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Vassula's Visit to Thailand, November 2002
Vassula with Cecilia Lutz landed at the Don Muang International Airport in Bangkok for her third visit in Thailand, early morning on 13 November 2002. The local True Life in God prayer group gladly welcomed them with flowers and kisses. It was their first stop of a five-country Southeast Asia journey for the Lord.
As in the previous visits, Thailand was not covered in the original list of countries to visit, but the local True Life in God prayer group was able to persuade Vassula to include Bangkok since it is a major stop-over point for flights to Southeast Asia from Europe. So once again, the local prayer group was rejuvenated. Preparations for the visit started immediately after Vassula's confirmation.
The first important task was to reserve a big hall at the Holy Redeemer Church where a large number of local and foreign Catholics come regularly for mass. With a new pastor, who was unfamiliar with True Life in God, we thought this was a daunting task. We offered prayers and rosaries for this intention and prepared supportive background documents on TLIG for the pastor. True enough, the pastor seemed unenthusiastic and reluctant about our request and left us with no clear response for days. We identified several alternative venues, but they were not strategically located. About a month prior to the scheduled TLIG presentation, we timidly approached the pastor again and then, viola! He just said "Yes", without any explanation.
We were in between shock and unbelief. After this, the rest of the preparations went on very smoothly. We prepared over 2,000 copies of invitation leaflets and posters, both in English and Thai languages, and circulated them to many churches around Bangkok. We also advertised in the local newspapers and made calls to the media people to come for an interview with Vassula. Despite of our few numbers, less than ten active TLIG promoters in Bangkok, we covered a number of churches and spread the news as far as in Phuket island (about 1 hour flight from Bangkok) through the local newspapers.
On 14 November, Vassula met with His Excellency, Lawrence Thienchai Samanchit, Bishop of Chantaburi province, East of Bangkok, his Vicar General, Fr. Michael Veera Phangrak, and some other priests and lay people. It was a casual and friendly small group meeting at the Bangkok Polo Club overlooking a nice garden amidst Bangkok's skyscrapers. Vassula shared her experiences at the inter-religious pilgrimage in Eygpt organized by True Life in God associations, the messages on unity and reconciliation and answered questions about oppositions to True Life in God. After the meeting, the group walked together to the Holy Redeemer Church Hall on Ruam Rudee Lane, Bangkok, where Vassula spoke to an English-speaking audience of about 300 people. Among the listeners were Bishop Thienchai and his group. The majority were new to True Life in God messages, so Vassula very kindly witnessed on the very beginning of her conversion, emphasizing her lack of knowledge of and interest in religious life before her conversion and her total unpreparedness of God's visitation. Like a present day John the Baptist, Vassula spoke at length about repentance as a first step towards intimacy with God and a preparation for God's kingdom to reign in one's heart. Citing Wisdom 1, she said that the Holy Spirit enters not, nor dwells, in a body under debt of sin.
Among the audience was a Buddhist monk who, we found out later, had crossed all Bangkok, through the rain and notorious traffic, to come and listen. The Reverend Buddhist Monk is a western educated scholar, owning many titles from prestigious American and European universities. Vassula spent half an hour sharing with him after the meeting, the similarities between the Christian and Buddhist beliefs and practices, namely: Prayer, Fasting, and Repentance. He was not agreeable to the latter, "Repentance", and Vassula very skillfully convinced him to accept the word "self-realization" to mean the same. They exchanged addresses and the hope that he could join the coming True Life in God Inter-Religious Pilgrimage in 2004.
The next day, 15 November, Vassula and Cecilia spent a lunch meeting with the local TLIG organizers. Vassula shared some innovative approach in promoting TLIG messages citing examples from other countries and encouraged the use of media and newsletter to keep local followers aware of TLIG activities worldwide and keep the TLIG messages alive in their hearts. The importance of being proactive was stressed giving her as an example. Jesus, himself, called her recently as the "athlete", who never tires to work for rebuilding the Kingdom of God on earth and fearing no oppositions that come along the way. The local TLIG organizers admitted that the TLIG mission in Thailand has been progressing slowly. Most TLIG books have been translated into Thai language since early 1990s, but it was only recently that they have been printed and distributed widely. TLIG Volume 3 in Thai version was officially launched on the occasion of Vassula's third visit and work has started for the printing of Volume 4.
On the evening of 15 November, Vassula once again spoke to a large group, mostly Thai people needing Thai translation, at the same venue in the Holy Redeemer Church Hall. This time, the hall was packed with over 600 enthusiastic people mostly from Bangkok and also from the province of Chiang Mai in the north. Her talk covered the main themes of the Messages: Repentance, Reconciliation and Unity. The presence of the Holy Spirit was felt so strongly during the praying over when a number were slain in the Spirit and experienced inner healing. Vassula later shared that many of them had deep family problems. After the praying over, a group of about 30 Thai youngsters came around Vassula for picture taking. A number of people, both men and women, reported to have seen the face of Christ in Vassula's face. Even after Vassula left the country, there were some Thai people, unknown to the organizers, who called up on the phone to report a vision of Christ's face on Vassula. These miraculous appearances did happen in the previous visits, but this time it appeared that so many people have experienced it. TLIG reading and audio materials were sold out and donations received were very generous. At the end of all, the organizers were left in awe of God's power. May God be praised!
True Life in God prayer group in Thailand