It was a real blessing to study Second Corinthians for the past two weeks. Also, it was indescribable to see how these leaders have grown in their biblical knowledge and even applying it in to their ministerial contexts. It was pure joy to see them learn during the week and to take them to churches and hearing them preach during the weekends. They did a wonderful job in preaching faithfully God’s Word. They all feel alive and confident (which they had never felt before) when they are assured that they are preaching God’s Word. Out of 20 leaders who have been studying with us throughout these years, 5 will complete their course work this upcoming November plus 2 are working on their paper works. The rest will complete in the follow years. So, please pray for us in whether we should continue to accept a new class of many countless Christian leaders that desire to be equipped and empowered at this seminary in the future or whether we should take a different ministry approach. Without your prayers and support, we could have never accomplished such great things. With your partnership, we believe God’s Kingdom is expanding and His Name is being glorified!
Study on the Second Corinthians
A group picture with students from Myanmar
The Second Corinthians is very applicable to the place where we are living, at the moment. We are always being blessed at the mission field. Living in the mission field is a daily experience of the real spiritual battle between the dark and the light. At the mission field where there is tangibility, visible idolatry with idol and spirit worship is present. At the mission field where the wheat and weeds live side by side and where true and false gospels are spreading and where the true and false messengers are working. Like Eve being corrupted away from sincere devotion, the false messengers seduce churches with the other gospel and the other Jesus besides the Truth of the Scripture. Many Christians become guilty of spiritual adultery and no longer are pure virgins ready for the arrival of their husband, Jesus Christ. They are clearly in danger of being guilty by messengers from Satan who appear as shining angels and seduce them with a fake gospel.
Like the Corinthians, at the moment, many of the churches in the villages are being led astray by those who claim to have spiritual insights, direct revelation from God. These groups of people travel like our traveling evangelists, village after village spreading their fake gospel starting from Thailand to Myanmar (Burma) and even to China. Another group of false messengers are starting to enter into Thailand spreading the message that God is omnipotent with wrongly implying that God allows His children to do everything, even illegal drug businesses. God is rich so he desires all his children to be rich like him. Their implication is that Christians can do everything that can bring them wealth and prosperity, even involving in those illegal businesses which they say “is under God’s permission and provision.” This unsound doctrine seems to appeal to many poor Christians, particularly, among the hill tribes. Definitely, as Paul says that these people put their confidence on the flesh, external and visible things. Rather than living by faith, they are living by sight; therefore, their norms, standards and values are rooted in this world.
Praise the Lord! In the midst of this fake message, there are some who are yielding for the truth. They are calling us to make a visit with them for teaching and admonishing them with the true Word of God. God is also faithful in moving among his people by adding more people into His Kingdom through baptism.
Yasa baptized Lahu Christians who are struggling
with the false teachers
Other churches have taken our challenge to examine themselves (as Paul did to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 13) whether they are aligning with God’s Word or the thoughts of men by reelecting their new elders to replace the former elders who promote and support those false teaching. We are encouraged as Paul exhorts his Second Corinthians readers that live in this body as at home, while away from home, being as an exile, living in a foreign land one needs to walk by faith rather than by sight. Because the true Christian’s homeland is the heavenly land, where being present with the Lord. Like Paul, regardless of where we are, whether still in this life, or having made our home with the Lord, we should live to please Christ because the approval of the Lord Jesus Christ is the final.
A weekend church visiting
A church at village where they are fighting with
the teaching of perfectionism
Maung Kai is preaching in Hmong and
Ah Lay Bo is translating into Lisu
at the Saturday evening service
Nick is preaching at Sunday early morning service
Sarmuekhi is preaching at noon service
Recently, John had made his first field trip to Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, with his school, Grace International School. It was a great experience for him to see the artwork and sculpting of each handmade work. Seeing many touristic places has been a joy for him as he walked along ancient Thai grounds. His favorite places were the Rama’s teak mansion, A Dialogue in the Dark (Experiencing the life as a blind person), and the Chao Praya Cruise with wonderful sights and an enjoyable environment. He is constantly thanking God for such an opportunity to experience new things in his life and for being with him through tough times. He said “When I was weak, he was strong within me!”
John and his schoolmates in Bangkok
Nick and Stephen are working on their Myanmar visas and their air-tickets to the north of Myanmar. They will teach at the Bible Teacher Conference. This conference will focus solely on those who are in teaching ministry, whether at Bible college teachers, Sunday school teachers, teaching Pastors or preachers or elders, women teachers and youth teachers. The conference will be held at Myitkyina during the second week of December. Possibly, Stephen will also go up to the very north of Myanmar, Putao area, if God is willing, at the border of Myanmar, China and India.
Isaac had difficult time during this month due to the flu season. He was hospitalized for almost a week. Mary was busy and exhausted in taking care of him as well as seeing through the needs of our AIS’ students, while Stephen was teaching at day and spending time with Isaac at night. Stephen and Nick drove the students out to villages during the weekends. Every evening as usual, Becky taught English to these students.
We always thank God for allowing our family to serve Him. We are grateful for your partnering for equipping and empowering these Christian leaders and evangelizing the Gospel of Jesus’ redemption to the lost souls through your prayerful and financial supports.
Stephen and Mary
1. Family’s health. The climate in Thailand is changing rather swiftly. It is not like what it used to be in the past. In the day it is hot and humid but at night, it turns freezing cold. There are more flu patients this year than the previous years. Normally, we hardly get the flu, but this year it passed around and around and around among our students and family.
2. Mission trips. If God is willing, two mission trips; Laos and Myanmar, are set for these upcoming months (November and December).
3. AIS’ students. This group of students will complete their class works in the middle of November. Please pray for their ministry and family to be faithful to God’s Word!
4. Faculty’s health. Isaiah and Stephen’s ministries are widely spreading all over several countries-- Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and China-- with various types of ministries; teaching, evangelism, church consultant and planting, Bible translating (Isaiah in particular) and etc. They need your prayers for good health. P.S. In the standard of Thai people, Isaiah and Stephen are considered to be senior citizens in the next coming years.
5. Please lift up John’s school, Grace International School, in your prayers. They have done a wonderful job in giving Christian education to John. We are proud of their ministry. You can visit their website at http://www.gisthailand.org/