Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Week of Blessings

This week has already been crazy. While I wrote the last update I was waiting for a new motorcycle. This motorcycle was a blessing from our Karen movie partner for the work of the video ministry which also works great as we needed something else to help with transportation. I was able to pick it up from the shop on Saturday after some engine work. What a huge blessing this has been already in just a few short days.

Today, Tuesday, Pastor Eric and I were given the opportunity to help harvest rice with the Karen, again through our movie ministry partner. Neither of us knew what we were getting into and were really excited for the chance to help. Our day actually started around 6:30 as we went to check on purchasing a goat yes you read that correct GOAT. We arrived home about 7:00 pm after picking up Pastor Eric's goat and harvesting rice. Today was such a huge blessing. God is so good and faithful.

The kids all have fishing poles now and we have been able to fish two times. We even caught some fish, the biggest was almost two inches! There is a small lake between the Johansens' and our house so it is very near.

The kids are doing really good in their Thai lessons at school we are sitting here talking with Joey and the boys and also their school teacher Tar. Sarah's English class is going very very well and that is still an area of prayer, please pray for Sarah in this area of ministry.

Here are some photos of Both the new bike and us harvesting rice. God Bless.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Jesus Film

Quite a lot has happened in the last week or two, since the last post. 
As I had mentioned before we were trying to get a Jesus film showing up and running, we have had two opportunities to show the film now. Last Sunday we were invited to visit a local Karen Church and the Pastors son has a film showing ministry, not really what you would expect. Any way Pastor Eric has worked with this man is the past and has been working with him to get this ministry going now that the Lord has provided transportation. He is a Thai Karen man serving in the Thai army so he has access to many of the remote villages, and being his father is a Pastor everyone already knows him, really a connection of the Lord. Upon arriving for church, about thirty minutes early the family and I were introduced and then he invited Eric and I to show the Jesus film later that night, about one hour further into the mountains from the church. It was a neat time of fellowship and getting to know this new brother. Once we arrived I was asked to share a word of encouragement to the existing body of believers, about ten, and then we were to share the film. About 20-30 people showed up and heard and saw the Gospel in their own language, Praise the Lord. 
This Sunday evening we journeyed back further up the mountain from my house, where we had scheduled a film showing the week before. As we arrived in the village we could hear the local church starting their Worship service, and were directed to the church to join. Talk about the timing of the Lord! Pastor Eric was asked to share from the Word as an encouragement to the Body, again about 10 people. After church we spent some time with the Pastor in his home while we waited for the sun to drop behind the mountains so we could begin. Many people showed up to see this movie, I would say between 30 and 50 including children heard the Gospel last night. What an exciting time here in Northern Thailand, please continue to pray for this area of ministry, also as we join forces with our Karen friend that our styles mold well.

It is now cold season here in Thailand and it gets fairly cold. We are only in about the third week and it is already down to the high 50's at night. It is beautiful during the day though mid 80's. Who would have thought it is actually cold here? I guess it will get much colder but we will see. 

This past week was Loy Gratong festival, a Buddhist holiday in which one can ask, basically, "mother earth" to be forgiven of their sins. This was a great opportunity to minister as there were so many people gathered together, we used it to pass out tracks. One night we passed out almost 300. It was really neat to watch people stop what they were doing and read the track. One man stands out; As I was handing him the track he was very reluctant to accept it. He instead aligned himself with me so as to read the heading better. After reading the heading, "THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY" in Thai he accepted the track and stood and read it, I traveled on down the path. There were many shops along the way so the going was slow. This man of about 40 caught up to me and thanked me with a huge smile on his face, then continued on his way also. About half an hour later we crossed paths again and he made sure I saw him, still carrying that huge smile. That was a real blessing to see the change in this man, whether he was encouraged or believed in the Lord for the first time only he and God knows but there was definitely a change. This is just one story of several similar.

