Covid Alert! Covid Alert! We are now facing the 3rd wave of Covid 19. Every province is under lockdown. Restaurants are only allowed to serve take-away orders, no more gatherings (including church), and masks are now mandated with violators facing up to 700$ fines. We rely on and know that God will help us through yet another period of lockdown. Praise God that we still have a garden where we can get our vegetables and a chicken coop where we can get our eggs and meat. Even though we are facing another challenge, we have joy in Christ. We do ask for prayers for others in the area that are facing depression and hunger during this time. Before this 3rd wave, we had many productive months! So, let’s talk about that!
Since Thailand has been on and off with lockdowns due to Covid-19, Stephen’s ministry has shifted accordingly. Whenever the lockdown was lifted, he would visit different villages and preach at different churches on the weekends. Whenever there was a lockdown in effect, he would spend his time in his office and study God’s Word; this is the reason which he considers as the positive of a lockdown. No matter what type of conditions we may face, he continues to teach God’s Word online to a group of 30 evangelists and preachers who live in Thailand and Myanmar. He then sends the recorded audio lessons to the Christian leaders in China. Among these preachers, Wan Bosi is a preacher-pastor at the biggest church among the Lisu church in Thailand. Wan Bosi has never had a chance to study in any Bible colleges, but because he wants to preach God’s Word faithfully he enrolled in Stephen's international Bible class for ministers. Lamephu is another leader whose ministry focuses on drug addicts. He is working with over 300 drug addicts throughout Myanmar. He believes that God is able to heal these dark forces so his ministry emphasizes on teaching God’s Word and prayers for these drug addicts to be healed. Many of his students were once addicts and now serve the Living God and Lord in several areas in Northern Myanmar. Another leader, Ahli serves at one of the county churches of the three self-movement in China. Stephen sees his potential to be one of the next generation leaders in the Yunan province so he has been training with Stephen for many years. While studying God’s Word via online with Stephen, Ahli has been invited to study at Yunan Ethnic University. As he continues in his further studies, he needs some financial help for his family needs. Isn’t it worthwhile to invest in these leaders and their needs for the sake of God’s Kingdom? Please lift up these leaders, particularly Ahli and Lamephu, and their ministries in your prayers. Overall, Praise God for allowing us to teach and invest in His Kingdom’s workers even when we are locked down in our homes!
|Team photo after a victory!|
Nick has been working with the youth at a local church in Chiang Mai and also the nonbelievers of Shan youth in our county. Since, the lockdown, he has not been able to physically meet up with the youth, but has been encouraging and spending time with them online. Nick’s sport ministry, soccer in particular has reached another phase. Now, the program has roughly 20 regular players. As we progress, there will be a need for more equipment and connections to teams that will be willing to compete against an "unofficial" club. Nevertheless, every practice begins and ends with prayers and discussions about soccer and life. After 3 years of practice, the boys had official matches in March (before the 3rd wave of Covid). They hold a record of 3 wins and 0 losses so far! They have all grown up to be great players on and off the field. Nick is really encouraged by the fact that they actually come to Nick when they have problems and sometimes even ask for prayers. These boys are very dear to us, and we are very proud of them! The sport ministry has not only transformed the life of the children, but also the society particularly in our neighborhood area. The neighborhood has seen the impact in the kids’ life. Our neighborhood has become safer than ever before. Most of all, God’s Name has been lifted up among the lost people in our areas.
|After the match, photo with the college age team. Our|
boys did great!
|The team helping with our garden|
|Together as a team, we prepped for |
a new row of green beans!
|Becky's grammar class for the students in Myanmar!|
In March, Stephen went to the border of Thailand and Myanmar, where there is an ongoing intense fighting between Burmese soldiers and Karen, to meet with the displaced people. These people have to leave their love ones, their homes, their villages, their farms because of the bombs from planes. They are all scattered in the forest around the border without basic life necessities.
In this area, the western border of Thailand, ethnic Karen refugees have made camps right on the riverside that divides the country of Myanmar and Thailand. Conflicts have escalated in Myanmar due to internal politics. The Burmese military and ethnic Karen military (among others) began fighting since early March. This resulted in a great migration of civilians coming to the edge of the river because technically they cannot cross into Thai borders. After meeting with some of those displaced people, we decided to send help in the form of food packages. Prayers for the political unrest in Myanmar would be appreciated because it is escalating at alarming rates.
|Stephen helping load a truck to send mosquito nets|
and necessities for the displaced at the border
|Our packages reached the displaced at the Myanmar border|
In Laos, we are so excited to announce that many more people have accepted Christ and were baptized in the past couple of months. Many are tearing down and burning their physical idols from their houses because of their new found faith. God is moving in Laos even during this lockdown and we would like to acknowledge our partners on the ground for their wonderful work.
Laos has many different ethnic groups and many of them are considered to be unreached groups: no converts, no bible and etc. In one particular county, there are 27 different ethnic groups living there. In the previous newsletter we asked you to pray for these unreached ethnic people. Praise the Lord! He has answered the prayers. Not long after, the first family (9 of them altogether) from the Seeda tribe walked into the house of the on-the-field evangelist (who took the New Testament course with Stephen) and asked to follow Jesus Christ. As Jesus said in Luke 15:10 “there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (NASB), we are so happy to be a part of a history-in-the-making moment. This is extremely encouraging especially in the field of missions. We hope to see these new converts trained up to become Kingdom workers who will carry out the Great Commission to their own people, one day. Isn’t this exciting? Would you like to see more unreached people groups come to Christ? If you would, please join with us in prayer for these new converts and our mission field.
|More baptisms in Laos!|
|More believers in Laos. Praise God!|
In early April, our family headed up to a family reunion and memorial of Stephen’s late father. Every year our family and relatives would go up to the burial grounds of Lawu (Stephen’s father) and have a worship service. Over 100 Lisu people, both Christians and non-Christians, will come to join and pay respect for Lawu. This was a great day for Stephen not only to meet up with his brothers and sisters who live in various parts of Thailand, but also to evangelize to them. It seems there is no better place to deliver Jesus’ resurrection and the hope of Christians’ resurrection than at this memorial gathering. In fact, it was the similar context of 1 Corinthians 15 when Paul delivered his gospel of Jesus’ resurrection to the Corinthian church. This event was a couple days filled with family and friends enjoying meals together, playing soccer together, and also worshiping God together.
|The men of the family talking about life|
|Stephen giving a quick message of encouragement to pursue|
the Heavenly Kingdom
|This year, as a family clan, we gave out a few scholarships |
to students pursing different levels of education
|Stephen and Mary in front of Lawu's grave|
|A family lunch followed after the worship service!|
At the home front, Mary’s pumpkin hasn’t been easy to take care of especially with the random storms that come in because pumpkins love rain for only a limited amount of days. If there is too much water, then the pumpkins go bad. We are praying for a good harvest so that we can either help provide jobs for local Shan people in our neighborhood or give them as food to people who need it. Isaac is on his summer break. During his free time, besides playing games with his friends, Isaac has been learning piano and chess on his own. During this third lockdown, Stephen has revisited his doctoral notes and has spent much of his office time on researching the Gospel of Luke. He is considering to convert those research notes into the form of commentaries in the near future.
|Stephen's old friend visited us. He and his wife are political|
leaders in Eastern Thailand.
|We sent some clothes to a village in Thailand.|
The kids love their new clothes!
|Many were able to come and get new clothes.|
As always, thank you for your faithful partnership with us. May the Lord bless you all abundantly!