Friday, May 25, 2007
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Today, May 23, 2007 is the 19th day after the fire. We have been carrying on our ministry and God has proven himself a loving guide and help to us through these days.
We are pressing forward re-building with funds for a short term emergency loan through a fellow missionary here.
As our rebuilding continues, we are doing the first things first: We have cleared all of the burnt rubble, cleared two large trees which needed to be removed before rebuilding.
We have the foundation poles delivered and they are here and ready for the cement foundation of the house to begin. We have done rough estimates of the redoing the structure of the house and that alone is going to be at least three to four thousand dollars.
We praise the Lord for cool evenings and even a few light sprinkles making sleeping in the “Honeymoon Cottage” comfortable. We have a full schedule so we sleep like logs.
Gail is a gifted woman and has made our situation home. She is such a blessing.
Thank you all who pray for the ministry here.
Friday, May 18, 2007
Friday, May 18, 2007 7:00PM, (two weeks exactly from the time we arrived home to see our burned house).
In a new development, a work team from our mission, ABWE, wants to come out and help us rebuild. They are presently making contacts among their volunteers to form a team and they will need our local workers too. I am not sure about some final details but we would welcome the encouragement that this would bring, not to mention the help so we can carry on our ministry without having to be involve ourselves.
Today with our Thai workmen, we cleared the yard of all the debris from the fire and the removal of the second floor of our house. We separated the solid fill from the glass and metals for filling our driveway (roof tile, wall board, and cement and brick and block).
When we had cleaned up the yard and leveled the 5 or 6 cubit meters of solid waste, I contacted a gravel truck . What a blessing, the wife of the truck driver said he just loaded up and was going to come home for lunch. He said he would deliver the gravel immediately, so in about 20 minutes we had all of the driveway covered with laterite gravel. Before dumping the gravel, he did us a favor by driving back and forth on the fill which was leveled but still soft. The full dump truck packed it down tight. Then he dumped the gravel it in a number of small hills which the workers leveled and I drove back and forth a few dozen times with my van afterwards to pack it and smooth it.
Our house really looks a lot nicer to have the debris cleared. While clearing debris they found a few more piece of Gail's jewelry still intact. So Gail is pleased too. We are doing well and it is amazing what we have accomplished in just two weeks.
One blessing tonight was the opportunity to share the Gospel with a friend, Mr. Somsak, who came by alone.
Pray for supply for our physical needs during this time:
Pray for strength for each day and our ministry.
Pray for safety and health as we are under a busy schedule.
Prayer for financial needs:
Pray for supply of funds for rebuilding and recovery.
Pray for the possibility of the purchase—as we rebuild we would like to build it for a future permanent church home for the Sawang Dandin Baptist Church. This is a possibility that is opening up to us.
Pray for our church planting ministry:
We have a full team right now with short term missionary, JoyLynn Barger, (Nephew) David and (Niece) Loretta Landon, Missionary Kids and college students on summer break from Bob Jones University. Our English Evangelism Ministry is going on and we expect this summer to be a great harvest for the Lord in souls.
Pray for our wisdom and strength to carry on in full time ministry while also looking after the recovery from the house fire.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
We thank the Lord for laying it on the hearts of some folks to help us. Here in Thailand churches and individuals have personally helped us with gifts of $290 towards our fire recovery. We have had two gifts from individuals in USA totaling $1050 so far for our fire recovery. The total is $1340 dollars given so far.
Our work men have already removed the entire second floor of the house except for some house poles which will be used for support of the new roof structure. This is the rainy season and until the roof is replaced the downstairs is unusable for anything. Yesterday Gail and I squeegeed and mopped up an inch of dirty water on the ceramic tile floors inside the house after a sudden rain shower washed through the remaining upstairs wooden floors.
Here is a picture of some Thai friends with some gifts totaling to over one hundred dollars given to us yesterday.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
A number of months ago my younger brother, Roy, proposed to me hosting my niece and nephew, David and Louretta Landon, MKs in College, for their summer break here in Thailand, giving them another perspective of missions from an Asian perspective. They came at a time when we needed them most. Here they are sorting through the rubble from the dismantling of the house. Their energy and enthusiasm is amazing – and we have accomplished a lot since they have come.
Last night they joined us to attend the funeral of a friend in town. At the meal table was a college age girl about the same age as David and Louretta Landon. This pretty young Thai lady is starting college in a few weeks, and was attending the funeral with her mom and younger sister. As they talked they were able to compare notes about their favorite soccer teams, books and other things in young people’s lives. Perhaps this may open the door for sharing the gospel with them as well. It was great fun as they tried to use English, and needed some help with translation where they got stuck on words.
