Highlights of 2019
Happy New Year 2020! What a wonderful year 2019 was and what an exciting new year 2020 will be. We have been absolutely blessed in every way possible. Looking back at the year we are so glad to share several highlights. At the beginning of 2019, Stephen took a couple trips to Myanmar so that he could teach at a Bible college in Northern Myanmar and also teach and preach in Central Myanmar. During one of these trips, Mary was able to join Stephen and evangelize in the streets and also the slums of Mandalay. It was such a great trip for them!
Another wonderful highlight of 2019 was that Stephen and Nick went into Laos for the first time! They were very afraid because it’s a sensitive area for His Kingdom works. God really opened the door for them as they met with very powerful leaders who welcomed them and treated them like family. God is great! We never imagined of ever meeting leaders in Laos, let alone go into the country.
|Spreading the Gospel in Laos|
Christianity has been legalized, along with Buddhism, Islam, and Bahai; however, Christian evangelism is still very restricted and even more for foreigners. With the restrictions, and without breaking the national law, God has blessed our co-workers, native evangelists, with over five hundred souls baptized throughout the year of 2019 alone. God is truly moving in this country! The converts include ordinary farmers from very remote villages to even members of house representative. The field is ripe and ready for harvest! We are praying that many more souls will be harvested in the following years. Please keep these new members of God’s family in your prayers! As you may have already known, where God is moving, there is also much temptations, peer pressures and family oppression. Pray particularly for one family who just converted a few days ago, after their conversion, the grandparents and relatives came and took away many belongings and livestock from their house. Since the family became Christian, the grandfather fears that after his death, the family would not kill and offer any livestock to him (his spirit) so he needs to take them away now while he is still alive.
At this moment, our native evangelists really need two motorcycles (actually small scooters, as you may call them) so that they will be able to reach out to more villages in order for more souls to be won. Each scooter costs roughly $1500 (total cost is $3,000). It would also be a great blessing to those evangelists if they had some funds to cover their evangelistic expenses. If God is calling you to partner on the mission field of Laos, about $200 per months would cover the village evangelistic expenses for reaching out to many more thousand souls in the year of 2020 and many more years to come.
Nick and Stephen will visit our friends in Laos again this upcoming February 2020. If the Lord is willing, we will be able to have fellowship and teach about 20-25 church leaders the Word of God for about a week or two. Because we believe that without understanding the true Word of God, spiritual transformation and growth is limited. Pray for His will to be done in Southeast Asia and China!
Another highlight is when John led a group from Boise Bible College on a short term mission trip to Thailand. The BBC team did wonderful! During the weekdays, they taught English at the government school for refugees in our neighborhood. On the weekends, we all went to the various churches in the mountains and the city; the BBC team gave testimonies, led worship, and some even preached. After they left, a couple from Biola University, Ben and Cristina Meyer, decided to spend their honeymoon serving with AFC in Thailand. They encouraged us a lot because of their heart for missions. God has been sending great help! We welcome all the help and encourage that we can get and also pray that God will send more Kingdom workers who will stay on a more permanent basis.
In September, Stephen, by the request of IDES, went into Eastern China to help bring relief aid to people affected by typhoon Lekima. Many buildings, including churches, were destroyed. After the trip to China, Stephen went into Laos again. Many people are hungry for the Truth. Many are being won for His Kingdom.
December was wonderful! A group of Lisu singers from Myanmar came to our house in order to make music videos for their original Lisu Christian songs which were sponsored by Asians For Christ. There is a great need for Christian songs in the Lisu language. Many Christian Lisu love listening to Christian songs as they work in their farms or in the market place. Nick, with the help of Kaylee and several others, was able to finish 12 songs in about a week. After about a month of being in Thailand, Kaylee left for India. It was wonderful to have her encourage the family and help with some of our ministries in Thailand.
|The family and Kaylee with the gospel singers from Myanmar|
After the music videos were completed, we all went to a Lisu Christmas festival with the 4 singers in Chiang Dao, about a 2 hour drive from Chiang Mai. The Lisu Christmas festival is a several day event where the Lisu come together and perform, sing, and celebrate Jesus’ birth. It was great to hear the Myanmar singers perform a couple of their songs. During this festival, Stephen had the honor of preaching at the main service on December 25th. Everyone had a great time listening to the message (in fact, Stephen preached for two Christmas events in two countries this year; Laos and Thailand). After hearing his message, many young evangelists approached Stephen to offer them Bible courses so that they will be able to carry out the true Gospel to their mission fields. When the Christmas festival was over, the manager of the biggest mall in Chiang Mai invited the singers to sing carols at the mall. Many Thais stopped by the caroling booth to listen to Christmas music in Lisu, which was unique for the Thais.
|Stephen preaching for the Christmas event in Laos|
|The congregation wearing their traditional Hmong attire|
|Stephen taking a picture with the teenagers|
|Stephen preaching at the Lisu Christmas Festival in Thailand|
|Caroling in the middle of the largest mall in Northern Thailand!|
|Nick and the soccer kids|
|Christmas party at the house|
|The Shan kids from the neighborhood enjoying some BBQ|
First of all, we are looking forward to offering Bible classes in various contexts in Thailand, Myanmar and Laos. By the way, Cambodia is also requesting for Stephen to go and teach there. His former student came to visit him during the New Year and discussed the possibility for Stephen to offer some biblical courses in Cambodia. God has really blessed our missions with open doors. Second, John will graduate in May and is getting married to his fiancé, Anna, so Stephen, Mary and Isaac are planning to go to his graduation and the wedding. Third, we are praying for God to provide the means for setting up a small studio for recording our biblical lessons which will then be delivered to churches in those restricted areas. We hope that by doing this that it will help reduce our traveling costs and that more people can have access at the same time even in different locations. Fourth, we are praying for God to continue to move among us and our mission works so that many lost souls will receive eternal life in Jesus Christ and be transformed by His Word in the year of 2020.
Finally, your constant prayers for our family and ministry are much appreciated. Pray that our family will continue to be the light to the people around us and that they may see Christ in us. May our Living God and Lord, whom we are serving, reward you bountifully for your prayerful and financial partnership!