Starting to Get Back to Normal

LHMT staff worked hard to clean the floor in the bookstore

Although the flood water is still in the homes of some of the Lutheran Hour Ministries Thailand (LHMT) staff, the director and her staff were able to work in the office every day this past week.

A few days ago the water level dropped low enough that the water is no longer coming into the building.  In addition to doing some normal ministry activities the LHMT staff were able to clean the floor in the bookstore.  The floor is now dry and doesn’t seem to have any major damage after being under water for nearly one month.  A desk, a cabinet and some of the wooden bookshelves will need to be repaired or replaced, but we thank God that there doesn’t seem to be any serious damage.

The water level in the road in front of the LHMT office is now at about 50 centimeters (20 inches) and Changwattana Road (the main street near our office) has four lanes that are dry.  Only the lanes next to the curb are still flooded.  Some of the boats are beginning to disappear as the number of vehicles on the roads increases.

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LHMT Office Reopens, But It’s not Yet Business as Usual

Mr. Siam and Director Boom opening the office for the first time in nearly a month.

The flood level in the street in front of the Lutheran Hour Ministries Thailand (LHMT) building continues to subside, but very slowly.  Monday morning the level was still at 71 centimeters (28 inches).  In spite of that the director and staff waded through the water to get to their office.  Although about six inches of water stood against the front of the building, for the first time in nearly a month they opened the door and went inside.

As expected, water covered the floor.  Marks on the walls indicate that the level had been as high as 35 centimeters (14 inches), but now was down to 15 centimeters (6 inches).  We thank God that the building sits higher than the road or the flooding inside the building would have been much worse.  All of the bookstore materials had been moved to higher floors before the floods reached the building, so there was no loss of inventory.  The amount of damage to the floor, walls, cabinets, desks and bookshelves can’t be assessed until after the water is gone and the cleaning can be started.

It will be at least a few weeks before the first floor can be used again, but the director and staff were able to turn on the electricity in the upper floors and begin the process of getting back to work.  They spent part of the day discussing and planning details for the Flood Relief Packs project.  The supplies and bags have been ordered for the first 500 packs.  Because the supplier has limited inventory, LHMT won’t receive the materials until about November 22 or 23.  Hopefully, during the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States the LHMT director and staff, LCMS missionaries, Concordia Welfare and Education Foundation director and staff and some Concordia Into Light Lutheran Church members will be packing and delivering the first set of Flood Relief Packs to flood victims in the community near the LHMT office.

The goal of this project is to distribute 2,000 Flood Relief Packs, but some of the supplies are not yet available in such large numbers.  As soon as more items arrive at our supplier, we’ll deliver more packs.  We really appreciate the donations that many of you have made for this project.  If you haven’t sent a gift for this project, but you’d like to help, here’s what you can do.  Visit the Lutheran Hour Ministries website at www.lhm.org and go to their special giving page.  Or you can send a check made out to Lutheran Hour Ministries through the mail to 660 Mason Ridge Center Drive, St. Louis MO 63141.  Be sure to write “Thailand Floods” in the memo field.  You also can call the Lutheran Hour Ministries headquarters in St. Louis at 1-800-876-9880.

Three of the LHMT staff (Siam, Tak, Jin) still have flood waters in their homes.  Please pray for them and that we’ll be able to continue our ministry activities as soon as possible.

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There are Still Smiles in “The Land of Smiles”

In spite of difficulties caused by serious flooding, people can still be seen smiling

Thailand’s nickname, The Land of Smiles, still holds true, even in the midst of the worst flooding the country has seen in more than 50 years.  Although millions of people have been displaced from their homes and large numbers of flood victims can be seen wading through waist-deep water, they still manage to greet one another with friendly smiles.

Flood waters from northern Thailand continue to reach Bangkok, but mostly are being diverted to the east and west in an effort to protect the central business district.  Residents in at least 18 of Bangkok’s 50 districts have been told they should evacuate the area, but many are trying to stay in their homes as long as possible.

As more of the districts in southern Bangkok begin to flood, the water level in the northern districts is finally beginning to slowly go down.  In the past 3-4 days the water covering the road in front of the Lutheran Hour Ministries Thailand (LHMT) office has dropped from 80 centimeters (32 inches) to 71 centimeters (28 inches).   The LHMT director is hoping that the office can be reopened Monday morning, if the water continues to subside.

The most immediate LHMT ministry activity that the director and staff will be working on is a project to provide flood relief packs to 2,000 families harmed by the floods.  As soon as possible packs  containing rice, sardines, instant noodles, cooking oil, fish sauce, salt, sugar, medicines, a flashlight and batteries will be delivered by the LHMT director, LHMT staff, LCMS missionaries working in Bangkok and Concordia Into Light Lutheran Church members.

LCMS World Relief and Human Care is providing the initial funding for this project, but more money needs to be raised.  If you would like to help, there are three ways that you can donate to this project.  1)  Visit the Lutheran Hour Ministries website at www.lhm.org and go to their special giving page.  2)  You can send a check made out to Lutheran Hour Ministries through the mail to 660 Mason Ridge Center Drive, St. Louis MO 63141.  Be sure to write “Thailand Floods” in the memo field.  3)  Call Lutheran Hour Ministries at 1-800-876-9880.

Please pray for the people of Thailand who have been affected by the flooding.

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LHMT Director and Staff Volunteer to Assist with EFT Relief Project

LHMT director and other volunteers packing lunch bags for flood victims

The Evangelical Fellowship of Thailand (EFT) is an umbrella organization through which Lutheran Hour Ministries Thailand (LHMT) and many other Christian groups are registered with the Religious Affairs Department of the Thai government.  On October 27 one of the LHMT staff, Mr. Siam Chommee represented LHMT by volunteering to assist the EFT with a flood relief project through their Thai Christian Relief Fund.  Ms. Yaowanit Kasetwattananon (interim secretary of the EFT Board of Directors) and Rev. Somnuek Montrilertratsamee (the chairman of Church of God World Missions) coordinated this project.

Mr. Siam helping distribute lunch bags in the flood area.

On October 28 the LHMT director and her husband joined them at the EFT headquarters on Ramkamhang Road.  They helped prepare 500 relief packets that contained lunches of cooked beef or pork, sticky rice and a bottle of drinking water.  Later that day Mr. Siam, Rev. Somnuek, Ms. Yaowanit and some church members delivered the packets to Bang Yai District in Nontaburi Province, which is in the Bangkok metropolitan area.  This is one of the hardest hit areas.

On October 29 , through the coordination of Rev. Decha Angkasuparagul from Full Gospel Assembly of Thailand and other volunteers delivered packs of personal supplies (toothbrushes, toothpaste, medicine and other basic items) to three places.  The first place was for Jaisaman Church Nontaburi members who were affected by the floods.  They also provided packs to some church members and other flood victims in Bangplad and Banggruay through the coordination of Rev. Surachai Wuttiudomlert, the chairman of the EFT Bangkok Metropolitan Region.  The third place was to victims in Wat Kongka community in Bang Yai, Nontaburi.

LHMT is happy to work with the EFT in this type of special holistic project.  We wish that more of our staff could have been able to help, but they were busy because the flood waters had come into their homes.  We look forward to working with the EFT again on some special projects in the future.

During this time we ask for your prayers for all of the Christian organizations in Thailand that are sharing Christ’s love in action, as they provide help to flood victims in many communities.

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