These past few months have been steady, fruitful, and full of God's blessing. As we continue to become increasingly comfortable with the Thai language, the world is opening up like a flower budding in sun, as we have had more opportunities to meet new people, strengthen existing relationships, and serve people who do not speak English. In addition to this amazing fact, we have continued to work to be faithful in our roles at Chiang Rai International School. Sometimes the road seems long, but we are daily given little sprinkles of encouragement from God and others that we are on the right path, and that our investment in the lives of people in this country are not in vain. On that note, here are some things going on in our lives and the organizations we serve with:
Before I go too far in the update, I want to share again about the amazing privilege we had to drive 11 hours down south to see our friend, Kwan, get baptized in the province of Nakhon Nayok. For those of you who have seen our past updates and posts on Facebook, you know that Kwan has been a friend of ours for 3 or 4 years now, and that she just recently made the decision to become a follower of Jesus. She was baptized at a resort not far outside of Bangkok as part of a camp for her church (Lifepoint Bangkok). The camp was fun, we met a lot of new people from her church (as well as visiting with some old friends), and overall our hearts were spurred that weekend. You can click here to see the video.
We also had a week off from the international school for fall break in the middle of October. This was a great chance for us to recharge our batteries, sleep in for a week (“sleeping in” for us means waking up at 8:00AM), and work ahead on stuff like lesson plans. We also had a Bible Seminar that week, in which some of our church went through a 6-hour intensive in English/Thai walking through the story-line of the Bible.
Our English Corner has not been exploding with growth, but it has been a steady way for us to make connections and build relationships with non-Christians at one of our local universities. Myself and some other guys from our English school have been doing it again for the last few months (we took a break for a little bit), and since then, we have already made connection with some guys who are not Christians, but who are interested in learning more about Jesus and the Bible. One of those guys came to our youth group worship meeting last night (from the time of this writing), so we are hopeful for the future of this program.
English Corner is not the only program through our English school that helps us make these connections. We also host “Coffee House” events sometimes, in which we have a big party-type event at the church / school auditorium to let people practice their English skills. Many of our students from GLS come, but we also had some university students come who are from English Corner, in addition to some church members.
In a new surprising update, we have had a new team come to work with us at GLS. A few months ago, we met a team that moved from Calgary, Canada to Thailand very recently in order to test the possibility of long term work here. There is one family with a husband, wife, son and daughter, and a single man and woman in their team. They were studying Thai already, but were looking for a place to plug in and serve, and they happened to find us through God's providence. We have enjoyed getting to know all of them and having the extra teachers at GLS has made a huge difference.
Just this week from the time of writing this, we celebrated one of the most famous holidays in Thailand, the Loi Gratòng (ลอยกระทง) Festival. It was a great experience to get to celebrate the festivities, even though we did not participate in the Buddhist ceremonies. We went to a fair at Rajabhat University and watched the floating lanterns (that part isn't religiously charged). It was beautiful. Oh, and, speaking of beautiful, Liz was part of a traditional Isaan Thai Loi Gratòng dance at the international school, too!
One Final Note:
Recently, I re-watched a sermon from J. D. Greear (one of my favorite preachers), about awakenings and revivals. Actually, I watched it with Sprite, who many of you will remember as the new believer who I have had the privilege of discipling for over a year now. In this message, he talks about praying for awakening, and shares an example from the church in Korea. I have often thought about the move of the Holy Spirit that has happened in Korea in the last 50-100 years, and I am praying something very similar for the nation of Thailand.
As we think about and ask God for a massive move of His Spirit in this country, I want to share a song with you. This song was written in Pattaya, Thailand, a city in Central Thailand that is infamous for its prostitution ring. An Irish band, Bluetree, came to Thailand and agreed to play in a bar called "The Climax" for someone (that person didn't realize they were actually a worship band). As they neared the end of their set, people asked them to keep playing, and the story goes that they starting playing this song and singing these words even though they had never written it or performed it before. As you listen to the words, I ask you to pray for the city of Pattaya (which is right outside of Bangkok), but I also ask you to pray for Thailand, as you listen to them sing, "You're the God of this nation." Pray with us that millions upon millions of people in this country would acknowledge who God is, and that his name is Pra-Yesu (พระเยซู) (Jesus).