This weekˇs Shepherdˇs Voice contains a reprint of an Intercession Letter from Gospel Operation International missionary Keith Lee. I hope that members will be heartened after reading it, and intercede in prayer often. (The total devotion of service of Brother Lee and his whole family had previously encouraged this writer to commit to serve our Lord full-time.)
To whom should you fear the most?
Dear Prayer Partners:
There is quite a time without contact since our last prayer news in May. No wonder we received a lot of email asking if we are still surviving.
In fact, Keith began his exploratory journey since the wrap up of the first mission intercultural training in North Thailand in June. He went to the head office of GO International in San Francisco for two months in order to fulfill some administrative duties. He also took this opportunity to visit a few supporting church in America and Rev. Mark Cheng, our honor pastor. Rev. Cheng is still taking opportunity to preach the mission vision every week, even though he is near eighty years old. He shared how the Lord saved him from serious sickness in early this year. He didnˇt fear death as he had a mission in his life.
During the time working at the head office, Keith knew more about the system and the colleagues. Everyone at the office enjoy their work for supporting missionaries. Working overtime is common. We are so glad that having a team supporting us behind. Therefore, please consider supporting our mission agency while you are supporting the frontier missionaries.
After the annual staff meeting in early September, Keith went to Sydney and Melbourne for preaching at mission conferences. It was a follow-up trip after sharing in last year. While sharing in Australia, we heard that there was a largest demonstration in Burma in decades. Finally, peacefully demonstration became a brutal crackdown by the junta. Back to mid-August, a number of protects led by pro-democracy activists demonstrating in Yangon, the country's biggest city, over the government's arbitrary increase of fuel prices. In early September, thousands of Buddhist monks engaged in fuel protests in Yangon, Mandalay and Sittwe. By September 24, over hundred thousands of ordinary citizens and Buddhist monks had overcome their fear of the regime and took to the street in Yangon. On the next day, the government imposed curfews and banned gathering of more than five people in major protesting cities. Violent crackdown launched resulting hundreds of protesters killed and thousands arrested. Since we had a line of work in Yangon and the northern cities in the following week, I tried to contact my contact person in Yangon in order to know the updated situation. The last information I received before the local internet service being cut off was suggesting us to cancel the trip.
When I was wondering if I should follow the suggestion to cancel the trip, the Lord spoke to me through my speech at church, ¨A courageous person doesnˇt mean without fear, instead, one knows who shall fear the most.〃 After calling a local pastor in the training field, we were informed the situation was under control. As a result, we decided, as long as the airport was operating, we went as we planned.
After a week of pro-democracy protests brutally suppressed by the junta, Yangon was quiet. People returned to their daily life. However, major streets and intersections in the city center were still blocked by the security forces. Some displaced warning signs written in Burmese and English warning the residents to go home and not taking picture. We took the advice for the hotel staff and stayed at the hotel after mid-day. We could see through the hotel window that the streets were filled with army after sunset. On the next morning, we continued our trip by taking the morning flight to the northern city.
The local pastors and students were enthused when we met them. Some of them took a long journey and they arrived the training ground ahead of us. They also prayed for our journey for a month earnestly. However, a few students could not come out from their villages since the local government restricted the mobilization of the village people. We returned to Yangon after three weeks of training and transfer to Bangkok by the end of October.
This was the fourth times we engaged in emergency situation since we began our mission in the Golden Triangle eight years ago. In March 2001, there was a conflict between the Thai and Burmese armies in our border town. We retreated 20 kilometers away from home with our Bible institute students. In January 2002, we were forced to leave our hillside school due to the conflict between the Burmese army and the rebel. Last year, we met the military coup in Bangkok. Each time gave us different levels of fear. Indeed, if we know how to fear God, we wonˇt fear the world. To whom should you fear the most?
Your frontline partners,
Keith & Mei-yee together with Samuel, Amos and Micah.