From correspondents in Bangkok

January 01, 2007 04:07pm
Article from: Agence France-Presse

A SMALL homemade bomb exploded at a mosque in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai on today, injuring a Myanmar migrant worker, police said.

Witnesses told police that two men riding a motorcycle threw the explosive device at the mosque in central Chiang Mai.

The migrant suffered moderate injuries to his arm and hand, while the garage and some lights at the mosque were damaged, police said.

Police refused to say if they thought the attack was linked to the bomb blasts that killed three on New Year’s Eve in Bangkok.

Chiang Mai has the biggest Muslim community outside the insurgency-plagued provinces of southern Thailand, but the two communities have little in common other than their shared religion.

While the southern provinces along the Malaysian border suffer almost daily attacks that have killed more than 1700 people over three years, no insurgent violence has been reported in Chiang Mai.

Today we set off from Chiang Mai City to head north with Dn Hwee Lee, Auntie Jeannie. After about several hours drive, we were at Fang to visit Rev Robert Peh and his wife Dara at their farm orphanage.

Nelson began to experience an onset of fever at this time. Perhaps due to fatigue from the activities in the past few days. Nonetheless, we had a good time interacting with the children there as well as having Rev Peh show us around the orphanage. They reared cows, pigs and even grew rice. After 6 years there, they were able to built many new structures on their own. Such as the 2 storey bamboo house for guests.

While we were there, we met Teck Hiow from Calvary, who as a retired naval service men had come to teach the children english. He was planning to use his english teaching diploma to go into the mission field to tell the gospel. His “post-retirement” 2nd career. Praise God! We also saw 3 christian university young adults from Singapore who have decided to come up to Fang to help Rev Peh out with the ministry to the children. As university students ourselves, it was heartening to see student from other universities like SMU and NTU come to the mission field too. And some of them were only 1st year students. Perhaps yet another encouragement for tertiary students who have the luxury of an extended break to go out to preach the gospel to the many souls who have not heard the news of Salvation, of loosening the bonds of sin, of peace that surpasseth all understanding, of love unconditional.

Interestingly enough, Nelson found his ex-economics jc lecturer, Elder Victor Wee in virtually all the photos there. Elder Victor Wee is the resident/”borrowed” Elder since his retirement and has been staying in the orphanage for alternate months. Thank God for him. Nelson remembers him as always being a caring, jovial teacher and one of the few who were zealous for the Lord in his time in teaching service at Saint Andrews’ Junior College.

Later we headed towards our hotel in Chiang Rai. Nelson’s fever continued, as he took medicine and had an early night. Prayed that God would heal him or at least sustain him to see all that He had instore for us in the coming days of visiting some of the other mission work by Singaporeans in Northen Thailand.

A series of bomb or grenade explosions in the Thai capital has killed three people and injured about 30 others, including at least eight foreigners.

A first spate of six attacks occurred at sites across Bangkok as streets were filling up late afternoon local time ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Just before midnight, at least two further blasts rocked the city centre.

Two people died on Sunday, and a third man died of his injuries on Monday in hospital. All three victims were Thai.

The Thai authorities had cancelled all public celebrations for New Year’s Eve after the first devices went off.

Police do not believe foreign groups or militants from the Muslim south are to blame, says the BBC’s Jonathan Head.

There was a big bang and people started screaming and running

Chalermsak Sanbee -Witness

Our Bangkok correspondent says many Thais suspect the attacks were the work of opponents of the current military government, which forced Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra from office in September.

The latest explosions occurred near the Central World Plaza, a shopping mall close to where the biggest New Year’s event was to have been held.

The area had already been cleared. However the blasts caught several foreign tourists.

Two British men, three Hungarians, two Serbs and an American are receiving hospital treatment but none were thought to be in a serious condition, officials quoted by Reuters news agency said.

Of the earlier attacks, the largest was at about 1730 (1030 GMT) near a bus station next to one of Bangkok’s busiest intersections, Victory Monument.

Police said this caused the biggest number of casualties, injuring at least 13 people and killing one.

Reports suggest the device was planted beneath a seat at a bus stop or in a rubbish bin.

One witness who was standing nearby, 17-year-old Chalermsak Sanbee told Reuters news agency:

“There was a big bang and people started screaming and running. I saw people with blood all over their legs and faces.”

