When God speaks – The flood of Hat Yai


street in Cee's neighborhood

It was November 10th, 2010. I was flying from Bangkok to Hat Yai in the south of Thailand.

Tucked against the Malaysia border are Thailand’s most southern three provinces and Hat Yai is the largest city in that region. I was on route to Hat Yai to join the team from Bangkok. The team had arrived days earlier to support the community that was still living through the Typhoon that devastated the city on November 1st. The Typhoon left more than two – thirds of the city under 8 feet of water for 3 days.

Before I tell you of the story of how this community in Hat Yai courageously handled this experience let me introduce you to Cee.

I first met Cee about 6 years ago when I was speaking in the Northeast of Thailand at a training weekend. Cee is a single women who has led this spiritual community for over 10 years. The spiritual community primarily consists of single parents and orphaned children living in a poorer part of the city. Cee was born to a Malaysia mother and Thai/Chinese father.

As a baby she was sold by her parents to her Aunt.

Cee’s father positioned her as ransom throughout her life receiving continual payment from his sister. Her Aunt, a single women, longed for children of her own to raise and was willing to pay such a price. Cee was the pawn in this family chess game. With this as the backdrop of her life you can appreciate her heart to create belonging for others, especially the poor and marginalized.

In May, 2010 Cee had a dream that her city would be flooded before the end of the year. She believed the dream was from God. Hat Yai had been flooded 10 years earlier but with many improvements in infrastructure and underground systems the danger of flooding was no more. Nevertheless Cee began to prepare her team over the months following her dream, though everyone around her thought she was foolish.

On the week leading up to Sunday, October 31st, 2010 a number of people in their community had dreams and prophetic senses that a flood was coming. Cee began to feel this was the moment to speak out. A typhoon was anticipated to arrive that week.

On Sunday, October 31st she told her spiritual community that a flood was coming to their city and that preparation was necessary.

She invited people to get their valuables and belonging up high or store them in waterproof places. Most did not believe her and did not act. That same day she and her team walked throughout the neighbourhood preparing people for a coming flood. The neighbours laughed at her as she and her team took all their valuable items from their homes and the church up several storeys for protection. They even carried 5 motorbikes up to the second floor.

5 days after the flood

At the same time the Mayor of Hat Yai was on the local news assuring residents that all preparations had been done for the city and that the coming Typhoon would not cause flooding. People believed the Mayor. On November 1st, as the rains came the city systems were unable to process the volume of water and within 4 hours the water levels went from several inches deep to over 8 feet deep throughout much of the city. The entire downtown core was underwater including the local McDonald’s.

Most people have lost everything to water damage.

Many cars were left fully submerged and most homes had a 7 to 8 feet water mark when the waters receded 3 days later.

I arrived as the water had almost fully receded and clean-up was in full motion. Street after street lined with 5 foot high piles of destroyed possessions. Family after family displaced. Cee has taken in as many families as she can presently. With the help of some of our American friends Cee and the team are able to purchase mattresses, blankets, pallets of rice, water and medicine to disperse to those in need. Because they don’t have to focus on their own needs they can help others now.

With the rainy season just beginning and more storms expected the city awaits and tries to catch its breath. In the meanwhile Cee and her team quietly live out their unassuming lives listening to God and loving others.

… and maybe just maybe her neighborhood will discover a voice worth considering.

Todd Rutkowski

~ by blueporch on November 12, 2010.

2 Responses to “When God speaks – The flood of Hat Yai”

  1. Hi there would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re working with? I’m planning to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a difficult time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique. P.S Sorry for being off-topic but I had to ask!

  2. this is a wordpress blog… you can select from a number of templates for your background, layout and look… we have found wordpress user friendly and easy to upload pics, videos and such. Hope that helps

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