Sunday, July 17, 2016

We're back!

As I sat to write this update I realized the last update written was for exactly one year ago. Sorry for not keeping you all informed of the great things the Lord has been doing through this time. As most of you know we were able to go to the US for about 10 1/2 weeks, for the months of April and May. It was a really blessed time of much needed relaxation. We have now returned to Thailand and have settled in. No promises but we hope to keep you all better informed in the future.

During our time of rest, there was a lot of prayer regarding what to do, how to move forward. The Lord so heavily laid on our hearts to train up leaders, something we have always had the heart to do, just haven't really done it. As we began to pray for who and how, we were given clear vision of who this should be and what it should look like. Of course that also means that they must have a desire to be raised up and also they needed to hear from the Lord on their own. As we returned there were several meetings needed in able to meet with each individual and share what the Lord had shared with us. We are so thankful that each of the people the Lord had shown us also had heard from the Lord. Currently there is a pastor and assistant in training, an outreach leader, and also a worship leader. Each of these have stepped up in their respective areas and are doing a really great job. Currently the pastor and assistant are getting "pulpit" experience leading communion, prayer, announcements, offering and other church activities while the teaching is mostly my responsibility. The new worship leader has great organizational skills and in the short time since taking on the ministry has done really well. The outreach leader is another Calvary missionary and is heading up our continued English outreaches in the community.

As a fellowship we are really growing, not so much in numbers but spiritually. It is so nice to see people stepping up and out as the Lord directs. There is something to do every night of the week, except Monday, and the whole ministry shuts down for a day of rest on Saturday. School is well under way with the children finishing up the first book, of ten, in their studies. This year we have 6 students ranging from K-9. If you are reading this then I assume most of you also have Facebook....I encourage you to like our church FB page, New Beginnings Calvary Chapel Patong to keep up and see all the pictures of what goes on around here. Also there are usually bi-weekly devotions posted that are challenging and encouraging.

Thank you for you patience, interest and prayers as we continue to serve the Lord in Phuket, Thailand.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Nelson's Have Arrived!!

I realize that this is a bit late since they have already been here for about a month but I didn't want the time to slip by without a quick update. We have been having a super blessed time with Joe, Sarah, and all of the kids! It is a time of much needed rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation for them all. We have been enjoying their company immensely and we feel just a bit selfish in wishing they could stay for good. However, the Lord has work for them in Thailand and we stand behind that 100%.

While they've been here, we've had a lot of fun playing games, sitting around talking, eating, drinking coffee, eating, napping, eating, doing some projects at some of the homes, eating, and did I mention eating? Last week Joe made us a wonderful Thai meal called Keng Keaw Wan (guessing on the spelling). It translates as sweet green curry. It was delicious. He made a mild version and a spicy version. I accidentally took the spicy version and I can't eat spicy food. It's been about a week and I'm starting to get feeling back in my mouth and I think I can feel my tongue again. :-)  In all seriousness, it was delicious!!

Just last night we played a fun card game called Spoons. I think we've all pretty much recovered from our injuries from the game. You'll only understand what I mean by that if you've played the game. Sarah "the Crusher" Nelson was in rare form drawing blood from at least two of us and next time we'll have to make a rule for Joe that at least one foot must remain on the floor at all times.

Today is Mother's Day and Tim, Lisa, and I had a great time going out for lunch with Joe, Sarah, Mike and Evelyn. I also would just like to take a moment to recognize all of the moms out there who could never be repaid for all of their love and sacrifices through the years of raising children. Thank you to all of the mothers out there who gave selflessly through the years and may the Lord bless you richly. And may the Lord also bless those who are motherless for whatever reason and give them comfort as well.

