Letter from Lipe Island, South Thailand

Handing out the CDs
Handing out the CDs

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Raewyn helps the group with reading
Song leaders with Nong Iat playing guitar
The team

From Jonathan Rulison, Director of GRN Thailand

No one listened with interest or understanding. But David Hogan kept sharing about Jesus. The scene was Lipe Island in southern Thailand about 38 yrs ago. Urak Lawoi' kids on Lipe went to school and studied Thai. Urak Lawoi' was spoken at home, but not taught at school. After visiting Lipe several times over the years, David Hogan made one last visit 17 yrs ago. This time he brought his son-in-law, Stephen Pattemore. Stephen and his wife Raewyn would carry on the Bible translation and evangelism work that the Hogans had been faithfully doing for years.

December 26, 2004. Tsunami! Thousands were swallowed by the giant waves, but not one Urak Lawoi' was among them. All of a sudden the spotlight of God's love was on the people of South Thailand, including the Urak Lawoi', many of whose boats had been smashed by the waves. Lipe Island, with its over 1,500 Urak Lawoi' people began to receive help and a concentrated witness of Jesus' love. Some came to Christ. Today these faces are bright and shining where there was once darkness.

January 22, 2008. Today and tomorrow will conclude a ten day ministry trip to six Urak Lawoi' communities. The Pattemores, Urak Lawoi' Pastor AhLin, two Urak Lawoi' singers, and Raat and Ek from Thailand Bible Society have worked together to do literacy training and distribute evangelistic materials. GRN Thailand staff Lot and I (Jonathan Rulison) traveled by night bus from Chiang Mai to Bangkok, flew from there to southern Thailand and went four hours by boat to join them at the last island they are visiting.

The printed Word is not a help unless a person can read. Twelve years ago Stephen and Raewyn Pattemore prepared materials in Urak Lawoi' to help the people learn to read their own language. The Thai education system did not welcome this until after TSUNAMI. Now three languages are taught in Lipe School - Thai, Urak Lawoi' and English. They're being taught how to read their language. Only 24 of over 40 Thai consonants are needed. It's been fun to watch the kids laugh as Stephen erases many Thai letters he's written on the board in front of them saying, "We don't need this one..."

A huge opportunity is right in front of all of us. Over the past 10 days 260 Urak Lawoi' school kids have received Christian literature and our CD audio recordings in Urak Lawoi'. The Gospel is the power of God that saves and it has entered MANY Urak Lawoi' homes. Please pray every CD will result in a family coming to Christ. Take a moment to sit where they sit...

"Maybe there's something good on this CD for me. Let me listen ...Hmmm... 'Freedom from fear'. This is interesting. It's a dialog between people talking about the problems of life in our Urak Lawoi' communities...Yes, witch doctors didn't help that guy... Gambling brought poverty to that family... Is there really hope that my husband could care for me like they're saying here? ...What was that verse from the Bible? Let me listen again...Jesus said, "Come unto Me, all who are weak and heavy laden and I will give you rest."

Words of life and hope are coming out of CD players in many Urak Lawoi' homes. You are bringing the joy of God's salvation to these people through your prayers and gifts. I cannot emphasize more strongly that this is a time of spiritual harvest for these sea people. Pleae pray that singer and guitarist, Nong Eyat, will remain faithful to the Lord in spite of a very difficult family situation. She is single in her early 20s. Her voice is being listened to in MANY homes. Pastor AhLin is training others to take his place in leading the churches in Phuket, so that he is free to go on follow up visits to the Islands. Your prayers and gifts can help this process.

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