The waterfall splashed over the rocks into the pool below, sending ripples across the water. What a beautiful place for a baptism!
Baptisms are always a cause for rejoicing, but this one was especially precious. We were there for the baptism of one of our own.
Two years ago, I was unsure about God’s direction for our learning center. All but one of the original group of kids we had taken to raise had grown and gone. Should I just homeschool Danny, the one I had left?
Then Wayne’s pastor brought him to see us. Wayne had never been able to have much schooling. His father deserted the family and his mother had mental challenges which made her unable to raise the children. He worked throughout his childhood to keep his mother and siblings fed. The situation changed and he was free from his family responsibilities, but he was 17, too old to go back to start in kindergarten. His pastor brought him to us to see if we could help him.
I still can see him gazing around our simple mission building with wide eyes and a shining smile. You would have thought he had stepped into Disneyland. I looked at him and realized the decision I made that day could change a life. I could give him a chance for education. If I didn’t, he would never have another chance. And, of course, I took him.
Since I was teaching one, I thought I might as well teach others at the same time, and soon we had 12 boys. The last two years with them have been a blessing. They’ve progressed with their education, but more importantly, the Lord saved most of them and called several to preach.
At the end of the second year, Wayne was the only one left who had not made a profession of faith. That made us especially sad when he made the decision to drop out to take care of his family again. The other arrangements fell through, in spite of all our efforts to make them work. He had two years of education and could speak, read and write in both English and Thai, which is an important accomplishment. But we longed to see him saved.
And God did save him! Wayne and a young lady from his village were baptized that Sunday. What a joy!
We also celebrated Wichai’s accomplishment this month. He attended the Grace Baptist Bible Institute that Brother Matt Villandry started and taught. All the while he kept going to class at the university, and then worked in Mae Ai with us. He kept up with the Institute classes, mostly online.
We traveled to Chiang Mai with him for the graduation ceremony. It was a lovely, impressive ceremony, and the new facilities the Villandrys have recently purchased and remodeled are beautiful.
Less fun was the trip to get my visa. It was a day-and-a-half headache, but I did go home with a three-month extension of my visa. We’ve already started on the next ordeal, which will come up in three months. We hope to get it extended for a full year that time. I’ll meet with Social Services next week. Prayers that the meeting will go well would be appreciated!
Meanwhile, the rains have started at last. We are so relieved to have some of the smoke and dust washed from the air and to be able to breathe a little better. Of course, the rains come in the form of storms. One was so violent it blew some tiles off the roof and rained into Wichai’s room, flooding it. We are thankful that there wasn’t much damage to his things. Also, we were able to get it fixed quickly. God is good.
We were glad to have Wayne and Wyatt (a recent graduate) back for a week. They came to help build a bamboo sleeping quarters for the men who come to preacher’s training. The older men weren’t comfortable on the tile floors of our building. They asked if we would build them a bamboo house like they are used to. We were packed out and overflowing, so we took this as a good idea to provide more accommodations with little expense.
This is preachers’ training week and the regular building and the new bamboo house are both full each night. We’ve almost outgrown the training room, too, with more than 40 men squeezed in around the tables. We especially felt blessed to have a few of the men from Myanmar back with us at last. The border was closed because of Covid for so long!
Paul hopes to go to Myanmar to teach next month now that the borders are opening again. He’d like to add another Preachers’ Training for the LiSu tribe, too. We still need an interpreter for that project.
As for me, I have lots of opportunities, too. I will be teaching a smaller group of students, since we will be short-handed. I’ve been asked to do an after-school class for middle school students and I’m considering doing that twice a week. I’m also setting up a once-a-week online class for my students who have moved on so they won’t forget how to speak English!
The first of the lessons for our new Sunday School curriculum are with the translater. Meanwhile, I’m putting together lesson helps and trying to figure out illustrations. (If anyone has suggestions for Bible Story pictures, I would be glad to hear them! I have some good ones, but they copyrighted.) I hope to have a training session for the teachers soon. There are so many children in the villages. What an opportunity to train and equip teachers to teach them!
And we want to thank those who were moved to send us special love offerings lately. Those extra funds enabled us to buy a printer capable of printing the materials at a reasonable cost per page. That will bring the cost of the lessons, coloring pages, etc., into the affordable range. Thank you for helping us reach and teach these precious children!
As you can tell, we stay busy – and there are so many opportunities we haven’t been able to get to. Sometimes we grow weary and struggle, but we know our Sovereign God will give us exactly what we need to do His will. We can rely on Him!