As Bangkok danger grows, prayers sought for Texas mission team
After another wave of violence shook Bangkok, missionaries in Thailand asked for prayers — for the Thai people, for themselves and for a mission team visiting from Texas.
“The last time I sent an e-mail update, I talked about the good path that the situation was starting to take,” Andy Miller said in an e-mail sent today. “It looked like both sides were talking again and heading down a peaceful path. Well, that path quickly deteriorated …”
The latest round of violence began right in front of New York Times reporter Thomas Fuller. The reporter was interviewing Khattiya Sawatdiphol, a renegade Thai general opposed to the current government. About 7 p.m. Thursday (7 a.m. Oklahoma time), the general was shot in the head.
“This was a shock to the situation,” Miller said, “and was followed by a few skirmishes between troops and protesters. The government has tightened security in that area, declared a state of emergency in other areas of Thailand and is preparing to crack down on the protesters. So please pray today for the situation.”
Miller, his wife, Kathryn, and their two children live in Bangkok and work with a team of Americans and Thai Christians. The group works with Churches of Christ the Bangkok area and ministers to the city’s massive population of college students. The Millers visited me here in Oklahoma last year. I mentioned their work in recent coverage of the protests.
Eight church members from Lubbock, Texas, arrived in Bangkok recently. The group is working with the Millers on a project for Let’s Start Talking, or LST, a Texas-based ministry. Volunteers with LST use the Bible to help non-native speakers improve their English skills. The LST team arrived in Bangkok two days before the shooting.
Tensions in the Asian capital have been high since early March, when protesters poured into the streets, blocking traffic and demanding that the Thai government schedule new elections. The protesters, known as the Red Shirts, oppose the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who came to power after a 2006 military coup that removed Thaksin Shinawatra from power. The New York Times offers a good explanation of the situation.
Please comment if you have more details. We’ll continue to post updates as we get them.
FeedbackI received this update from Kathryn Miller Friday morning, May 14:
“Just a quick update…Violence has broken out again today. Mainly over the intersection that the General Sae Daeng was shot last night. This intersection is important for both sides because it the last intersection for government needs to take over to complete seal-off the protesters…The LST project is actually going… great! They have 35 readers at Christian Center and 40 readers at the church.”Erik TryggestadMay, 14 2010Here’s a May 16 update from the Millers:
I�m sure if you are seeing any of the pictures from Bangkok, it must look like the city is burning down. The truth be told, the city is not on fire, but the situation is not getting any better. The government has put away the rubber bullets and tear gas and is basically shooting anything that moves in the �live firing zones�. There are a lot of very bad things happening around the protest area and the troops have not even made it into the actual protest area. When they get close, the protesters move in behind the troops forcing them to have to drop back further away. Now the state of emergency is spreading to other providences around Thailand. The US embassy is allowing workers to send their family members out of the country and have called for another US citizen town hall meeting for this Tuesday. We have friends that are stuck in the area and other friends who have been evacuated from their apartment buildings. The government stopped short of declaring a curfew for Bangkok but did declare the next 2 days as a �special holiday� when offices and schools will be closed. Thus, Sam and Reagan are out of school for a couple of days. Please continue to pray for talks to resume. The protesters have asked for more talks with international mediation, but the government is done with talking. I don�t think this is ending anytime soon. We should have more news after the Tuesday meeting. I will send the next update then. Until then, we love you all and thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support.
P.S. God is doing some great things. We had 4 baptisms this morning and had a reader from RCC come to church with us.
In Him who is our fortress,
Andy & Kathryn MillerErik TryggestadMay, 16 2010