We praise the Lord for His faithfulness, however, there is nothing faithful about man and especially when it comes to dealing with Thai immigration. It’s funny how we used to think China immigration was so bad, but Chinese immigration is heaven when compared to Thai immigration. They are notorious for changing their mind on the spot (lying) or not providing consistent information.
This is the exact situation we find ourselves in. now After being assured that we would be able to get our visas in country we are now being told that I will be able to get my visa but my wife and son will have to leave the country. This is because we are now being told they are not allowed to apply for the visa until 1 month after mine which puts them over their visa limit despite originally being told they can apply immediately after. Such a backwards and corrupt system.
What many people don’t know is that Thailand and in particular Chiang Mai Thailand has the largest concentration of missions organizations in the world. We really have no idea how this came about to be a good idea to become the mission base of the world considering the very anti foreign laws here. Ironically, Malaysia despite being a majority Muslim country is actually a much better place to live and set up a missions organization than Thailand in our opinion. Unfortunately, the real problem I being is that many of these “Missions” organizations really aren’t doing missions at all but instead are just taking money from the wonderful brothers and sisters that don’t know any better so these “missionaries” can live a vacation life in Thailand. This includes paying for fancy housing, maids, and almost daily fancy restaurant meals, stops at coffee shops, and massages. Suffering for the gospel at it’s finest.
Please pray for us as we continue this very frustrating visa process which does nothing but distract from ministry and causes us to waste valuable resources that instead go to the Thai immigration money racket. If we may give just another quick example of the immigration money racket:
1. Even after we get our 1 year work visa’s here if we want to leave the country for any reason we must go to immigration, fill out a form, and pay a fee of more that $30USD per person just so we don’t lose the visa. What is the point of giving someone a 1 year visa if it isn’t good for one year just because you go out of the country?
Despite all we put up with we praise God for his goodness and especially want to thank you all for your partnership with us! We already have some good things cooking up. We have a brother from Texas who wants to bring a team in May and get involved with us in other ministry projects here in Thailand and in China so pray the details would work out. The end of March we are reconnecting with a brother we haven’t seen in a while and will be helping him with some ministry for a couple weeks at a detention center and a boy’s 12-18 prison. We are currently trying to help our Pakistani brother Nehemiah in Bangkok as he is dealing with the news he and his family may have to return to Pakistan in 2 months. This is a shame because he just started a wonderful Christian ministry with Pakistani refugees in Bangkok. Also, his father who is a Pastor was beaten by a group of Muslims last year in Pakistan while preaching and they fear to return with a target on their backs. Last week we saw some tickets for the end of April for a short term ministry trip back to China that we could not pass up $200 for a roundtrip ticket from Bangkok to Central China (cost is usually 2x this price!). God has also been opening doors of new relationships here for us in Thailand with some people we have been running into more frequently in our daily lives here so please pray we will be faithful to obey the leading of the Holy Spirit in how to serve and witness. Securing our visa’s are a huge issue to pray about and we still have a long way to go in our Thai language and cultural understanding. It makes it even more difficult because Thai’s put a high emphasis on English learning in their country and put a low emphasis on the importance of foreigners learning their language and culture and in some ways could be frowned upon if a foreigner becomes too “Thai”. More to come soon!