Sunday, November 26, 2006

A Thanksgiving Story

If you are still celebrating Thanksgiving, here is a true story to give thanks for.

Pun and I met a missionary couple at our Thanksgiving dinner, and as we talked to them we heard their amazing story of how God has used and is using them in Northern Thailand.

Back in 1998, they began to work with a very small tribe (less than a thousand members) who, although was anti-Christian, desperately wanted their language to become a written language. They were willing for these missionaries to come and write down their language even if it meant they would get a Bible in the process!

So our missionary friends moved into the tribe and began the very daunting process of forming their alphabet and learning their grammar. This tribe had run out 2 of its own people after they became believers and a few other missionaries in the past. As time went on, our missionary friends also became discouraged. At the point they were about to give up, some people from another tribe in Burma came to see them. They spoke the same language! And many of the tribe were believers! They had been praying for 30 years for someone to give them a Bible in their language. Is that amazing or what?

Now, some 8 years later, with only 1 convert from the original tribe, they are still working on the translation with renewed vigor.

Give thanks to God this season for the very good gifts He gives you, but thank Him also for continuing to bring more people to Himself, even in the remote areas of Thailand and Burma.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

It is Thanksgiving today. Things will be different this year. Our traditions won't be the same and we won't be with all the people that we love and usually spend this day with. But we are still thankful.

When I think about the things I am truly thankful for they seem to boil down to 3 or 4 categories. Each one fills my life deep richness. Funny how we sometimes take for granted the most important things.

Jesus and His Word.
Pun, Helen, and Daniel.
You--all of our friends and family we have left behind.
The hundreds of little blessings that the Lord gives me each day that tend to go unnoticed.

Thank you for being apart of our lives, for your friendship and your prayers. You are priceless to us.

By the way, we do get to celebrate with some friends from church and we will even have a turkey!

Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Little Piece of Heaven

Today is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. The church we have been attending is taking next 2 weeks to focus on those who are persecuted and pray for them. This morning 7 men stood before the congregation and sang a song about sending missionaries to their people so they could hear about Jesus. They were from the Hmong tribe which is scattered through out several Asian countries. These particular men had all walked (yes, walked) to Thailand from Vietnam to escape persecution for being believers. (Check out this website to see how far Thailand is from Vietnam: They are now refugees here because the King of Thailand has made Thailand a place for religious freedom. He is the "protector of all religions." One of the men shared his personal testimony of how the Lord had saved him, used him to start several churches, then suffer years of terrible persecution. These men would meet for church from 12:00am-3:00am so they wouldn't get caught.

Following their testimonies we were served communion by these same Hmong men, rice cakes and tea. What a humbling experience...The lights were turned low and we shared communion in a dark room just as they would have shared in communion in the middle of the night. It was a sober moment to contemplate what might be required of us to serve the Lord in the future.

We closed with more worship songs. One in particular happened to be a favorite of ours from Payson, In Christ Alone. Standing there in the middle of all those people from all over the world (this church has people from 40 different nations), my mind, as it has many times before in this setting, began to think of Heaven. Just think. The Gospel is touching lives in so very many places all over the world in hundreds of different cultures and languages and some day I will stand in heaven not only with this body of believers in Bangkok, but also these Hmong brothers, our dear family of believers in Payson, and believers from EVERY other nation. Wow. What will worship be like there? I wonder. I think it will be breath taking. To realize to the fullest the love that saved and assembled all those different people and the to see that Love Himself and to be apart of the multi-culture choir that sings praises to Him without any restraint from sin is beyond my comprehension. God will be glorified. I can't wait...

After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:

"Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb."

All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:

"Amen! Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!"

Revelation 7:9-12 (NIV)
Are you ready for heaven?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Neighborhood Tour

If I had to compare September and October, they would be as different as night and day. September would rate somewhere around a 2 on a scale of 1-10 (1 being not so good and 10 wonderful.) Then October came. Things sort of evened out. Maybe it was the change of seasons from rain to winter (tropical winter, that it is, at a cool 80 degrees! :)Life became a little more predictable. October ranks around a 6-7, I would say, with some days heading towards 8-9! We are adjusting at last! There will still be rough days, no doubt, but we can see a life for our family here, and we are confident of God's leading us here. He will make a way.

One thing that has helped me has been the time we have spent with Pun's family. All of his aunts and uncles have been so wonderful in reaching out to us and making us feel at home here. We have spent many evenings out with them, and they come over often to play with the kids and visit. We truly feel like family now. I will introduce you to the family in the next post.

And oh yes, I have begun to tackle the Thai language. Wow! With 44 consonants, 32 vowels, 5 tones, and no spaces left between the words when they are written. It will be an unbelieveable challenge, but somehow, just beginning gives me a sense of being proactive in my adjustments.

Another very important factor to our adjustment is meeting other believers. We have made many friends at the church we have been "trying out." It is rather large but very friendly. The people have truly been the Body of Christ to us.

I promised a more cultural post this time so I thought I would take on a tour of the Soi (small street) we live on. When you give your address, there is a house number, a soi number or name, and then the main street name. A soi is not one straight street, either, just in case you are wondering. It is a maze of streets jetting off the main street.

So, here we are at Soi Thanom Chit (which means literally "Caring for the heart") right off of Sutthisan (the main street.) Turn on to our soi and this is what you will see...

A very narrow 2 way street where cars are parked blocking an entire lane! So if you happen to turn on the street and see a car coming straight at you, you must a) find an open spot in the other lane to pull into, or b) put it in reverse and back out. Oh boy, it will be a long time before I drive here!

Notice Helen and Daniel hiding between the parked car and the phone booth on the far left. Helen has become very good at watching for cars and motorcycles. If one is coming, we get as far out of the way as possible and wait until all is clear!
Now you know another way you can pray for us! Pray for our safety as we walk on the streets, especially for Helen and Daniel. It can be a bit unnerving..

Besides lots of cars and motorcycles and people just generally hanging out, there are a few other things that seem to be common to sois...

Soi dogs. Lots of them, everywhere! This picture actually shows 4. You can often find them sleeping under parked cars. It is amazing to me that they all find enough food to eat. Most everyone has a dog or two to guard their house as well.

And vendors. Some stay parked in the same spot all day and some are like these two who drive in an out of the sois announcing their produce or merchandise. Some even walk the streets.

There are several little stores on our soi as well. They are mostly run out of the owner's homes, like this one right down from our house.

Sometimes when we need a break from being in the house, I will take one or both of the kids to one of the stores and buy a drink. They really enjoy taking the walk and getting to pick their own drink out.

Daniel, with a delicious Chocolate Milk, on his way home.

In these two pictures you can see the spectrum of houses on our soi. The rich and the poor live together.

Finally, here is a view of our home, the home where Pun grew up.

And waiting for us when we come home now is a new puppy! Last week, Pun's parents brought home a Cocker Spaniel puppy for Helen and Daniel. His name is Choco. Of course, they are thrilled. Daniel has even added "Choco" to his expanding vocabulary.

Life is good in the Land of Smiles...

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