Article by Don and Gail at 7:49 PM
Though we have assured our landlord that we are going to try to rebuild the house to the original size and quality of the house, he has offered us the chance to buy the house. Perhaps he feels as one friend suggested that the house is unlucky since he was living here years ago when his daughter died in a fishing accident. They have not lived here since and we have rented the house now for four years.
He proposed that we pay him 5000 dollars as a downpayment (done in the form of a legally binding contract) and the remaining 17,000 due in 2 years.
This of course would be in addition to the cost we need to raise to repair the house. But in a sense, we would have then a rent free house, built to our specifications.
The property is on a hill in a quiet area with a paved road, has a deep well, fruit trees a cement garage/storage building 20 x 30 feet (where we are living temporarily). The house was two stories with wood upstairs but after restoration will be one story all cement building about 40 feet by 40 feet square plus a porch and 20 by 17 foot kitchen. About 2000 square feet of living space.
Gail and I have really enjoyed the location since we first moved here four years ago as renters and would like to stay here in the future as we continue our work in church planting.
At this stage it is only a though or dream. Lots of things must come into place first before we could own this.
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
Fire! "Don your house is ablaze!"
After a entire month of heavy ministry here during the Thai public school break, including 12 days of Intensive English Evangelism Classes, our regional Church Fellowship Camp, and the National Camp where we were involved teaching senior adults, we were relieved to know that a meeting was canceled requiring our attendance in Bangkok, and we could go home for a rest for a few days. Little did we know what we were going to face in the next few hours, now days and likely for many months.
While traveling home last Friday morning May 4th, at 11:00 AM, and about six hours travel from home, a friend called us on our cell phone and told us the shocking news, "Don, your house is on fire!". We could not believe our ears. I immediately called Lt. Rung, a police officer friend of ours, who was on his way and asked him to please try to rescue my office computer, and some other valuables if possible. He oversaw the clearing of the first floor of our house and acquired a tent to protect things from the rain. We did not know that many of our good friends had already been busy emptying the house knowing that fire departments here take a long time to arrive and indeed the first truck arrived unable to get the pump to work, and by the time the second truck arrived, our bedroom was completely engulfed and the attic was spreading the fire to the front of the house. We notified our fellow missionaries and Thai church leaders and our trip home was blessed by the buoyancy of prayer and support. Some of our church members traveled to help and kept us aware of the progress.
We were amazed to hear reports that the front two rooms of the upstairs were spared flames but were damaged some from heat, smoke and the water used to extinguish the fire and everything downstairs was out of the house.
Hours later when we arrived home, it was dark and stormy looking, e dozens of our dear Thai friends were here guarding our home and things. To our amazement, all of our downstairs items, including our living room, my office and books and the kitchen were in a large tent with emergency lights in the front yard under their careful watch. I opened the door in the separate garage /shed building out back and asked people to help carry everything for safe keeping in a lockable--secure place. It was encouraging to see the love of our fellow city dwellers working together helping us. Now there was nothing to do but look to the blessing of the Lord for strength and wisdom.
Our landlord expressed his grief and we assured him we wanted to continue living here and would rebuild as soon as possible, trusting the Lord to help us in our plight. We could have been facing many legal issues and fines but with our offering of help, our landlord has been very gracious to not make this a legal issue.
Amazingly, I had just taught the senior adults a series on dealing with worry, stress and sleep problems during three two hour sessions the previous week. Gail and I are now learning how practical this teaching is for us. We had learned many things about dealing with disasters in a seminar which we attended shortly after the Tsunami disaster in Asia two and a half years ago. We taught by a team of Nouthetic counseling instructors from USA. Nouthetic counseling emphasizes the centrality of the scriptures in meeting our spiritual and emotional needs. And we have learned that the Lord wants to "practice what we preach" through what may be some of the hardest days of our 27 years in Thailand. But God is honored in obedience to him and we are doing just fine. We have found the power of the Scripture to uplift and bless us with sound sleep, comfort in the Lord and strength to meet the challenges each day. We are also keenly aware of the hundreds, perhaps thousands who are praying for us these days.
The sweet psalmist said, "I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety." (Psalms 4:8) People in our town who have seen fellow Thais suffer as much from the sorrow and despair as the tragedy. They have been amazed how God helps. People who previously turned away from our evangelism have observed that God helps us in difficult times.
While we are doing initial repairs and recovery, we have decided to live in our garage/shed building temporally to help oversee the rebuilding and sort out the recovered things. Only today did I get my computer back working. So we take life one step at a time and rejoice in him each day.
Many who have already heard have sent us encouraging messages and assured their fellowship in prayer. Please pray for the at least 10,000 dollars we need to raise for the rebuilding of our house.
We are planning on setting up a special account for funds donated for our recovery from the house fire. Tax deductible gifts for our ministry can be sent to ABWE, PO Box 8585, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8585 USA with a note, "For the work and ministry of Don and Gail Craft, account number 013050."