Dear Friends, this was in place of my sermon this New Years Day 2012. Daney Dumdeang is a member of the Capitol Hill UMC. He grew up in Thailand. It is a privilege to share his testimony with you all.
Blessings and Peace,
Deborah and Rev. David Weekley
Why Me? Would I Be Blessed?
I do know God … I have been with him way before I realized it while I was a Buddhist monk practicing Dhamma. I know Jesus … Jesus is the son of God … God is his father. God is everywhere, even in Dhamma. God is in Buddha … God is showing me his quality.. in Bhamaviran (The sublime attitude according to Metta Sutta: metta, karuna, mutita and upekha) and that is Buddha who has God inside him … has through me … it is such ignorance for one who keeps asking the question, “Does God exist?” Yes, God does exist in His form of quality … love, kindness, sympathy and equanimity and all forms of humanitarianism. God is there for everyone, including you and me … one and all for one.
On December 22, Pastor David sent me a message that I should share my Christmas testimony on Sunday, Jan 1st … It will be the best day … more people … It will be fine with me … I have not yet coordinated the message which was given to me to deliver … Mountains of messages were given to me by HIM this year. I do not know where to start and where to be in the middle and the end. The contribution of God’s word has come after the Holy spirit that rested upon me … My daughter Dona gave me the essential key words before Thanksgiving Holiday … “Papa, we have so much to be thankful for, don’t you think?: asked Dona. Upon her words came to my thought, that is what we are always missing: Thanks to our LORD and his people.
To tell the best story is not to start in the beginning, but in the middle of our story … Buddha achieved his enlightenment when he was young, in middle age, and taught us his Dhamma and his middle age was significant. So did Jesus. He gave up his life to repay our sins when he was young , in middle age … So other spiritual leaders, like the Dalai Lama we know, and his work, when he was middle aged … So John … who discovered Mormonism in this country when he was in middle age … some of our presidents, like J.F. Kennedy, who was loved by us when he was in middle age, and our young President Obama now … and many more young and middle aged leaders in world history … the age God wants us to serve Him because it is more profoundly and effectively well done in the eyes of GOD. God knows when his children are getting old, they are not as energetic. It is true. Many times Chin asked me if I don’t know I cannot do things that I used to do, maybe because I am getting so old. Of course we are more than old age and our energy is decreasing daily … we must accept it … birth, growing up, decay, old age and returning home with GOD, Buddha may say. My love life story began in the year 1961, the month of August, when I was younger, 16, I was sent to Buddhist religious affairs in Burma. On the way, on my flight on the white sky, I saw an angel, she put me in her wings … she showed me my sweet heart and future soul mate. I could not believe what I was being told and what I was seeing … that most beautiful young girl that was showed to me by the angel would be my lovely wife … I was asked by Allen and Mary, “How did you meet your wife?” When I told them, Allen said that was the best story of all. Later, I was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and Asian Foundation to continue my graduate studies in Philosophy, political science, and Asian Literature in 1966 in the USA at the U of W and in August, 1970, I saw that most beautiful girl in college at Parrington Hall in the Philosophy Department at the U of W. I was connecting to the girl who was introduced to me by the angel. I fell in love at first sight. I saw sunshine in her eyes. She was a gorgeous blue-eyed blonde with the so beautiful smile … and I just said, “Hi” … and … I knew in my heart that she was the beautiful girl whom I would spend the rest of my life with. I was stunned when I first saw her. I asked my angel, “Is this the same girl you introduced me to in my vision in Burma?” Yes, this is the one. I said, “She is angel-like but more hippy style in 1970.” Yes, she is the same. I was so amazed and well accepted it in my heart. Two years later, we were married, after we already had lived together for two years. True love is knowing someone so well, so deeply, so completely, and I feel connected to her. True love goes beyond anything that can be described with human words … something touching my heart as an eternal song for life and that woman is my true wife today … true love has not gone away until today and forevermore. She is not only my wife, but she is my soul mate … my sunshine and sunset, the grace that filled my soul and the wind under my wings. Our love continues even beyond everything, and the phenomena of the loving life story that I am sharing with you. You are even part of the story. My wife’s story is part of you all. She loves all people in the church and others and that is her nature. I just know that God asked me to share this story to those who care enough to share the loves and losses they have experienced. Our friends who lost lovers or loved ones, please know that the body does not last forever, but the spirit does. As for my wife and I, we work as the team parents, we have three children, we are happily married, and we are building our spiritual life day by day with each other. Of course I am not lying to you. Our lovely and married life ‘s journey has ups downs, just like everybody else’s. It is not extraordinary. After all, we have love connecting and reconnecting on a spiritual level more than a physical level. If one fights in a mundane, everyday sense (in the sensuality world) and continues to live in the spiritual or super mundane world, then happiness, joy and peace are fulfilled. A friend’s love says, “If you are need anything, I’ll be there. A true love says, “You’ll never need anything; I’ll be there. This is the true love: “Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other”(Psalm 85:10) We are called to speak the truth in love (Eph 4:16.) … “to those who call upon HIM in truth” (Psalm 34).
