Wednesday, May 9, 2007

E-mail news update

May 8, 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."

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