Prayer Letter - February 2021
It was such a blessing to gather with the preachers for our Preachers' Training this past month. We had 25 attending. I began a series on "Words Describing Salvation.” This series looks at salvation from 24 different aspects. Salvation is like a diamond. It is one gem, but it has many facets. No matter how you look at it, it reflects the light and glory of God. The men were very attentive through the five sessions we had each day.
Joshua Johnson, a missionary friend sent out from Winton Place Baptist Church in Illinois, was free from Thai classes at Chiang Mai University that week and joined us. His presence and fellowship was a great blessing to the men and to me. Please pray for me and the preachers as we'll be continuing our study of salvation the week of March 15th.
I have been able lately to visit the churches again. There are only a couple that are still isolated because their village leader is not yet allowing outside visitors. They all seem to be doing well, although several are without pastors. Brother Seh ba is continuing to travel and preach in the LaHu churches, and Brother Ma teh is traveling and preaching to the LiSu.
The ministry in Myanmar is continuing to flourish. Two weeks ago they had a large Vacation Bible School for younger children and last week they had a camp for teenagers from throughout the Shan Province.
It was a blessing this week to make the three-hour trip to Paa Gluai for a wedding. I was asked to speak and then to pray for the couple being married. I spoke on the glorious grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ in laying down His life for such sinners as we are. Through faith in Him and His finished work there is full forgiveness of all our sins. Oh, what love! And this is the foundation for marriage! I preached this to a crowd of more than 150, many of whom were animists or Buddhists. As I was preparing to leave, the pastor directed me to a woman who said, "After what I heard today, I want to be a Christian." What a joy!
We are busily preparing for a wedding, too. Our girl, Mali, and Moses, our helper, are to be married on April 3rd. She was our first child that we took in after the breakup of the children's home seven years ago. Susan and I are the only parents she has ever known. So Susan, on top of teaching the kids, her community English classes, and her children’s outreach, is working overtime to get ready for this joyous occasion.
We are thankful for the special end-of-the-year gifts that have helped us prepare for the new students who will be coming to stay with us soon. One of the young men is 21. Living in the mountains, these young men have little opportunity for education. The Lord has called him to preach, but he has only a sixth-grade education. It seems that the Lord has His hand on several of these other young men. I will teach them Bible and Susan will teach them in English using the ACE curriculum four days a week. They will attend the Thai informal school on Fridays to earn their Thai diploma. The English will open their opportunities to a wealth of good Christian literature. They have almost none in their languages. Also, it will enable them to get a job as needed to support their families. Most pastors here in the mountains are bi-vocational. The churches are small and the people are poor. Most are not able to support a pastor and his family with a salary adequate for their basic needs.
Another of the young men is 16. We have visited his village often for the past seven years, but we only recently heard the story of his family. His father left when he was a small child and his mother is mentally challenged. He had to leave school after second grade to work in the fields to support his mother and younger siblings. A relative agreed to take care of his mother and his pastor found a place for his little brother and sister in a children’s home – all contingent on him being able to live and study with us. This young man is so excited. You should have seen the smile on his face when he came to see us! We are able to open the door to his prison of poverty and grinding manual labor. We can give him a future.
So far we have six new students ready to come in April. We have room for two more, so we are praying that the Lord will send the ones He wants us to serve for those two spots.
As always, we are thankful for the many opportunities God gives us to make a difference in lives here in Thailand – and we are thankful for our faithful supporters who pray for us and give generously to enable the work here to continue.
For Christ count everything but loss...