Monthly Archives: January 2014

Malaysia Trip

Our trip to Malaysia we made back in December went really well! We went to Kuala Lumpur, the nation’s capital, to renew our visas and to spend time with the local churches to learn more about the outreaches they’re conducting in the city. Malaysia is a pretty unique place. The country is made up of three primary ethnic groups, Chinese, Indian and native Malay. The Malaysian culture is a diverse blend of these three groups making it very different from Thailand! Each group brings their own language, customs and religion into the mix that makes Malaysia what it is. There are Hindu temples, Muslim mosques, and Buddhist Temples scattered across the city.

KL is a fascinating and beautiful place with all of its diversity.

KL is a fascinating and beautiful place with all of its diversity.

Sam, one of the ministers at Soi 4 had worked hard getting our paperwork in order to get new visas. We’re happy to say that all of his hard worked payed off and that we were able to successfully get better visas for Thailand! Things went surprisingly smoothly for us at the Thai Embassy. We were a bit nervous when the Consulate General called us back in an office to talk to us. Thinking, “Oh no, we’re not going to get the visas we were wanting”. But that wasn’t the case at all! We were quickly relieved when we learned that he was very interested in the volunteer work that we’re doing in Thailand and just wanted to hear more about it! We’re thankful that everything went so well. It was clear that God had His hands in it!

malay 3

It’s always a blessing to be able to spend time with churches in another country! Chong Fatt, the minister at the PJ church of Christ, picked us up from the airport. The PJ church has a guest room that we were able to stay in while we were there. Over our trip we were able to visit a few churches in KL. We spent our first Sunday morning with the PJ church, went out with one of their members for the afternoon and then went to a smaller house church later that evening. The next week Gary spoke at the Wasu Manju church, a congregation planted across town primarily to reach out to a university in the area. Gary and his AIM team were apart of this church’s first gathering when they went on a visa run to Malaysia 8 years ago!

Time with the Malaysian churches.

Time with the Malaysian churches.

We really loved being able to learn more about KL and really enjoyed being able to visit the various religious sites. We especially enjoyed seeing the monkeys at Bantu Cave! But some of the highlights from our trip were the times that we got to spend out on the town with a few of the Christians we met there. Discovering new food with a sweet couple from the PJ church and walking around KL’s Chinatown with them, and talking about discipleship and Christianity in Malaysia over coffee all afternoon with a young church leader. It’s these personal moments with others that we always treasure the most!

We loved getting to spend time with the Christians there!

We loved getting to spend time with the Christians there!

Our time in Malaysia was really great but it sure was nice to return home to Bangkok. Coming back to Thailand after being away for the week made it feel all the more like home!

See more pictures from our trip in our photo album here

Political Tension on the Streets of Bangkok

There is no current end in sight to the protest going on in Bangkok. The political tension in Bangkok has been on the constant rise since we been here. The situation really began to escalate about a month ago when former Representative Suthep resigned from his position to help lead rallies against the prime minister Yingluck. Over the past month the group known as the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) has held massive protest across Bangkok at governmental locations, while using the the Democracy Monument as their main rally point. Their goal is to rid the country of the corruption from, what they call, “the Thaksin regime”. Their demands included the resignation of Yingluck as prime minister and that the House be completely dissolved. Thaksin is not only a former Prime Minister, but is also the current Prime Minister, Yingluck’s, brother. He now lives in self imposed exile to avoid arrest because of embezzlement charges and a list of things against him. Many of Thailand’s political issues boil down to people fighting for or against Thaksin’s return to Thailand.

On Monday December 9th Suthep finally got what he asked for when Yingluck announced that the House would be dissolved. But that wasn’t enough, later that day thousands of Thais hit the Bangkok streets to meet at the Democracy Monument. After a small break from protesting over the Holidays the PDRC is making plans to relaunch their protest efforts with new resolve. They plan to seize Bangkok, and shutdown the city starting on January 13th. Sutep has announced 20 strategic intersections across Bangkok as rally points to “paralyze” the city as a final effort to oust Yingluck.

Some protestors wear masks from the movie, V for Vendetta.

Some protestors wear masks from the movie, V for Vendetta.

For the most part the protest have been peaceful. Those known as the Red Shirts show their continued support to Yingluck and Thaksin and have a history of being more aggressive. Unfortunately there have been a few recent clashes between the Red Shirts and the PDRC where several people were injured and a few even died. These incidents have been very few and far between. Protest leaders continue to promote peaceful conduct and the Thai police have been present at demonstrations in the case that violence does breakout.

Protestors having a good time on their march!

Protestors having a good time on their march!

Timeline of next week's political events by Bangkok Post © Post Publishing PCL.

Timeline of next week’s political events by Bangkok Post © Post Publishing PCL.

We personally are still doing fine and haven’t felt any sense of danger. Most of the protest resemble holiday parades, and street parties more than what we as American might think of as political street demonstrations. Nonetheless, we’re keeping a close watch on the news to stay safe and informed. We’ve heard this next week may become more serious. So please keep the nation of Thailand in your prayers. Pray that people remain safe during the coming weeks and that hearts are opened to the gospel of peace, the only true force that can heal this land.

Bangkok has two major English newspapers where you can read more about the political situation:

The Bangkok Post (www.bangkokpost.com) and The Nation (www.nationmultimedia.com).