Joe and Sarah have about four more weeks before heading back to Thailand. Please don't miss out on inviting them out for dinner or over for coffee and a homemade meal if you are able. The time will go very fast and so let's make sure they are totally blessed and refreshed before heading back. Please continue to lift them up DAILY in your prayers and be in prayer for the following items:

  1. Steadfastness in the Lord
  2. The gospel to go forth through their ministry
  3. Strength and protection over their family
  4. Evangelizing opportunities
  5. Financial needs
Thanks to all of you who support Joe and Sarah. As the Lord prospers you, please consider increasing your donation or, if you aren't giving now, please consider giving for the sake of the Gospel in Thailand, a nation with a Christian presence of about 1%.  Your contribution to their work there will pay eternal dividends!!

May the Lord's peace rest upon you!!

Mike and Lisa Larsen

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

June & July

The last two months have gone by like a flash, before we even recognized they were over. Getting everything sorted out after the trip to America and the never ending Visa struggle will surely do that! On the Visa note we are so blessed to announce The Lord has allowed for us to finally secure 1 year visas!! Not the one we were hoping for, but that is ok, we are secure in the will of the Lord. So I am sure many of you are anxiously awaiting the latest update.... wait no longer.

In the last update I had expressed the need to focus on a few things and letting others fall away, The Lord has given us a few things to do and many of the other busy work has fallen. That is not to say we are not BUSY, cause we are but more of a focused busy, pouring into a few things deeply instead of many things a little.

School: After much prayer and many requests we, mostly Sarah, have opened the church up for a "Homeschool". Currently we have our four children and five more that attend. Since we already have most grade levels it was not much to make that material available for other students to use while they are here in Thailand. Our other students are currently all church members that have no other way to attain an education during their time here. We hold classes Mon-Fri 9am to 12ish. The main idea is to teach them how to learn...not how to be taught by others. We have curriculum for English, Math, Bible, History, and Science, all of which are "independent" study type courses. Our students range from 5-19. Obviously the 5 year old gets alot more teaching time.

Discipleship: Discipleship has begun! We have been blessed with the opportunity to have several people hungry for the Word of God, more on this later. There are 5 men and several women. Currently we are going through the foundations workbook from Calvary Chapel Valle Vista, building a strong foundation. The men meet twice a week, and have fellowship individually most days, the women will begin meeting soon.

English ministry: English classes are still in effect. We meet Tues-Thurs. an hour a day. There are currently 6 (two are ours) advanced English students, and 4 beginner students. The advanced students have just finished and exam on sentence structure, parts of speech, and grammar. Classes will break for one week and we will begin a new lesson plan on the return. We are awaiting word from the University as to what our involvement will be in this term.

Church: The church is doing good. Over the last 8 weeks we have had atleast one visitor each week. There is a group of Indonesian Christians doing hotel internships here in Patong and each week we have had a new one able to join for worship. Unfortunately, their schedule does not permit them to join together or every week, but when they are free they join. In the last few weeks we had an older man come in to visit us. He is originally from Iran but has citizenship in the US, retired here and recently converted and baptized. He is so hungry for the Word and that is such a blessing. He had been attending another local Thai church with translation but was having a hard time with the dual language services so he sought out another fellowship. Praise the Lord, he landed on ours. Upon meeting this man he explained the situation and asked if I would teach him the word, would I? Oh man! Its been a long time since I had somebody so interested in the Word and so willing to be taught. Two of his friends have now made confessions of faith and are requesting baptism as well! Some really exciting stuff is going on right now, we are still a small fellowship, growing both spiritually and in number. We have started a "youth" group and meet every Wednesday, and our youth lead worship. Hopefully we will be putting on a small worship camp this month to assist them in growing towards worshiping our Heavenly Father.

This blog cannot portray the excitement or express the immense way the Lord has blessed this ministry since January. It has been an amazing ride and it just keeps getting better! Since our last update there have been baptisms, conversions, restored friendships and new, beautiful, relationships made. We cannot thank you enough, for intervening, interceding, and carrying this task with us. Thank each and every one of you, our readers and supporters. AND most assuredly THANK YOU JESUS!!!