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SE Asia #1 - Somewhere Over Greenland - Ben Volman
January 8, 2018
By Ben Volman, Toronto Ministry Team Leader and Messianic Rabbi of Kehillat Eytz Chaim / Tree of Life Congregation

(Ben was kindly invited to travel to Thailand and speak to a group of local pastors and evangelists about a Messianic perspective of the Gospel.  And, since he will be "in the area," he'll also visit the Philippines to visit some pastors there.)

Somewhere over Greenland, I began to understand why I was on my way to Thailand.

While passengers were tossing restlessly in their attempts to sleep—the noise of a massive aircraft is relentless and we still had 10 more hours of flying time—I was reading about the people who are the focus of ministry at my destination.

Over many years of ministry, I have tried to ask, “Lord, why are you sending me to this place? What are you trying to say to these people?”

The plane shook in the turbulent night winds at 10,000 feet and -61C outside.  As we flew over the North Pole toward the Far East, our starry night path was a testament itself to the faithfulness of God and His promise to Abraham that he would be a blessing to all people and also have descendants as numerous as the stars.  As our lights twinkled against the infinitely black Arctic sky, I was in Abraham’s flight path. 

The pastors and missionaries I’m going to serve are engaged in ministry among the diverse ethnic tribes of the Mekong Delta who have struggled for the past few generations with being considered stateless. In a fertile climate for opium, they have been drawn to the Gospel message of hope, grace and dignity. 

So, if I am to be an instrument of light in this darkness, my message will be that God has heard them in their plight. It is an appropriate message for a Messianic Jew whose people have survived two millennia of traumas, often stateless and climaxing in the horrors of the Holocaust. And yet, I know God has been faithful, fulfilling one promise after another just as the prophet Zechariah wrote: "This may seem amazing to the survivors in those days..." (Zechariah 8:6).

Yes, we were exiles, wandering, living at the whim of those who could deprive us of our most essential rights of life and liberty at any time—and our Scriptures have given us a hope and a vision that has survived despite it all.

Yes, I think I might have some reflections worth the attention of these friends in Messiah.

I have done my first few presentations at Beulah Community Church in Chang Mai, Thailand:  at a prayer meeting, a few words during Sunday worship and then my first session for the missionary pastors (“Why Care About Israel”) followed by questions and answers.  I offered my reflections on President Trump’s announcement in support of Jerusalem as Israel's capital city. I've also been helped along by the time I've spent with local pastors and my host, Beverley Kalnin.

So, I'm beginning to see how I might have something to say in Chiang Mai. It's a start.

Blessings from Chang Mai, Thailand

PS:  If you're wondering what time it is here, the clocks are exactly 12 hours ahead. For example, 8 am in Toronto is 8 pm in Chiang Mai.

Filed under: Ministry News


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