Two days ago (Sunday, February 3) in the side yard of the church, I watched as five men climbed one-by-one up the stairs on the dry side and down the stairs on the wet side of the baptismal. All five of these men were residents of the Safe House and all five had been or still were patients of the Kwai River Christian Hospital (KRCH).
"The least" in the world's eyes endure various combinations of poverty, sickness, suffering, and powerlessness. The TB patients I mentioned in my last e-mail are ill, poor, and often refugees.
The residents of the Safe House are ill or injured and illegal. They are "economic refugees" who have come over from Burma to get work in Thailand and were arrested for being illegal aliens. Sometime before or during the deportation process, they have developed a serious medical or surgical problem. Instead of being sent straight back into Burma, they are sent to the KRCH for care. When they get well enough to continue treatment as outpatients, we transfer them to the Safe House. The Safe House is a place they can stay, safe from re-arrest, while continuing treatment at the Kwai River Christian Hospital as outpatients.
Paw Lu Lu and her husband, Win Myint, and their son Channah look after the Safe House. They are patient, compassionate, and evangelistic. Every few months a handful of Safe House residents that Paw Lu Lu and Win Myint have looked after physically and spiritually, declare their faith through baptism.
Some of these patients suffer from orthopedic problems such as chronic bone infection with deformity or an unhealed fracture.
Three of the five men climbing up into this outdoor baptismal limped. One of them even had to use a crutch! They were in various stages of care for their orthopedic problems, but they were not going to wait any longer for baptism. It was a poignant moment for each of them (and for me) as they were plunged under the water in an act symbolizing the cleansing within. They each emerged dripping wet and looking very happy.