Dear praying friends and family,
It’s been a long time since we’ve written, and a lot has been happening here. So rewarding to see church members keen to be involved in Christmas and Children’s Day programs in several schools!
In December we had some Christmas programs at schools, mostly Don Phut and Phachi. On Christmas Day, we joined our co-workers Will and Meng En plus several members from Tha Rua Church for a program at a school in Phachi where we’ve built up a good relationship over the years. The Director there is very open to us sharing the gospel with students, and Mos and Sorn’s daughter attends there. (Mos and Sorn are our main contacts in Phachi, with Mos hoping to pastor the church there in the future.) At the end of the program, we were invited back for Children’s Day (beginning of January). Almost 20 representatives of Tha Rua Church (including Will and Meng En) showed up and gave them a program that made other schools envious! Our family weren’t able to be in Phachi for Children’s Day, as I (Tim) had already committed to go to a school in Don Phut. We had also just gotten back from holidays, so we didn’t feel it would be wise to stretch ourselves too thin the first day back.
Another exciting Christmas presentation in Phachi was at a school where the English teacher is a Christian. Khru Buppha arranged for us to teach “Joy to the World” and tell the Christmas Story. At the end, Khru Buppha invited the students to join her at Ayutthaya Baptist Church for their Christmas program the next Sunday, and 26 students went! Our family also visited. We are thankful for the opportunities to be open about our faith as we volunteer at schools. We were also able to share the gospel very directly at the main primary school in Don Phut when we went there for Christmas, though right now we don’t have any regular ministry to invite them to. (Update: I visited the schools in Don Phut yesterday to deliver some Christian books for their library and the kids were so excited to see me again! They really did enjoy the Christmas program!)
Ministry in Don Phut has been challenging. While we were gone for 10 days at the end of December/beginning of January for much needed holidays, there was some miscommunication about the monthly cell group, though that seems resolved now. A bigger issue is that some of the members have messy lives, and there is the danger that this will bring dishonor to the Name of Christ in the community. Please pray for a clear picture of the whole situation, especially to know what God wants us to do in Don Phut. Pray that the Holy Spirit would convict those who need to make life changes to honor Christ. Pray that I would have the right words to say – words of God’s truth and righteousness, spoken in love and grace. We had been hoping to get a children’s club going in Don Phut, starting in February, but between the situation that needs to be resolved and some of the key members being away, this needs to wait for now. Praise God I had a good visit today with some key members, who are presently spending time with relatives on the outskirts of Bangkok.
I am beginning to go through the Oswald Sanders book, Spiritual Discipleship, with some of those in leadership (and potential leadership) in the church, including another key person in Don Phut. Pray that this and the “Disciple Makers” group on Sunday afternoons would equip and encourage the Tha Rua Christians for greater involvement in service.
Brenda is really getting her feet under her for some ministry now. This week she went to Lopburi with Yu, to train her to do “language checks” together to help guide the language study of some first term OMF missionaries in Bangkok. Yu will be working with another missions organization to run their language program, so Brenda is also excited about the partnership. But more important news for Brenda is that her book, Home at Last, has been typeset and is awaiting just a few final touches before it is sent to the printer! We are thankful that OMF is helping with some finances to get this published, and expect that it will be available in time for a celebration of 150 years of ministry for OMF (formerly the China Inland Mission).
Please continue to pray for Nate and Pete. They’re not enjoying going to Tha Rua for church: partly the travel, partly readjusting to the Thai language, but also because they don’t feel close to people there now. Please pray with us to know what adjustments we can make as a family, as we still feel our calling is to Ayutthaya. Please also pray that they would have a deep, personal touch of the Holy Spirit in their lives, and that the character of Christ would be formed in them.
Finally, we want to thank all of you who make it possible for us to continue serving here in Thailand. Our total support level for 2014 came in at 99%, so we are rejoicing. Please continue to pray that the Lord would supply all our needs. We are thankful for you!
Grace and Peace to each of you in the Lord.
Tim and Brenda