VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 9/19/06)-In the early afternoon of Tuesday, September 19, Stan Murray received a phone call in his office in Valley Forge, PA, from missionaries of International Ministries (IM) serving in Thailand, telling him that a coup d'etat was under way in their nation. Murray is IM's area director for Southeast Asia and Japan and oversees IM's mission activities and relationships in Thailand. Murray reported that the situation on the ground in Thailand appeared to be calm during the first hours of the coup, and that missionaries were safe. Murray and the IM crisis management team will be in close communication with missionaries and partner church leaders as the situation develops.
The coup began when General Sonthi Boonyaratkalin, the head of the Thai army, declared martial law, suspended the constitution and surrounded government buildings in Bangkok with tanks. The army has declared its loyalty to Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, at the same time that it seeks to depose the nation's Prime Minister, Taksin Shinawatra. Shinawatra was in New York at the United Nations session at the time of the coup.
IM has a long relationship with the people of Thailand. IM's work in the country, then known as Siam, began in 1833, when pioneer missionaries John Taylor Jones and his wife Sarah first arrived in Bangkok.
Charles Jones, IM's acting executive director, called for prayer on behalf of the people of Thailand, its leaders and our many sisters and brothers throughout the country.
Andrew C. Jayne American Baptist Churches, USA Mission Resource Development http://www.abc-usa.org/