We have been back in Thailand for three months now and wanted to give you all an update about what is going on in the “Land of Smiles.”
It was so good to return to our second home on this side of the world! Our seven months in the US were a blessing to us in many ways, so that while we are glad to be back in Thailand, we are thankful for our time with family and being able to see many of you as we traveled. Except for when we had Covid, our family travels very well – a huge blessing since that was a large part of our lives back in the States!
Almost right after we returned to Thailand, we began to attend a small Thai church that is connected with the foundation we are working under. I also began teaching there each Sunday (somewhat like Sunday School) and preaching once a month. Our family has enjoyed connecting with the people there and having that opportunity to serve. Next week will be our second time to have some of the church people and university students to our house for a meal. It’s a great way to get to know them and continue to immerse ourselves in the language.
Naomi has a busy schedule with serving our family, plus frequent hospitality. We often have foreigners or Thai guests here for meals. We believe this is an important part of our ministry to others. When the young people from the church were here last time, one of the young ladies expressed to Naomi her desire to have a family like ours. Praise the Lord for the witness of the family! The children just finished another school year and are enjoying their “summer break.”
For the first two months we were back in Thailand, we were able to have a young lady from our home church stay with us. Malachi helped Naomi with watching the children and household work, very helpful for a missionary mom! Thank you, Malachi!
Just after Malachi left, we had a young man named Joshua stay with us. He is from Burma, but has been in Thailand for a few years now and knows the Thai language. He stayed with us for the month of July for Bible training. Most days of the week we met for studying the Christian Beliefs book in Thai. He is a very diligent student and is very helpful around the house. Pray for Joshua to find God’s plan for his future as he navigates being in a foreign country and is not able to return to his own.
Twice a week I am teaching English to one of the board members of the foundation Giving Hope, which is where we have our visa. My job description with the foundation includes Bible teaching and English, so I hope to pick up some more students for English learning.
The word is getting out about the Chiang Mai Discipleship Institute, which is the Bible school I have been asked to start under the foundation. Please pray for God to send the students who are hungry for more than just head knowledge (as important as that is)—those who desire to put their knowledge of the Scriptures into everyday practice.
In less than two weeks, some other brothers and I are hosting a 2-day pastors’ conference in Chai Prakan, which is 2+ hours north of our home. It is specifically for Lahu pastors from that general area. We have observed that, unfortunately, there has been a lot of false doctrine about baptism and salvation that has been spread through the Lahu churches. There is a great lack of biblical training for leadership in Thailand in general, which is why these conferences and longer programs like our institute are so important. Part of this is our fault in the West, as the Western “Church” has spread a lot of false doctrine and unhealthy worship practices in Thailand. Shepherds Global Classroom is a great resource for grounding the Thai people in Biblical truth. More and more books are being translated into Thai through the support of God’s people back home. Thank you for being a part of this!
Last month Rees, Joshua, and I went to two villages in the Chai Prakan and Fang area of Thailand, to minister to children through English and Bible teaching (and snacks, of course). One of the villages, in a Red Lahu village (one of the dozen Lahu groups), has been notoriously resistant to receiving the Gospel. I’ve been to that village multiple times, and while there is a small church and evangelist there, it is still very dark. The other village has a children’s home owned by Christians where they receive regular Bible and English instruction.
Lastly, God gave us favor and answered prayer in regard to renewing our visa last week. There were multiple obstacles that the Lord helped us overcome, and with His help, we are all set for another three months. Volunteer visas begin with a probationary period where immigration makes sure the volunteers are doing what they say they are doing. This means that before we can start getting 1-year extensions, we have to get 3-month extensions two or three times. This is the process we are in now. Thank you for continuing to pray for this!
We are grateful for each of you and your support! It was a blessing to meet so many other believers in our travels during deputation. Thank you to so many of you who hosted our family and blessed us in various ways. We are thankful for the family of God who stands with us as we minister on the other side of the world for the expansion of God’s Kingdom!