Report from Don and Una Strempel
We arrived in Chiang Mai Thailand on September 15th 2012.
The BEC is very comfortable and is able to sleep 7 people at a time. It is set in a quiet part of town. It has a small garden front and back, which gives a feeling of the BEC being in a welcoming home for us and visitors/ students, rather than an office.
We had 9 students attending at that time with most coming twice a week for two hours each.
The level of English ranges from very good to quite poor, so we have some challenges on our hands as we don’t speak any of the various languages spoken here. These are Thai, Burmese and Karen (a hill tribe language).
We were here for two weeks before Brother Dan and Sister Gaye Maluga arrived.
Just as Brother Dan and Sister Gaye arrived the University and schools here went on holiday. When this happens most of the students go back to their villages. Dan and Gaye contacted some of Gaye’s family and began to teach them. So they picked up two more students. Some of the students are taught by Dan and Gaye in the Karen language. This is Gay’s native language. Gaye also speaks Thai which is so useful to the rest of us who only speak English.
A week later other fieldworkers arrived to help. All the others went to a hill tribe village several hours away by road where fieldworkers have been visiting for several years. There they did studies in the evening with members of the village. Don and I stayed back at the BEC to continue teaching the regular students. This worked very well.
There are many refugee camps around Thailand’s border with Burma (Myanmar). Many of the refugees are of Christian origin. We have found that their Bible knowledge is very scant and shallow. Some of them tell us they have never heard the Bible expounded as we do. So our plan and hope is to continue to visit the villages. We also need to keep the contact/friends’ classes here in Chiang Mai going as well!
Brother Terry arrived at the end of October and organised another trip to the Mae Sot area, where he and two of the other fieldworkers visited a contact/friend who operates a children’s hostel. There they stayed and taught a small group of adult friends for several days. A couple of days after returning from Mae Sot they went back to the same village Dan and Gaye and the others had visited only a couple of weeks earlier.
Dan and Gaye also made another trip to another area in the north of Thailand. They went to visit Gaye’s village to see her parents and look around for possibilities for preaching in the Chiang Rai area. So we “kept the home fires burning” at the BEC until their return.
There are 12 contact friends attending classes at the BEC at the moment.
We are leaving Chiang Mai on the 16th November to visit Brother Adrian and Sister Jin living at Pattaya for 3 days. Brother Adrian and Sister Jin live in isolation. We do have skype contact with them every Sunday morning for a Memorial Meeting. Also Sister Karen Nutter skypes Jin once a week to have a study and sisterly contact with her.
When we leave Pattaya we then go to Cambodia for 5 days on our way home to Australia. In Phnom Penh we will renew our loving relationships with our brothers and sisters there.
With many thanks we have been taking these opportunities to be involved in such vibrant outreach programs. We benefit from teaching as much as our student benefit from learning. We are most grateful for this opportunity. Thank you all.
Don and Una Strempel