Recently I had the pleasure of visiting one of our Good News subscribers in Laos, Mr. Ming Oukeobounheuang. I have been corresponding with Ming since 2004 and this was my first opportunity to personally visit him. I departed Bangkok on Monday, March 26, and arrived in the capital city of Laos, Vientiane, at 9:30 a.m. After making contact with Ming, he came by the hotel and we talked for some time. After our discussion Ming took me to his house via motorbike. This was an interesting experience as I am about twice the size of Ming. Needless to say I silently uttered a few prayers as I had visions of me spilling onto the pavement. But thankfully Ming was an adept cyclist.
After arriving at the house I met Ming’s wife and another gentleman and we spent the next three hours discussing the Church. Ming was a member of the Seventh-Day Adventist church so we discussed the similarities and differences between the SDA church and the United Church of God. We also discussed the beliefs of UCG, how we preach the gospel and our plan for preaching the gospel in Asia. I learned that most Christians in Laos only have access to the Lao translation of the New Testament. After our meeting Ming showed me some of the interesting sites of Vientiane. One of the sites was the Kaysone Phomvihane Memorial located near what was once known as “Six Klicks City,” the former USAID/CIA compound. After the communist takeover of Laos in 1975, Laos’ revolutionary leader, Kaysone Phomvihane, resided in the compound until his death in 1992.
The following morning I received an early morning phone call from Ming stating that he was in the lobby of my hotel and would like to speak with me. After frantically dressing I met Ming in the lobby and we spent the morning discussing additional questions regarding the Church and the challenges Christians face in Laos, a predominantly Buddhist country. Ming is planning to utilize some of our literature as he teaches English to his students.
After leaving Laos I traveled to Kajang, Malaysia to spend the Sabbath and Passover with some of our Malaysian brethren. Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia are pastored by Jeff Caudle from New Zealand. Since Mr. Caudle would be in New Zealand for the Spring Holy Days, I volunteered to visit Malaysia and Singapore. This visit was a wonderful opportunity to get to know our Malaysian brethren. My first visit to Malaysia was in 1981 and the changes that have taken place during those 26 years are astounding. Kajang is a short drive from Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, and it is one of the most beautiful capital cities that I have seen in Asia. The hospitality of the brethren was just as beautiful as the city!
After a memorable Sabbath and Passover with the Malaysian brethren, I traveled to Singapore for the Night To Be Much Observed and the First Day of Unleavened Bread.
Singapore is one of the nicest Asian cities to visit. It is beautiful, efficient, clean and safe but the warmth and fellowship of the brethren even exceeds to virtues of the city. All the Singapore brethren were able to gather in a private room at a Thai restaurant for the Night To Be Much Observed. We were also joined by Edward Simanjuntak and his family from Batam, Indonesia. The following day we gathered at the office of Mr. Samuthiran for a wonderful feast of local dishes and the holy day service. I look forward to the next opportunity to visit our brethren in this area. Singapore will be a Feast of Tabernacles site once again this year and I would encourage everyone to take advantage of this opportunity to spend the Feast with our brethren from Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. I’m sure it will be one of your most memorable Feasts! —David Baker