The death and resurrection of Jesus is the core of Christianity. Except Christianity, no other religions teaches the death and resurrection. Except Jesus Christ, no other religious founders have ever risen from the death. Jesus alone has risen from the death. The death and resurrection of Jesus is a core of Christian faith, love, and hope. It is a core for Christian mission and evangelism and a model for every aspect of Christian life, leadership, fellowship, family, and church management.
In the past weeks, our family had a great privilege to attend at the Easter convention which was held at Chiang Dao, Chiang Mai. Churches in the surrounding area gathered together to remember and celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus two weeks prior to the actual date of Easter so that each individual church will be able to celebrate it again at their own churches. As usual, we had a great time to hear hymns, songs and the Word of God. It was a great honor for Stephen to preach the gospel of Jesus’ death and resurrection at this convention. He reminded everyone that the death and resurrection of Jesus is the core of the gospel. Without the death and resurrection of Jesus, we are no different from others and our faith is worthless. Praise the Lord! Jesus has risen!
|Stephen preaching at the Easter convention in Chiang Dao|
|A view from the front|
With the arrival of April, the temperature is hitting the 100 mark (Fahrenheit) almost every day. This is actually considered summer for most Southeast Asian countries; all Thai schools are closed, and everyone is getting ready for the “Songkran” festival. Songkran is the Thai New Year’s, celebrated on the 13th of April, where many people go around splashing others with water, and now the water splashing tradition has turned into a fun way to stay cool during the blistering heat. This festival has attracted hundreds of thousands of tourist from all around the world. Please pray for safety, because this is also the festival where most vehicular accidents occur because of all the intoxication.
Myanmar also celebrates a similar water festival called Thingyin, but in Myamar, most Burmese celebrate this water festival as a Buddhist New Year. Since many Churches in Myanmar view their water festival as a Buddhist celebration, they have a week of bible camp with activities in order to promote the teens to stay away from the Thingyin festival and all the alcoholic substance abuse that occurs. This year, Stephen will go teach at this bible camp, as requested by the churches in Kachin State, Myanmar. Please be in prayers as Stephen travels and teaches in the next couple of weeks in Myanmar.
|google image of Songkran Festival|
Stephen is currently writing books on the Old Testament survey and the New Testament survey. He is also finalizing his commentary on First Corinthians before sending it to the publishing process. Currently, the Hebrew commentary is in the process of publishing. As you may know, this is a ministry that is thriving because there is very limited commentary in the Lisu language. Indeed, this ministry of producing Lisu commentaries is a must. The commentaries on the book of Revelation in the Lisu language that Stephen and his team published were sold, at the price of the printing cost, or given away in a matter of days. The money made from the commentaries are put into conference, travel, and transportation costs.
This ministry is doing exceptionally well, many Lisu are diving into the Word and studying what each book and their authors intended meanings were in those days, and using that knowledge to understand what we, Christians, are to be. A lot of the Christian leaders and Bible students in Thailand, Myanmar, and even China have requested for further studies in the Bible after reading the Bible along with these commentaries. Many are extremely glad to learn and to have a deeper understanding of the Word.
Since the majority of the request are coming from many Christian leaders and Bible students, in the hundreds, if not thousands, in Myanmar and China, Stephen believes that it may be wiser for short term bible courses to be held in Myanmar or even Southern China in order to meet the needs of the majority that are starving to learn more about the Bible. This leads to a temporary break for Asia International Seminary in Thailand to accept groups from Myanmar and China, and possibly a shift to Myanmar where the number of requests is almost uncountable.
In the recent years, we have had a few groups of 6 or 7 Christian leaders come to Thailand to study with us at AIS, but as the hundreds of requests to learn came in, from Myanmar alone, it seems wise, because of our limited resources and space and distance, for Stephen to go and teach at the location of the people, whether it be Myanmar or China. The Christians leaders in Thailand that have requested for a course with Stephen, will still be able to come study at the classroom at AIS. We are praying, if the Lord is willing, that this shift could possibly lead to a more permanent establishment in Myanmar to accept more Bible students because this ministry, starting with the people reading the commentaries, that Stephen and his team published in their native language of Lisu, and then the Holy Spirit working in their hearts so that they are on fire to learn the Word at a deeper level in a classroom setting. Please, pray for God to provide a way that is best for His Kingdom.
|Stephen working on writing commentaries in the Lisu language|
The family is doing well. We are all enjoying the summer, Isaac in particular. He is reading through the Chronicles of Narnia and now is getting ready to fill his water gun and spray the neighbors. Stephen and Mary have started going on walks in the evening in order to exercise for their health. Mary is doing much better, but still needs a lot of prayers. Stephen will head to Myanmar this weekend in order to teach at a bible camp during the Burmese Water Festival. John will return to Thailand in May and during that month, Stephen, John, and Nick will go teach in Myanmar. The conference will include English lessons, Bible lessons, and also talk about trade skills and education to better their standard of living. Please continue to pray for the family.
|A brief family trip because Isaac is on summer break|
|Went to see a tea farm!!|
|Family time with friends|
Thank you so much for your continued prayers and for reading our updates. We understand that God uses everyone in different ways. We know that without God and without your partnership in prayers, encouragements, and funds, our Missions would not be where it is today, and for that we thank God and we thank you.