A letter from Leith and Carol Fujii in Thailand
Dear Family and Friends,
Since our return to Bangkok last year our life has felt like a connecting-the-dots type picture…not sure what the picture will finally end up looking like, but we're simply focusing on trying to follow from one dot to the next. We wonder if that was how the Magi/Wise Men and those watching and following the stars telling of Messiah’s coming must have felt. It sure has seemed that way for us as “dots” or specks of light, as it were, have appeared in our path as we’ve sought the Lord for His guidance in this time of ministry transition. One area that God has led us is in relationships with diaspora–asylum seeker–refugees in Bangkok. We are trying to help them to minister to others even while in this state of transition and uncertainty in their lives.
With tears brimming in her eyes, Mimi retold her saga of why she had to flee her beloved Pakistan:
“I had worked as a nurse in a very good government hospital in Lahore for 13 years. I was the only Christian working in the surgical department. I didn’t like the way other nurses would gather and gossip during the breaks, so I would read my Bible instead and pray for my sick patients. A new doctor to the surgical department noticed this and was opposed to my reading the Bible. He approached me many times about believing in Allah and becoming a follower of Islam. One day he asked me to come into his office and he forced me to take the Quran. As he pushed it toward me, I refused and the holy book dropped from his hands, landing on the ground. Immediately he screamed out, accusing me of blasphemy because I had defamed the holy Quran. Immediately the staff rushed into the doctor’s office and began attacking, beating and kicking me until I passed out. Later, when I revived, blood covered my face, my body ached with bruises. Immediately I left, staggering home. When my husband, Tony, opened the door, he was horrified to see me so bruised and bloodied. The next morning there were edicts posted on the door of our home and in our neighborhood demanding my death. (See Blasphemy Law, number 295)
“After reading the letter and posted signs we were so shocked and shaken that we fled from our home to our local church, where my brother pastors. By God’s grace my brother contacted an organization that seeks to help those in danger, arranging passage to a safe country. We were so traumatized and afraid. We couldn’t have any contact with our loved ones while in hiding and could not even say goodbye when we left. After two weeks huddled in that office, we were whisked off and put on an airplane headed for Thailand. After we fled, the mullahs (Islamic teachers) came to our house, interrogating our family. They demanded to know where we were hiding, but Tony’s brothers did not know. The mullahs beat Tony’s brothers and threatened that if they didn’t tell our whereabouts the next time they came, their daughters would be taken away. Tony’s brothers ran for their lives, abandoning our family home, which we all had shared together.
"When we landed at Suvarnabhumi Airport we did not know what to do, where to go, or whom to contact. We kept praying, calling out to God for His mercy. As we walked down the arrival corridor, I heard a voice call Tony’s name. We both thought we were hearing things. 'Hello, Tony, my name is Salim,' the stranger said. 'Come to my home.' "
In February of 2013 we first met Salim, who is one of the 15,000 Pakistani asylum seeker–refugees residing in Thailand. An increasing number are fleeing due to mounting persecution against Christians in their country.
When Salim was released from IDC (International Detention Centre), he and his family stayed with us briefly before we returned to the U.S. for Interpretation Assignment in February 2013. Last year in December Salim and Nusrat were resettled to the U.S. We are currently ministering to some “diaspora” families, two Pakistani, one Congolese. Leith enjoys meeting and studying God’s Word with Tony and Kenny. (See our April 2013 letter.)
Please pray with us:
• Thank God for the few Thai churches that are responding positively to the influx of refugees.
• For a heart of compassion for the Thai church to care about and to care for “diaspora” peoples.
• For wisdom to know how to respond to the constant petitions for money and food.
• For Kenny and Tony’s growth as disciples and disciple-makers of Christ.
• Thank God for sustaining and bringing Kenny from despair to hope. Kenny and his family are in the process of interviewing with the Canadian embassy and hope to be resettled in Canada this year.
Thank you for your continuing interest, love, and support for us. We are blessed to be connected with each of you who regularly pray for us as well as give toward our support. Thank you for journeying with us as we seek and follow God in doors of ministry He opens for us. Please let us know how we can pray for you.
Serving our Lord Jesus together with you,
Carol and Leith Fujii
The 2014 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 224
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