Besides having each other, we have three most wonderful grown up children and four grandchildren. We have many God children. We are happy with who we are. This is the story of the restoration of our love … from the one Angel … the angel is one and one for all. Thank God for making our international marriage work and last forever. GOD’s gift is the best gift and beyond giving of the gift, that is our life together. Happy marriage, one for all, all for one. So that is my story, with a fairy-tale ending … that I have a dream of, and I’m savoring every minute of it happily ever … May I have a song of the angel, Angels We Have Heard on High, that I love to hear with our friends in the church, if I may, if time allows, to cherish in my unforgettable memory.
Life does not get any better than being married to your own soul mate.
God promises to be with my family as he promises to be with all of us. “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, having perfect Holiness in the fear of God. Open your heart to us. We have wronged no one,” said Apostle Paul.
Another year is dawning, Dear Father, let it be;
In working or in waiting, another with thee;
Another year is dawning, Dear Father, let it be;
On earth or else in heaven, another year for thee.
A beautiful, anonymous poem
Let’s start new life, the life of the new year. The beginning of the new year is a time, in a certain sense, we all can start afresh about everything as it ought to be, a time when we aim higher, reach further, dream bigger and believe stronger. As Henry Ward Beecher said, “Every man should be born again on the first day of January. Start with a fresh page. Take up one more hole in the buckle, if necessary, or let down one according to the circumstance: but on the first of January, let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take no interest in the things that were and are past.” Last year in my Xmas testimony, I raised the question, “What do we do for ourselves?” I never gave the fullest answer. But now I have told a story of part of my life, as Mel used to tease me: “Daney, you should write more fully about your life. Here, Mel, I did as you requested, this time. Next time, it will be your life and you cannot hide any chapter of your life; we want to know it all, and soon: we cannot wait to hear from you, it is your turn, as you promised me…MEL. Hope my story will convince you to do the same..take care of your loved ones. “Love is actually stronger than death.” Our beloved can and do communicate beyond the grave.
Thank God for Peter, our son, who is the coach for young children around the state, both in Washington and Oregon. He sincerely devotes his life and his time to those children whose parents need him. Peter knows well what is the worst thing for our children in the community. Children who have so much free time will join the gangs and drop out from school. Peter has a heart of love for his teams. He trains and lets them enjoy themselves and have a lot of fun. Peter has no intention of allowing evil forces to harm the children and the parents trust him. Peter has come along so perfectly well. Thank you, God, that you changed Peter and turned his life around. Peter knows he has not lost his Identity anymore. He has been involved deeply with the Girls and Boys Club for many years to motivate kids and influence them for the very bright future. Parents and kids have looked to Peter as the role model and mentor. Peter has realized that to give all positive thought in the future does not take only parents alone, but some real mentors like him to motivate them in their future life, to have a beam of shining hope out of the darkness… hope for a bright future. Patty and I are so proud of Peter. We are supporting him 100% for what he has done for the community for young children … as One Sunday David asked for us to pray for the future of the young after I announced we lost a young friend, Allen, who was stabbed to death after a confrontation.
