You’re Fired!


“You’re fired.”

I hated speaking those words, but I knew they had to be said. Pichai, my maintenance man at the Alliance guest home, wept as he heard them even though he knew they were coming. He had come to work drunk—again. He had been in a downward spiral since his wife left him for another man. He had gotten into another relationship that caused him even more misery and pain. He drank heavily at night and often arrived at the guest house hung over, but he had started coming to work drunk. He could no longer do his job. He was killing himself. So there I was, standing in the hall, telling him he was fired. We had gone through the cycle of confrontation; pleading for a second chance; giving that second chance and now he was out of chances . . . unless.

“You are fired, but if you will go to a drug and alcohol rehab center for one year and successfully complete the program, then I will consider hiring you back,” I told him. “I will pay for you to enter the program, but this has to be your choice. This is your last chance.”

Pichai agreed to go to the rehab center, which is run by Hong Kong C&MA missionaries in Thailand. My husband, Steve, took him to the center (about a six-hour drive from Bangkok) and signed him into the program. Residents pay an initial deposit, but if they successfully complete the program, the money is returned in full. While in the rehab center, the person works on the farm and does other chores to contribute to their room and board.

Pichai did well in the program. He went through total withdrawal from both smoking and drinking. During the first couple of months, he prayed to receive Christ as his Savior. He enjoyed the worship services and fellowship with the other patients and the staff. Then, after only three months, he received word that his mother had suffered a stroke, so he left the program to care for her. The staff of the rehab center encouraged him to stay away from alcohol and to keep growing in his faith.

A year and a half after leaving rehab, Pichai came to see me. He was still caring for his mother but farming did not provide enough income to buy medicine for her. He was desperate for a job. He said he had not taken a drink since he entered rehab, so I rehired him. It was wonderful to have him back. During his break times he would play worship songs on his guitar, and he was always sharing his faith with the other staff members.

But all was not well. He moved back into his old neighborhood, where daily he was confronted with his ex-wife and her new husband. His drinking buddies kept asking him to join them. On the way to work one day, he had a motorcycle accident because he was drunk, so we took him to the hospital to get patched up.

And there I was again, having to say the same words: “You’re fired.”

Pichai pleaded with me to give him another chance. “I feel like Satan has taken back my life,” he said. He was powerless to fight against the forces that were trying to keep him in captivity.

I was torn because we were scheduled to go on home assignment a couple of weeks later, and I did not want the new guest house manager to have to deal with this situation. Yet I could not deny Pichai’s sincere desire to be free from bondage. I told him I was giving him one last chance, but he had to move out of the neighborhood (we helped him find new housing). Also, he had to attend church and meet with the pastor every week for discipleship and accountability. If he came to work drunk again, that was it. I couldn’t help him anymore.

We went on home assignment praying that Pichai would be truly free. He managed to make it through the year we were on home assignment and didn’t come to work drunk. However, on our return to Thailand, I discovered that he was miserable. I could see it in his eyes and face. He was in a battle for his soul. We talked with him and prayed with him, but the war in his life continued to rage.

One day he came to my office beaming. He told me that he had “prayed” to his idols one last time, telling them that they were no longer the “lords” in his life. He had a new God and would no longer serve them. He destroyed them, and only then, he said, was he free.

From that day to now Pichai has grown strong in the Lord. He is faithful in church attendance and was baptized. He witnessed to his family and led his mother to the Lord. His life is still hard, but he has the power of the Holy Spirit and you can see it in his eyes and face. He has come out of the kingdom of darkness and into the Kingdom of light.

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