Saturday, June 17, 2006

489: Nakhon Sawan - Hard Hearts and Harvest

I've been absent a few days from the blogsphere and e-mail on account of a trip to Nahkon Sawan, Nahkon Sawan Province. To my dismay, the N.S.C. Sports Hotel's internet terminal was broken, but on the bright side, the room only cost 700 baht a night, which is in the ball park of 15 U.S. dollars. Thailand hotels are an interesting breed. With the exception of the super ritzy touristy ones, as my supervisor put it, they build things here to last ten years, and at the end of ten years, tear it down. The N.S.C. Sports Hotel seems to be very near, if not past, the ten year mark, hence the dingy carpet and the furniture with large sections of paint missing. It wasn't all bad, really. The bed was good, the AC worked, and there was English language TV. It's a good thing that it works well, because by the time this whole internship thing is said and done, the N.S.C. Sport Hotel is going to have the honor of being my second-longest place of resident, as we head back there June 29 for more work in the province.

This week in Nahkon Sawan was spent in providing two mobile medical clinics in two villages (think small towns) about 15-30 minutes outside the city. My supervisor, Rick Kuter, is the Strategy Coordinator for the Central Thai people group. One of the members of the Central Thai team he leads is Dr. Doug Derbyshire, who leads the Bangkla Baptist Clinic. Dr. Doug is a physician, and backed by his "Dream Team" of Thai clinic staff (amazing Christians all) and volunteer teams from America, they head out to the boonies to take the medicine to the people. The Thai villagers don't just receive a check-up, and medicine, however. The Dream Team shares the gospel with every person who comes. That number is never small. Between the two clinic days this week, 500 patients were treated. On the first day we saw300 patients (I believe), and about 12 prayed to receive Christ. The second day saw just over 2o0 patients treated (again, I believe) and about 30 prayed to receive Christ.

The passion that these Thai believers have to share their faith is amazing, but the work is never easy. I was attached to a teaching team, and we did a bunch of English teaching songs in Thai schools during the two days. On the first day, the school we were at was on the same campus where the clinic was. The U.S. volunteer team was from none other than Casas Adobes Church in Tucson, and its leader was David Mann, the Director of Evangelism and Missions for the Catalina Association. We had just got back from doing our routine when Bro. David told me to pray for hard hearts. There weren't many people open to the gospel that day, an oddity at these medical clinics, but the norm in Thailand. As the combined group debriefed later that night, one Thai worker talked about how she had to take a break during the middle of the day, get alone, and just cry out to God because of the hardness of hearts, praying that God would break hearts. We did see God work in might ways that day. My favorite testimony is of a woman who came to the clinic in the morning, received the medical care, prescriptions, and gospel materials that came with the medicine, not to mention had the gospel presented to her by one of the Dream Team. She expressed her disinterest in the gospel and left, but later that day returned. The woman said that she had gone home, read the materials, and now wanted to follow Christ.

The next day saw more pray to follow Christ, but of course, only God knows how many decisions were genunie, and He will use his servants, the Thai pastors, to sort it out. I'm now back in Baeng Saeng, where for the next 12 days I will be focusing on Burapha University, and the task in front of me is mighty. I'll hopefully be back online later today and talk through some of the issues.


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