Missions Moment – Thailand

Posted in: Missions

Terry Gibbs, Wycliffe Bible Translators

Thank you for your prayer and financial support this past month; it’s been busier than expected.

Last month I noted that Leilani was getting married. So I arrived in Charlotte, NC on May 14 and was able to stay in our house near JAARS since the renter had left on May 1 by agreement. A week after arriving I drove up to Dunmor, KY and spent the night in a hotel, then we had the wedding rehearsal the next day. Then on Saturday May 23, Leilani and Micah Christie were married. The next day I drove back to the house in Waxhaw.

On my financial statement last month I saw that a church had provided a larger then usual contribution, which was just the right amount for the airline ticket to come for the wedding; thank you. But a even bigger surprise was when an administrator here at JAARS asked to see me and I found out that an anonymous friend had give me a large financial gift. What a blessing; may the Lord bless you and your family for helping me. I will put it into Savings for now and keep it for when I need it.

I plan to give the tithe on this to a man who works in a country near Thailand. We became friends many years ago when I heard that he had recently finished our training program, and the day before he was to return to his home country he was hit while riding his motorcycle by a pickup truck that ran a red light; the man was drunk. My friend was badly injured and nearly died. He did loose his right leg above the knee. He was already a pastor before he came to our linguistic training program and wanted to translate the Scripture for other hill tribes. During these past 14 years he has started 3 translation projects and he continues to preach in various villages on Sundays. Since he is no longer able to walk to these mountain villages, he rides a horse.

Before I left Chiang Mai I had set my return date to be today, June 6. But during the week at the house before the wedding, I was not sure I would be able to leave then. Then during the few days after I got back to the house, it was obvious I would not be ready to leave, so changed the return date to June 27. The reason for this delay is that the result of the past three renters has left the house in a condition that I cannot rent it. When I first got here I found holes in the walls, all of the cloths hangers (50-70) gone, towel rods pulled out of the sheet rock walls, pots and pans missing, all of the Corelle Ware dishes and glasses gone, pictures taken off the walls, all pillows and most bedding gone, many things thrown in the crawl space under the house, the glass door on the oven was missing, the list goes on… all of my tools I used for working on motorcycles and cars are gone. During the week before the wedding I was spending 20 hours a day fixing things. After the wedding, I realized I could not finish by June 6 so I changed the date. Now I’m down to 15 hours each day, with several trips to Lowe’s and Wal-Mart.

It’s kind of flustering that so many personal items had been broken or ruined and so many things are missing. I’ve talked to a policeman friend at church and he said I have clear grounds for legally going after these people. Since I rent the house fully furnished, I always say to the renter that the things in the house belong to the Lord, and I trust them for caring for the things He has given me to look after. It seems that some of the things that the Lord has given me, He has allowed them to be taken. I want to make better use of my time and not go after these ‘Christian people’, so I’m at peace with what has happened. The Lord has seen all that has happened, and I assume He will deal with each of them in a direct way for taking what belongs to Him.

On another front, I contacted the Time Warner people here in my viewing area before I left Chiang Mai and arranged to have the minimum TV & Internet package so I could keep up with email. When I arrived 2 weeks later there was no Internet cable modem box at the front door, and a call to TW left me wondering what happened to my order. That began a very long set of phone calls and many dead ends. After four days of trying to figure out what the problem was, I was told to call ‘Risk Management’. They told me I had an outstanding bill which needed to be paid first. I said I didn’t even have Service yet, so how could I have an unpaid bill. During the next several days while talking to first Lisa and then her manage Ken, I was told that while I was living at the house I had for several years had other people in the house who had used TW service, and had not pay the final bill. So I now needed to pay the total bill going back 5 years of nearly $500. I kept saying that I owned the house, and I’ve have rented it for the past 14 years, but they refused to believe me. I finally had to start sending documented proof of what I was saying.

First I sent a copy of my Passport and Driver license since they did not believe it was me talking to them. Then I had to prove I owned the house. Lisa wanted the a copy of the document that I bought the house. She would not believe me that no such document existed since I built the house. Then she wanted the Deed to the house which does not exist, since the Deed is for the land, and not the house. Finally in an difficult conversation with Ken, I explained in detail that I bought the land, cut the trees, dug the footing, poured the concrete, bought the lumber, hammered the nails and in 6 months I hand-built the house. He finally said wait a minute and then came back and said ok I see on a national database that you are the owner (why didn’t they look first??). Then I asked if we were ok, he said no, because I’ve lived there since I built the house 20 years ago. I said I’ve lived overseas for the past 14 years. He said prove it. I finally decided that my Thai Work Permit, the rental contract for the apartment in Chiang Mai, and my rental contract for the renters here for the past 11 months would do it. I also had someone get into my apartment in Chiang Mai and locate my bills. So I also sent the Internet, water, electricity and phone receipts. I faxed all of this to Ken and the day before he left on vacation he said ok, I will unlock the hold on your house address. During all of this time I thought ‘wow, it’s really hard to watch a TV program’. I wonder how other people ‘prove’ they exist and where they are physically. So I’m looking forwarding to going back to work in Chiang Mai so I can rest 🙂 By the time I leave here, I will have a contractor who will take care of house problems, and a property manager who will look after the inside of the house and will locate and screen future renters.

I either need more hours in a day or better yet a Helpmate. Pray also for Leilani and Micah as they begin married life, and for Jamie and Chris that he will find a new job soon.