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1111 NORTH MAiM

College Library npn i r inco

APR 1 5 1968

THE GREAT COMMISSION REMINDER


Among the Tribes of Northern Thailand
"AND THE HEATHEN SHALL

"GO YE INTO ALL THE WORLD,


AND PREACH THE GOSPEI

KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD,


WHEN ! SHALL BE SANCTIFIED IN YOU BEFORE THEIR EYES. "

Pitfcfied and mailed free by


MEL ond JUNE BYERS

Fawarding Agents:
ASHLAND CHURCH of CHRIST

Talat Chiengkam, Ctiangwat Chiengrai, Thailand, Asia

Post Office Box U.S. A.

520

Ashland, Oregon 97520

MARCH

HOMEWARD

BOUND

THIS VOLKSWAGEN

BUS WILL BE WAITING AT THE


FOR THE BYERS' FAMILY.

PORTLAND

AIRPORT

"WITH WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT WE SAID GOODBYE"


(ACTS 20:1 TODAYtS ENGUISH VERSION)

Communist terrorism has been accelerated in the Chiengkam area for the first time. Prowling the streets are armed sol diers, jeeps, trucks and armed carriers. The small military air

port is busy recieving and dispatching aircraft of all kinds. Daily


fresh rumors are bom, distorted and speedily passed from one

person to the next. A sense of unrest has quickly spread over the entire community and suddenly we find ourselves no longer remote observers but immediate participants in the world struggle against Communism. Infiltration into the neighboring villages
and hill tribes has become more acute. School teachers have

been attacked, soldiers and border police wounded and killed. Other villages are being harrassed with propaganda and threats. Caught up in the circumstances of war and unrest are the Christians. A very small minority of scattered believers who are preparing themselves in every way to live the paradox of the Christian life; "afflicted in every way, but not crushed; per plexed but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed,"--A-simple trusting folk who ask nothing more than to live their lives as disciples of Jesus Christ.

On the eve of our departure it is increasingly difficult to say goodbye. There is always one more sermon that should have
been delivered; one more problem discussed; one more attempt to exhort a backslider. One becomes anxious again for the poor who need help, the sick who need medicine and the critically ill

brother who is facing death. One becomes concerned again for the many neighbors and friends who have steadily resisted the Gospel for so long. Time is running out; is there one more
chance to reach them? Instead of running smoothly, life has a way of becoming more enigmatic and the scattered believers appear more exposed and susceptible than ever still we must leave. Perhaps, unwittingly, this also is a New Testament pattern. Paul was often urged to stay a little longer but declined by saying, "I will return if it is God's will. " (see Acts 18:20 21) Paul resolved in the Spirit to press onto Jerusalem (Acts 19: 21) leaving the young churches of Asia in the wake of "rioting and uproar." Bypassing other young churches he met briefly with the elders of Ephesus and then leaving them with much sorrow because he had said "that they should see his face no more."

(see Acts 20:36-37) He left them in the midst of confusion, weakness, prey for false teachers and terribly exposed to the
subtle encroachment of old sins. He left them when they need-

ed more teaching. He left them when he personally did not want to go. Herein is the mysterious working of the Holy Spirit. Suddenly the weak become strong; the newly appointed elder becomes a shepherd of the flock and the once timid, reticent be liever suddenly becomes a strong bold disciple of Jesus. And along with this there is always a "Demas" who falls "in love with this present world" and deserts; or an "Alexander the coppersmith" who opposes the message and does great harm, (see II Tim. 4:10-15)
Nevertheless, Paul, under the directorship of the Holy Spirit did what he had to do in spite of the inward pain and con flict; he said goodbye and then "commended them to God and to the Word of His grace which is able to build up and give an in heritance among all those who are sanctified." (see Acts 20: 32)

THAI CHRISTIANS

PRESENTING A

SPECIAL SONG AT THE

CHRISTMAS

GATHERING.

It is in this same sense that we feel compelled to leave many of these dear folk. We leave them in the midst of life and

all its struggle; its war and unrest; its temptations and un certainties. We leave them seemingly weak and scattered. Thus in our human helplesness we humbly and confidently commend them to God and to the Word of His grace, believing that this is

adequate to meet the challenge they face; that it will surely build them up and in the end reward these humble trusting folk with an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. May
God's peace rest upon them.

" PAUL SENT FOR THE DISCIPLES AND HAVING EXHORT


ED THEM TOOK LEAVE OF THEM AND DEPARTED."
(ACTS 20:1)

In the last few weeks we have gradually watched our home

become empty and bare. The rabbits, chickens and pigs are all gone. Only two cats and a dog remain and continue to prowl
around in the new and strange atmosphere. The rice bin is empty
and the small rice mill has been sold. The book shelves are

empty and the daily routine of school and study has given way to packing and mixed feelings. So also we prepare to depart from this little spot in Thailand which has been our home for the past fifteen years. It is the only home the children have ever
known.

