Courage Under Water

By Ash Barker, Urban Neighbours of Hope (UNOH)

‘S’ is originally from Klong Toey slum where we live and is part of the Ta Rua church. He now lives in northern Bangkok, but in the huge November floods his motorbike, car, tools for work and all he owns was submerged in his home. With some of our neighbours from Klong Toey we went out to this neighbourhood to help give medicines, food and water, wading in with small boats to those hard to get at places. It was a special time, not least because the men in our neighbourhood, who are so often looked down upon, were the ones helping out this time. We had to get them all special blue t-shirts so flood victims didn’t think they were a gang of looters!

‘Hey thanks! Where you guys from?’ came a shout from a second story home after receiving much needed food.

‘Klong Toey!’ Gung replied.

‘Klong Toey? Really?’

‘Sure. Keep fighting on! Don’t give up!’

Very few of these men can swim, two crocodiles had just been caught there from a local croc farm (with over 200 still loose!) and the smelly brown, often neck deep water was putrid.

Courage does not do justice to describe how these men responded.

If poverty is not just about lack of cash, but a lack of freedom to choose to live life as God intends, then there is a feeling that our men began to break the cycle of poverty in their own lives by stepping out (and under!) to help others. Many of us got quite sick from the flood water and we don’t wish floods on any-one, but in crisis there can be an opportunity to find life, freedom and confidence as we responds as Christ would.
Please keep praying for Thailand as the floods subside. In November over 500 people died with millions affected. Thailand will be slow to recover. We are grateful our neighbourhood was spared, but we are long way from normal.

Reflection questions:
1. Where have you seen poverty as a lack of freedom to live life as God intends? How is this different from a mere lack of cash?

2. One of the characteristics of a ‘culture of poverty’ (Oscar Lewis) is that men can feel socially castrated and act out, seeking to ‘prove their masculinity’. Where have you seen men in bondage, acting out? Where have you experienced God intended freedoms in mature men? What can help or hinder God’s intended freedom in masculinity?

3. How has stepping out to help others benefitted you and those around you?

4. Why is this saying true or false? ‘Pity weeps and walks away, but compassion comes to help and stay’?  (Art Beals)

5. What is one thing you can do to help others help others in Jesus’ name? 

Lord we pray that we will see beyond the surface and understand what lies at the heart of people’s responses. Help us to take courage, step out and help one another.

Helen Sidebotham

Helen Sidebotham, director of Servants for Asia’s Poor UK, tragically died in Manila on Friday 27th January. Helen has been visiting the Philippines as part of a prayer retreat and had travelled to the airport on Friday to return home. She collapsed in the departure lounge, and passed away immediately despite attempts to revive her by other passengers and an airport medical team who responded quickly to the situation. There is uncertainty as to the cause of death, but the circumstances point to something rapid and irreversible - possibly an aneurism.

Helen has been a support to Micah Network over the years and has made a significant impact in mission. Her sudden death will be felt by all, in particular her husband Peter and family.

Please stand with her family and all at Servants for Asia’s Poor and let’s pray for courage, strength and an overwhelming sense of God’s love as they come to terms with this sadness.

Grace Kabutye

Director of My People, Uganda

Thank you to all who prayed for Grace after his car accident this last week. He has come through his eye surgery and is now recovering and sends his thanks and gratitude for all who stood by him and Rachael. Please continue to pray for Grace as he slowly recovers from the injuries.

Outpouring of God’s Spirit

Rev Surya Karada (from Agape Ministries, India) has asked us to pray with him and the Orissa Bible College team that are facilitating a festival from 13th to 15th February. They have invited many to attend, especially those who are in need and the meeting will end with the graduation of students from the college.

Please pray for their protection and for God to touch lives in a powerful way.


The year of prayer continues – to find out more and join in the prayer for this country:

Nigeria – a Cry of the Heart

The deepening tension grows as violence continues to erupt, especially in the Northern states in Nigeria. Further reports from members in the area share the following:

On-going attach on churches and Christians in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa have led to many Christians leaving these areas and relocating to Jos and surrounding towns. Only 12 out of the 94 churches situated in Yobe were left untouched. This is only the tip of the iceberg of all this is going on, much of which does not reach the media.

We need to all join together and pray for God’s mercy to pour out onto all believers so that they can take their pain to the Cross and not retaliate, which would only inflame the situation. Let us also pray for leaders – for wise intervention and a cessation of this violence. We need a miracle! Please hold Nigeria regularly in your prayer.

Pray for the President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, that he would have the courage and wisdom to respond in a transformational way to the situation in Nigeria.

World Day of Prayer: 2nd March

This is a worldwide movement of Christian women of many traditions who come together to observe a common day of prayer each year, and who, in many countries, have a continuing relationship in prayer and service. This year will a focus on Malaysia. See World Day of Prayer

Pray Support for Events

Micah Network Global Consultation: Integral Mission and the Community: local church, local change, global impact! Registration has begun. Please pray for a massive response as we seek to gather together in September 2012. Pray for the finances to be raised by all who are hoping to attend and for the coverage of needs for this consultation.

CCD Conference: Partnering for Change: this will be held in Germany form the23rd to 27th April. Please continue to stand with us all as we prepare for this. In particular please pray that people will hear about this in time to respond and attend.

School of Reconciliation: This started on the 30th January and will run through until the 10th March. Please pray for all those attending that God would raise up the people to role the healing ethnic wounds workshops out later this year.