According to a police spokesman, the other blasts occurred:

* At 1720 on Sukhumvit Road in the south-east, causing no casualties
* Simultaneous blasts at 1800: at a crossroads in the north injuring two people, and in Kae Lak district injuring no-one
* At 1830 close to a Chinese temple in the Klong Toey district, killing one person and injuring six
* A bomb went off in a rubbish bin near the Seacon Square shopping area, injuring no-one

National police chief General Ajirawit Suphanaphesat said the authorities inspected other locations where suspicious packages were found.

Source: BBC News

Thank God for His mercies. Our shopping at walking street with Auntie Hwee Lee and Auntie Jeannie was cut short when we recieve news from Singapore of the blasts and decided it wise to leave the area that was extremely crowded with many foreigners and locals as it was a site for the NYE celebrations. Now Thailand’s political instability is sunk deeper please pray.

This morning is what we’ve spent the past 2 weeks planning, shopping, arranging, practicing, tracting for the 1st church service of Lighthouse BP!

Worship Leader P’Gade
Worship Leader P’Gade.

Thanksgivings and worship
Thanksgiving and worship

Musicians
Musicians!

Preaching of The Word
Preaching of The Word

Who were at the Service…
Brother Nathaniel (Preacher/Pianists/Translator)
P’Gade (Worship Leader/Scripture Reading)
Koi (Guitarist, though the guitar did not work out eventually)
Ying (Offering)
Sister Patricia
John, Geoff, Christy
Nelson Lim, David Cher
Auntie Hwee Lee
Auntie Jeannie
Ruth and Ilona
Aruni, Gina and friend.
P’Ploy and her son Zack
Timothy Chen
P’Took and her daughter Aor
Apple, Apple’s Mum and sister

What a sizable number. Thank God for allowing the service to proceed smoothly. We had a time of thanksgiving as Auntie Jeannie, Nelson, Sis Pat, P’Gade and Auntie Hwee Lee gave thanks for 2006. Followed which, Brother Nathaniel gave a message on giving thanks to God at all times. In all things give thanks, for that is the will of God in Christ Jesus.

After the service, we had fellowship and lunch. Nice fruit cake from Mrs Heng. The lunch packets were very spicy though. Even P’Gade and Ying said it was too spicy.

We were really thankful that Apple’s mother and sister came. The sudden death of Apple’s father came as a mystery to us. I was not sure why would God take his life so suddenly and have it occur as we were planning to start the church. But God really did make all things work together for the good of those who love Him. If not for the funeral and our outpouring of love and concern for Apple, her mother would not have been touched and come for the church service. She even expressed a desire to want to come again next week. Praise God!
Michel was not able to make it for the service as he had to visit John(Gina’s dad had suffered a stroke and was in critical condition) in the hospital. Aruni also made a request that the church pray for Gina’s dad together, which we did.

Everything ended by about 2pm. Praise God for His mercies and blessings.

In the morning we headed out for the Elephant show and later the umbrella making factory with Auntie Hwee Lee, Auntie Jeannie, Koi and Ying. The elephant show was rather interesting, while Chiang Mai is famous for its traditional umbrella making industry.

Today, we started work with the linoleum and the floor. As Dr Henry(the owner of the place), is quite particular about the floor, we did not want any scratches from the chairs or tables. First, we had to move that heavy piano away before we could lay the lino. It was much easier to slide it out then it was to slide it back in late. So there we were measuring, cutting and finally taping the lino down with duct tape. Later it was rearranging the chairs and tables.

We also went through the songs for worship. Nice and simple ones, like Amazing Grace
The whole room looked a lot brighter with the lighter coloured linoleum wood grain pattern and it went well with the dark parquet flooring.

P’Ploy and Timothy also bought flowers for tomorrow. Sis Pat was arranging them for tomorrow. It’s exciting to see what will happen tomorrow for the 1st service. Who will come and what will happen.

We’ve had new additions this morning! Thank God, Deaconess Hwee Lee and Auntie Jeannie have arrived safely in Chiang Mai. We had a good time of fellowship over lunch today at Central’s foodcourt.

Thereafter they returned to the hotel while we went off to start tracting the neighbourhood at 3pm. Many were rather receptive of the tracts we gave out today. Perhaps, because of the Christmas season that people are more receptive. We pray that the tracts given out will speak to the hearts of those reading them and perhaps bring them to church. Looks like we need to look into proper signs as some have mistaken our new church with Grace church which is nearby too. We walked into a sort of bakery cafe chain that is from Bang Kok during our prayer walk and the son of the owner of the chain cafe actually treated 5 of us to a meal of hot chocolate, milk and toast with kaya, chocolate and lemon jam! He was so friendly we were at a little lost. It turns out he and Bro Nat had children of the same age too. He even allowed us to give the tracts to his customers! And when Bro Nat mentioned that he was setting up a new church, he actually gave to the church! Praise God! So encouraged!