We will no doubt allow ourselves to indulge in a bit of sorrow and sentiment as with mixed emotion we leave this place. The children will reluctantly climb a tree for the last time or walk a familiar path thru the bamboo ^rove. Each in his own way

will part with some old rusty but highly treasured object of some kind or another. There will be the last night of sleep on a small wooden bed with a hard mattress. Reluctantly we leave the sound of squealing pigs at feeding time, the whittle from the local rice mill, the crying of the neighbors children and the lonely bugle of a lizard who has made his home behind a corner post in the house. We shall leave the daily gluttinous rice,
the peppery fish soup and the spiced vegetables. We shall miss the thunderous pounding of the monsoon rains on our tin roof. We will no doubt long for the quiet evenings when unmolested by TV, meetings, social gatherings and worldly entertainment we all sat on the floor and read an exciting story together. We shall remember Sunday evenings as the time we had for our own special worship service. We shall miss the thrill of eating a fresh pineapple right from our garden or the exotic taste of fresh mangoes from one of our trees. Then there are the Thai friends who come over to play, the trips to the market, sleeping out in the fields at harvest time and a hundred other things which have become home and a way of life. These things we are now called upon to leave. Some may be glad to get back to the States but we find that leaving can be extremely painful.

CHRISTMAS TIME IN
CHILDREN PRESENT

A THAI VILLAGE.
SPECIAL MUSIC

SOME OF THE BYERS'


THAI.

FOR THE

On the other hand we are convinced that this Is the Lord's

will and once our front door Is locked and the truck pulls away we shall look towards the future believing God's plans are
ordered. The sorrow of leaving turns to joy at the prospects of

seeing loved ones and friends.

We readily accept the challenge

and are now eager to get on with the adventure.

" FOR EVEN IN THESSALONICA (Thailand) YOU SENT ME


HELP ONCE AND AGAIN" (phil. 4:i6)

It has been a real blessing to see the faithfulness of God as He works through His people. Our needs on the mission field have never been great and God has been pleased to provide all that we have needed. As we leave and prepare to make our home in the States for awhile, traveling and the new mode of living requires more expense. Even so the funds have been adequate and we are grateful to the many friends who have helped us in a special way at this time. I do hope that we shall be able to meet with you and share some of these blessings. It may take a little while but eventually we shall see you all.

We expect to arrive in Portland, Oregon on April 6th about


3:45 P.M. in the afternoon.

All correspondence should now be sent to me in care of the Ashland Church of Christ - P.O. Box 520 - Ashland, Ore. 97520 or 4728 S.W. Cameron Road, Portland, Oregon 97221.

As yet no speaking dates have been arranged. For those interested it would be best to leave requests with Jim Sinclair, minister of the Ashland Church. Upon arriving in the States I will arrange a speaking schedule. Continue to pray for the Church in Thailand.

PRINTERS

NOTE:

What a blessing it has been to see the wonderful response from God's people, as we together bring the Byers family home. Funds have come from many states and from those with much and those with little, and God has blessed all for their love and con cern. There are those who are sewing school clothing for the children; two re&igerators have been given for their use; eight solid oak double beds, mattresses and bedspreads have been

given;

a mangle iron (nearly new) and many other items firom

thoughtful folk.
Perhaps you're wondering about the VW Bus on the front cover. When it became obvious that God was supplying all that was needed to cover the travel funds and that extra was coming in, it was decided to purchase this vehicle at considerable savings on a cash, no-trade deal. A family in the Ashland Church made the money available without any interest expense. How very thankful we are to these and the many others who have olSered funds interest free to help get the family home. Knowing that transportation was going to be a big issue when they arrive in the States, and that the expenses will be heavy adjusting to this new way of life, and that payments would be a load not needed, we went ahead with this vehicle after considerable counsel. We pray that you will accept this move as one that was wise and necessary. When the Byers arrive at the Airport the Bus will be waiting for them.

Several are planning to be at the Airport to meet the family in Portland and it may be that you will want to be there too.
Notice the date and time mentioned in the Boxed-In area in this
newsletter.

Please continue to pray for and support Mel and June in the months to come. Making this adjustment will be expensive for a period of time and our support and help will be needed and
welcomed.

Thank you again for your support and sacrificial giving. Surely God has blessed and will .-continue to use each of us as
we become available and useable.

Mel Byers

FROM LETTER RECEIVED MARCH 23rd,

(written March 16th)

I have been out on a preaching tour in Changwat Nan pro

vince for the past seven days and hence the delay on the final
confinnation of our travel date. Here are the particulars:

Arriving in Portland - April 6th - at 3:45 p.m. by United


Airlines flight 043Y.

We will be arriving in Seattle via Northwest Orient Air lines at 1:15 p.m. - flight number 004Y. We just had a little excitement last night - our entire mar ket area burned to the ground. I was up all night helping friends

try to save some of their things as well as fighting the fire with
water buckets. I feel bushed today. I guess Chiengkam will never be the same. For three days we had the Thai Air Force in

here bombing the area for infiltrated terrorists. So it seems that


the tension and confusion increases.

Looking forward to seeing you soon. By faith in Him,

Apr 15 '68 MEL JUNE BYERS


ASHLAND CHURCH OF CHRIST
Non-Pfclit Oigamjalkxi

U. S.

POSTAGE

PAID
Permit No. 84 A&nanC, Oregon

P. O.

BOX

520

ASHLAND, OREGON

97S20

Mr. Barry WiUbanks


P.O. Box 454

Joplin, Missouri