By Leona Thomas
In 2006 I spent 8 weeks volunteering as an English teacher at a government school on the Thai island of Ko Pha-Ngan. I was on the west coast in the small fishing village called Sri Tanu. On 5 December it was the Thai King's birthday so the school was closed. They decided to do a litter clean up on the beach...
When I woke up that morning I had no idea that something very unusual was going to happen. I had no idea that if I had made a different choice just 2 days before, this was going to be the last day of my life. It looked pretty much the same as any other day, except that I would have to go to the beach with the kids and a few other teachers.
In the classroom I had to dress as if I was in an office in London - which might have been ok if the temperatures were the same as London. Every work day I showered first thing in the morning, then just before going to work, and again the moment I got back from work!
But on this day we would be on the beach. Still, as a teacher on a workday I should look respectable. What to wear? I put on a smart pair of pants (UK trousers). On my way out of the door I had a change of mind. It saved my life.
I looked in the mirror and thought, 'These pants are too tight for bending down all day at the beach. I will have sweat marks around the crotch - not a good look for a teacher!' I changed out of the beige coloured fast-dry pants and put on a pair of Thai fisherman's pants.
The funny thing about those fisherman's pants was that I had suddenly decided, just two days before, to go to Thong Sala and mooch around the shops. Although I had no previous interest in buying any clothes and certainly had paid no attention to fisherman's pants, I found myself buying a very baggy striped pair!
So now that I had changed into my newly purchased pair of pants I set off for a seemingly uneventful day. I picked up litter, I photographed children, I shot a video. And then I came home.
This is where it gets interesting.
I was staying in a small brick cottage on stilts, with nothing between me and the view of the sea on the west coast. The sunsets were breathtaking. I came home, climbed the steps and went straight to the kitchen to prepare some food. I had a single gas ring on the worktop, connected by a long plastic tube to a large gas bottle. I put some chopped up vegetables into a wok with a lot of water and left it all to simmer.
The weather was rough by this time, with strong winds. It looked like a storm was coming. The shutters at the kitchen window kept banging so I locked them shut. There was no glass in the window; it was just an opening - a very typical basic Thai design!!
I closed the kitchen door behind me and walked back along the balcony to the terrace at the side of my little house. Somebody had left an English language newspaper on a chair for me so I settled down to read. I was so engrossed that I lost track of time.
Because it was so close to the end of the year the horoscope section of the paper was a little different than usual. They had a whole section about what the New Year would have in store for us. I settled down to find out what all the Leos in the world might expect to happen in 2007. It all seemed very normal. But then I read something that made no sense at all. My mind said, "Huh??" So I went back a few sentences and read again. No, it still made no sense. I read a few sentences further on. No, it really made no sense at all. It did not fit in with anything that was written in the horoscope. I read again but could see no reason why the newspaper should have printed the simple sentence, "Beware the fire."
After about 20 minutes of perusing the paper I suddenly recalled my vegetables cooking in the kitchen. I hurried along the balcony thinking that maybe they might have boiled dry. I didn't want to damage the wok.
As my left hand touched the kitchen doorknob a Spirit voice said, "Stay out of the fire!"
I don't know if you have ever given any thought to how you enter a room when you have to open the door first? I have had many years to review what happened next. I only can tell you that, having turned the round doorknob to release the door, I continued holding it as I walked forward. The opening door walked me into the room...
The kitchen was tiny. As the door opened more and more of the room was revealed. At first I could see the plate rack and the closed shutters nearby, then the kitchen sink and taps, and finally the single gas ring. By this time the door was nearly fully open and still moving. A split second later it was resting against the left side wall of the room. And I was standing, still holding on to the doorknob, with my legs right up against the gas bottle. The room was that small.
But there was a problem.
The plastic tube that ran from the gas tank to the small gas ring was not actually visible to me. The whole length of that plastic tube was hidden inside a large column of fire! The fire was along the whole of the tube and had a diameter of about 10 inches. I felt no fear; I had little time for anything!
With the door open beside me and the strong winds from the oncoming storm, suddenly everything changed. There was no spirit voice now. There was no noise, nothing to signal anything had happened. But now the fire was not only along the length of that tube... The wind had changed something and now the whole gas bottle was engulfed in a huge ball of flames. And I was standing right in the middle of it.
I was there maybe just for a few seconds. I didn't need a spirit voice to tell me to get out of the fire!!! I was there long enough to look down and register that I was standing almost up to my waist in a large fire and then I ran out of the kitchen.
But something stopped me from running away from the kitchen doorway. I stopped on the balcony. My fisherman's pants were on fire and, although I was standing still, my mind was racing through my options. I needed water to put out the flames. I looked back in the kitchen to the sink - no way was I going back in there! I looked to my left and saw the ocean but I knew that to get there I had a bit of a walk to reach the rickety old bridge and then along the beach until the water would be deep enough to be of any help. So I rejected that option too. Then I remembered my bathroom on the other side of the house.
Still I could not make myself run anywhere. I looked down at my fisherman's pants and watched as the flames seemed to just die out on their own. A few sparks were flying and then there was nothing. And there were no marks on my pants to show there had ever been a fire.
Time stood still in some strange way - I was in shock. I remember noticing a horrible smell of burnt hair and putting my hand up to my fringe (USA bangs) only to have it all come away in my hand. At that stage I had forgotten there was a fire. My mind was completely blank.
But my Spirit team knew what they were doing..
The Thai fisherman's pants had definitely saved my life. Had I been wearing the manmade quick-dry fibre pants they would have melted into my skin and burned and burned. They would have shrunk into my skin and kept burning, feeding the flames. The fat under my skin would have been fuel for the fire too... And I would not have been able to put that fire out... I would have died from my injuries.
But my fisherman's pants were no longer burning. I was home free.
Or was I?
I am safe and well thanks to the precision and foresight of the Angels who live with me.
I didn't ask them to help me at any point during this event.
But they knew their job and they did it perfectly.
Why they put a message in the newspaper may forever be a mystery to me
but it does prove just how easy it is for them to do things in our human world!
Read the conclusion of this story next week on Magic Mondays