Why, why why?
Due to the coup in Thailand, we had to call off all our mission trips to China and Laos and even our family vacation/retreat at Koh Chang, near Bangkok. Throughout my life, I’ve lived under the military coup many times, total of 12 times: 1957, 1958, 1971, 1973, 1976, 1977 (bi), 1981, 1985, 1991, 2006, 2014; though it is not acceptable for me personally, I can go through it. However, our children who have never ever experienced such circumstances, are continually raising various questions; for instance, why do we have to cancel our family vacation? Why is the coup erupting? Why did dad cancel his mission trip? And much more questions… It is quite beyond their understanding! We don’t know what will happen to Thailand in the next few months. The fact is that we live under daily rumors and hoax news. Recently, the military junta was attempting to block the world's big social network and websites: Google and Facebook. Nevertheless, the spokeswomen of those companies declined to comment on any invitation or questions about the army’s approach to Internet censorship. The junta will travel to Singapore to discuss the issue with Google and Facebook next month, and would consider visiting the headquarters of Japan-based Line—Thailand's most popular smartphone messaging app—at a future date. We pray this will not happen in Thailand. If it does, please notify that our regular report will be changed according to the political situation. Please pray for our family and ministry so that we will be able to go through it with emotional and spiritual peace in Christ, the Living God. Overall, we have many reasons to give thanks and praise our Living and Ruling Lord and God. First, we are not involving and having any direct connection with the political crisis since we are merely God’s tool for carrying out His great Commission. Second, we are using this time of crisis to focus on our ministry and family, having more time together inside the house since there has been curfew.
Updating on ministry
Most of our time in this month was spent on pastoral ministry; visiting and praying for sick people at hospitals, counseling to various people and in particular, several broken families. The way of counseling in Thailand, we guess, is very different from the West. At several times, Nick was a bit surprised when he observed the way we did counseling here in Thailand. The following paragraphs are some of his responses:
The way of counseling in Thailand is nothing like I’ve ever experienced in America. I graduated from Ozark Christian College with a BA in Psychology and Counseling and had work experience in the field of psychology in the States. As you may know, in America, counseling sessions are general done in confidential one-on-one settings. Confidentiality, and helping clients come up with their own resolution, is important in the “American” counseling. In Thailand, it’s completely different.
The counseling ways of the typical Asian way of counseling is completely polar opposite of the Western. I was able to experience first-hand the counseling ways of Thailand. My cousin recently went through marriage problems, and since this is a sensitive issue, I won’t go into too much detail. What was really interesting and surprising to me was that almost 20 members of our family, mostly the elders, attended the “counseling session.” Not only did this session involve many people, but the elders basically gave advice and made decisions on what will happen to the husband and wife.
This counseling session, in this case for the couple, involved many members of the family, because in Asia, when a couple got married, it’s not only about the individuals but also about the bond of the families or clans. Although the counseling of Asia is different from America, I feel like it worked for the community. It was a very different eye-opening experience for me.”
a family counseling
Updating on Leadership equipping and empowering
We are now shifting our ministry from outdoor ministry, evangelistic emphasis to biblical teaching and leadership equipping and empowering. At the moment, we have 5 Christian leaders from Myanmar and two from China who are preparing their English with Nick, Becky and John in order to have them well prepared for our visiting teacher, Dr. Derek Voorhees, from Boise Bible College. Dr. Derek Voorhees will spend two weeks with us and will be teaching an exegetical class on 2 Corinthians. Then, our students will take a class the New Testament church with Mr. Isaiah Yintum, followed by 2 exegetical classes, 1 Corinthians and Ephesians with Dr. Stephen Wongratanamajcha.
The two Christian leaders from China came particularly to ask us to offer our biblical classes to them. Indeed, many church leaders from Thailand, Myanmar and China have requested us to offer special courses for them. Rather than higher academic emphasis, offering them practical and pastoral emphasis while being faithful to the Word of God. Actually, the request meets our ministerial philosophy. As you may realize, our ministry of leadership are equipping and empowering emphasizes on person rather than buildings. Various occasions, we are moving from place to place, borrowing church buildings to hold our teaching classes in various locations in Thailand and even other countries, Myanmar and China. We are offered merely to those who are presently serving His Kingdom. We are praying and waiting for God’s leading to expand for this need ministry. We cannot do this by ourselves. We need to have many people and churches involved, particularly churches that are willing to sacrifice for the fostering or sponsorship in prayers and finance.
Becky is teaching English
Nick is tutoring students on 2 Corinthians
John is teaching English pronunciation
Stephen, Isaac with students
Update from the last newsletter:
Remember our latest newsletter, we mentioned about Stephen’s trip to the central Myanmar for drilling and building the water system for the orphanage home and bible students. Now the work has finally been completed. We drilled 250 feet into the ground in order to find water enough to support the people for both places. And the water system, tank and pipe, are also finished. Our deep appreciation goes to IDES for helping make the drilling system happen and a former missionary, Kimberly Ayars, who raised the one time gift necessary for the water system.
Laying out water pipe system
building water filter system
setting up the water tank
the finished project
a group picture of orphans
As you may have known already, health and hygiene in Myanmar are urgently needed, particularly the remote and ruler areas. Many villages need to have water sources for their daily drinking and usages.
a drinking water well at the remote village
Wongs in Update
Every one of our children, except Isaac, is at school break. John is sacrificing his summer break by helping our students with English pronunciation since his English is his first language. Nick is tutoring our students to go through all the biblical lessons. Becky is taking her internship at her university by teaching English to our neighboring kids who are misplaced people from Myanmar. She is also helping teaching English to our AIS’ students. Mary as usual is busy taking care of all the needs of the family, students, faculties and visitors. Bless her heart! She is the most-hard worker after all.
Isaac is exhausted on his way from school to home
Always appreciate your partnering with us in advancing God’s Kingdom here in Southeast Asia and China.
Stephen and Mary