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  • Susan Brown

Close Calls and Great Grace

A truck hurtled toward my passenger-side window. I had three thoughts in that split second moment of terror. The truck will definitely ram my door. I’m going to die today. I hope the kids will be okay.

The next moment we were swerving away from the truck and straight at an oncoming car in the opposite lane. Our truck bucked and tipped as Paul fought the wheel, trying not to overcompensate and to keep the truck upright as he dodged oncoming cars.

In a few seconds it was over. We were shaken, but unscathed. I turned to the wide-eyed passengers in the back seat.

“Is everybody ready to meet the Lord?” I asked. “We just came very close to eternity.”

But thanks to Paul’s alertness and driving skill – and some overtime work put in by our guardian angels – we are still alive to serve. “We should have died then,” I told Molly and Danny and Lek. “We can know for sure that the Lord has more work for us to do.”

Why did the driver decide to pull out on the busy highway – right in front of us? Maybe he was hung over from a New Year’s party the night before. Maybe he didn’t bother to look. That’s the way folks drive here in Thailand. Without the assurance that God is in control, we would never have the confidence to get on these frightening roads. We also wouldn’t have the courage to face the conflicts we see almost daily. But He IS and He IS in control.

We continued on our way that day to a celebration at the little village called Bethany. New Years’ celebrations go on for most of the month of January. This one was particularly poignant because the people here know they may soon be forced from their homes. The land for the village and the church was purchased by donations from churches in the US, but placed in A.’s name, since he is a Thai citizen. Now he has sold it and all the people will be homeless unless we can defeat this man in court.

We watched the traditional tribal dances and ate the food prepared for the New Year’s celebration. The food seemed so strange to us when we visited once each year, but now we eat similar dishes every day and thought nothing of it.

Then we had the hand-washing ceremony. A long line of church members filed past, pouring water on our hands from pop bottles or containers made from bamboo. It’s a traditional way of showing honor.

After the ceremony, we got out the boxes of medicine. As usual, there were many who can’t afford medical care. Many others don’t speak Thai so can’t communicate with the doctors, or don’t have ID cards and can’t go into the city. We gave out some basic meds. I have no medical background, so I give out only a few things I feel confident giving. Many have stomach problems, probably from the spices they use. Lots of people have joint problems from the grueling work in the rice fields. We are able to help with those things. I give out lots of topical ointments, too.

We gave out clothes and hats and gloves to this village the last time we were here, and we saw many of them being worn this time.

In other news:

Paul returned safely from a trip to Udon-Tani where he preached in a Bible conference. I stayed behind to hold the fort here, and we survived just fine. Except that I became embroiled in a massive cleaning and sorting campaign and nearly drove everyone crazy, myself included! It came to pass.

I’m making preparations for VBS in the villages in April. Prayers for that much appreciated.

More court dates are coming up. There is an important one on Monday, January 26. Prayers for that much appreciated, too.

Paul and I are on the second of the intensive Thai language courses. He is doing very well, considering that this is his first attempt to learn Thai. Originally, he was just going to focus on Lahu, but has seen that he needs some Thai to survive here. He is so disciplined! He spends hours studying. Me? Not so much! Which reminds me, I still haven’t done my homework….

Blessings from Thailand,

Susan

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