A strange sight: empty streets of Bangkok after Wednesday night’s curfew time of 8pm
(photo compliments of Bangkok Post).
Wow, what a week it’s been here in Bangkok! Just a little recap for those I haven’t talked to:
…School was canceled Monday and Tuesday, as the downtown protests escalated and the army got more involved in the crack-down.
…Wednesday, we continued with school, but by the end of the day, our classes had dwindled to a handful of students — mainly the kids who live closer to the school where it’s still relatively safe.
…Now, school has been canceled for the rest of the week. At first it seemed a little strange, since yesterday afternoon the protests finally were broken up and many Red Shirt leaders surrendered. But soon after the announcement, we started hearing rumors of fires. Turns out some Red Shirt radicals (or others?) decided to torch several buildings in the city.
…All of the area banks and malls closed Wed. afternoon. Then, a curfew on the whole city of Bangkok was announced for the evening, from 8pm to 6am.
…Several prominent buildings have been set on fire (none particularly close to us, though some of them we visit often). One of the best malls we have in the city — and one of the largest malls in Asia — was completely destroyed by the flames. It’s unbelievable. (This mall was already empty and has been closed for weeks, because it was very close to the protest site.)
…Things are pretty quiet now, and the curfew will continue for the next few days, just in case.
So that’s the latest. Now, what do I think of all this? I wish I knew.
I feel really sad for Thailand. But it’s a deep kind of sad that I don’t even really understand. I feel like something very monumental happened yesterday, but there’s no way for me to grasp what it all means. I want to walk in the unwavering hope and joy of knowing that God surely is moving among us and is doing great things here even though it doesn’t look like it. But I also want to honor the loss and sadness of the Thai people who call this place home, for it seems the face of Thailand has changed forever.
And through all of this, even deeper questions have come to challenge my heart. What do we pray for, as we pray for the nations and ask for God’s will to be done among us? What do we hope for, as we live in a broken world, and as eternity awaits us? What does it look like to follow Jesus whole-heartedly — all barriers removed — and to be broken for the things He is broken for, to love what He loves? Maybe most people never really know, this side of heaven.
And the most haunting question, do I want to know?
*See more photos from yesterday’s events at this link: http://www.vaitor.com/?p=1686