Thursday, October 18, 2012
Temporary homes, eternal treasures
The 13-hour bus travel from Bangkok to Mae Sai was pleasant but not the less tiring. We arrived in bus terminal very early in the morning. I remember everything, it was January and it was raining. It was cold, in fact, it was colder than we had expected. Even the sun seemed so lazy to peek out from the thick clouds. We had arrived to the place we know little about and would become our home for seven years.
Although we were commissioned by two churches and several organizations, we had not received any assurance of commitment for regular support. We came to the field on our own. Nobody arranged for our housing or the ministry that we would be doing. We were totally dependent on the Lord's guidance and provisions.
Fortunately, there were people who kindly helped us during our first two weeks. We met Angela, whom until that time, we only knew by name. We also met Pastor Maung whose church we would become active members. He, his wife and few church members would become our friends and family during our first year of stay in Mae Sai.
We believed that we were in the place where God wanted us to be. with only a few clothes and some books for our kid's home schooling, we practically did not have anything. No house we can call our won. We slept in Angela's house during the night and walked around the town we could call our own during the day looking for the elusive home.
After two weeks, with the help of a lady named Nim, we found an abandoned row house. Apparently, some people thought it was a good idea to buy these cheap houses but realized later that they did not want to live in this kind of house. So they abandoned the house and was left uninhabited for many years. But for us, it was once again God’s miraculous provision at that time. The house had everything that we need in it. It had closets, book shelves, mattresses, bed frames, bedding, comforter, blankets, dining table and a rice cooker. It was our first experience of God’s miraculous provisions.
We lived in that house for over three years. God proved true to his promise that he will provide. Monthly provisions for the payment of rents and utilities always came in the nick of time. God is faithful. We were in that house when we got Tina and a year later we got Nuch. Few more children will be added a year later. It was then that we realized that God was giving us a new ministry. We need a new house with a big a yard that the children can play and work on.
A year later, God had found us another home. An old but bigger house with a big yard but it needed a lot of works--cleaning, painting and repairs. But God had helped us in many ways by sending teams and individuals who were willing to do the hard works. We cleaned the yard, trimmed the grass and made vegetable gardens. For us, it is the most beautiful small spot in this part of Mae Sai-- our home.
Until recently, the house seemed to be getting smaller. The children are growing so fast. This is something we already anticipated but it is coming sooner than we thought. Nuch is now in college and the girls, of course, are growing faster than the boys. Moreover, we are having English, Thai, Bible and music lessons in the house. Visitors and guests were coming often and at times with twelve and when so many things were going on at the same time, the house was verging in to a chaos. We realized we need a separate place for the boys and to hold those classes. But then we thought, it was financially impossible. We could not afford the monthly rate and the utilities.
Needless to say, God never ceased to surprise us. A home that fits our need had become available. A row houses nested in the middle of a community, a strategic place to know the people and minister to the children were provided by God. We converted it to learning center and invited the children from the community (besides our adopted children) to learn English and Thai for free.
We thank the Lord for the people who have been helping us with our ministry. Keeping two houses is not easy but we believe that God will provide for the monthly rent and utilities. We believe that God will use this place to point people to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We believe that this will be a place where God will be honored and glorified.