As I write this update, I am sitting in the office all by myself. Right now, the staff and several university students are in the next room getting evangelism training in their own language by a Thai evangelist that flew in to lead this training. I am overjoyed by the amount of laughter and intrigue that I hear coming from the other room. I don't speak Thai well enough to sit in on the training, but I speak human well enough to know that God's Spirit is working today in the hearts of many of my friends here. I am praying for them as they learn how to be a better witness to their friends and family.
This has been a common thing for me and Liz these past few months: supporting the work God is doing through his church here. When Liz and I moved out here, we knew that was going to be our main role. We see ourselves, in a way, like Aaron and Hur, holding up Moses' arms as the Isrealite's battle over territory (Ex 17). It is an experience of learning, growing in our own giftings, and supporting God's work in a foreign country and culture.
As we enter into our third month here in Chiang Rai, here are some things that are going on here.
1. Goodbye Kitty
You may have noticed that we were driving the car we affectionately call "Kitty" here at Baan Athitaan. This car served us well for the time, but we are happy to announce that the foundation was able to buy a second truck thanks to a special donation. We will be able to use this truck for personal use, but beyond that we can use it as a backup transportation vehicle for the foundation. We are having a cab measured right now to put on the back so we can use it as a "Song Tao" (transportation truck).
We have been extremely privelaged this month to get to witness the baptisms of several Christians and friends here at Baan Athitaan Church.
3. Coffee House
Most months, we hold an event through Grace Language School (GLS) called a "coffee house." This event is a time of fun to invite newcomers to come and check out the English school. In order to draw in a crowd, we often give away a scholarship to come study at GLS for free for a term. This time was no different, and a high school girl named Noon, who became a Christian 2 weeks before we got here this summer, won the scholarship this time around.
We are continuing to grow in our trust and relationships with our students at GLS and Chiang Rai International School. Our term at GLS just ended this last week and I was genuinely sad to lose the class I had and I hope everyone in that class signs up for another term! I am also continuing to meet with my friend, Sprite, to go through Bible lessons with him in English every week (this serves the dual purpose of helping him practice English while learning the Bible).
As well, I had the chance to share a message from the Bible about our mission as the church during Sunday service at Baan Athitaan Church. Pii Phet translated for me (which I was grateful for) and did a great job (as always).
5. Learning Thai
Learning a new language has proved to be about as hard as I thought it would be but extremely satisfying. Personally, it feels like when we moved here, I had weights tied to me all over my body, and every day that I learn a little more Thai it feels like a little bit of that weight falls off. This month, I have delved into the area of learning how to read and write, and I think I enjoy it even more because of that! อ่านภาษาไทยสนุกมาก!
We have had a lot of paperwork to deal with since we got here, and we are slowly wading through it all. This month, we were both able to get our work permits and our 2 year visas! We have also been able to finally open Thai bank accounts and we will be able to get our Thai Driver's Licenses soon. We have also been dealing with the stress of getting outr student loan repayments down to a manageable payment every month.
Thank you to those of you who support us both through prayer and financial support. You are making it possible for us to support the ministry going on here. Liz's dad told us that before we got here, in some ways the staff was just keeping the boat afloat, but now that they have some extra hands to relieve them of secondary responsibilities they can spend more time on the most important aspects of evangelism and discipleship. Therefore, when you support us, you are really supporting all the work that it going on here because we are working as a part of a team.
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