Thank God for Myla, who is the best mother for her three children, our grandchildren, and who also has given a great deal of help to her nephew, Dylan, while helping Morgan who does not have very good energy. Myla has gone the extra mile as a mother to support Peter everywhere at the games of the children without saying one word of complaint. She gives Peter 100% support. She is our daughter more than our daughter-in-law. She is the great person for traveling as a spiritual pilgrimage in Thailand, especially when we all honored my mother in the day of paying last respects at my mother’s funeral. She is taking part in my family out of her own heart. Thank God she is part of my family. Please, God, protect her from worrying about her brother’s health. After all, Patty and I feel closer and closer to Myla. We enjoy listening to her and being with her. She is a very bright young lady to all of us in our family.
We love other children. We have to love them unconditionally, as GOD loves. Without faith in God, who can we trust around us, around our children? Building faith in our heart through Jesus is the only way (Proverbs 3: 5-6.) I would like to remind the so-called leaders in our society that acknowledging the Lord in all our ways means keeping HIM in every “event,” no matter privately or publicly, at all times of our lives. To me, Godly living is not to be confined to worship, for God is involved in each moment of each day. God’s instruction covers our lives from walking up in the morning to going to sleep at night. God wants us to remember HIM all the time and to trust and obey HIM to guide our conduct in everything we do…that “He shall direct your path” suggests that God will “smooth” or “make straight” the road of our lives. I do know from my heart that God promises his children, like you and me, that He will go before us and He will remove many of the obstructions from our path. For example, among us, Patt McConnell testified on Sunday, that she didn’t know if she would ever feel joy again after losing her dear son and for all the sorrow she carried in her heart, but that she did feel joy upon hearing the beautiful music from the concert, upon seeing the Christmas tree ornaments and remembering the women who made them in years past, and also upon enjoying one another at the Christmas party. “Here I am full of joy and starting the new beginning of my life,” said Patt. I am so happy for Patt to see the new world and begin to enjoy her life again. The most pain in my life is to experience life’s pain from my dear friends, like in Capital Hill Church. This is why I try to follow God to help others, so that others can see to help others and give others the hope, and the shining hope in their hearts–shining their hearts and their souls from dark hope to be the shining hope, and I am asking all of us to do this to each other, to love thy neighbor as thyself as it is endorsed by our Royalty Jesus … Why? Because he wanted to have Unity of men, or Humanity,…the more Unity we have the more power we gain … and that is what God wants us to have as living Godly lives. Besides, God wants us to be successful and have a happy life … so if we trust him and follow HIS instructions, He will lead us forward, sweeping many of our problems to the side … How encouraging.
King David: By human nature, we are never satisfied with what we have. One husband sees another woman as better than his own wife; one wife sees another man as better than her husband. Why? Because of a sinful mind and letting weakness take over by Satan. We must control ourselves and be satisfied with what we have and take care of one another. Don’t let attachment or ego, delusion or maya take over your mind with wantedness, Buddha emphasizes to us all. It is too bad and shameful of our nation in this modern society, that some human beings look at women as sexual objects instead of human beings. Likewise, some human beings look at men as sexual objects. It is nothing but sinful. Too bad for them, allowing satan to take their weakness rather than allowing God’s spiritual embracement.
Embracing my family again, thanks to our daughter, Dona, who enlightens the heart of doctors’ understanding of new technological equipment to catch up with new medical findings. Her efforts can save time for doctors and save more lives of heart disease patients. Dona is happy with her life and enjoys what she is doing. Thank God for Tommy, who is a good father and a good mate to his girlfriend, Erika. He has cooperated with the new computer world and has created new X-boxes. Pray that someday he will have the heritage of Steve Jobs. We thank Tommy that we inherit the benefits of his computer knowledge and that he is a good father to his three children, including Kayla. They are healthy and gorgeous children. Patty and I enjoy seeing Kayla grow. She represents the real purest love to us. She loves her cat. His name is Bobi, so she calls everyone Bobi, including me.
