The visiting team was Ellen, Marilyn, Nicole (Perth), Margery, Joan and Peter (Melbourne).
Our Thai team was Pastor Promma and wife Sangwan, Pastor Klom and wife Ya and Kenny Lee and wife Trish. The photo shows from left to right, Margery, Ellen, Nicole, Marilyn, Joan and husband Peter.
Diary of Visits.
9/11 God blessed us today with prison entry to Khao Bin. We were able to have an inside visit and service with 64 church members from building 5. The rules had changed somewhat, so that only one building was called out. It meant that the penpal our Melbourne couple was hoping to see, Yomon, couldn’t come out so that was a negative. However there were many highlights such as a beautiful choir of male voices with harmony, a drama on the birth of Christ and the baptism by immersion of 5 prisoners.. Praise be to God for his blessings to us and the prisoners called out. Khao Bin is now the supermax prison in Thailand.
10/11 Today has been a wonderful day of worship together with the prisoners in Bangkwang Prison. We were blessed to have all buildings join us despite the rigid rules in the prison. Most of those on our list came and we had a wonderful service with
testimonies, and songs from the prisoners and connection with old friends. I met and talked with my personal prisoner “son” Dhan, who is such a responsible leader. The Nepalese are all hoping to get a compassionate Royal Pardon, as their families have no homes after the earthquake earlier this year. As model prisoners this is their dearest desire. However they do have spiritual freedom, praise the Lord. The time went all too soon.
11/11 What a wonderful morning we had. We gained entry to the Women’s Prison for the second time only. We were escorted to an upper story classroom, where 30 ladies of many nationalities were waiting for us. We were so encouraged by their welcome to us. They sang in two choirs with beautiful harmonies, with the strong African voices blending with Filipino voices. Several of them gave heartfelt testimonies and of these many had been in prison 16-191/2 years. Children had grown up without them, parents had died, husbands had moved on, but through all their hardships they were praising God because it was in
prison that they were ‘born again’ and had found fellowship and friendship with each other. The love of God had overcome all.
Some of our team also gave testimonies and we were all moved by their strong faith. The Holy Spirit was truly powerfully present.
12/11 Once again doors were opened as we went inside the Klong Prem Men’s Prison. Thanks to our godly leader from building 6, Sanchi, who works in the education centre, we were able to call most of those on our list to come together in the centre, when the rule was that the buildings should not mix but stay apart. It is always amazing how God makes a way. Nothing is impossible for Him. We are finding that the majority, almost all, are already baptised, so we spend time, through our Thai Pastors, confirming their faith and reassuring them of God’s love for them. We again heard some testimonies and a beautiful rendition of ‘How Great Thou Art’ from a Nigerian prisoner. Everywhere we are telling the ‘Parable of the Sower,’ or the 4 types of soil, in pictures and words from Mark 4. We reinforce the necessity of the Holy Spirit both in accepting the Word and in then becoming the Sower.
13/11 Today we were blessed, with an inside visit once more, to Klong Pai Central Prison. We had 39 men come out to the meeting area. This prison is in the country and so the gardens were nice and well looked after. We were festooned with garlands of flowers on our arrival, which were from the prison gardens. The men were so humble, few spoke many words of English but their worship was very sincere. Their singing was delightful. 12 came forward to declare their faith and accept Christ and 17 were baptised by sprinkling. It was a privilege to be part of this. We were able to take in quite a few things to bless them
with, such as eyeshades, toothbrushes, highlighters, glasses for reading and even some guitar strings for the musicians. Several of the men were older and the glasses will be helpful. Afterwards we bought some items in the prison shop for 51 people on our lists including those not called out and those present. We were so blessed by the Thai leadership, and the way they spoke to the prisoners was very inspiring.
16/11 Today we visited the Youth Central Prison at Pathumthani, about an hour and a half drive away. For the first time ever, we were able to enter! There were 48 prisoners waiting there. On our list we have only 3, who we have visited year after year on the phones, and each year they were disappointed we could not go in. This year they were all smiles. They were the only three English speakers. It was an answer to prayer that we could go inside this prison and that the whole church from combined buildings was called out. We had a good program, this time led by Kenny accompanied by his wife Trish. Kenny led well and
his personal testimony was impactful. The most moving thing was when the men sang for us two songs, composed by two of our men, one in Thai and one in English. The singing and guitar playing was wonderful. There were 7 men who prayed the prayer of repentance and to accept Christ into their lives. They will receive instruction about baptism from the leaders. We were able to bless them with quite a few things like toothbrushes, towels, Christmas cards and Gideon’s bibles.
So that ends our prison visits. As Ellen has said we had 100 percent answer to prayer for prison entry for the 6 prisons we visited! Doors were opened and God heard your prayers and ours. God has been good and prepared the way. Your prayer support has meant a lot to us. Sometimes in the field you rely on intercessors and a body of praying people. Thank
you. And thank you to our letter writers and pen friends. The real work of this ministry is done in the long term relationships built up over years of writing letters to your penpals in prison. We simply represent you in the field when we visit.
We visited IDC 18/11. As always this is a very challenging place to go. We were privileged to visit the Asian Tribal Ministries of Dakhota and Karenna out of Chiang Mai on the 20th November. We went to their base and saw the work they are doing
with abandoned mums and their babies. They have a refuge, ‘Haven of Grace’, and teach the mums sewing skills as well as telling them the good news about salvation. They also have discipleship students and go across the border to Burma to help villages with various things like medical care and water supplies.
The IDC and ATM visits were not part of our prison ministry but it was wonderful to see some of the ministries taking place in Thailand, and to give support to the tireless workers at these centres, who are also our personal friends.
In conclusion, thank you for being a part of our ministry in prisons in Thailand. There are opportunities for you to be a part of our visiting team next year or to take on a penpal if you don’t have one at present, or invite others to start writing.
Marilyn and Ellen (Perth)