Please pray for him, he said he believed that there is a God, but his ic says buddhism as his religion. He is very open and I believe the Lord has spent time tilling this ground to be ready to recieve Him into his heart.

In the evening we went out for dinner with Aunt Hwee Lee and Aunt Jeannie with P’ Gade and Ying to black canyon and later we drove to the night bazaar where the vehicle and human traffic was really unlike anything in Singapore.

Continue to pray as the new church service is starting soon. Pray for wisdom and diligence for the people starting the church. And the Holy Spirit to open the hearts of the blind and lost to want to seek His light at Lighthouse BP.

Today, we resumed meeting for the new church. We made up measurements and went out to search for linoleum for the flooring(as we did not want to scratch the parquet flooring) as well as cushions. We found the linoleum, but the cushions were either too expensive or not suitable.

We are still planning the order of worship and much discussions needed even as we have finished stamping the hymnbooks and tracts that we’ve got with our address of the new church. There are plans for illuminated sign posts to direct people into the church from the beginning of the Soi (street). These are just some of the logistics.

The death of Apple’s dad, being the 3rd such death in a year, as really gotten us thinking about our own unsaved parents. Nelson, Koi, Ying and P ‘Gade all have parents who have yet to recieve the Lord. Koi and Ying have started calling their fathers more often due to this incident. Bro Nat talked about how he would desire that reaching out to whole families will be a hallmark or distinctive of the Lighthouse BP, just like Galilee. Here in Thailand whole families are less likely to come to Christ then in Singapore, as those who recieve Christ often are ostracised in the family. How much time do we have to do the Lord’s work? to reach out to our loved ones? to be good stewards of the time God has given us all. Do we live lifes that are effective for the Lord? or do we simply take things as they come and allow the tide of time, season, fashion and fad to blur our ultimate purposes and objectives in life… emerging out of mid-life or in retirement realising we have not been what we could have been for the Lord? This isn’t talk about full-time ministry, for we are all called to be full-time workers for the Lord(no part-time Christians). It’s about prudence in following the will of God, considering every step that we desire to always be in the will of God.

We also heard news that the gay student whom we invited is going back home and so will not be able to make it for the service on the 31st. We’ve invited at least one other student, pray that they will be able to come.

Prayer requests remain pretty much the same with some additions

Prayer Requests:

  1. A late thanks-giving but we thank God for allowing our stomaches to adapt here. No more flatulence. Continue to pray that God will keep us in good health to do His work!
  2. Pray for the safe arrival of Deaconess Hwee Lee and Auntie Jeannie as they are scheduled to arrive at 8am on the 28th.
  3. Pray for the Lord’s guidance as Nelson bids for his modules for next semester(in particular, if the Lord will lead him to take Japanese 4 the next semester or wait a semester due to the heavy workload). For David, please pray for prudence and wisdom as he files for graduation.
  4. Pray for the continual planning of the church. We will meet again tomorrow. Pray that the Satan and his minions will not be able to disrupt the activities. That God’s hand of protection will be upon us, who seek to do His will. Pray that this new church will be a Lighthouse to this area, that it will be pleasing in the sight of the Lord and that He will add to the numbers so that lighthouse BP will continue to expect great things from the Lord attempt great things for Him too.
  5. Pray for the people who will come to this new church that God will free up their schedule and prepare their hearts for His love.
  6. Pray for Brother Nat, as he seeks the Lord with regards to decisions on how to support his family and work in Chiang Mai as well as important decisions to how the Lord leads in his ministry that it may be well-established and fruitful because the Lord will give rise and support to those whose hearts are completely His (2 Chron16:9a).
  7. Pray for Bro Nat as we talk more about how he will fund raise for his ministry’s work here in Chiang Mai.
  8. Thank God that we hear that some of the Church youths are interested in the proposed missions sub committee to look into youth missions in Chiang mai. Pray for the Lord to work in the hearts for young Galileans who are willing to sacrifice their time for the Lord’s work in missions where we have all been called to make disciples of all nations(Matt 28:19). Pray also for wisdom as we continue to discuss and plan for establishing an avenue for youth missions as well as for God to provide the right people to come together to establish God’s work. We cannot do this alone, and God knows who He has purposed to do His work.