Open Doors — Walking Through Them With Joy
“Time to go. Supper is ready.” I smiled at the ten attentive young men sitting around the table. Well, nine young men and one older. English class for the day was over. They looked disappointed and didn’t move.
Well, that was a first! These Lahu men from Laos didn’t come for the recreation, the food, or the music. They came to learn, and they couldn’t get enough in the short time we had with them.
They were enthusiastic in my English class, all of them participating and laughing. Their dark eyes sparkled as they worked to form the unfamiliar sounds and to commit the words and speech patterns to memory.
But Paul’s classes were the best. They sat forward eagerly, ready to catch his teaching about the call and cost of discipleship and about being faithful to pass on what they learn to others. Frequently they asked questions. Afterwards, they kept him for hours, asking questions and seeking advice.
These guys don’t have it easy. They live in a communist country where it is illegal to share the Gospel. Sharing their faith is a danger, but one they choose to take. Incredibly, their current danger is from another denomination. That group, which insists that one must speak in tongues in order to be saved, is determined to oust this small group. The others have connections to the government and are putting these men, their families, and other Christians in danger. Because they are tribals, the government is not too concerned about them and they have a certain amount of leeway – unless someone turns them in and complains about them. Please pray for safety for these Christians, and for peace with the other group.
We arrived here on Wednesday about noon. The small church we are renting for these three days is ideal for our needs. The church building is the classroom and a separate building works as a dorm for the guys, who are accustomed to sleeping on the floor. Paul and I are in a comfortable little resort (hotel) down the road in walking distance. The church ladies bought the food and prepared it for us
These three days were just not long enough. Already we are looking forward to next month. We can’t evangelize in Laos ourselves, but by training these guys, we are able to send ten others to preach and teach –and ten is better than one, anyway.
Paul is planning similar teaching seminars for the men from Myanmar who can’t come to the preachers’ training in Thailand.
The Thailand group starts this week in Mae Ai, kicking off with a Bible conference. We already have had a short delay as there are water problems in Mae Ai. There has been a drought in the mountains and so there is not a sufficient water supply. The well at the place we are renting is not sufficient right now for so many people. We have delayed the start a few days to make sure there is enough water for the conference. Please pray with us about this need and for direction for alternate plans if it proves unfeasible to have the training there.
Meanwhile, we are having good services, often with visitors, in our San Sai location. There is plenty of need and lots of opportunities in every direction! We are looking for God’s clear direction about what to do first. Our lease on our house is up in April, so we are looking at a move soon. We also have a decision to make about our younger children’s schooling in April, and about Preston’s further education.
Preston, by the way, is recovering well (finally) from his motorcycle accident. For those who haven’t followed the story of Facebook, he skidded on a sharp corner and took off the hide from his leg and got a large hole clear to his bone. He got back on his bike and rode several miles to school, with blood pouring from his injuries. They called us from the school and we took him to the hospital. Unfortunately, the doctor there messed up and it didn’t heal properly. When it still was open and weeping after three weeks, we gave up on that doctor and took him for a second opinion. The second doctor took stringent measures and now it is healing. He is one tough kid! He never complained of pain and it was tough getting him to slow down so it could heal.
We are thankful for all these amazing people God has brought into our lives. God is good!