Thanks to our two pit bull dogs, Rama and Boo Boo, who do not bite strangers and who are well trained and protect the house well. Thanks to our cat, Sammy, who did not kill many birds this year. She is an outside cat. Animals are part of our life. David said he loved and missed his dog when he put him to sleep because he is part of their family. Of course animals are. Thank God for allowing me to be born in Thailand and to be proud to be an American. And yet God divided us into different cultures, races, with languages, beliefs. After all, God gives us HIs unconditional love/ glory and gives us the same heart, hearts to hearts, full of love, the love of God to man with his glory and his grace and his power … no different … because we are all HIS children, we are God’s family, the family of man via the Family of GOD … we are one and one for all.
Thank you, God, for Alena, one of your angels. She has attended church in her young age. She is only 7 years old now and has inspired her brother, Khai, and cousin, Dylan, too, to come along. She said if she missed church any Sunday, her heart would break … so sweet of her. Thank God for giving her the foundation of her magnificent life at an early age. Her eyes shine with the touch of your wonderful spirit. Thank God for giving the gift to Khai of being great in all sports, shining among the players and loved by the team and his coach. Thank God for Kyra for shining in leadership of her school, for inspiring her friends to have a bright future and for being motivated to be a journalist in the future. The young and all young of American children are our future, so we must give them foundation and no foundation is more important than Christian belief. America is the central capital of the Western culture to me.
In my meditation and my massive research over 30 years, I began to examine a classical illustration of spirit-led prayer. I realized that a significant aspect of the will of God involves the laboring of prayer unto the LORD: “Being fruitful in every good work.” The abounding grace of GOD is able to produce abundant ministry in our lives. “And God is able to make all Grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, have an abundance for every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8). In my heart I understand that The very core of GOD’s will exists. How? Via His grace giving to all, all within knowing God and getting to know HIM and His son Jesus Christ as the supreme lives and that life is in us all. The fundamental key of my belief for our grace and devotion suggests the connection between God’s grace and knowing HIM: “Grow the grace and knowledge of our lord and savior, Jesus Christ” (2Peter3:18). This is a most vital part of God’s will which HE gives to us as the spiritual empowerment. He strengthened us with all Might … Glorious Power. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
I would like to share with you here what I cannot skip. Why does God let bad things happen to good people like me and my wife? And why me? Why us?
Last night at 12:15 a.m., “The house is on fire,” cried one of our tenants. “What house?” asked Patty. “The rental next door. “Patty and I ran out from the house quickly and went out to correspond with the fire trucks and related people. I am sick of it, said my wife. I said, It is beyond us ‘Hunney’. I got butterflies in my stomach, too..my whole body was shaking and I just about fainted. My wife called to see if anyone was inside the house. Knowing all tenants were out, I felt better. Thank GOD. Later on we found out that one cat did not make it. I felt terrible..I imagined how much he struggled to fight for his life..Poor cat(named Mr. T) Today we found out one more cat died in the fire. They now are resting. I do know how much I love animals. They are part of the family. The whole night I could not sleep, thinking of losing the cats, losing the property. I have to go through the recycling of the life of fire /insurance/ mortgage/business. I am sick of it. I keep asking myself why, why me, why God does make it happen to me over and over.. this is third house in my life on fire, nearly one every three years..if you are in my shoes, what are you thinking..where is GOD? This question comes at some point in our life especially in my life..for a long time..I have believed that God created me and all men in HIS image and He gave us HIS free will. It is beyond question and yes, there is God ..there is no doubt in my mind. Next, then, since He exists, then where is HE when we or I wanted HIM? When we need protection from HIM, like from the fire on the house last night? Why does He even bother to create me/us? He knows that by giving us the choice we could and would choose to ignore him. Is it not feasible that by allowing us that freedom to chose, we please GOD when we choose to believe him?..Ultimately, I have to rest my mind to believe that GOD is and I will live my life accordingly … Well, if GOD is all loving, why does he allow suffering and bad kamma, bad fortune, life, pain and death for us? To this essential point I have experienced and heard it myself and wondered myself … Why would God allow for so much suffering, our son’s friend who was stabbed to death a few weeks ago … our friend’s son who committed suicide a few months ago … I have a lot of neck pain and degenerative problems, there is so much violence in my country, Thailand, causing my older brother to be murdered … on and on … we cannot count the suffering that causes us to face through to human suffering or dukka … it happens and happens, just like we had the fire on our rental house last night (Dec. 27/11.) We lost over half a million dollars on our house … why ,why do those unpleasant things happen repeatedly to me, to us, among HIS children whom He loves? You, all or each of you, please help me to answer for our GOD and I will leave it to you to share with me from one of you or some of you or all of you to sincerely respond to my Godly question.
