David Drew and his family live ten minutes away from the Mekong River in the far northern Chiang Rai region of Thailand. Across the river is Laos, now ruled by Communists. Drew is a doctor from Britain serving a year’s hitch as a volunteer with the World Vision missionary relief organization. His job is to provide medical care to the thousands of refugees in the several camps in his area.
A Baptist, Drew became a Christian in 1967 through the witness of fellow students at the University of Bristol. Janet, who later became his wife, accepted Christ the following year as the result of the ministry of American street evangelist Arthur Blessitt. The Drews and their two small children live in a small wooden house perched on poles on the outskirts of Chiang Khong. They like it here. The lush flatlands give way to hills in the distance, accenting the remarkable tropical beauty that visitors to Thailand never forget. For the most part, the people around them are friendly and gentle-spirited. The Drews take special delight in Thai food, and they serve it like their neighbors, who eschew utensils and instead scoop up “sticky rice” with their fingers.
Drew is often frustrated but manages to maintain a bright spirit. Much of his time is spent training young men in the camps to be paramedics. The turnover among the intelligent and skilled refugees tends to be high; they are generally the first ones chosen by interviewers from the West for resettlement in their countries.
Infections are rampant in the refugee camps. Children are everywhere, and the majority have running noses. Sanitary facilities are woefully inadequate. Outdoor latrines and fly-covered food stalls exist side by side in many places. Water must often be carried great distances ...1
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