It is with great joy that I sit down today – July 11 – the day after the last of the 13 male soccer team members were rescued here from Chiangrai, Thailand after 18 days of being trapped in a cave. Happiness is everywhere and I have been in tears of joy many times as I think about the grace and mercy of God turning an impossible situation into a possible situation.
I want to let you know up front that my report and my perspective on this great but very treacherous rescue operation is quite different from what you will be reading in the media these days only in the sense that they have left out the most important person in this story…and that is the gracious Lord God of Heaven.
Please understand that this incident is very close to my heart because it happened about 30 minutes from where my family and I have lived for the last 17 years of our 19 years in Thailand. As a matter of fact, I have been inside this very cave many times as well as most of my family, friends, and some of our volunteers have been there as well.
But we must not… again let me say… we must not overlook the real reason that these heroic rescuers were able to pull off this impossible rescue operation.
How were these 13 people trapped deep inside a mountain cave without food and water for 18 days able to survive and live to tell about it? Because there is a true and living God who responds to the prayers of His people and who chooses to shut the heavens long enough to keep the waters of the rainy season from stopping this rescue. Only God can do that. No man, no matter how smart or skilled or talented, can do that.
Was this rescue operation treacherous? Yes, extremely. We are saddened over one very brave and heroic Thai Navy Seal who gave his life in this operation. May our great God bless the family of the late 38 year old Retired Navy Seal Sgt. Major Saman Gunan. Please remember to pray for them as they live through the loss of this brave and courageous Thai man who gave his life for others.
Today we want to take a moment to thank all of you who personally voiced a prayer for this rescue operation. I am confident that thousands and thousands of Christians and possibly hundreds of churches all over the world were praying for this rescue operation and I want to declare that God has heard those prayers and has shown mercy to these 12 boys and their 25 year old soccer coach. Here is a picture of the 13 lives that were saved in this rescue operation. Please also remember to pray that they would have a chance to know the one true God that shut the heavens for 3 days during the rainy season so they might have life and declare the glory of God to others. Only 1 out of these 13 are followers of Jesus today, but the message of the gospel has the power to redeem. Pray for an opening of the gospel in each of their lives.
I am reminded of what the Holy Bible says in James 5:16, “…The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”
During the rescue operation, representatives of NTIM and Baan Athitaan Church were able to take some donations given through NTIM and provide food and supplies to the rescue workers and to help in some small ways for the glory of God.
For those of us who are followers of Jesus, let me take this opportunity to invite you to consider joining God in what He is doing in and around Northern Thailand by becoming partners with us at Northern Thailand Impact Ministry. NTIM is a 501c nonprofit charitable organization committed to connecting people in need with people who care and are focused in the heart of Southeast Asia where poverty is high, education is low, needs are great, unreached people groups (UPGs) are all around us, and the love and message of Jesus is needed to transform lives.
Reaching, Teaching, Discipling, Equipping, Training, and Serving People in God’s World through acts of love and compassionate is what NTIM and our ministry team is all about.
If you would like to know more about what we do and how you can be involved, please write me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org I would be happy to share with you all that our great God is doing just 30 minutes South of where this rescue operation happed this week. May the name of our great God be lifted high in all that we say and all that we do for His glory and the advancement of His kingdom on the earth.
Please remember to pray for our team in Chiangrai, Thailand.
From the Fields of Northern Thailand, Michael Johnson.