GROUP MINISTRIES OF OUR CHURCH
“NO! The children must return to Myanmar or the UN camp” the man repeated!!
Paul and Lena Adams, self supporting missionaries from Montana, have frequently had officials come to their school and orphanage on the Thailand-Myanmar border, saying that the 100 children must return to Myanmar or go to the UN refugee camp nearby. The Thai soldiers who had formerly agreed with Phimpha (pronounced Fimfa) that the school could continue where it is, were now saying that any day they were coming to take the kids over to Myanmar. Other important things had also happened that theAdams hadn’t thought to share with Phimpha (a wonderful faith-filled Christian Thai lady who runs an orphanage south of Bangkok). She needed to know more so she could help. Finally she set a time to visit to see what she could do.
Phimpha had plenty of reasons not to go back up to this part of the country. The fourteen kids living in her home, including twin boys 2 months old, along with all the other people she is helping every day, would seem like enough on ones plate, but in spite of this she had been impressed that she was to go to help the Adams. Because of her work in standing up for helpless abused kids, there had been threats on her life not that long ago or far away from the Adams location and she struggled over the decision.
In her own words, “I pray and told Him I do not want to go back to the area where someone want to kill me. Deep in my heart I tell myself God will protect me. HE promised me that. I still have other reasons to not go, like even they don’t kill me but what about if they hurt (torture, etc.) me. Oh God I am afraid.” But at that time the words of GOD come to my heart, “If you want to walk with Me you must forget yourself, carry your cross and follow me. If you want to save your own life you will lose it.” (Matt.16:24-25) “So I must say, yes.”
“Next day I had another problem because the baby was so hard (very) sick. I have a reason again. I told HIM, “The baby sick, I cannot leave them here alone without a vehicle. If something happens they need a vehicle to go to a hospital.” The words of GOD came to my heart again, “HE did not even keep HIS own SON, but offered HIM for us all. HE gave us HIS SON,, will HE not also freely give us all things? (Rom.8:32). Then I must say, yes, again.”
Phimpha left the healthy 2 month old baby home with her husband Rodney and the other 12 kids that have joined her family over the last few years. She, with a college age‘daughter’ helping with the sick 2 month old baby boy, and Marilee, headed up towards the Adams school. Marilee went along to help with driving the steep mountain roads and to pray.
Phimpha and Marilee met with a county official or commissioner who they hoped could help with the problems. He was very kind, honest, seemed to understand the real issues and was very supportive. If he could help, he would help. However he kept repeating that there was nothing he could do. He had to do his job and he didn’t have authority to change the situation. They’d have to see the Lieutenant Colonel. While talking with him they discovered he had been given much false information about the orphanage and the children as well as about Phimpha herself. Much of this was clarified during our time together and then Phimpha set about to investigate and further clarify all the areas of misunderstanding.
Later when Phimpha and Marilee tried to see the Lieutenant Colonel he wasn’t in, but a soldier who lives near the school and has seemed very interested in spiritual things was there. They left some simple New Years gifts for him and his superior (as the Thai culture says you should every New Year). He seemed to genuinely want to help but said they must come again to meet with the Lieutenant Colonel.
At the school where the Adams are working there are about 20 true orphans and a number of other children that have no way to find or safely go home to their parents. Many of the rest do have parents, most of whom are Karen who had come to live inThailand years ago to avoid the constant dangers on the Myanmar side of the border. They send their children to this Adventist school that feeds (2 meals/day) and educates them without cost because they are too poor to feed and care for them.
Phimpha asked Lena to call these parents together that night. She asked them if they want their children to be returned to Myanmar. They responded, “Absolutely No, we don’t! They would be killed!” She then told them how to best answer the question if soldiers or others ask them this question, and assured them that she was meeting with the officials to make sure that the school would remain in Thailand.
They met with some of the other Thai soldiers that live up on the hill above the school. After making friends and offering a customary New Years gift, Phimpha asked them their honest opinion of what was happening across the border and if the children would be safe in Myanmar. They quickly answered, “No. They will be required to become whatever and whoever the ruling army there asks them to, without any regard for their own safety or welfare.” However, like everyone else, they reaffirmed that they were soldiers under command and were required to do as they were ordered regardless of how they felt about it. She said she understood that and was going to speak with their LC, but just asked them to do all in their power to take care of ‘her’ kids and keep them safe. She gave them her phone number and asked them to call her any time if the school or kids were causing any trouble or if they were in danger of any kind.
Later they found the Thai Army Lieutenant Colonel who is in charge of the area whereAdams school is, in his office. The soldier they had spoken with at the first attempt to see him, was there also and told them he had chosen to pass on the New Year gift Phimpha had given him to an important Colonel who had visited earlier that day. He said he gave it because he wanted to help smooth the way for Phimpha’s work to go forward. It seemed obvious that his heart had been moved by God, and that was a bright spot just before the meeting with the Lieutenant Colonel.
The time with the LC started out very tense, with him saying the children must leave and return to Myanmar. He wouldn’t look Phimpha in the eye as he assured her that they would be very safe and protected there, even the girls. There was no appearance of honesty and he seemed to be just putting them off, trying to blow smoke screens. However, instead of arguing and pointing out the inconsistencies of what he was saying, Phimpha, Marilee and Lena Adams were earnestly praying for God to intervene.
