International Ministries

Some Final Thoughts --- by Jacquie Cooke

February 2, 2013 Journal
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I take the bible literally when it says the Spirit of the Lord hovers over the waters and am happiest at the beach, shore or in the water. But this trip has been about the hills.  Being from the flat lands, hills have always held a fascination for me.  Often I have speculated, when in far flung areas, that there could be undiscovered people groups in the forested hills and mountains.  In effect, that is the case with those confined to Thailand's refugee camps.  They are hidden away in remote locations at the end of hairpin curves on what could only marginally be called roads.  Scores of visitors come to Thailand with no clue thousands of people have been living decades in the camps.

Not only are they hidden in the hills but they must cling to the hillsides in a harsh attempt to exist.  One group in particular had their camp taken away (remember they have been in these camps for 29 years) to establish a national park; they were moved to a very precarious hillside that is difficult to navigate on foot let alone build stable bamboo houses on the site. This is a barren landscape where it is next to impossible to grow what little produce they are allowed to plant.

When we arrived at the final camp I was immediately struck by the majesty of the mountain cliff which forms the backdrop for the camp. However for camp residents this cliff is the barrier separating them from Burma, their homeland, and often their families.

While I did not ask, I think it is very likely mountains and hills elicit very different emotions among camp dwellers.  I know I will never view them again without thinking of our confined Christian brothers and sisters.  Those who know me will be amazed that God erased my anxiety of mountain driving on this trip.  However toward the end we were one of the first cars on the scene of a car accident where at least one person died after leaving the road and hitting a tree. God spoke to me in that moment reminding me He allowed me to walk away from my car/ tree accident for a reason.  I will be praying as I hope all of you will as to how each of us must respond to God's command to love our neighbor as yourself.