Christine was still dependent on the wheelchair. Almost every day she cooked lunch, but her main work was collecting and forwarding donations to India, Pakistan and now Bangladesh. On April 28, she had an outbreak of a very severe infection. She was helped in a private clinic in Kanchanaburi, where she had to spend several days. A heart specialist there was able to lower her high blood pressure, after 50 years of medical treatment had failed to lower it. After the beginning of July, she had to make 10 trips to the clinic in Kanchanaburi for treatment and follow-up. These trips to our provincial capital were usually coupled with shopping for ourselves and the poor. This was very exhausting for us.
Reiner continued to hold our Sunday services and preach there. He dealt with the question of the fear of God and its importance for the credibility and authorship of the writings of the New Testament. Thus, in particular, the central importance of the Epistle to the Ephesians, the 1 Peter Epistle and the 1 John Epistle for Gentile Christian churches became clear to him. He continued to study Thai. He did minor repairs in the house.
Through the study of God’s Word, it became increasingly clear to us that we urgently need to prepare our churches for persecution. This was underlined for us by the fact that through our brothers and sisters in India, with whom we are warmly connected, we are more and more confronted with the strongly increasing persecution of Christians in their environment by radical Hindu activists. Suffering for Christ and with Christ becomes more and more an issue for us, especially since we have to see how little many Christians accept the help that God so willingly wants to give them and are thus completely unprepared for what awaits us.
We continued to be very grateful for the unity among us.
Regularly we both were every 2 weeks at the Sunday service of the Noël church of YWAM Kanchanaburi in a village which is about 30 km away from us. We supported the brothers and sisters there. Most of the time we took turns to preach the Sunday sermon there.
By installing an interior roof in Christine’s office, the office became much cooler than before.
We had abundant vegetable harvests in our garden, and a salad plant that was built into our garden proved very successful. Thus, we were able to provide vegetables and salad to poor people in our village. However, we had to stop our support for the poor in the village except in emergencies, when we had no access to Reiner’s account at ING DiBa for 6 weeks and a new PIN number could only be sent to us by mail, which would have taken another 6 – 8 weeks. So we had to cancel this account in order to get access to the money we had parked there. This bottleneck and the high medical treatment costs brought us to make this decision.
On June 30th we had a full day meeting in Bangkok with the other missionaries of CTTM. The most important outcomes for us were, on the one hand, that Reiner should start preparing his publishing work, which would then operate under CTTM’s Goodwill Foundation. The leaders of the Goodwill Foundation agreed to take the leading positions in our foundation. We discussed with them the version of our foundation goals that Reiner had revised in English. Reiner still wanted to translate these goals into Thai. However, when we sent them the foundation goals in Thai, nothing more happened.
At the CTTM day for the missionaries, we agreed to take care of the CTTM missionaries. We were very happy to do this work, but then the conflict with a leader in CTTM blocked us strongly.
A Sabbatical Year
In recent months, it has become increasingly clear that we are both in need of a rest. We had our last vacation in the Netherlands at the end of 2019. In prayer, we felt that we should take a sabbatical year. The director of CTTM, our church, agreed with this. Actually, we had planned to start it in the coming calendar year,
In order to extend his work permit, Reiner had to have a health certificate issued at our district hospital on November 21. Unfortunately, his condition on that day was such that the hospital immediately detained him and had him transported to our large provincial hospital in the early afternoon. It turned out that he had a number of blood clots in his blood that needed to be treated urgently with medication to avoid heart attack or stroke. Reiner remained in the hospital until November 24. We were finally so exhausted that we felt it necessary to begin our sabbatical immediately after consulting with the director of CTTM. Overall, Reiner became much weaker physically as a result of this experience.
In our Sabbatical year, we left our ministries to CTTM for a year. We wanted to use this time to rest and refocus on God, and felt that we should spend this time in Thailand. After we wrote and sent our long overdue info letter to our friends and received the extension of our visas for another year, friends provided us with a wheelchair accessible room that we were able to renovate and design for ourselves, and for which we were also able to purchase an electrically operated nursing bed for Christine. We can use this room as often as we like. It is located in the countryside in the green with a very beautiful view of the valley. From our house, this quarter can be reached by car in just under an hour. We do not have a computer there and it is an excellent opportunity to retreat and have undisturbed time for ourselves and for God.