The mission field is very complex. Life in the mission field is unpredictable; in fact, we face many challenges throughout the years. We’ve been chased by some authorities and even by Christian leaders in restricted countries. We’ve been falsely accused, gossiped on countless times, and ridiculed, even from mission workers who have been our friends (which hurts us a lot from a human’s perspective). We’ve taught the Bible in the midst of gunfire and bombardments. We’ve faced many trials throughout the years, but God has always been with us. When these challenges occur, God has always delivered us and even blessed us with even more and more opportunities to reach the lost. We thank God and churches and individuals who have always been with us and our missions. We are truly blessed and words cannot describe how thankful we are.
Ecclesiastics says in 3:1-8 “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh. . .” During September, we faced a problem with our livestock. Due to the avian flu epidemic which originated from the western part of China and moved to Myanmar and finally to our area; sadly, our black chickens, that we raised for self-consumption and for hosting guests and students, just dropped dead within a matter of days. This incident happened to us because of jealousy. While all chickens at our little town died, our chickens were spared (because we lived outside of town). Then someone dumped their dead chickens next to our chicken’s pen. This incident has brought Mary and her mother great devastation because they have been taking care of those chickens for a several years. Each of those black chicken costs $10-20 and the breeder costs over $200 at the market. But even in moments like this, we have thousands of reasons to thank God – our health and ministry in particular.
At the beginning of September, the Association of Thai Christian Police and Soldiers came over to our house to fellowship and to worship our Living God. In America, the society can be changed by the movement of common people, but in Thailand, the society can only be changed by the elites. This group of Christian police and soldiers are among the elites of the country of Thailand and they are on fire for God. They believe that only “Jesus Christ” can transform Thailand into His Kingdom. In the past year, this group stood up to nullify the law that would forbid any individual Christian to evangelize in Thailand. This same law would also forbids for a house worship or devotional time, and no more church planting unless they had a special authorized document from the central offices. If this law were to pass, it would impact Christian evangelism and His kingdom expansion immensely. Praise the Lord for such law was nullified! They also have visions to send evangelists to every public school and military camps in the Northern Thailand. The core problem is that there is no worker for such tasks. Please continue to pray for this group of Christians that they may make a huge difference in Thailand for His Kingdom.
Over all, the high ranking soldiers of this group want to train the next generation Christians to become leaders who will be able to be God’s tools in transforming Thailand. They are searching and recruiting Christian children under 17 years of age to attend at their military cadet school. They want Isaac to join in this program. They will come back for Isaac and discuss with him directly in the near future. Isaac is thinking and praying about it. Please pray for Isaac as he is deciding on whether to train, which will be like an extracurricular activity on top of his school works.
|A group picture|
|Fellowship meal after worship|
One of our visions to overcome poverty, human trafficking, drugs among the Lisu people, particular among the Lisu churches throughout Myanmar and Thailand is to help the Lisu people with skills and knowledge so that they can have jobs and eventually are able to stand on their own and become healthy churches. As it is said “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” We are now trying our best to contact with several organizations both Christians and non-believers to help teach and train the Lisu people.
In the past weeks, Stephen and Nick met with the director of a nursing aid school in Chiang Mai and also the director of a Japanese newspaper in Thailand. Stephen and Nick talked to them about our missions and how we teach the Bible and also how we are trying to find people to help teach skills to the Lisu people so that they may be able to get out of poverty, human trafficking and drugs. One of the directors is Thai and the other is Japanese and they are very interested in helping the Lisu people. They really respect and would like to read Stephen’s Bible commentaries. Mr. Urano, the Japanese director of the newspaper company would like to put our missions in his newspaper as well. We are extremely thankful that God has allowed us to meet with non-Christians that are willing to help our missions.
|Hosting guests at the mission office|
|Planning how to help the Lisu churches and people|
|Visiting Stephen's Office|
Mary is doing well. She misses the sounds of the chickens but is happy that the bird flu didn’t affect our family. Stephen has done over 90 percent of each commentary works on the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. However, he has paused his commentary works in order to go back through his college and seminary notes on the book of Daniel. He has been invited to go teach on this book in China and Myanmar this upcoming month of October. It will be a challenging book for him since the Old Testament is not his area of emphasis (though he took more classes of the Old Testament at Lincoln Christian Seminary). So, he needs your prayers that whatever he does, whether teaching or preaching, that he would deliver God’s Word faithfully. Isaac is currently having his final exam for his first semester. He is currently on the top group of students in his grade for the English based classes. Then he will have a break for a month in October. Becky is doing great job in tutoring Isaac; her health is doing great as well. Many times, she feels frustrated because there is no available job for her in this country since she is limited due to the hardships of getting to and from places. Nick has started teaching a little bit of English in the city on some days in order to make ends meet. John is searching for his internship church for his preaching major during this year at Boise Bible College. Any suggestions would be much appreciated!