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The northern world is thinking SPRING, but April in Thailand is all about heat. Check out the hottest moments from this month.
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COVID IN THAILAND

THE THIRD WAVE HITS DIFFERENTLY

When the bubble bursts has been a term thrown around a lot in Thailand this month. Last year the government opted for a policy of containment where strict lock downs an border closures turned Thailand into a relatively COVID-free bubble. From June to November, those of us in Thailand were able to embrace the new normal and things felt somewhat familiar. That changed in December and we entered another lock down for January. February saw restrictions lift, but critics warned that the bubble would not take much more. With vaccines slow to come, Thailand needed the bubble to last.

April is a significant month in Thailand as we celebrate Songkran - Thai New year. This is THE holiday in Thailand. While the government put in some restrictions, it did not stop travel and millions of people went to see friends and family. The wealthy and powerful threw huge parties and women were brought in from other countries to "entertain" at those gatherings. In this way COVID, and some of the variants, entered the bubble. This time is different because it is not just moving through migrant or poor communities, but through the middle and upper class. The response from the government has been very different as the rich pushed back about giving up freedoms for lock downs. As it stands, we are in an unofficial lock down because using the term " lock down" would obligate the government to help. People have few resources left after the first two waves.

By comparison, Thailand's numbers are much better than many places in the world. People had become accustomed to such low numbers that the daily rates here are building fear. If you test positive, you are taken right away to a government field hospital for 2 weeks of quarantine. If you are outside of your home without a mask, it is a $795 fine (this includes in the car with your own family).

Our oldest two have returned to online schooling. We're grateful they can continue to learn, but it certainly changes the flow of our lives. We once again find ourselves feeling stretched, but not broken.

APRIL IN THAILAND

THE MONTH IN HIGHLIGHTS

We were able to celebrate Easter before Songkran and the subsequent COVID restrictions. It was a lot of fun with the children from church as we hunted for eggs and learned about new life. It was especially meaningful this year.

Prior to the lock down, we were also able to attend a performance by Zala's dance group. Ordinarily, this would be a highlight but it feels particularly special given the current ban on gatherings. We also celebrated Wren's 3rd birthday. By that time, restrictions were in place and so this was her 2nd lock down birthday.

The ability to connect digitally remains important. All of the PAOC Global Workers in Thailand were able to meet this month. Matthew was also invited to speak to all of the first year students at Master's College and Seminary. He was also asked to share with the Board of ERDO - PAOC's humanitarian agency and our key partner with CCP.
Like last year, Wren celebrated her birthday in lock down. She's excited to be 3!
Just before lock down, Zala's dance troupe had a performance. Wren was excited for her!
Term 3 of school began online - here's the opening assembly.
Explaining the rules before our Easter egg hunt began at church.
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Twitter
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Website
Matthew
Matthew
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Insta

WITH REFUGEES

Officially, COVID cases have been confirmed in 2 of the 22 detention facilities used to hold refugees. Unofficially, we've had calls and heard reports of COVID in other facilities too. Living conditions are crammed and unkind at the best of times. Families of refugees in detention are stressed beyond normal as they fear for the well-being of their loved ones. Unfortunately, opportunists are seeing this as a time to ask for a "tip" while families inquire about bail for detainees.

The largest urban detention centre has now stopped allowing us to drop-off cash for detainees, in addition to the ban on dropping-off food and hygiene items. This is the facility we are most connected to and we are deeply concerned for those detained. Without cash, they will be unable to pay for phone time to communicate with the outside world. It will be a great stress to families and makes processing bail papers harder as we cannot get the required information from those in detention.

Starting next month, Matthew will be leading team meetings for the core staff and volunteers of Life Raft International. This is a temporary way of serving the organization as COVID has created some ripples. Life Raft's work with urban refugees through local churches is a beautiful model of community engagement and we're happy to help.
 
June 27, 2021 is World Refugee Sunday. You can use this day to learn and pray as an individual, a family, and a church community.

CHILDCARE PLUS

As Thai students are currently on summer break, the Ministry of Education has announced that the start of the new school year has been pushed back to June 1st. Our CCP programming follows the school year and so this becomes logistically challenging. It is not un-doable, but it certainly makes our team work harder. It also throws a high level of the unknown into the lives of students and families.

We had also planned on doing some training with our CCP team, specifically about trauma informed care, but with the COVID restrictions in place, we have once again had to hit pause on that.
@CCP_Thailand
@CCP_Thailand
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@CCP_Thailand

PRAY WITH US

we believe there is strength in numbers

  • pray for healing from cancer for one of our CCP Program Managers
  • pray for an ally within the IDC who is willing to help us in a legal and honouring way.
  • pray for peace in Thailand as there is ongoing political differences.
  • pray for neighbouring Myanmar as the suppression of anti-coup demonstrations has turned deadly
  • pray for refugees who are detained as it has now been months with no visitations and they will be left with dwindling funds
  • pray for refugees in the resettlement process that they would receive positive responses quickly
  • pray for wisdom as Thailand navigates a way forward from burst bubble to sustainable norm

CANADIAN residents can partner with us through the International Missions department of the PAOC to receive a tax receipt.
AMERICAN residents can partner with us through our American sister organization to receive a tax receipt.
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