FREEDOM in SURRENDER: Pakistani Refugees and their Unshakeable Faith

RELIGIOUS PERSECUTIONS. As the percentage of the world’s population edged upward, the rampant religious hostility gradually escalated through the years. Christians in areas with dreadful religious restrictions are compelled to pay a heavy price for their faith. Persecutions are experiences on a daily basis ranging from public humiliation to rape to torture to slavery to discrimination in employment and education and even more worst is death.

I’m not writing about them because I knew a lot. I knew little. Little things that make up the bigger ones. I knew and understand, with all my senses attesting to it, their deepest sorrows and grave suffering.

I came to Thailand bearing in mind this thought of religious persecutions;  not considering the fact that at some point, somewhere and somehow, I will be able to meet people who have experienced religious hostility and have fortunately escaped from the pangs of the oppressors but remained imprisoned by the discriminations and the end-result of their sudden flee.

The Compassionate God has opened the door for me to grasp the reality of the existence of these religious persecutions. I meet some Pakistani Refugees who are currently stuck here in Thailand and patiently waiting and seeking for the approval of their asylum status requests from UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). For most of them, application has lasted for more than a year or even so which bears great agonies, burdensome day-to-day living of no assurance of food and the frightful fleet from the eyes of the national police. Once caught, they will be imprisoned with a bail or deported back to their home country where persecutions are evident and rampant.

I was deeply moved by their situation knowing that the only hope they have is the assurance of God’s presence in this darkest moment of their lives. I was not sure of my calling of being a missionary but God has allowed me to feel the compassion He has for these people. One Sunday as I led the Praise and Worship, their great sorrow just fell onto me that it burdened me to pen this for the sole purpose of creating or opening even the smallest window of charity for them.

In their very present situation, families lack food and other basic needs. They adjusted themselves to eat “roti” or  “chapati” (a flatbread made from stoneground wholemeal flour) three to more times a day. The children have no sustainable access and resources for education. They get to learn from the visiting missionaries which classes are in an irregular occurrence which are usually conducted in a room that is not even conducive for learning.  The mothers who are in-charge of the whole house culturally have experienced the intensified burdens of the day-to-day demand for security of their husband and children and the stress being brought by the patrolling policemen. The fathers grow helpless due to unemployment and the lack of means to provide for their family. They are capable of doing things but the opportunity is little to none due to the issues of their documents or visas. Old people lack medical attention. They are not given adequate and proper care. For all of them, the access to medication and hospitalization dropped less to none. Only few missionaries would come to check on them, visit them when they get extra time, provide supplementary food when extra budgets are saved up or teach the kids when there is extra time on Sunday afternoon. Very few devote time or reach out to them when they needed it badly or maybe only few understand the real picture of their daily cross.

I heard one Pakistani mom’s cry of hopelessness during the Praise and worship and it bothered me. I cried out to the Lord for clearer message of why am I discerning their afflictions and He spoke to me.  He wanted them to know that He promised to never leave them nor forsake them especially in this most difficult struggle in which they are in. He wanted them to understand that He is true to His Words and promises. That as they suffer in the pursuit of their faith, the glory of the Lord will be more revealed to the nations.

In this present time, I praise the Lord for people and organisations, the individual churches, who tried their very best and stretch out their resources to give them a little to enough. I praise God for opening the eyes of the world for this kind of Christian battle, that at times like this, we can only find the genuine hope in surrender. There is freedom in surrender when we let God take lead of the battle.

Let’s continue to pray for these refugees and reach out to them in our simplest ways.

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Romans 8:17
And if we are children, then we are heirs: heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ–if indeed we suffer with Him, so that we may also be glorified with Him.

Coffee Diaries:What paralyzes you today?

No Coffee.

While writing this, I just happened to save myself from being groggy, dazed and stupefied for the final half of the day due to a caffeine deficiency. I made this disorder for myself due to an apparent change of force in my body for not taking a cup of coffee early this morning before I started working. This body of mine just set its own alarm of telling me I need an intake of caffeine or else I would again hear my students telling me “You’re like a zombie, Teacher Jirah”. I don’t want to be a coffee dependent  but the more I tried not to, the more I become one. 😛

Anyway, this is not about being a coffee addict. This is about how a simple thing could paralyze us. How about you? What paralyses you today?

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Move forward.

I think this is something that is supposed to be easily said than done. How much more is the phrase KEEP MOVING FORWARD. This is a more prolonged imperative than the former and the word “keep” and the tense of the verb which makes it a lot more demanding in every situation when you wanted to just breakdown.

There are so many causes of paralysis as trees has many roots. One cause is to one person would be my approximation since a single mind can make up its own problem and can make it even more complex. However, as I see it, our own mindset wins the crown of causing all of the day-to-day paralyses.

In natural cases, our physical incapability causes us to be stagnant and lead us to the decay of our dreams, goals and our little wants not being satisfied with our extra courageous efforts. Let me call this as “paralysis in physical nature”- complete or partial loss of function especially when involving the motion or sensation in a part of the body as Merriam-Webster defines it.

