Small Choices Made Over Time

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“Ekasit fell and hit his head and is unconscious in the ICU. The doctors say his prognosis is dire.” The call Friday afternoon from the Bible worker in Huey Fai shocked us into attention while reminding us of the past.

Between 1995 and 2006, we served on an AFM project working with the Mien people in northern Thailand. Huey Fai was one of our villages, and Ekasit was one of our first members. Having struggled with epilepsy from a young age, the news of his fall was not entirely unexpected. The shock came from the severity of the injury.
On Sabbath, following our branch Sabbath School and an online Bible study, we embarked on the long road trip to northern Thailand. Halfway to our destination, we received a call informing us of Ekasit’s death. We reached the hospital late Sunday evening, loaded the coffin, and then proceeded to Huey Fai, where the funeral preparations were already in full swing.

We were eager to visit church members we had not seen in over ten years. One member’s face glowed with the joy of the Lord. Another had learned to read Thai during our absence and shared some of her favorite Bible verses. Regrettably, one of our members, overtaken by alcoholism, had become the village fool. I thought to myself, Small choices made over time lead to vastly different outcomes!

After consulting with the family, we decided to hold the open-air cremation on Tuesday morning. All day Monday, dark, menacing clouds threatened to soak the firewood. All day Tuesday, those same ominous clouds loomed, risking the quenching of the burning pyre. We prayed for God to hold back the rain. A light sprinkle began early Wednesday morning, enough to settle the ashes and temper the coals. The drizzle stopped, and we joined the family in collecting the few remaining bone particles and interring them in one of their fields. When we returned to the church, the sky let loose with a heavy downpour. Praise God for controlling the weather for His glory! Many villagers remain antagonistic towards Christianity, and a weather-induced pause mid-cremation would have been fodder for their scorn.

Since we were already in northern Thailand, we took several days to visit with our Mien members in Chiangrai and Chiangmai. A recurring theme stood out throughout our visits: the profound impact of small choices made over time. May God help us to make good choices today, tomorrow, and every day until He comes.

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