“Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.” Matthew 9:35
Gayle Haberkam is a retired nurse who has served as a missionary to the Karen refugees in Thailand since June 2009. She is the small, vivacious, lady who visited our church a couple of years ago. In ministering to these needy people, Gayle does her best to follow the example of Jesus.
The Karen refugees from Burma are an oppressed people, living in very poor conditions in the mountainous region of northern Thailand. Yet they are a kind, gentle, and honest people. But they are also devil worshipers, and now for the very first time they are learning about Jesus who can give them freedom from fear and the hope of eternal life.
The work in this region is centered in the village of BiYoTa, where Gayle operates a small medical clinic and cares for the people’s medical needs. Because the people are so poor, all care and medicine is given free of charge. People will come long distances–sometimes bypassing other clinics– because, as they say, at her clinic they get well. Of course Gayle gladly gives all the credit to the God in heaven who hears and answers prayer.
Previous gifts have also enabled her to purchase a truck which is used to transport serious medical needs to a hospital, saving many lives.
As a result of this successful medical work, many people are interested in learning about Jesus, and she is usually busy giving Bible studies five nights a week–besides often preaching on Sabbaths.
Beyond her village, she regularly visits 9 other more remote villages, generally hiking in on foot, caring for people’s medical needs in the day and giving Bible studies in the evening.
Recently she went to a small heathen village and lived with the people for a week. The village was very dirty, with pigs at all the houses. Many people had skin problems because they did not bathe. Working together with the people, she got pigs out, helped them build fences, and cleaned up their houses. She taught them about basic sanitation and hygiene, teaching them to use soap and toothbrushes. Every evening she gathered the people and gave a very simple gospel presentation. Gayle is planning more of these trips.
In this region, people grow and sell opium to make money; and unfortunately many have become addicted to it in trying to cope with their problems.
So another huge need that Gayle is trying to address is getting people off of their opium and tobacco addictions. These people need the gospel!
When Gayle visits Bangkok, she tries to recruit young people in Thailand to serve the needy people in their own country.
Gifts will help provide:
- Medicine to treat people at the clinic and in remote villages
- Repairs for the ministry truck and motorcycle
- A small farm to provide food
- Clothing for the poor
- Blankets in cold weather
- Transportation to the hospital
- Sponsorship for a Karen girl studying nursing (She wants to return to her people and work as a nurse.)