Amid Covid, violence and conversions, Jesus is born in Bangkok
Fr Adriano Pelosin, a PIME missionary in Thailand for 42 years, tells of a Christmas in the poverty of the capital’s districts. Aid to 300 poor families; the protection of women and girls from family violence and abuse; the preparation of dozens of young people, adults and children for baptism.
Bangkok (AsiaNews) - Aid to the poor, who have become poorer due to Covid-19 which has wiped out tourism; catechism for young people, children and adults; the protection of women and girls against domestic violence and rape; little acts of charity: a chronicle of daily life in the Thai capital for Fr. Adriano Pelosin, a PIME missionary in Thailand for 42 years.
Dear friends and long distance supporters of our children,
... I followed the news from Italy on the Covid-19 virus and I am close to all those families who have been affected by this pandemic in prayer... so many sick and so many dead. Here, however, there have been only 4246 cases and 60 deaths [as of December 15]. It must be said that Thailand's heat has protected people from the virus and possibly other factors as well. For example, Thais greet each other with a bow with folded hands, without shaking hands. Since the beginning of the pandemic, parish groups of evangelizers and young people have been busy visiting the poorest people most affected by the lockdown. The government has closed all airports and ports, all borders with Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, especially affecting those who work in the tourism industry, which accounts for 15% of the economy.
We assisted around 300 families by bringing rice, eggs, cooking oil, canned fish, and packages of dry Chinese soup (just add hot water). After a fearful start we have recovered and continued our Bible meetings in seven different locations thus also bringing the strength and vision of God's Word.
I must also say that the majority of the people we have helped are Buddhists ... but religion doesn't matter much to us: we find ourselves united in a deeper understanding than the distinctions of race or religion. We are rebuilding society, destroyed by evil, starting with the lowest, the last, the abandoned.
Yesterday I entered the catechesis room. Miss Ying and Mr. Taweesak were preparing about twenty catechumens for baptism and I was amazed by the attention, sincerity and desire to improve themselves in the lives of the participants. In another classroom, Miss Keng and Deacon Somsak taught about twenty children to make the sign of the cross; in the chapel on the second floor of the parish priest's house, Fr. Domenico was preparing a dozen young men for baptism.
Once again I realized that man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
In this year, many events have happened, which we need to see with the eyes of God, who does nothing to condemn us, but does everything for our good because we trust in Him. One of the most beautiful things to happens was the owners and directors of a private school within our parish welcomed eleven of our poorest children for free. The directors are a Catholic family that puts charity before profit.
We recently saved a life. A mother of a family with five children (three are in a state orphanage) with a thirteen-day-old baby was accompanied here to the parish by one of our evangelizers to consult on what to do. This woman's husband, under the influence of drugs (methamphetamine), wanted to kill his wife. We have decided to allow the woman to take refuge in our small Mercy Centre in Wat Sake, Sam Kok. In the meantime, we have asked Fr. Paolo Salamone to welcome the other four-year-old daughter in the Saint Martin centre, which I had started more than 20 years ago and we have prepared all the necessary documents. In three days everything was done and the woman went back to live with her father, along with her baby. Yesterday I looked for her husband to meet, to listen and talk, to begin a new life, but I didn't find him. These days we are trying to help a 12-year-old girl because she is in great danger: she has already been raped a few times with the consent of her grandmother, who receives money from those men. We also closely follow a cousin of this girl, who is six years old: her mother is in prison for drug dealing and we do not know who her father is ...
The environment in which these children live is very hostile, as if everyone were a potential threat and therefore they are defensive and see us as intruders. God help us.
The birth of Jesus brought joy to the poor; his death brought salvation to sinners; his resurrection brought hope to the disappointed and desperate, and the coming of the Holy Spirit is now all these gifts. We are witnesses of every day, so in the midst of the sadness of life and the pains of society we praise God and his grace that manifests itself among us.
This is the wish I make to all of you: that Jesus who is born poor will bring you the joy of the poor who marvel at every good thing that happens in their life.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2021.