The experience of exodus

My experience with Asylum Seekers and Refugees: The experience of exodus

Good Lord has His own way letting His ministry done. Most of the time He calls you to do something which you have even never thought of, and this is very much I feel is my missionary experience, I never thought, that I would be a missionary one day, and will be able to ministry for the people who are asylum seekers and have become Refuges in Thailand.

I remember that when I was asked to be a missionary in Thailand, I said “yes” to it, without realizing what I would be doing there, how I will be dealing with the people, culture, language, and so on. But about one thing somewhere I am sure that when God call you he always says, “Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say”. Exodus 4:12.

We have a Franciscan Foundation, in Thailand which is directorially functioning under the Ministry General’s mission.  At my arrival, I met Father Superior, and I told him that I am open for anything whatever Foundation is doing here.  He was pleased and I asked me to stay in Samphran.

After a while I was asked to stay in Bangkok to learn the Thai language.   Learning the Thai language came as a very big challenge, but readiness was there, and I kept my self busy in learning the language, and mean while, I started visiting Pakistani Families, asylum seekers and refuges from different poor cities and towns of Pakistan.

Meeting and listening to their stories, who are victims of brutality, cruelty, violence, and faced all types of mistreatment back home. For them Pakistan is not home any more. They only have one way ticket now.

This is a naked reality and stigma of Pakistani society, that life of the minorities and different (Minorities) of Muslim sects is not safe at all, has become a huge challenge.   Killing and hounding of the minorities has become a daily business in Pakistan.

All the families, carries unforgettable wounded stories to tell, how they lost their family members and how brutally they were killed. Even listening to those stories is very hurting.  All of them, who have reached here, just having one thing in mind that safe and still breathing, in spite not even having basic needs of life.

They are the people who don’t know, where the promise land is and where to go from there if something happens to them, they don’t have any shepherd to guide them., just living trusting the Lord. “Blessed is the man that trusts in the Lord”. (Jer: 17:5-9)

However, Thailand is the best place for Asylum seekers and refuges. This, are very kind and generous towards them. They try their best to provide them whatever they can like food and shelter. They are always hospitable to the people in need. Thailand has a beautiful human loving culture. They have great religious and social values, which are very must inserted in them.

I am thankful to JB Custody and social sector of Pakistan who permitted me to ministry for the marginalized and less privileged of Pakistani society. It has assisted me to deepen my vocation and carry on working for the people who are in great need.

It also has broadened my experience and helped me to see things differently.

While staying in Thailand, many of my friends back in Pakistan are speculating, wondering and asking me why I made this decision to be a missionary. I say I am a Franciscan and ready to live my Franciscan life wherever Lord wants me to live and ministry for him.

Being part of the mission here is a new experience for me, we pray together, and works together and tries our best to live our Franciscan chrism in a best way and to be the witness of Gospel, not really using many words. Though sometimes it is tough and challenging also, but we keep on support and encourage each other.

I also have starting looking at the holy Bible from different and new perspectives. I realized that God is always there to assist His people in a best way like in the book of Exodus, “So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey–the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.” Exodus 3:8.

God remains on the side of the poor and marginalized, because when he sees their pain and wounds He come.  The LORD said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering”. Exodus 3:7.

The great mission of our Lord Jesus in the Gospel Luke, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed,” Luke 4:18, is a great source for me to carry on doing his Ministry in His Vineyard, whether you are accepted or not.  This is what St Francis also did in his life and I feel I am also called to be good news as much as I can and whatever the way I can.

Fr Gregarious is a spokesperson for the Franciscans in Thailand, once, mentioned that we are called to serve the people who are facing injustices and are struggling in their day today life.

 I started giving it a serious thought, and almost during same time,  I received  an e-mail from Jesuits  that they need a translator for Pakistanis Christian Asylum seekers and refuges, I shared this with Fr. Greg he said yes to it and asked me to go head.  After visiting Jesuits, I came back to Bangkok and stared visiting people who are living at different locations in Bangkok.

They are struggling and facing many difficulties in their day today lives. Even for the essential things like food and shelter. They also come up with many questions in their minds like what is my future where am I going .what will happen. Where to go?

They are sheep without shepherd. I visited almost more than a hundred families.  At the same time I visited different offices who helping them in their struggle? All are doing their best to help them. They all want to do more but they have a question how come suddenly so many people with same case start coming to Thailand. Before this they used to go to Sri Lanka.

When I visit these families I see children who are with their parents just waiting for a better future. I always question to myself what is the fault of these children? Many of them can’t go to the school because they are illegal immigrants.  But in this way, we all are ruining the future of our world.

I also think that Jesus loved the children. Who is going to love these children who don’t have basic stuff of life, how can they have good and better future of which their parents dream. Though, there are some initiatives like, one group is running a school for these children in Bangkok, but that school is for those who have refugee states. It is not for children who are still waiting to be declared refuges, and most of the time the cases take more than two years.

I had few meetings with different families who are living in different apartments. The groups who are helping they are giving food and shelter, and helping them in their cases. I strongly think that we need to assist kids who are at homes and not going to regular schools.  I think it would be a great thing to facilitate these kids by starting a small “Home School”.

And in this way we will be able to share the burden, of other groups who are trying to help others in this regard.  In this way we will be able to save the future of these children, by teaching them about computers, and how to read and write. There will also be a positive direction to our ministries and kids can also have better and dazzling future.

These families also need counseling individually and in groups. They were normal families who use to have their jobs.

Now have started begging because for the circumstances they are facing and that is good for nothing. It means they have lost their self steam, and consider them themselves as no one as if they don’t exist.

I try my best to sit with them and to listen to them and to try to share the burden and give them a hope for the good future.

For me it is a high time to learn that we all have to come out of judging people because of their greed, culture, religion, race and language, in order to prevail peace, justice and harmony for every human as St Francis of assist says  “make me a instrument of peace”.

 

Brother Khushi Lal OFM

Franciscan Foundation Thailand

 

 

 

5 Comments

  1. wasim daniel

    Mon 06th Jan 2014 at 9:54 AM

    Dear brother Khushi .
    I would like to know some information regarding the asylum cases in Thailand. If you can send me email address . i will be really thank full to you . God Bless you.

    Regards’,
    wasim daniel

    Reply
  2. Fauzia Burke

    Thu 12th Dec 2013 at 5:51 AM

    I’m Fauzia I want brother kashi lal number I’m from Pakistan .Thankyou Godbless

    Reply
  3. Sohail Kamran

    Tue 13th Aug 2013 at 5:33 PM

    Dear brother Khushi .
    I would like to know some information regarding the asylum cases in Thailand. If you can send me email address . i will be really thank full to you . God Bless you.

    Reply
  4. Qamar

    Sat 25th May 2013 at 7:56 AM

    Khushi sahib!

    Impressive work you are doing with Jesus focused approach. May God give you more courage to help people.

    In Christ

    Qamar Islamabad Pakistan

    Reply
    • imran masih

      Thu 03rd Oct 2013 at 8:17 AM

      Dear brother Khushi .
      I would like to know some information regarding the asylum cases in Thailand. If you can send me email address . i will be really thank full to you . God Bless you.

      Regards’,
      imran masih

      Reply

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