A Lump in My Throat
by Tom Nutt, Director of Operations
Thailand is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Seeing the diversity and beauty that God has created is often breathtaking and part of what makes traveling so fun. Even more beautiful than the landscape and countryside in these vast and diverse countries are the people who live there. All very different, but all made in his image.
As I traveled to several of the different temples and observed the various ways in which people were worshiping, I was drawn to the sights and sounds of those praying. Why are they here? What are they praying? Who is listening to their prayers? What hope do they have? How do we reach these people with the Truth as we know it? As an observer, I could jump to many conclusions. Many of my conclusions would probably be wrong, but my mind was put at ease knowing that I didn’t need to have all of the answers to my questions. There are others who work and live there who do know. “Nationals know best,” as we at GNPI always say, and there is a group of nationals and missionaries whom I was there to visit. They do know these answers, and they have a well-thought-out plan on how to reach and teach their people.
Chiang Mai is home to one of the nine GNPI regional centers and home to a team of innovative thinkers and media savvy evangelists. I went there to encourage them in their work and to look for other ways that we could assist them, but I was the one who walked away encouraged! This creative team is involved in the ongoing process of producing several different series. One series is called BEC. This stands for Bible Extension Courses, which covers a variety of topics to teach people how to be effective Christians. This series is produced in both English and Lisu and distributed on DVD and via the Internet. Another series is People Everywhere, which is a testimonial program of individuals talking about how their lives changed after becoming believers. It demonstrates how they use their beliefs in everyday life. It is an interesting look into the lives of some pretty intriguing people.
While there in Chiang Mai, I also had the opportunity to demonstrate the Solar Kit to a group of missionaries who had gathered for some fellowship. One young lady waited her turn and then asked, “How can I get one of these?” I am not supposed to use her real name, so I will call her Ruth. Ruth was visiting from across the border in a large neighboring country. She couldn’t tell me many of the details of her work, but it was easy to see her compassion. Ruth works among some of the tribal groups living in mountains in this enormous country. She told me about a certain group of men she knows who focus their efforts on those with physical handicaps and those suffering with an array of mental illnesses and diseases. My ears perked up when Ruth started talking about those with special needs because of my younger sister, Lynda. Lynda lived her short life full of mental and physical challenges. Lynda had the best care that money can buy and kind, loving Christian parents to attend to her every need.
What Ruth said next still causes a lump in my throat and a tear to my eye every time I think of it. Many of the people in these villages, living with these challenges, have been abandoned. There is little or no help to enable them to have any quality of life as we know it. No one really knows or understands how to help, so most of them have very little interaction with others. Some of the more severe cases of those afflicted with mental illnesses are kept in handmade, wooden cages to try and protect them from hurting themselves or others. Can you imagine what that must be like? Ruth said, “I can’t wait to see the looks on their faces when they are able to see The Global Gospel in their language for the first time.” I was at a loss for words! Wow!
As we study the Scriptures we read about people having an innate knowledge of Christ, even though they may have never had the opportunity to read or even be taught about the Messiah coming to earth. Somehow, they just know. I can’t help but pray that these people in wooden cages will have a knowledge that surpasses all understanding when they see the Message of Christ in their language on one of these simple Solar Kits. Your support and generosity has made The Global Gospel and these Solar Kits possible.
Thanks for allowing me to work for you and travel to these spectacular places and witness first hand what God is doing through you!