Our mindset or mental attitude, how we look and take in things around us and how we interpret them, has a much greater contribution on most of the paralyses that existed, that exist and that will exist. Yes, it is the thing to put the blame on. Meaning, the cause is not due to any external stimulus rather it’s internal. Even if the gravely difficult circumstance is offering probabilities and possibilities, an impaired mindset will never see any of these. It’s focus will always be on the side where there are impossibilities and unreasonableness.

So “blame yourself, not the situation! Nah! I knew the feeling of being betrayed by your own way of thinking. I was once a prisoner of my own negative thoughts and partial judgments of the condition I was in and the people I was with. I give due credit to God who opened my eyes to see what I needed to see, to hear what I need to hear, to understand what I needed to understand and to feel what I needed to feel to be able to be in a pace and a place of paralysis-free; it is where He wants me to linger on. It always a process. We learn through time and experiences.

A right perspective on things is a by-product of a healthy mind, a right attitude and a perfect faith on the One who authors everything that happened, that happens and that will happen.

So, shall we have another cup of coffee?

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The SUPERLATIVE

It’s February, Love Month, and this write-up is a must. Nah! I disagree. I thought of writing this while in a public utility bus on my way to school out of the immense clatter in my mind. Not because I needed to but I wanted to.  Only one thing is for sure; that is, how I wish that when people type the words ‘love’ or ‘heart’ and ‘valentine’s day’ in search for images as decorations or quotable quotes for a Facebook status, they’ll come across this page and be able to take in something worth keeping in their selves and drive them to move.

Love.

It has all the intensifiers the dictionary may provide. I call it THE SUPERLATIVE. It is the only thing that remains undefined but can be enunciated by actions alone.

Many philosophers, scholars, educated even the uneducated but experienced individuals tried to give justice to the existence of this four-letter word. However, the more we hardly tried to, the more it bears complexities. There are many gestures humans do to show what love is subjectively and objectively. Some people would even spend time for a romantic gesture of love lock to symbolise the couple’s lasting love or just the simple clasping of hands while crossing a street or walking through the crowd.

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Love locks in Asiatique along the coast of Chao Phraya River, Bangkok, Thailand
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His and mine while on the mountains

Amidst the complexities of love, the only truths that remains definite are You love(d) and you are loved.

Putting it simply, all of us experienced the essence of this word and gave the reasons due for its existence. There are numerous ways to express love and to feel loved. Being in this world for 24 years, I am beyond blessed to see, to hear, to smell, to taste and to feel what love is and what it can offer.

I learnt love, first, from my Mama (mom). She didn’t explain it to me in words. We didn’t have a love class in our morning coffee dates. She showed it to me and to every single member of my family. These eyes of mine serve as witnesses of her acts of love. Her simple acts like – how she provides towels and perfectly ironed clothes every time Papa (dad) would take a shower before attending to meetings or officiating weddings, how she forgave and supported my eldest brother when he gravely fell and when he started his own family, how she traded her own life as sacrifice when my youngest brother got seriously ill and almost in the verge of death, how she guided me in every relationship I got into and how she prays for us and everyone who needs it up to the point that she wishes nothing for herself. How selfless love can be!

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My mom and my niece

But more to it, the most selfless act of love I knew and received is demonstrated by my Heavenly Father when He sacrificed His only begotten Son to be publicly humiliated, harshly beaten, sadistically pierced and shamefully crucified on the cross of Calvary for the sins of men. I’m truly in awe of His love. I always ask myself – am I good enough for His love? Or do I always find the hammer in my hand nailing Him on that cross every time I disobey? God’s love is immeasurably greater than our shortcomings, disobedience and transgressions.

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On Tuesday, most streets of the world will be filled with flowers, chocolates, couples and LOVE! All its expressions and impressions! Still, my words will never be enough to describe the love the world has and the kind of love the Lord has which is far greater than the world can offer. I thank the Creator for allowing an ordinary lass like me feel love.

To you out there, remember, You are loved.

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Itchy Feet + A Camera: The Dusking Sky

How lovely it is to watch the sun as it meets the horizon and paints the wide sky with varying shades of red while a solitary boat passes by right below the setting sun.

I always love to capture this scene. I’m not a professional photographer nor a camera trick skilled artist but I love this photo captured by myself a day ago.

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Sunset @ Chao Phraya River

Chao Phraya River is considered as the major river in Thailand. It is where, in the Old Kingdom of Siam (old name of Thailand), trades and commerce with other countries predominantly occurred. Historically captivating!

Added to this picture-perfect scene is the mere escape from rowdy cars and the towering skyscrapers with a bonus of nice cold evening breeze.

A rewarding rest day indeed!
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An Embrace from the Nature and The Karen People

I’m so blessed that I was given an opportunity to celebrate the Christmas 2016 with the lovely people I longed to see again and with the picturesque scenes of the nature in their area after a year. 

Fewer words. More pictures (this time).

KAREN TRIBE in Tesano, Tha Song Yang Mae, Tak Province, Thailand 

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The hill tribe village

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One thing I loved most about this journey was when I was given the chance to talk about what Christmas is really all about. 🙂 The precious chance to talk about Jesus Christ! 

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I will miss being with them this coming December. However, I’m too excited to go back to my home country after more than two years. 🙂

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I hope everyone’s having a well spent first month of the year!  God bless us!

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