Flood Water Rises Again Unexpectedly

Although we had expected the flood waters to begin going down, the water level in northern Bangkok went up again on Saturday, October 29.  One reason is because of the high ocean tides, which make it difficult for the flood waters to empty into the ocean.  Reports say that the high tides will go down during the first few days of November.

Another reason that the water level went up is that a group of people in Don Muang District damaged one of the barriers that was preventing the water from coming into the Changwattana Road area.  This is where our LHMT office is located, plus the church/English center (where the volunteer English teachers live) and the LCMS office.  The people were angry, because they thought the dike was causing their area to be flooded.  By breaking the barrier they hoped the water would leave their area.

As the water level rises, the level of the dikes must also rise.

One of the main purposes of the dike is to prevent flooding at the headquarters of the Bangkok Waterworks Authority (BWA), which is located near the LHMT office.  The BWA provides clean water to all homes and businesses in the Bangkok metropolitan area.  If the BWA headquarters gets flooded, then everyone in a very large area might not have running water in their homes.

On Saturday the LHMT director and her husband went to the Changwattana area to see the situation.  A 4-kilometer (2.6 miles) section of Changwattana Road was flooded.  The road in front of our LHMT office had 50-70 centimeters (about 25-28 inches) of water.

The water reached the sand bags in front of our LHMT office.

We thank God that the sand bags in front of our office were still preventing the water from entering the building.  From the time the floods began until now, the water hasn’t gone inside our building or the church/English center.

We feel sorry for so many people who live not far from our office, who have deep flood water in their homes.  In some places the water is 1.5 meters (about 5 feet) deep.  Some of the residents in those neighborhoods had to be evacuated by small boats and army trucks.  Thousands of people are living in temporary shelters set up by the government in some schools and government buildings and in shelters provided by private companies.

Long line of people boarding army truck to return to their homes.

The army soldiers and trucks also are helping people go in and out of some flooded areas, so that they can buy supplies and go to work.  Supermarkets like Tesco-Lotus, Big C and Makro are still open, although some of their shelves are beginning to be empty.  It’s difficult for their trucks to get through flooded areas to resupply their stores.

Our LHMT director and all of our staff are safe, but the flood water entered some of their homes a few days ago.

As the flood water passes through our area in northern Bangkok, it is moving closer to the central business section of Bangkok.  The Bangkok governor has been trying to block the water from entering that area, because it will cause a very big problem for the economy of Thailand.

We appreciate all the prayers that you have said on our behalf and ask that you continue to pray for our safety and protection.  Also, please pray for God’s blessing on the thousands of people who have been evacuated from their homes.

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Bangkok Flood Update

The road in front of our building usually floods for a few hours after each heavy rain

The flood waters continue to move closer to our area, but we thank God that they haven’t yet reached us.  We do get temporary flooding in our neighborhood, because of the heavy rains that we get almost every day.  But that is a normal situation during the rainy season and the water stays for only a few hours.

Just this afternoon the big flood waters came to some areas about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from our location.  For now we’re safe and able to continue doing our normal ministry activities.  However, we will probably need to reschedule some programs that we planned to do in late October and November.

Sand bags protect our building from temporary floods

We’ve been busy preparing ourselves in case the floods come to our building.  Outside, we placed many sandbags across our front entrance.  Inside, because our Christian bookstore is on the ground floor, we removed our products from the lower shelves and cabinets and are storing them on higher shelves and on the second floor.

Some reports indicate that the floods will continue to reach new areas in the next few days.  The government and a few other groups are saying that the worst is over and Bangkok will be protected.  Rain still comes almost every day, so most people in Bangkok remain concerned.

Thank you for continuing to pray for us and for the people of Thailand, especially those who are caught in the flooded areas.  We appreciate your prayers very much.

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Prayers Needed for Flooding in Thailand

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze (Isaiah 43:1-3).