Our Friday Bible study, now held on Saturday, is going well. We have lost a few of the original students but have gained several more, there are usually about ten youth 12-18 and one adult. Two weeks ago we showed the Jesus film in Thai to them, this puts the teachings of Pastor Eric and I into visual form and enforces them as well. Please pray diligently for this group of youths salvation, they have heard and will continue to hear as long as we are entrusted with them. 

On a family note, the boys are starting to really enjoy schooling at the public school. They are still working on the Thai alphabet. Sarah is doing really well in teaching English and the school has doubled the number of students since classes began. This is the biggest area of ministry, many lives are being touched through this opportunity. Most of the kids that show up for Saturday Bible study come from this school. We get the chance not only to minister to the students, but also to the other staff members and the parents of the students. We as a family and a team (including the Johansens) spend alot of time either at the school or with the staff or students. The Lord is really doing something here so please pray. We just traveled further North to Myanmar for our visas. Following are some pictures. (top: film showing, some new friends and us, Family photo on the border)

Prayer Requests: 
Spiritual Awakening for Thailand
Family Growth in Grace
Kids Schooling
Sarah's English Class
The Lord's Provision

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Week of Halloween

It has been over a week since the last post...oops. Well as most of you know Halloween is over hope you all stayed out of harms way. I learned something new this past week, did you know Reformation Day October 31 1517? This is the day Martin Luther nailed the 95 thesis to the door post of his church. Reformation Day is a protestant Holiday. I thought that was kinda cool, no need to redeem a wicked day Martin Luther did that almost 500 years ago. All that to say we had a good day, we reflected on what the Lord has done for us, spent some time with the Johansens and both families talked about the need for following the Word of God and sometimes the cost of doing such things, as seen by Luther. We ate some "German" food (Goulash and hotdogs, that's as close as we could get here) and had fellowship. It was really neat for me to learn about this part of Christian History, I learned things I never knew before. Praise God.

We have been praying about what to do for the kids social development, adults aren't really the best avenue, and the Lord directed us to have them attend Thai public school part time. The last week or two we have been seeing that through and today was there first day. None of the three boys were very excited by the thought but I think they really enjoyed it. They are attending classes in our friend Tar's class three hours a day, during this time they study Thai language, writing, reading and also get the chance to interact with other children. Sarah and I are excited to see how fast they learn the lessons taught.

Sarah is in her second week of teaching English and things are going well, with the curriculum we found online the students are able to be taught more at their level. The first couple of days Sarah administered a placement test and from this the classes were restructured to fit their needs better. This is really exciting please keep these classes in your prayers.

So that is the boys and Sarah as for Marissa and myself, Marissa is doing very well in her schooling and her reading is coming along excellent. She is currently working her way through Amelia Badelia for practice. Pastor Eric and Mj have two daughters aged 5 and 3 so she gets lots of play time. I have been helping Sarah with organizing her school stuff, and also with the homeschooling of the children. I was blessed to be able to teach at our weekly evangelism Bible study this Saturday and at a local Karen Baptist Church on Sunday, both went well if you ask me, but I am the one that taught so its kinda bias.  Eric has all the equipment for film showing and we have been praying about opportunities to do some outreach, today we took a drive into the mountains to a Karen village that Eric had never been to in hopes to meet up with someone from that village that could assist. Get permissions and that sort of thing. The pastor was out farming and we were unable to make a contact, but were shocked at the size of the village, we both felt it would be a great place and are going to pursue making contact. Please pray for this area of ministry.

Next weekend we will be traveling to Chang Rai to do visas, it is about 6 hours away. We will have to cross into Myanmar to get a stamp, this is the closest and normal place to renew visas. We will stay the night in Chang Rai, Thailand, and return home the following day. Even with our one year visa we are required to exit every 90 days, going now will put us on the same schedule as the Johansens and enable us to travel together.

Below is a picture of our Bible study group, as you remember please pray salvation for each of these young people.

Prayer Requests:
Continued strength
Salvation for Thailand
Our Family

 I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord, who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom, and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity.  This is most certainly true.  Martin Luther