“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” – 2 Timothy 2:15
It’s been awhile since our last newsletter and so we’d like to get you up-to-date on some of the happenings over here. For starters, we have made it through another hot season with its 100 degree weather and thankfully have entered into the rainy season. Tiff is doing well and is hoping to finish up her MBA research project soon. This is the last item she has before she can graduate. She is definitely looking forward to when that happens. As for after that time, she has a few different ideas including possibly enrolling in a formal school to study English.
As for me, I am essentially fully recovered from the car accident this past winter with the drunk driver. We were also able to finalize all the paperwork and settlements with the insurance companies and move past the whole issue. One other item I am thankful to be done with is that I recently went through all the documentation and renewed my Thai visa. It’s still in process but the hard part with the hours long line is behind me.
Furthermore, I have been making good progress with my Thai language classes and can even hold hour-long conversations. One constant challenge is with learning new vocabulary from different subjects and other meanings to words I thought I already knew. And then there are the different accents and dialogues… It’s all part of the process though.
In addition to all that, we have been our usual busy selves with the ministry here in Chiang Mai and in Mae Hong Son. Below are a few of the highlights I hope you will enjoy reading about.
Pa-Oh & Shan
Over the last couple of months, we have been focusing on disciple making and equipping our current group with tools and skills that enable them to grow personally and help them to minister to others. Part of this process includes giving people the opportunity to carry out duties and activities where they can get that hands on experience.
One such opportunity occurred recently when three of our bible study group went back to Burma to visit their relatives in their home village. Prior to their going, Tiff and I taught and reviewed key statements and passages of scripture as to what the gospel is, sharing one’s testimony, and some methods to present the gospel. We also had each of them share during our meetings (with a written exam for good measure). And then they left, packed for a month to stay among their relatives.
After the three returned from Burma, we were eager to hear how their trip went and what they learned from it. And not only that but for them to share their experiences with others for their edification and encouragement. As if turned out, there were many doors opened for them to share with family members, old neighbors, and anyone who was open to hear.
Training and Discipleship
In one particular case, our friend Bank was able to share to a whole room full of people the gospel and why he believes what he believes. It’s not always easy to share with family members and people who knew you when you were growing up, but often times those are also the ones we desire to share the most with.
And in another occasion, our friend Ken was able to pray for a sick elderly lady who had been going to a spirit doctor for quite some time but wasn’t getting better. In the course of that discussion, he was able to share why he was a Christian and how the Christian God was above all other spirits and she could go to Him instead. The next day as he was passing by again, she called to him and excitedly stated that she was much, much better. And while we don’t know what will ultimately occur with this lady and the room full of people, we are thankful for the seeds that were sown and praying for great fruit in the days to come.
Another encouragement was from the intentions of the three as they spoke of how they would like to start a Pa-Oh church there in the future if possible and what that might look like. And while that is a thought at this time, we ask that you pray with us for big changes in their village with a body of believers.
“I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.” – 2 Timothy 4:1-2
We also had a very special occasion recently that speaks of some of the great things God has been doing here the past few years. As part of the Thai New Year celebration, we held a time of honoring the elders of our Pa-Oh group and those of our church (which includes pouring water over the hands of the elders as part of a blessing ceremony). In all we had 54 Pa-Oh and Shan, with most of them being additions to our local church in the last 3 years. And with so many gathered together, we found it to be a great time to also hold a baby dedication for the newest member of our group and celebrate the 1st birthday of the 2nd youngest member.
Water Ceremony, Baby Dedication, and Birthday Celebration
The summer months at Grace House are typically quiet as the kids are out of school and some go back to visit family members in the refugee camp and inside Burma along the border. This summer was no different but we did have the extra project of renovating the whole of Grace House and build a new bathhouse. Below are a few of the photos of the building process with more to come. Also, this past week was the first week of school in the village and so all the kids are excited to see their friends again.
Grace House Renovations
This next week we will have a team of volunteers staying in the village for a few weeks and so please pray that they adjust well to their new environment, their health, and for many opportunities to share with the kids in the village.
Thank you for all your prayers and support and may God bless!
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