Maybe you’ve heard about the flooding that’s been happening in Thailand during the past weeks.  It’s the worst flooding that Thailand has experienced in more than 50 years.  At least 60 of the 77 provinces have been significantly impacted by flooding during the past two months.  Nearly 300 people have been killed and 8.2 million more have been affected.  The flooding is already causing a big problem for the Thai economy.

The flood waters have been moving steadily from the northern provinces toward Bangkok.  Just 40 miles north of here some areas have had water nearly 10 feet deep.  A few hours ago we received reports that flood waters are less than 25 miles from us.  Within the next few days flooding is expected to reach our part of Bangkok.  Our Lutheran Hour Ministries Thailand (LHMT) building, the homes of the LHMT director and staff, the Concordia Welfare and Education Foundation office, Concordia Into Light Lutheran Church and the Into Light Center where the English outreach program is held (and where the two long term volunteers, Robin McCoy and David Pfeifer) live are all located in this area. 

As a precaution, we’re trying to move furniture, equipment and supplies from the first floor to the second floor of each building.  Unfortunately, we aren’t able to move some items, like refrigerators, washers and dryers and large furniture pieces…not to mention cars.  

Please pray for the large number of Thai people who are suffering because of these floods.  Many have lost their jobs and their homes.  Also, please pray for God’s grace, protection and provision for all of us here during the next two weeks.  As soon as possible, we’ll post updates on the flooding.

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Saying Farewell

Enjoying saying goodbye Thai style

After finishing the Fun with English program Friday noon, the Brookfield Lutheran Church team flew to Phuket, where they enjoyed a short time of rest and relaxation.  They enjoyed seeing another part of Thailand and experiencing some southern Thailand culture.

The team returned to Bangkok Sunday afternoon and we had a farewell dinner for them that evening.   Although it was a time to celebrate and say thank-you to the team, it was also a sad time.  During the team’s short time in Thailand, we developed some very good relationships and didn’t want this wonderful experience to end.  The evening was filled with singing and laughter and a few tears.

After the farewell dinner 9 members of the Brookfield Lutheran Church team left Bangkok to return home.  Our Lutheran Hour Ministries Thailand staff and a few other individuals went to the airport to send them off.  Several of the Brookfield team members said that they were surprised, but very pleased, that so many people went to the airport with them.

Because the remaining 6 Brookfield team members were able to stay another 2 days, a special program was planned for them at the Concordia Day Care Center in the Bangna slum area.  More than 60 children were there Monday morning, as the Brookfield team led them in a variety of games and activities and shared a Bible story with them.  Many of the children experienced drawing with sidewalk chalk and playing with a small parachute for the first time.  Blowing bubbles was one of their favorite activities.  For more than 2 hours the team had fun playing with the children and sharing God’s love with them.

When it was nap time for the children, the team took a short walk into the surrounding slum community to see where the children live.  It was a part of Bangkok that visitors usually don’t see up close.  The team met a few of the people who have become Christian and prayed for one of them who is quite sick.  All 6 team members were very thankful that they were able to have this experience.

Monday evening the Brookfield team invited anyone who participated in the Fun with English program to join them in an evening of bowling.  No one cared about the scores or the numerous gutter balls that were thrown.  All 20 people just enjoyed having a fun time with their new friends.

On Tuesday evening we all made another trip to the Bangkok airport to say goodbye, as the rest of the Brookfield team headed back to Wisconsin.  During the time that the team was in Bangkok, we all could tell that God was binding us together through His Spirit.  As we sang together and prayed together and as we shared in ministry together and learned from each other, God connected us together in a way that will last a lifetime.

We want to thank Pastor Alexander Whitfield and Mary Stafford for organizing and leading the team.  We also want to thank Dave and Gale Goeman, Dwayne and Ann Jobst, Jim and Kathy Valentine, Tony and Joann Cizel, Bob and Judi Fischer, Brian Betchner and Kay Benning for leading the sessions during the Fun with English program.  And thanks to Sandy Rades for planning and leading all of the activities with the children at the Concordia Day Care Center.

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