A letter from Carol and Leith Fujii in Thailand
Dear Family and Friends in Christ,
A disturbing saga of political maneuvering and now, violence has made the news again in Thailand. From coup to “yellow shirt” demonstrators, and now, back to “red shirts,” the political scene has been in turbulence for almost the past six years. The recent violence has also marred the positive side of political involvement by responsible citizenry. As we continue to pray for a just peace in our land, we also pray that our people and Church would not hastily conclude that passivity and apathy is preferred to struggling for righteousness and justice.
Thanks for those who have written and asked about our safety and well being amidst the turbulence. We continue to be far enough away from the center of the violent activities in Bangkok — as in many big cities where it is pouring down rain in one section and totally dry in another. And of course, whatever may come, our security and peace rests in the hands of the Lord of All who has risen in triumph and is forever with us--Hallelujah!
And the advancement of Jesus Christ’s Kingdom is going forward!
We have been praying for a movement of missions to take the Thai Church from being primarily “missions receiving” to “missions sending.” Last year, a small but significant (and difficult) step was taken by the Bangkok Institute of Theology (BIT) community. Many took up the challenge of raising the support to send a student intern to study for the summer in a restrictive access country and develop relationships among a very large unreached people group. Of great significance is not only our proximity to these people, but also the similarity of language and culture, likely due to related ancestry. But the size of the budget needed, coupled with the income level of our BIT community, made this project seem impossible. I remember a missionary colleague surmising the situation, patted me on the back while offering in consolation, “Oh, you really MUST have a LOT of faith!”
Well, that was 2009 ... and God did as his Word says, “Incredibly beyond what we could ask or think.” So this year, the BIT missions team determined to trust God to build upon last year’s foundation, by increasing the scope of ministry and training opportunity by adding another student. Yes, twice the budget!! — and now, with an additional requirement of finding a local congregation willing to take on the responsibility for the project ...
I remember sitting with the elders of the Klong Toey Church as they asked the hard questions about responsibility, the budget and risks involved. I assured them that the church wouldn’t be responsible for the budget, BUT that it would be fully responsible for the risks. We talked straightforwardly that night about what could happen, AND what it costs to be united with Christ in his mission of salvation for the world (1 John 3:16).
And God gave those elders and their church the courageous faith to accept the responsibility, not only for the risk, but also for a significant part of the budget. Frankly, I didn’t go into the meeting thinking that we had much of a chance of their partnership ... “Oh, ye (me) of little faith!”
This partnership has subsequently opened the way for the movement to spread to other local churches. Regarding the support of the two mission interns, the church invited other congregations to cooperate in the project — this kind of partnership is foundational for ongoing cooperation in missions sending. This is very significant because, compared to the numerous missions sending organizations in the American Church and other established mission sending Churches, the Thai Church has maybe only one, intercongregational mission sending agency; and most of the congregations of our church partner, the Church of Christ in Thailand, are not even aware of that agency’s existence. The Thai Church needs to adopt or develop its own vehicles/organizations that can effectively unite mission-minded congregations and individuals as partners.
As we write today, not only these two students, but three other Thai co-laborers as well, are already there in country, developing relationships among individuals of that unreached people group! By the wind of the Spirit, a movement has begun. Let’s continue to pray for the maturing and transformation necessary for the Thai Church to experience the joy and blessing of Christ’s sacrificial love in being a chosen vessel for God’s mission.
Please also pray for us:
- For God’s grace, courage with gentleness, to be able to assist the Thai Church in the movement that the Spirit has initiated. And for wisdom to discern the next steps, and to know how to foster and structure partner relationships among churches that are catching this mission vision.
- For discernment to plan travel itineraries for next year’s Interpretation Assignment 2011, in conjunction with visiting our daughter, Karin, in the Cameroon with Peace Corps.
- For God’s leading and provision for Mark, our son, as he graduates from college this summer and looks for work. “Thank You, Lord and for all your people who have been so gracious to Mark during his college years!
- For safety our oldest daughter Joy as she deploys for one year to Afghanistan with the Army.
- For peace and righteousness to prevail in Thailand.
Thank you for your love and ongoing partnership in Christ.
With the aloha of Christ,
Carol and Leith Fujii
The 2010 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 126