithful!

And although there is no clear indication that the any money is coming. We are NOT a bit worried because we are confident that God will provide and that many people are supporting us through their prayers and actually have the desire to support us financially. However, the longer we are laboring in the field, the more we realize that we need mission mobilizers. We need people who will pray, work and find ways on the other end so that God’s workers will be sustained in this end. If only our friends would set aside 5 or 10 pesos a day and send them to us on a regular basis then our house rent and other bills will be taken care of. All we need are people who will remind them to do this from time to time through announcement in the church every Sunday.

We can not count in our fingers (all our fingers combined ) the people who promise to support us and will bring the matter to their church or their association. We are happy about this. Promises give encouragement to us. Promises are good for the soul and help us look forward to the future with confidence. We are thankful for that… but more than that we need people, individuals who remember us always in their prayers and consider missions mobilization as their part in Jesus’ call in obeying the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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