This festival is going on this week here in Thailand. I have taken exerts from Thai information about this festival. This country is very dark.
"The Vegetarian Festival in Thailand is a colourful event held over a nine-day period in October, celebrating the Chinese community's belief that abstinence from meat and various stimulants during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar will help them obtain good health and peace of mind.
Though the origins of the festival are unclear, it is commonly thought that the festival was bought to Phuket by a wandering Chinese opera group who fell ill with malaria while performing on the island. They decided to adhere to a strict vegetarian diet and pray to the Nine Emperor gods to ensure purification of the mind and body. To everyone's amazement the opera group made a complete recovery. The people celebrated by holding a festival that was meant to honour the gods as well as express the people's happiness at surviving what was, in the 19th century, a fatal illness. Subsequently the festival has grown and developed into a spectacular yearly event that is attended by thousands with participants flying in from China and other Asian destinations.
One of the...aspects of the festival are the various, (and sometimes gruesome) ceremonies which are held to invoke the gods. Firewalking, body piercing and other acts of self mortification undertaken by participants acting as mediums of the gods, have become more spectacular and daring as each year goes by. Men and women puncture their cheeks with various items including knives, skewers and other household items. It is believed that the Chinese gods will protect such persons from harm, and little blood or scarring results from such mutilation acts. This is definitely not recommended for the faint hearted to witness.
For the next few days, the local Chinese/Thai community brings their household gods to the temple, along with offerings of food and drink. It is assumed that the household gods will benefit from an annual injection of spiritual energy that fills the temple. Visitors can observe and even participate in the lighting of joss sticks and candles that are placed around the various gods.
Usually street processions take place, where visitors can see participants walking in a trance. Other events include hundreds of local residents running across a bed of burning coals, or climbing an eight metre ladder of sharp blades while in trance. Apart from the visual spectacle of this festival, visitors can partake in specially prepared vegetarian cuisine made available at street stalls and markets around the island during this time."
Spiritual warfare here is very tangible here where you can feel the darkness & see demons from time to time. Please pray for Thailand I have to be honest when I say that in so many ways it is more advanced than Canada & there is so much money here. Thai's when you get to know them personally have no peace inside themselves. They offer gifts to the gods on their spirithouses that is next to their home, & many places throughout the our city or they go to the Buddhist temples (usually no more than 2km apart in most directions) because it is all many of them know & are too scared to change what they already know. Fear, when you live in the East is the biggest tool & 2nd is materialism.
I have been told by Thai's that when someone here is suffering many say "there or they must have done something to cause bad karma or in their previous life they had bad karma." Fear of getting the bad karma many do not help.
The sermon text this morning was Luke 10:25-37 (the good samaritan). God challenged me with this today after church "How are you letting tradition, your family or your own reputation; "Fear" preventing you from reaching out to help someone in need, Matt?"
I find myself spending a lot of time with God examining my own life & asking for forgiveness of others. I am in a place where I need to be willing to trust God totally to give me what I need to reach out to people because I don't have everything I need. And if I have the resources to praise God, give him the glory for providing resources to help. Many times I have to get over myself & my plans for the resources he has given me to help others & not to help myself 1st. God wants open hands for everything He has given us. He has provided everything in my past & I need to trust him daily for everything with my future because Matthew 6:29-34 says God loves me more than I could ever understand & will provide all my needs (usually in ways I never know) & not all my wants.
This past 2 weeks I have continued with full-time Thai language classes everyday. I also have been helping friends (missionaries) from another country get visa paperwork from doctors, pick them up at the airport, bring them to our home, help them as they moved into a place for the next 3 months, take them to the places they needed to buy supplies for the next 3 months, cook a meal for them as we had a great time getting to know each other more. I have told them many times that we (as a family) are here to help them in anyway possible with anything we have while they are here. They are preparing to have their first child. Please pray for their child that everything will go well.
Teresa is still in Phuket with Mark & his wife Rachel. Please pray for them because they both are in great need. Teresa has been spending most of her time with Mark & Rachel together as well as apart. The Spirit of God is there. Please continue to pray for them because their lives are in a very difficult place.