Thursday, October 27, 2011

Flooding in Thailand

The wise man built his house upon the rock
The wise man built his house upon the rock
The wise man built his house upon the rock
And the rain came a-tumbling down

The rain came down and the flood came up
The rain came down and the flood came up
The rain came down and the flood came up
But the house on the rock stood firm

I've been reminded of this song over and over in the last few weeks. In case you haven't heard, Thailand is flooding. Not just the normal "every-year-this-happens" kind of flooding; we're talking about MASSIVE flooding throughout the entire country. Bangkok is even getting hit, which is a huge deal. Bangkok hasn't flooded in something like 50 or 60 years, I think. For the last two weeks around here, we've seen people start making preparations. Local businesses have built cement walls around their front entrances. We laughed at them a couple of weeks ago, thinking "Seriously? A wall? That's a little extreme, isn't it?"

Now, though, there are a lot of cement walls. We aren't laughing at them anymore - they make us a little more concerned than anything else. Some cement walls also have sandbags on top of them for extra protection.

As of right now our area is still dry. It's sort of an island in the middle of the flooding, I guess. We are about a kilometer from the river, which means if the river floods on our side, we'll certainly see some water, but it hasn't overflowed to us yet. This weekend is another time where we'll have to watch extra carefully - the tides will be higher than normal (our river is tidal, by the way) and there is even more potential for the river to overflow or for the walls between us and the river to break.

I was talking to one of my teacher friends yesterday, and we couldn't really figure out WHY our area wasn't flooded yet. I mean, we aren't experts at tracking flooding and predicting where it will go or anything, but we figured if pretty much everything around us is flooded, why aren't we flooded, too? This is where the song I wrote at the top comes in. We feel that God's protection is wrapped around us right now. We're living in a place that has been totally devastated by floods, and yet we are okay. Why? We are on the Rock, and our Rock is ever so much stronger than the floods that surround us.

I'm not saying that there's no potential for our area to become flooded, because there certainly is. However, I am also not afraid of it. Yes, I am a little nervous (I'm not very good at playing this "wait to see if the flood comes!" game), but ultimately I know that God is taking care of us. Our prayers, the prayers from the people around us, and the prayers of our family and friends at home are effective, and we see the effects of them outside our door every single morning that we wake up. The ground around is is dry. Our God is so faithful, and we are so thankful for that!

Please continue praying for us and for Thailand. Our "between semesters" break has been extended by a week (we now go back to school on Nov. 7), and it might possibly be extended longer, if the flooding is bad enough. The shelves of the stores have become quite bare, as people panicked and bought as much as they could, and now the stores cannot get (many) new items shipped to them due to the flooding. Michael and I have enough food and water stored up to last us *approximately* a week, and we are also prepared to move out quickly at a moment's notice, if that time comes. For the moment, we are staying put. But, despite these things that might make us uncomfortable, we are protected and well-off compared to a large chunk of the rest of Thailand. I know several people who have been forced out of their homes because the flooding was up to their necks or over their heads. So many people and areas have been devastated by this flood, and it's heartbreaking to watch. Please, PLEASE pray for this country, because I think it will take a lot to get Thailand back on its feet when this is all over.

To give you a bit of a visual aid of things that we've seen, I've posted some pictures below for you.

Empty water shelves at Big C (a Wal-Mart type store that's down the road from us).

The drains outside by the street are rising, too - just a few inches below street level now. (And filled with stinky nastiness! Yuck!) We're a bit concerned that the drains will overflow soon...but that's all a part of the "wait and see" game...

We went to an English camp for university students last week. It was ridiculously fun! That's a whole different story, though. Anyway, on our way back to Nonthaburi (where we live), we had to drive through some flooding. I took pictures through the bus window. We were on the bottom of the bus, so we got a good look at how deep the flooding was. These pictures are of areas within our province, but they are several miles away (at least) from where our school is located.

Our university friends - also checking out the flooding through the bus windows.

Those are supposed to be roads...

A lady floating down the flood on a raft - I think the water in this area was waist-deep (or a little less), but I don't remember exactly.

Moving supplies into boats - we saw quite a bit of this as we drove through flooded areas. (Somehow, though, our bus still managed to make it through!)

Another thing that we noticed a lot of were cars. People have parked (and double-parked and triple-parked) their cars on the overpasses of highways to elevate them and keep them away from floods. Naturally, this makes traveling even more difficult at points.

We will keep you updated as best we can. Also, since we have an extended break and internet access (for right now) - if anyone wants to Skype with us in the next couple of weeks, please let us know! We'd love to talk to you! :)

Love you all. Thank you for your prayers, and please continue praying.

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