Saturday, August 23, 2014

Less than 2% Christian.

According to Operation World, in Thailand there are more people enslaved by the sex industry than there are Christians, a frighteningly sobering reality.

Go To Nations (GTN) is attacking both these issues head on.

Each week our missionaries, my wife included, minister to the girls who work at the bars. Right now they are building relationships with them. They have also started helping them learn English so as to give them increased job opportunties.

Last month twenty eight Bible school students were graduated from GTN's Calvary Bible School.

The Calvary Bible School (CBS) class of 2014 consists of current and future church leaders.  

During the CBS school year the students accomplished the following:

Number of people ministered in Thailand and Laos, 3,126

Decisons for Christ, 540

Number of people baptized in the Holy Spirit, 231

Water baptisms, 143

Number of people healed, 81

Number of new church  plants, 7

The army of the Lord is increasing here in Thailand, and His kingdom is advancing on many fronts.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Is Language Learning Ministry? (blog post by Chris)

One of the great things about living in Thailand is that not many people speak English.  What?!  Does this make it harder for us to communicate? Most of the time.  Does it mean we have to study more to learn the language?  Definitely.  But so far, we have enjoyed the challenges of learning Thai- even those times when we thought we were ordering noodles and got white rice instead.

Because English is valued but not always available, we find ourselves in a unique position to use teaching English as a tool to build relationships. Dave has built a relationship with a Buddhist man by meeting twice a week to practice English and Thai.  He has really grown to look forward to these days when he can sit and talk with his new friend.  Eric has also begun teaching English to several new believers from our church.

Every Monday I go to the local bar area where I, and several other missionaries, meet with bargirls to practice English.  We are excited to build relationships with these women through something so simple for us.  And on Saturdays, I meet with nearly thirty young people to practice English.  All of these young people are Buddhist and it is a joy to be able to get to know each one of them.

Teaching English and even learning Thai are not the goals for us, they are the tools to help us build relationship with the people of Thailand who we are growing to love more and more each day. 

Learning language on missions is a necessary challenge. However, it is not something we just need to do right now, so we can finally do some "real" ministry. Learning language IS ministry.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

After Ten Amazing Years in the Philippines, We are Now in Thailand!

Traditionally when a missionary family makes a transition from one country to another, they have a Stateside trip in between to prepare them for the new nation. After much prayer and consideration, we felt that we were to make the move to Thailand directly from the Philippines.

With a joyful but also heavy heart, we said goodbye to our Filipino home and on April 15, 2014, we moved to Thailand.
We did some serious downsizing, we were able to reduce our family belongings to just a few suitcases and boxes.

At the Manila airport on the big moving day, about to get on our flight to Thailand.
We have been in country for less than a month. During that time we started language learning, we bought a car and started to learn to drive on the left side of the road (it’s easier than you think), Gabriella started preschool at a Thai school, and we started doing ministry.

Driving on the left side of the road will take some getting used to, but so far so good.
Lunchtime at Gabi's new preschool. The school is a completely Thai school, no English is spoken.
Gabi at preschool, they are not speaking the same language, but they are having fun.
Chris has been ministering with other missionary ladies. Each week they go to local bars to minister to women who are involved in the sex industry. The goal is to build relationship with them. One new opportunity that has opened is to practice English with the bargirls as another way to build deeper relationships with them.

Our agency, Go To Nations, has a good-sized team of missionaries in northern Thailand. We have always felt that we were to be missionaries to missionaries. We have enjoyed building relationships with the missionaries here, meeting with them, hearing their challenges and struggles, and finding ways we can serve them and their ministries.

Both Chris and I are hitting language learning pretty hard. Foundational to our ministry here will be learning to speak, read, and write in Thai. In the Philippines, English was widely spoken. Not so here in Thailand. We simply must learn the language, not just for ministry, but for everyday life. It’s like we have been thrown into the deep end of the pool, so we are highly motivated to learn how to “swim."

We found a beautiful, brand new house to rent in Chiang Rai. Being so new, it was completely empty, not one piece of furniture, no kitchen, etc. Thankfully our house is getting more and more filled.
If you are ever in Chiang Rai, Thailand, be sure to visit.
Our first meal in our new home, no dining room table so we have to eat on the floor.
We have started exploring our new city. Here we enjoy the Walking Street Night Market and some amazing Thai food.
We do have a dog. The kids were happy that we were able to bring our family dog with us from the Philippines to Thailand.

God has overwhelmed us with His favor and provision. We know there are challenges ahead. We honestly feel like every challenge or problem is yet another opportunity for God to show Himself faithful. We have no doubt we are called to this nation. We have no doubt that we are supposed to be here. This excites us for what lies ahead. We will plant deep roots in this nation, learning a new language and culture. We know this will bear much fruit for Christ and His Kingdom, fruit that will last.

Celebrating Chris' birthday, just the way she likes with dessert for dinner.
We are learning to love our new Thailand home.