It has already been 6 months since I left the US for life in Thailand. During this time so much has happened with a few of the highlights being the marriage to my wonderful wife Tiff, taking care of a children home, partnering with our local church, learning the beginnings of Thai, and seeing people receive Jesus. I’ve also had a chance to enjoy the culture and begin to eat spicy food on a daily basis. Just recently I was served jungle rat, which with all the chili, tasted just like the snake and eel I ate before it – all hot! Of course, Tiff will be the first to correct me if I said I can eat spicy food like her but at least it’s a good start for me.
With Thailand now entering their hot season (we’ve already had many 100 degree days), we are thankful God has helped us warm up to all that He has for us here. He has been so faithful and we are excited for the next 6 months as we grow together and closer to Him.
Grace House Children Home
Our time at Grace House over the last 2 months has been filled with a mixture of emotions to say the least. There had been some rumors circulating in February within the village concerning the family of one of our girls, Eve. Eve (15yrs old) was told her family was in the hospital back in Burma and an aunt and a few cousins had recently passed away. When she first heard the rumor, she broke down into tears as Tiff and I prayed with her. One difficulty was she had no way to confirm the report or ask questions to know exactly how bad the situation was. She also knew if she left, it would be difficult and costly to come back to Thailand.
Eve Studying in the Village School
As it turns out, Tiff and I were notified in March that one of Eve’s aunts had come to the village to take her to Burma in order to care for her sick parents and her two younger sisters. Clearly, this was a difficult time, with our heart going out to her especially as we shared in her sorrow and knowing that part of our family was leaving. Such situations are always difficult and this was no exception. As we said our goodbyes and prayed for her, she returned to Burma.
This past week we learned from the aunt (who returned from Burma) that Eve made it to her parents’ house safely and that Eve’s dad and younger sister are very ill. In fact, we were told her dad wanted Eve to be home as soon as possible as he didn’t know how much time he had left. Eve is now working beside her mom on a local farm to support the family and pay the medical expenses. We were not told what is causing the illnesses, but the aunt did not seem hopeful for them to get better.
This, however, is not the end of the story. In these past few weeks, Eve knew she needed help in going through this difficult situation. Previously she had told us she wanted to read through the whole Bible before making a decision to receive Jesus. But during this time, as she reflected, she decided to receive Jesus with all His love and kindness into her heart. We are very thankful that she doesn’t have to face this situation alone but that she has Jesus to go with her and help her each day and forever. We are reminded we serve an amazing God and nothing is too big or small for Him. As her family has great need now, we ask that you please join us in prayer for healing, provision and peace for the entire family.
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us” – Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)
Saying Goodbye just before Eve went back to Burma
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” – John 10:10 (NASB)
Shan & Pa-O Ministry
We had two exciting events this past month with the Shan and Pa-O. The first was a result of the ministry we’ve been sharing about these past few months as several Shan and Pa-O received the Lord. And we were able to celebrate with 11 of them as they declared publicly their devotion to Jesus as they were baptized at our local church in Chiang Mai. This was immediately followed by communion and prayer in celebration of what God has done in their lives and what He will do in the days ahead.
Pa-O & Shan family celebrating after baptisms
As I shared last month, many Pa-O and Shan have left Burma due to the oppression by the government there in the hope of a better future in Thailand. This was no different for our friend’s village as 170 of the 200 families recently left to escape forced labor by the Burmese government. Many of these families have found work in construction and farming around Chiang Mai. And after hearing from the families which recently received Christ, Allan Eubank, Tiff and I were invited to share the good news with them too. And so we had an orange grove outreach at the end of March with over 50 people coming to hear the gospel. It was exciting to see so many people wanting to hear the gospel as the orange plant quickly turned into a town gathering.
Teaching a song about God’s love for us
Sharing the gospel and its power to change lives
The result of the teaching and testimonies was that many prayed to receive Jesus and trust Him with their lives. There is still much work to be done there as we are planning another trip this month to follow up and continue to help them however we can. Because many cannot read and most only speak Shan and Pa-O, discipleship will require more in-person follow-up. Since the grove is 100 miles away from Chiang Mai, we are also getting a local church involved to help with this new group of believers and the others from their village. So please pray for all who came and who could not come, for them to receive all the love and goodness our God has for them.
Leading the group in a prayer to receive Christ
Giving further encouragement and instruction to the new Christians
“Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.” – Psalm 103:2-6 (NIV)
Trip to The Talako Karen
Please visit the posting Trip to The Talako Karen to read about our latest journey.
PRAISE & PRAYER REQUESTS:
- Praise God for Eve and that Jesus will be with her and her family!
- Praise God for the Pa-O and Shan that were baptized!
- Praise God for His growing family among the Shan, Pa-O and Talako Karen!
- Continued prayer for the Grace House children, the village school and surrounding villagers
- Pray the Shan, Pa-O and Talako will continue to grow closer to God
- Pray the Shan, Pa-O and others still in Burma would be free from oppression and suffering at the hands of the government
- Pray for continued favor in learning Thai
Thank you again for all your prayers, friendships and support!