Bangkok, Thailand February 2014 – by Apostle André Pelser

I had a wonderful insight into imitation that grows into something beyond imitation. I am still busy working on it so I do not share too much on it now until the fresh bread comes out of the oven as it were! Emulation has envy and jealousy has self-seeking attached to it, but imitation through relationship is a healthy form of development in any area of life. Once I have completed meditating on the concept I will send a revised article through. The actual progress of thought is a lengthy one!

I tried to enlarge one of my latest sketches from my Moleskine notebook but the language barrier and lack of technology in the particular office I went to, caused some difficulties. For instance they cannot remove the feint lines of my notebook and they cannot copy the sketch on watercolor art paper either. The largest size was A3 on ordinary photocopy paper that is not fit for paint.

The rural areas in Thailand are without the light of the knowledge of Christ. It is extremely difficult to communicate with anyone because they hardly speak any English. In order to reach these people someone has to speak their major dialect that is mostly understood throughout the country. It is the one used in Bangkok. Herman Grundlingh our Harvester representative in Thailand’s wife speaks a bit of Thai already.

Thailand is known as the land of smiles. People smile easily and laugh at the oddest times to tell you everything is ok! They don’t laugh at you, but rather with you. They do not want you to feel embarrassed. Unlike the Europeans that walk with their hearts on their sleeves, the Thai people do not encourage public expression of negative feelings such as a display of anger.

They refer to foreigners as ‘fa-rang’ an abbreviation of ‘fa-rang seht’ meaning French person. The same word is used for guava because guavas do not grow in Thailand.

The Thai people are very easy going and casual and flow like the river weaving it’s way through Bangkok. Their languid state of mind is reflected in their life style and behavior.

Taxis are quite expensive so one tends to make use of other forms of transport such as motorbikes, bicycle taxis and tuk-tuks (three wheeler with two seats under a canopy).

Thai food is exquisite and although spicy it does not burn the tongue. Fresh fruit is readily available on street corners. They pack the fruit on blocks of ice so when you eat it is like a fruit ice-lolly! To watch the vendor slice a coconut or a mango is like watching an artist at his craft. They deftly toss the fruit into the one hand and with a very sharp knife slice it up and slide it into a plastic bag before giving it to you with a pointed stick used to eat it.

TV news is full of protests in Bangkok and even violent ones are shown, but those spots are not threatening to tourists.

February is great weather. The hottest is about 27 degrees Celsius. From now on it heats up and goes into the high 30’s. Europeans and UK residents escape the cold weather to soak up the heat in the many holiday resorts and islands here in Thailand and other Asian countries. So the prices of rooms in hotels go up as well! The tourist trade is big in Thailand.

Mainly a Buddhist country the city and villages are inundated with temples and shrines. When young people walk past a shrine they clasp their hands together in a form of prayer and bow their heads in obeisance. Big advertising displays remind the people that it is wrong to use Buddha as a decoration or tattoo. They are taught to respect their idol.

Christianity can learn from Buddhist to show more respect to the house of the Lord and to his servants. The humility and meekness of Buddhists are ingrained in their attitude. So when any of them turn to Christianity they do not have to learn to be meek or humble. Western people find those two be-attitudes that Christ stresses so much as something foreign to their upbringing. Self is very important in the Western world. Ego plays a giant role in self-achievement. That is why Jesus kept telling His disciples to learn to deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Him.

I have another day in the city and then I go to Yangon in Myanmar to meet Michael Naing and a few other pastors. I have a laptop that someone in our church donated for him. I find carrying two laptops is quite weighty affair when you have to run to catch a plane!

From Myanmar I will visit our pastor Naidoo in Malaysia and then set foot on the soil of Borneo for the first time before going to the Philippines to finally register the church and train some pastors that want to relate to Harvester. Rey Halili oversees the work for us in Manila.

One of our Harvester members living in Europe helped to secure life jackets for the people in the Philippines. This was their request to me the last time I visited that beleaguered nation. So we found a way to secure those life saving jackets for them. We need a lot more though!

Since we started praying against the prophets of doom’s prediction that typhoons and natural disasters will increase in the Philippines, typhoons have diminished! There have only been two since December 2013 and only 3 lives were lost. God is able to do anything we ask in faith in prayer. Last year over 7,000 people died within a few days in the Tacloban and Cebu disasters caused through severe typhoons and earthquakes.

When Jesus’ disciples wanted to destroy a city with fire Jesus rebuked them and said they did not know what spirit they were of. Then he explained that he came to save and not destroy! He also told them to go and learn what mercy means.

We boldly approach the throne of grace to obtain mercy for times of need. His grace is sufficient for us. His goodness and mercy never ends! That is why we bow our knee before the Living God and worship Him alone.

This is my prayer for you today: that His grace will be sufficient for you and that you may obtain mercy when you need it. Pray the same prayer for your loved ones and friends. This is how the Kingdom of God spreads its influence throughout the world – through believers who know the power of God.
Apostle Andre Pelser