Krabi Boats 8

“Did you know? Mr.Suchat is dying… It doesn’t look good.”suchart3

I am standing in our kitchen one morning with our housekeeper/neighbor Mrs. Yaa when I hear her say this. I am frozen as I hear these words but not sure whether I understood correctly. Translating in my head slowly, I realized I heard it right. Our neighbor is dying?

“He fainted at home two days ago and has been in the hospital since,” Mrs. Yaa continued. “We don’t know how long he was there before a friend came over concerned about not seeing him.”

I keep thinking this couldn’t be true! I had just spoken to him earlier in the week.



Mr.Suchat was the neighbor diagonal from us. He kept chickens, dogs as well as songbirds. Our family would always be entertained by the beautiful birds he raised and loved looking at them as we pass by. Our son, Caden even mentioned a few days ago the dog had puppies and asked me if I would take him to see them. I absentmindedly said we would later but never gave a specific time. Now I felt regret we didn’t go and have a chance to speak with him.

As we have shared before, we are so grateful for God providing a wonderful neighborhood to live in. For the past two years, our neighbors have embraced us and we feel they are like family. So when we found out later in the day that Mr. Suchat passed away, I was filled with sadness and regret.


Mr. Suchat's death announcement banner at the gate of a temple. This is the typical way for Thais to share about a death and funeral times.


Buddhist temple where the funeral took place. The funeral banner at the gate.

As we are preparing to return to the US, I just assumed that even though we would be away for a year, everyone would still be there when we return. This event made me realize that we couldn’t know for sure and maybe there would be others we would never see again.

Mr. Suchat’s death dug into my heart deeply. Not only because he was a dear neighbor but the fact that we never had the opportunity to share the gospel with him. Throughout the years, we had simple pleasant conversations. He was well aware we were Christian missionaries but we never had the opportunity to spend time with him. He wasn’t an old man. He was 51 years old. His father, who was well into his late 80’s, only passed away last year. So I took for granted he may not be around.


Buddhist mourner paying respects

As we went to his Buddhist funeral, I’m saddened and feel a sense of failure. I’m shaken that Mr. Suchat never had the opportunity to hear the Good News and I’m even envisioning him asking me why I never shared. In the days following, my heart is further divided. Even though I’m looking forward to returning to the States and seeing all our family and friends, I realized I’m leaving behind loved ones here, too. I’m praying and asking God to help me keep this burden in my heart and never lose the vision of why we are here; to help us to keep our eyes on what is on our loving Father’s heart. And always “teach us to number our days, so we may get a heart of wisdom.” (Ps 90:12) To remember our time here is short, but that we can work during this time to yield eternal fruit.