Thai Violence Poses No Danger for Covenant Missionaries

CHIANG MAI, THAILAND (May 19, 2010) – Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC) missionaries serving in Thailand emphasized in emails this morning that they feel “quite safe” despite violence that broke out during the day in cities where they are serving.

Randy Bevis and Bob Shim reported that the violence was a response to the arrest of red shirt leaders in Bangkok. The missionaries said the fighting occurred in parts of Chiang Mai that are far removed from where they are living.

About 1,000 red shirt supporters set fire to tires downtown along the river, Bevis said. The British government today advised against all but essential travel to Chiang Mai. The travel advisory noted that the protestors had set up a “demonstration site” at the railway station.

Missionary Bob Shim reported that protestors had burned city halls in Udon and Kon Khen. He forwarded word from Jim Gustafson that electricity and water had been cut off in Udon, where the Covenant also is engaged in mission work.

The ECC Department of World Mission is partnering with ministries in Thailand on various projects, including fish farms in Chiang Mai and Udon.

A group of eight North Park University students on a mission trip to Thailand also were safe and in an area far removed from outbreaks. The students traveled to Mae Sot earlier in the day and were scheduled to visit a refugee camp north of the city until their return late next week.

The government imposed curfews in at least 21 provinces.

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