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!!!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Catching up Once again

Some how we managed to get months behind on our updates once again! Thankfully the last few months have been fairly regular and I will attempt to get all caught up.

The month of March went by like a flash, with a World Race team, travel to America, and Pastor Eric coming down for a month to fill in for my absence.

World Race, although the team came just at the end of the semester of University ministry we were able to do a 3 day extra-curricular English Camp on Student leadership. The camp was supposed to have 28 students but being that is was the week after the semester ended, considerably less showed up. By the end of the camp we were down to about 10. Praise the Lord for this as it enabled us to really build some relationships with the students as apposed to just teacher/student. This allowed for some real personal conversations, including some real questions regarding Christianity. The camp was small but effective and anyway who are we to question numbers? Due to this camp we have been asked to do another English camp when school resumes in August with possible  400 students. Some of the other ministry the WW team was able to participate in was teaching English at the church 3 days a week. There were days that we had to use the restaurant across the street because the church was just too full. At one time I believe we had 28 students! English teaching has really become one of the most effective ways to minister to the Thai community and we are excited for this opportunity to share the Lord and be a blessing in the area in which we live. English classes have taken a 2 week break to allow for the students to adjust back into the school year, they will pick up again tomorrow.

Travel to America, the day after the WW team left, I did as well. I was blessed with the opportunity to travel to the States for one month. This one month was to mostly share what the Lord has been doing here in Phuket, sharing the vision, gaining support, meeting some needs and getting others to share the load by joining the "team". I flew out March 27, and flew back April 27, Two days before our 10th wedding anniversary. Though the time was short and many people I would have liked to visit were missed the time was very beneficial. During the month I was able to share at 3 new churches and 4 small groups. I was also able to speak at a few locations that I have spoken at before. Thank you to Calvary Chapel Placerville, Calvary Chapel Truckee, Calvary Chapel Valle Vista, Calvary Chapel Romoland, and Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa Seniors for allowing me the time to speak and share. Thank you Lord for supplying our needs. One of the big needs we are trying to meet is furlough, we have now been on this trip just over 2 years, and it would be nice to visit, take a break and get refreshed. The Lord provided a huge chunk of this need however we are still lacking. We are praying that we can come for furlough at the end of this year or beginning of next. From the time spent in America about 5 people expressed interest in coming over for different periods of time to assist in the ministry.

Pastor Eric come for a visit, as the door opened for a trip home, one huge hindrance to the trip was someone to do the teaching while I was gone. As we are a new ministry leadership training is still in the process. I called pastor Eric and asked what where the chances he would be free to come down for the month, as it were he was already planning to come to Phuket for "summer" vacation. Ticket prices just so happen to be during the time Eric was already planning on being here, and he was more than willing to fill the position! Praise the Lord! Pastor Eric came down March 23 or so and left April 28. Perfect timing, His timing is always perfect. Thank you Lord and thank you Pastor Eric, MJ, Aubrey, Jana.

Ministry is back full swing. The time back in the states was both, fruitful and insightful. The Lord gave direction and focus, and we are now walking in what He has opened up, feeling our way along for His perfect will and allowing those "other" things to fall by the wayside. In the initial months of this new direction many doors were opened, and many opportunities taken, but not all things are from the Lord. The Lord has us here for a very specific purpose, and we must walk in that alone. Our focus must remain steadfast, opportunities are great but they are not all for us. We are focusing on our different language studies, English ministry, and purposeful intensive leadership training. "Other" things must not divide our focus and draw us away. Please pray for this as we discern what the "other" things are and walk in obedience to our Lord.

English Camp for Student Leaders

Free English Lessons @ New Beginnings

Pakistani Midweek fellowship

Pastor Eric and the guus

Honoring the Mothers