Phimpha was asking God what to say moment by moment. As she was impressed of what the LC was really thinking and feeling, she spoke directly – not to what he said, but to what he didn’t say. After this happened a few times, the somewhat disconcerted LC’s attitude seemed to be changing. As he gave her a shocked, “How did you know what I was thinking” look, Phimpha finally spoke up and said, “God is in here with us and He knows what you are thinking and what you are planning to do. He is in this very room. There is nothing you can hide from Him. I have been sent by Him to help these children. I like you, am under command and I am committed to doing exactly what God tells me to do until I am dead. There is nothing you can do to me to stop me. You may arrest me, put me in jail right now or shoot me. I just want to be honest with you and tell you this right now. Don’t forget that it is not easy to fight against God though. If I am gone God will send someone else to accomplish His purposes. You are dealing with Him, not just me.”
All at once the LC said, “Stop! Stop! Just sit, be quiet and listen! I know that what you say is all true. However if I don’t do what my own army commander says, I’ll be in real trouble. I don’t know what to do! And he is coming here very soon to check on this situation. If I have not shut down that school and taken the kids over into Myanmarbefore he gets here, I will have refused to obey a direct command from a commanding officer. Please help me know what to do. Besides all this, I have been told that you have been accused to being a very bad person who uses children for profit!” (He brought up a very serious accusation which they discussed for awhile).
Phimpha replied, “I’m so glad that you have opened your heart to me. I now know what is really going on. The truth is that someone who has a UN card, whose name is ________, is doing these bad things. He has been caught red handed, but I have yet to find someone with the courage to arrest him and refuse to be bribed or threatened into setting him free and dropping the charges. But enough of that, I have an idea. What if we call the parents together and take pictures of these children with their parents as proof they are being sent home with their parents and not being harmed? Would that be sufficient to show that you obeyed orders? Would you then be willing for the school to reopen soon after that and continue in your district under your protection?”
“Oh definitely, that’s a wonderful plan!” he said. “It would be proof of their safety and of my doing my job. I will talk to my superior and see if he agrees.”
Somewhere towards the end of this meeting everyone forgot completely about the war, the school, the high commander’s orders, the UN pressure, the difficulties, the refugees, etc. The soldier, the Lieutenant Colonel and Phimpha were lost for about 15 minutes sharing openly about the evidences they had of God’s existence and of how He answers prayers. Hearts were wide open to believe and receive an authentic testimony from a surrendered servant of Jesus. At the end of their time together the friendly soldier made this comment with a knowing smile, “You prayed a lot before you came here, didn’t you?” He had known the LC’s attitude and plan before we came and he saw, with us, the miracle of God in turning this leader’s heart ‘like a river’ to tell us the truth and find a way to help us. Please pray for both of these men. God is at work there.
The Lieutenant Colonel phoned his commander who is over the whole Northern section of Thailand. His reply was something like, “Now I understand these accusations and everything. It sounds like what you tell me is true. Now I won’t even need to come myself. I’ll just send my assistant to go and pick up the pictures. That way I can send them on to those who need them and everyone should be happy.”
So that is what has occurred to keep the Adams’ school and orphanage open and the children safe from being either returned to Myanmar or sent to the UN refugee camp where the only escape would seem to be deportation to some foreign country 15-20 yrs. from now, or more likely for the children to just disappear without a trace. Now that Adams are free to move ahead with their work, please keep praying for them, their staff, the school and clinic ministry and for bathrooms and school buildings to be built before rainy season starts. God answers as we pray with all our hearts. Praise God for such signal answers to earnest prayers ascending from many many people!! Thank you for your part in this!!
On their return trip to Nahkon Luang where Mike and Marilee live, Phimpha shared that she lived in the home of a Thai Adventist Pastor from age 14-19 after her own mom died. Perhaps that explains why she loves to visit Mike and Marilee every month or so and actively participate in the Sabbath services. God is working on her heart so let’s keep her in our prayers with her husband, Rodney.
There are powerful organizations as well as individuals continuing to make trouble for her and trying to shut down their “Love and Care Project Foundation” that the Lord very miraculously gave her. It runs based solely on faith and obedience to God, similar to George Mueller’s ministry, and cares for approximately 300 kids, as well as many others such as AIDS victims, victims of human trafficing, elderly without family and any means of support, etc. At this time they have large urgent needs to meet government registration laws for Thai Foundations, so that their foundation can continue to serve its humanitarian and spiritual purposes. Please pray that God will protect and provide.
As Marilee was driving the pickup towards home on the steep curvy mountain roads they encountered a very strong rain storm making it very difficult to see in the waning light. Later after the rain stopped they came to a long hill where many huge trucks were traveling very slowly downhill, so Marilee was carefully passing them one by one. As she was coming near another truck she saw the lights of an approaching vehicle around the corner, so put on her brakes to slow down - but nothing happened. She discovered the road was very slippery like ice from the oil build-up on the road as there had been no rain for several months.
When she put the brake on even harder, their pickup responded by going into a slide.
She quickly took her foot off the brake altogether and turned the steering wheel but again the pickup did not respond. As she was about to hit the back of the 18 wheeler she prayed out loud, “Lord, please help us!” Suddenly their vehicle swerved to the right away from the back of the truck (they drive on the left in Thailand). This headed her directly towards the path of the oncoming vehicle and she still had no control because of the slippery roads. Just before they collided, their pickup responded to steering (and a second nudge by angels), swerving a bit to the left, allowing her a safe path in the passing lane between the two vehicles. Surely their guardian angels were with them to turn the vehicle and save them from the evil designs of Satan. We praise God again for his mercy and ever present care in answer to our daily prayers for their safety.
In summary of the whole trip, many barriers that would have prevented the Karen kids from remaining at the Adventist school Paul and Lena Adams are supervising, are dissolved by the grace and power of God. The hearts of key military and government officials are now open to these children staying in Thailand under the supervision of theAdams.
Marilee’s own words are: “I am in awe of all that I saw God do, and so thankful to have had the privilege of seeing it happen before my very eyes!”
Thank you again for your prayers for our loved ones who are working for the Lord inThailand.