A letter from Leith and Carol Fujii in Thailand
October 29, 2011
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:2
Dear Family and Friends,
A quick note, first of all, to let you know that we are well, and still dry in the Lord’s Hands! Sure is good having Carol back here in Bangkok…just in time for the floodwaters—the other side of when she and Mom had to evacuate from Los Alamos forest fires in June!
Yes, uncertainty and anxiety surround us as the floodwaters that have inundated so much of Thailand move toward the capital of Bangkok. You have undoubtedly already seen news of the large number of homes, farms and businesses that have been inundated along with a considerable number of casualties. As pictures and news reports around the clock bring news of foreboding destruction, schools and many offices have been closed, and people here have scrambled to sandbag, enclose, and in many instances flee out of the city, WAITING…not knowing if, where, and when it will happen. We’ve decided that for us the best physical location is right in our townhome/neighborhood, with furnishings moved to the second floor, drains and electrical outlets closed off, water and some staples on hand, in touch with neighbors and the news, and ready to respond with our neighbors/friends to whatever might come our way. At times like these, we’re sure glad that we are healthy empty nesters and that Mom, at 90 years, wisely chose not to come and live with us!
The wait can play on nerves. It can also give us a good opportunity to reflect on the situation. A time like this exposes and provides the opportunity to realize our true vulnerability—we aren’t really safe or in control…we never have been! But, when you’re comfortable just going about life from day to day, we can mindlessly live with the illusion. With the security of our homes threatened and the oft taken for granted daily provisions becoming increasingly scarce or unavailable, many are simply left scrambling and filled with anxiety. What a time to proclaim and personally be reminded of our primary dependence and security on the Rock (Luke 6:46ff). Amidst the swirling waters of uncertainty and insecurity, we are challenged and privileged to live the witness to God’s faithfulness!
Yes, we’ve heard the joke/story of the guy stranded by floodwaters on the roof of his house, praying and waiting for God to save him, while passing up obvious offers of help. Let us assure you, we aren’t planning to have that story told about us! But at this moment we sure don’t sense that God is leading us to fortress up in our home or join the mass exodus out of town. We’ll try to be prudent and helpful to the efforts of those trying to manage the situation. Please pray with us that God would also allow His Light to shine through us in the midst of this gloomy situation.
Just this morning our fun-loving neighbor “T” was showing me his flood preparations, and as we compared notes, we had a chance to talk about something that was bothering him. It was one of those God-arranged opportunities to share thoughts that reflected the core values and convictions we share as Christ’s followers. I was somewhat surprised, and delighted, with how these thoughts seemed to register with “T.” Please pray for “T” and his sweet wife, who live in the townhouse right across from us! In fact, if you haven’t seen what our neighborhood looks like, here’s what it looks like (before any flood waters!).
May we also leave you with some other matters for prayer at this time? Our second semester at the Bangkok Institute of Theology has been postponed for at least the next 12 days due to the flood situation. With this sudden windfall of time on our hands, we want to know how God would have us invest the time. Please pray for wisdom. We also have been volunteering alongside the Thai and observe such a spirit of giving and unity in the effort to help those devastated by the flood. This spirit has been fostered by our King Bumiphol, who has embodied that loving example to the Thai people.
This may also be the opportune time for me to begin doing reading/research on Muslim (from now on I will refer to as M) ministry. It is an area of ministry that God may be moving us into in the near future as we explore possibilities for our increasing availability for ministry to unreached peoples. It is estimated that Thailand has about 6-8 million M and no more than 150 followers of Christ.
Our BIT missions team is planning to send three new students to the same restricted-access country/people group as in previous years. Again the goal is broader than simply missionary training and friendship evangelism. We intend also to take the next step in mobilizing the Thai church for global mission. Please pray as we meet with this team of three, which we are calling T-2-Z 2012, for training and taking initial steps in church mobilizing.
Well, better end here and get this note out before you start wondering if we still have our noses above water. Thanks for your ongoing concern and support!
Securely with Him in the Boat,
Leith and Carol
The 2011 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 133
The 2012 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 183