As many of you probably last November the largest Typhoon to ever make landfall hit the Philippines just south of where we used to live, I have shared before about traveling there in the days after the storm, but what was not shared is that during the time there the Lord had placed a desire to build a team from Thailand to go back and assist in the rebuilding of the effected area. The plan was to get local Thai churches involved in a construction trip to rebuild houses. Simple houses, four walls, a roof, few windows, and a room for sleeping. Although the plan was to take Thai people with the team the Lord had other plans. On March 17 myself along with 4 others made the trip from Thailand to the Philippines for a 10 day trip. The other members of the team where Joey, a young man from America, Christian, a Thai pastor, Tuu, and a fellow missionary from Namibia, Romie. The trip was great, turns out Tuu was the first known Thai missionary ever to go to Eastern Samar, possibly even first Thai person. It was very trying to complete the task at hand but praise be to God as a team we were able to assist the completion of an existing project, get a huge jump on the rebuilding of a local church that was damaged in the storm, and build to completion one house. As a team we were also able to finance 75% of another house as well as give pointers to the team that would be left to complete that same house. In the week after our departure this second house was also completed. The basis of the trip had a duel purpose, one to assist storm victims and the other was to spread the vision of missions within the Thai church. Our one Thai team member did exactly that, his life was changed by seeing how other believers struggle to survive yet still praise the Lord. Even in the aftermath of that huge storm the Joy of the Lord in the hearts and faces of our brothers and sisters throughout Eastern Samar not only touched him but all of the team. We praise the Lord for this opportunity to serve Him.
As per the last update we were waiting the opening of Patong International Fellowship. I am so blessed to announce we have now been worshiping in our own place for four weeks. We began with a large day of fellowship on Songkran (Thai New Years), have celebrated Good Friday, Easter and today we celebrated Mothers day. Out of the four weeks we have been there three have been holidays. It is so awesome to see how the Lord has transformed this broken down abandoned building into a beautiful place where His praises can be heard. Weekly we have between twenty and thirty people attend, including visitors so far every week. That is really our desire as a fellowship, to reach the World from this one place. We have the opportunity to reach so many from all around the world right here in Phuket. When we opened for worship we had to bring our fans from home to help keep the air moving, as well as strain to hear over all the traffic going by. In the last few weeks the Lord has provided ceiling fans, glass store front as well as a new concrete dividing wall between us and our new neighbors. Every week the Lord continues to provide for this place in ways we just cannot imagine. It is amazing to be a part of the work He is doing.
On May 19th the Bible training center Southern Thailand will begin classes, we are really excited to see what the Lord is going to do here. As of the last update from pastor Ehkhaw we have about ten students, with more expected. Currently we have teachers coming in from America, Philippines, and Thailand. Pastor Eric and I will each teach a couple of classes, I will have both opening and closing classes, teaching Inductive Bible Study and Apologetics. The goal here is to train up leaders that know how to study the Bible, teach, and lead in a manner worthy of the scriptures. We are looking at 12-16 weeks of intense training with Bible 3-4 hours every morning and practical application for the same amount of time in the evening. Things like Evangelism, music, outreach etc. Please pray not only for this time but also for all the teachers that will be traveling.
We have recently applied for our "work permits" that will allow us to stay in the country on a more permanent basis, currently we have to leave every 90 days this work permit is step 2 of attaining 1 year stays in Thailand. Please continue to pray for this as it has been a very difficult and long process.
Photos from top to bottom: Mothers day recognition, worship service, Front of Patong International Fellowship, the second house and the team from Calvary Chapel Hateras Island that completed the project.