20 families celebrated Christmas in secret in a Bangkok condo by hiring a room as a hall for their worship thanks to donations provided by our donors.
Visitors were given a hearty meal cooked by a Pak-Christian chef who received a donation that would help his family survive the hard economic conditions.
All 20 families received a large bag of food supplies that should provide a months sustenance for their families.
Families received essential food help.
On 23rd December 2021, a Christmas service and party was organised by British Asian Christian Association for 20 beleaguered Pak-Christian asylum seeker families in Bangkok, Thailand.
20 families from different areas of Bangkok joined this secret programme that allowed many families their first proper praise and worship service since the Thailand Coronavirus lockdowns.
The event was lead by Miss Humaira Jahanzaib and a sermon was given by Pastor Shehzad Masih.
Every visitor expressed great thank for being able to share the joy of Christmas together and to have such a large fellowship meeting after a long absence. The children performed in a number of nativity plays sang carols and Christmas carols while also dancing to worship music.
Children dance to Happy Birthday Yesu as part of their nativity play.
A Pak-Christian custom of cutting a special Christmas cake took place and gifts of clothing were given to all 25 Christian children in attendance.
Cutting the Christmas cake together.
All girls were given dresses and boys were given T-shirts.
Pastor Shehzad Masih, said:
“Christmas is one of the most important celebrations in the Christian calendar.
“It was such a joy to share the Gospel with all God’s people in attendance.
“Over 2000 years ago God came to earth as a man and opened a doorway to salvation.
“We all now can have eternal life through Him and today we glorified His name in earnest.”
Our service had to be held in secret as even when registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Pak-Christians and other asylum seekers and refugees are deemed illegal. You can learn more in this documentary (here). Or in the embed below:
British Asian Christian Association, helped the BBC film with the secret documentary above, when one of our team travelled secretly travelled to Bangkok with a BBC film crew led by Chris Rogers (click here), risking arrest to shed light on the situation faced by the asylum diaspora there.
Pak-Christian asylum seekers faced starvation during the recent lockdowns. BACA has been providing 10 families with regular food distributions every month. We really would like to increase the number of food parcels we deliver so we can reach more families but need your help to make this happen. In the main, we are relying on an Australian couple who have remained faithful with their donations over the last few years to ensure that we are able to continue this work. We really would appreciate more regular donors to support this work that we might increase the work we undertake in Thailand. If you feel moved by what you have read so far in this article and would like to donate please (click here)
Scores of Christians attended a much needed Christmas celebration after a difficult lockdown.
CORONAVIRUS PANIC IN BANGKOK
Thailand has already had 2,204,672 registered cases of COVID-19. On 23rd December a further 2,671 cases were registered and the new Omicron virus threatens to ravage through Thailand. Total deaths were at 21,528 and 104 registered cases of new variant Omicron were reported also on 23rd December. These figures are creating great concern for the 1000’s in the Pak-Christian asylum seeker community who make up over 90% of all asylum seekers in Bangkok.
We reported on the difficulties faced by Pak-Christian asylum seekers during the Thailand lockdown of April 2020 (here). A similar lockdown in October 2021 created desperate situations for already struggling families (click here).
Worse still COVID-19 has ravaged through the Bangkok Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) and many vulnerable asylum seekers living in disgusting, cramped, over-capacity cells have suffered serious infections. Read more (here). Sadly this meant that so far we have not been able to provide the Christmas meals and bible verses to detainees we provided annually, as visiting the IDC has been prohibited. The Royal Thai Government is attempting to protect these vulnerable detainees by limiting contact, but there squalid crammed conditions threaten another outbreak.
Way back in March 2020 before the lockdowns in Bangkok, British Asian Christian Association had sought the immediate release of all detainees in the Bangkok IDC. The Royal Thai Government (RTG), ignored our early calls through direct emails (click here), for freedom of at risk asylum seekers and continue to ignore calls for release by many groups since (click here).
We ask that our regular supporters contact their politicians, parliamentarians and other leaders and call for them to challenge the Royal Thai Government to do the right thing and release these victims.
Juliet Chowdhry, trustee for British Asian Christian Association, said:
“It beggars belief that in such a pandemic the RTG continues to detain asylum seekers in centres where the spread of COVID-19 is a significant risk.
“The silence of countries in the west and the UN on such a hazardous situation is a poor indictment.
“The squalid conditions and poor treatment for detainees in Thailand – seeking escape from violent, dangerous life threatening situations in their homelands is despicable.
“That it has been able to continue in a country that has ratified many UN conventions illustrates how toothless the UN has become.
“Thailand Chairs the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and recently finalised its Thailand is finalizing its Fourth National Human Rights Plan for 2019 to 2023 (click here).
“Yet their current plan for asylum seekers and refugees within its borders shows little scope for reform – realpolitik continues to win the day”