Pray... Against Deception
Our hearts have been heavy as we've watched many in our village become increasingly infatuated with a form of Buddhist fortune telling. Almost every evening, after everyone has returned from the fields, a large group crowds around a Chinese man who sells "good fortune". We don't really understand all the intricacies of how it supposedly works, but it has been simply explained to us like this: when a person gives his money (in exchange for a piece of paper with numbers written on it) he is then supposed to receive "good fortune" which will eventually yield a profit of 10 times what he originally gave.
We've learned that this growing fad is common only in the Akha villages around Mae Salong. While the area has so many obvious benefits for the Akha who live there (like secure jobs working in the Chinese tea fields), the one drawback we've noticed is that the Akha in Mae Salong are continually reminded of their poverty by daily interactions with their wealthy Chinese neighbors and employers. Many of the Akha in our village have been led to believe that this kind of wealth comes from "good fortune" ...which can be purchased today only for a special price of 100 baht!
I can see how they feel like the victims of a nasty trick of fate who just need a dose of "good fortune" to turn things around. From all appearances, they all work much harder than their wealthy employers, yet they can never seem to get ahead. They trudge to the fields every day, getting only 6 baht for every kilo of tealeaves that they pick, while that same tea is processed and sold for as much as 650 baht. Just being born an Akha puts them at a disadvantage. But paying 20, 50 or 100 baht out of their hard-earned money to buy false hope only serves to make their situation worse.
Please pray for the people of our village who are deceived by this scam; pray that their eyes would be opened. Pray that they would handle their money with wisdom, instead of wasting it on false hope. Also, please pray for Pastor A-Ta who is interning in our village this year; pray that he would address the issue wisely and that he would have the patience and grace needed to effectively reach those who have mistakenly put their faith in "good fortune."