Vassula's trip to Thailand
February 12-14, 1999
by Edgar Dante
Vassula Ryden came to Thailand for the first time in March 1998 and gave a testimony to about 800 people in Bangkok. It is difficult to determine the extent of conversion during the meeting but surely it gave a big boost to those people who have been reading the True Life in God messages since they became available in Thailand beginning 1994. It was also through this visit that a True Life in God prayer group was formed in May 1998 and has been meeting weekly since then.
In January 1999, while the euphoria of Vassula's 1998 visit still lingered, we were contacted to see if a second visit of Vassula to Thailand could be organized within a month’s time. The local group decided with a big "Yes". Saying yes was easy but doing was rather difficult. How could such visit be organized in a short notice? Last year, it took about four months to prepare Vassula's visit. Nevertheless the group was confident given the experience they have had from last year and the trust on God’s guidance. However, God allowed more difficulties and obstacles this time. One of the organizers was hospitalized due to flu and another cracked a leg bone. Furthermore, the first choice of venue for Vassula's talk was refused because of confusions caused by some people spreading reports against Vassula.
But the Lord had His hand on the mission. An alternative venue, the same venue as last year's visit, was made available without problem. In addition, a group of Thai people led by Bishop John Bosco Manat Chuabsamai (Bishop Manat), who had a special meeting with Vassula last year, offered to organize a meeting for Vassula with Thai people at Mt. Tabor Retreat Center in Kanchanaburi Province, about 280 kilometers west of Bangkok. By the time these two meetings were confirmed, Vassula was already scheduled to arrive in 10 days. Invitations, announcements and preparations of the meeting were made during this short period.
Meeting in Mt. Tabor, Thailand (Vassula's Talk)
Vassula and her companion, Katerina Andritsaki, a Greek lady, arrived Bangkok on 12 February at about 7:00 AM. Members of the local True Life in God prayer group received and immediately took them to the airport hotel to rest before leaving for Kanchanaburi province in the afternoon. By 2:30 PM, both Vassula and Katerina appeared at the hotel lobby fresh and ready for the mission. A Thai group led by Joseph Phichate Raktabutr took Vassula and Katerina in a mini-bus while some English-speaking TLIG members followed by car.
The drive to Mt. Tabor was relaxed and comfortable. People enjoyed chit-chatting with Vassula and asking many questions which Vassula satisfied with eagerness. There was no sign of Vassula being tired and weary. Before long, they were already at the top of Mt. Tabor where a very beautiful retreat center is located. The mountain overlooks a magnificent view of the Srinakarindara Dam, which looks like a smaller version of the Lake of Galilee in Israel. Bishop Manat, Father Surin Chunfong, Father Gregory Saw Dho Soe from Burma, together with 20 lay people received Vassula and Katerina at the retreat center.
In all, about 150 Thai lay people and some priests from different parts of Thailand came to hear Vassula's testimony on Saturday, 13 February 1999. Many came upon the invitation of Bishop Manat, Joseph Phichate Raktabutr and Peter Larsen. The meeting was held in an open-air room in one of the bungalows in the compound. The meeting began with songs of adoration led by Bishop Manat. With Bishop Manat translating into Thai, Vassula eagerly shared the messages of True Life in God (see transcription of Vassula’s talk).
On Saturday evening, after the Holy Mass, Vassula prayed over the group of Thai people for healing using a crucifix with a relic of the original cross. Many of the people received healing both spiritually and physically. A number rested in the Spirit while some experienced God’s mercy, gentleness and healing. One came out after the healing praising the Lord by saying, "…all of us trusted in His gentle mysterious ways. He healed us and cured our mind and body. We knew that everything is the fruit of His love, for this is the precious gift from God, the Heavenly Father, and His only beloved Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. We’ve never known how He blesses and how His grace works, but surely without His love, we are hopeless. Life is empty, worthless and nothing at all, without His love." Another person shared how he felt while Vassula prayed over him with the cross on his head. He said, "It was like an electricity. It was like a fire that burned across."
Meeting in Bangkok (Vassula's Talk)
Vassula’s second meeting was held at the Holy Redeemer Hall located at Ruam Rudee Lane in Bangkok on 14 February 1999, the day after her meeting in Mt. Tabor. It started with a brief introduction by the organizers, followed by the Rosary, and then Vassula’s testimony and healing session. The meeting started at exactly 2:00 PM with about 300 people in the hall. Later in the session, the number grew to about 500 people. The meeting began without Vassula since she was still on the way from the hotel resting after the long drive from Mt. Tabor. To the organizers’ amazement, she arrived at the meeting hall at the exact time of her testimony, right after the rosary. She walked through the hall with so much gentleness, without any sign of rush, straight to the podium and then began to greet the people. She then gave her testimony which was translated into Thai by a Thai Catholic priest from the Holy Redeemer Church (see transcription of Vassula’s talk).