Our day once again began with prayer and worship, and at the end of our session, Kris Garis arrived from the airport. She is another missionary sent from our home church. Kris and Silk joined us for lunch at another local mall (so many malls!) where pretty much half of the group enjoyed pad thai. (I’m so excited to have people who will be willing to join me for pad thai when we get home!) After lunch and mango with sticky rice, we had the privilege of hearing Kris’ story of how God led her to be a missionary in Thailand despite thinking, “But I’m just a teacher!” She also reminded us that the God who is performing these miraculous healings through us here in Thailand is the same God we serve in Mechanicsburg. There is no geographical limit to his power and our ability to call on Him.
Later that afternoon, our group had lunch at Subway/Sunrise Taco on our way to the Loy Krathong festival. Before leaving the restaurant, Kathy and Sophie connected with a woman sitting outside. She explained that she is Russian and came to Thailand to be a prostitute so she can send money back home to her family. They were able to pray for the woman, too, and she seemed receptive and appreciative for the prayer.
Our group then traveled via BTS for the Loy Krathong festival. The BTS was so crowded that I was up against the door, stuck between two large Japanese men. And then more people got on. The escalator ride down was even more terrifying because the steps kept moving with nowhere for the people to go.
The Loy Krathong festival is an annual Thai event where people release small boats with candles and incense onto the water. They may also include coins, hair, or other small symbolic objects. Some areas of Thailand release floating lanterns like in Tangled, but that was banned in Bangkok since too many roofs have caught on fire… Along with the boats, people release any wishes they have and ask the mother of the water to forgive them for polluting the water with garbage. Our team traveled to the festival to connect with people and offer prayers of blessing from Jesus. Prior to the festival, we prayed for God to show us what he wanted us to see, so when we arrived, we kept our eyes open for the visions he had given us. Some made significant connections with the people associated with such visions, like a blue baseball cap and a red shirt. For me, I kept thinking about how Lindsey heard the name Darlene earlier in the week and wondered if we would meet her at the festival. Though I didn’t meet anyone with that name, my search for Darlene led me to meet and pray for seven different women that night.
The first three were a group of young women from Germany who were interning in Bangkok for a few months. One was an arts and sports teacher with a three-year contract. I was able to pray blessing over the two ladies for wisdom and direction over their internships and their time in Bangkok. For the teacher, I prayed for joy and opportunities to do what she loves – she was a little discouraged that she didn’t get to teach sports as much as she wanted to. She told me before the prayer that she didn’t believe in God, but she was still willing to receive my prayer for her. I pray that God would stir something in her heart and fulfill my prayer for her in a way that reveals His care for her.
The next two women were a mother and daughter, also from Germany, on holiday in Thailand. The daughter told us how she just finished high school and is trying to figure out what she wants to pursue so that she can decide on a university. Silk blessed her with guidance and wisdom, assuring her that God has created her for a purpose and has placed a desire in her heart that He will work to fulfill in her life.
The last two women I prayed for were older Thai woman: an aunt and her niece. After they released their boats into the water, I asked them (through Silk) why they put the boats on the water and also what they prayed for. They said they didn’t really know why they did this each year. They watched their relatives do this when they were children, and so they decided to continue the tradition. In addition to praying for forgiveness from the water goddess, the aunt prayed for good health while the niece prayed for good relationships in her family. Silk helped me pray blessing over both women, and we made sure they knew we were praying to Jesus instead of the water goddess. I thanked Jesus for the forgiveness he offers us for polluting the world with all the bad things we do and prayed for God to bless the women with strength and health over their bodies, minds, and spirits and for unity within their family. They were deeply moved by the prayer, saying they have never received a blessing like that before. They said something like they must have earned enough good merit in their previous life to be reborn into a life where they were able to receive that prayer. They wanted to bless me in return and did not pray to Buddha as they spoke their prayers over me. I pray that God continues whatever work he is doing in their hearts, that they would continue to receive his favor and know that they can be reborn not through good merit but by His grace.
I was also able to join Sean, Josiah, and Silk in praying for a Cambodian man who is working in Thailand. He has had encounters with Jesus since he was young and says that whenever he says the name of Jesus or reads about Him, he gets goosebumps. And the goosebumps were all up his arm during our time with him. He has some good foundational understanding of who Jesus is, but his theology is a confused as he mixes it together with Buddhism. He says that he only prays to two gods: Jesus and Buddha. It is our prayer that God would remove any confusion and clear the path to Him. Clearly God has been working in this man’s heart for a long time, so we pray for breakthrough and understanding. The four of us also prayed for a street musician and his mother. The musician was a blind man who I think was in his early 20s but looked much younger. His mother was eager to receive blessing, saying that all she wants is happiness and a long life and for us to pray for her son. Our prayer drew attention from those passing by, and while people had walked by or listened without donating before, people began donating money to him after we started praying for him.
It was great to debrief at the end of the night and hear from the other groups how God was at work – even at a festival not created to honor Him.