Does God let bad things happen to good people like me and you? On Thursday, at 10am, on December 29, David sent me an email message, ” No, Daney, God is not punishing you … you and Patty are good people. Thanks, David, for kindly knowing my troubled heart … and being there for me when I need you and for each of us when problems arise. After listening to David’s voice mail in which he and Deborah showed his concern for us over the fire, the tears have filled my eyes and fallen all over my face. God makes me realize that when bad things happen to me, like the house on fire, it is demonstrating an opportunity for immeasurable love from others such as Liberty insurance company staff, calling nonstop,”If there is anything we can do to help, we are more than happy to do for you Daney. You are the best man of our people. Sorry for your loss … sorry for the death of two cats. Trauma Intervention volunteers came over and stayed until the last minute of the fire, sharing their love and concern on behalf of the spirit of Americans, and they offered some of my people help finding a place to stay, there were a lot of clothes given … a lot of calls offering help. I am crying but had the greatest joy of the miracle love from my fellow Americans. It touched my heart deeply for them to show love to my wife and I. Otherwise, I would have no chance to experience the love from others. Our dear friend said “God will work out something for you for sure, Daney. Do not worry.” I corresponded to Bob that, in the end, what is God going to do with me next, and what is God going to do with people who trust my faith in you? It surprised me that some neighbors did not even express the word sorry to me … what kind of neighborhood do I live in? Am I not good enough for them or did I not do enough for GOD? I do know I need no sympathy from them, but where is our heart “love thy neighbor as thyself”? Are we real Christians to practice this or do we just say the words … This message keeps coming to my heart and keeps bothering me in the midst of problem times like this. Of course I am not a pastor or spiritual leader, but I am tired with so-called Christians and fake Christians … Why do we fake it too much? Why do we spend so much time trying to please everyone else and make so little effort trying to please God? When I am asking myself these questions, I could not come up with good answers, so this is the time we must decide to drop the act and start getting real with that one choice, our lives will begin in a big way and we all, as real Christians, can do this … this is the Gift of the gift of all for 2012 … to this point I realize that this year is the year of the awareness of friends within Capital Hill, and outside. To me, friends are like a page in my book of life. Every page with different subjects, but you are my index page covering every subject of my life. A friend is a friend forever … from the day I was born until the day I’ll be in the graveyard … I am in the hand of God … God gives the reason of hiding love behind HIS purpose: what more can I ask from HIM? “I will wipe away every tear from your eyes.” (Revelations 21:3-4) “The poor man cried and the Lord heard him, save him the angel of the LORD, save him out of all trouble …” (Psalm 34:6-7,11)
OUR GOD is pleased when we honor HIS grace And seek his perfect love.
“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. No One after lighting a lamp puts it under a basket.”Mathew 5:13-16.
I am so thankful that GOD turned my life around from the bad, bad direction where I was heading as a gang member among Muslim men in Thailand. I became a Buddhist monk and now I am a true Christian believer. Thank you for turning Chin’s life around and saving him.
Jesus wants us to love one another as the unity of love. As he loves God, Jesus gives us his life to pay our debt of sin. His is our glory. His life investment is to us, and we receive Jesus ‘s spiritual life. He gives his life to one God and to all men. Therefore, we are to walk in HIM. If we are not yet walking in Him this year, we will and we must walk in HIM . The only way to receive HIM is by grace. We must walk by grace. We were born again by spirit. We must walk by spirit. Remember when we first received Christ, he was our only hope. Now, we are to walk with HIM the same way.
My best wishes and prayers to you. May this Christmas and New Year season draw you into a spiritual embrace with our Emmanuel, for unto us a SAVIOR is born. May God bless you, your family, and every man, woman, and child in the world.
The president of Dumdeang Foundation
Image credit: Christ et Buddha by Paul Ranson 1880. Reproduction in “Le Monde de la Bible”, M03474 No184. [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons