Monday, October 31, 2011


So, today is Halloween in America- or maybe it was yesterday. Growing up in a conservative Christian household we never celebrated Halloween. I learned about the history of Halloween and never felt left out by not participating in this yearly event. And as I prepared for this next post I realized that this is an issue I've been thinking about for some time now. I've been curious, but not thrilled with the vampires, witches, and other "scary" creatures taking front stage in the media realm lately. As I read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 this morning where it says "Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth" I thought about the spiritual realm of evil that is often overlooked in American society but is so obvious here. Fictitious creatures in the states are brought to life here in Thailand- people live in fear of evil spirits living in their houses and continually give money or do certain things to appease them. This is real, and so are the spirits. Buddhism is a religion that accepts other religious beliefs and adapts them in. So, there are animistic practices going on as well. Today I'm going to show you Hell. I visited a temple in Wing Chae that has a whole area of statues depicting the bottom level of reincarnation. They are very graphic and parents would bring their children to see it and scare them into being good. The pictures don't do it justice...   

 This is the entrance to the temple- gold against a blue sky.

 The entrance to Hell City... Ajung Tee and Greg took me. 

 First you are chained and drug to the judgement area... Ajung Tee said that you can connect the concept of being chained like this to the biblical concept of Christ breaking our chains.

You are brought before a judgement area and hear what your actions require of you to be. Some are made to be really tall or have long necks or strange body parts.

Those that have been turned into animals must to do penance.  

Some must have spears stuffed down their throats and others forced to drink poison. 

Others are thrown in a huge pot of lava or oil or something- bodies in pieces, etc.

The last stage is to climb a thorn covered tree while dogs attack you on the bottom, snakes throughout, and birds pluck your eyes out near the top. If you make it to the top of the tree you are able to reach the next level of reincarnation. 

The point is to show the impossibility of getting out of Hell, so you better clean up your life so you don't go there in the first place. 

It fills me with sadness to think of living a life so warped by this concept of merit or salvation by the things you do. So many know that it is a hopeless case to live a perfect life- yet it is all they have ever known. So they continue to give and worship and live good lives all for their own benefit and not out of love. 
So, why... why dress up like ghosts and evil monsters? Why tinker with the enemy's side of the spiritual realm? Why endorse something that was started long ago when innocent people were convicted of being witches and killed for it? I know I am posting my personal convictions and I will not judge you for participating in Halloween. But I will ask of you today to pray for those who are trapped in evil and those who are being controlled by Satan's spirits. Pray for those bankrupting themselves to stay out of Hell. And praise the Lord with me that Christ is able to free us from sin and satanic powers and that he gives us hope in a world surrounded by people without His love. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

This weekend...

Hey everyone! So, today I thought it was Tuesday all day and so I didn't get done half of what I wanted to do before I leave for Chiang Mai on Thursday (tomorrow (-: ) silly me! So, just wanted to thank you all for the prayers for camp in Massi. It was wonderful and I didn't want it to end! I wish there were more camps to do! The goat farm didn't work out, but is still in the works for later. We did stop by and I'm excited to see how God is using their farming as ministry! I biked to the mall today- quite an accomplishment! I ate my first pizza since I've been home and it was so delicious! Koi brought me home a beautiful Lahoo (her tribe) purse that I am so excited to use tomorrow! So, the next few day's I'll be hanging out with the Hortman's in Chiang Mai and will have much to share on my return on Saturday! Please be in prayer about some of the things we are doing... Pray for us tomorrow as we will be visiting the "white temple" a great architectural work but is probably the hardest to handle spiritually. The evangelistic film is also tomorrow. The next day will be a gathering of all the missionaries working in northern Thailand. Please pray that this will be a time of much needed encouragement to not only Greg and Corinne, but other missionaries who are working with this stubborn people group. Hopefully I'll be able to see a few other ministries while I'm there. Please pray that I will have discernment over what I see as God is starting to lead me as to what He want's of me in the future. Well, this is all I can share right now. Sorry it's short, but life will slow down again next week and you will see more sights and hear more stories then! Thank you to whoever is reading this. It means so much to know you care!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Quick update...

Hey everybody!
    Just a quick post to let you know that we are leaving for our second camp tomorrow up in Massi (close the the border of Myanmar)! Then I may have an opportunity to stay a couple days with some missionaries who own a goat farm! Then, next weekend I will be heading to Chiang Mai for a premiere showing of a evangelistic film made just for the northern Thai people and for an all-day meeting discussing methods of contextualization among the Northern Thai. So, my life will be a little busy and I'm not sure when I'll be able to post next. But, your prayers will be most appreciated! Thanks and God bless! 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Matters of the Heart

       I know this is a later posting than normal. I knew that I didn’t have a story or pictures to share, but just my heart and it’s hard to be vulnerable. But God has led me to share this and I have no more excuses to put it off.
       Last weekend I was struggling. I was finding many things to be discontent over and was being fearful of what the future held. It was hot and I was really just putting up with stuff instead of enjoying life. I met with Corinne and selfishly complained and refused to address what was going on mentally. We are going through a Bible study together and that week's chapter was on the trustworthiness of God. I was noticing the beauty of God around me, but I was really struggling with giving thanks for the hard things and trusting in His goodness. I will struggle with this again, and again. But I needed to deal with it. I was excited for camp, but simply because it was something new to do.
       So, we left on Wednesday afternoon for a camp up in Ban Rumit where a lot of tourists come to ride the elephants. Their were so many kids- way over 100 and the 5 of us CEF staffers were joined with around 10 helpers from the church and there was an American team there helping with little things. We taught songs with crazy motions, painted beautiful fans, and played some pretty complex games! They were taught from God's Word 3 times in the 3 days we were there and all had books to take home of what they had learned. It was amazing to see a team working together so well- to see them debrief together every night and to not only pray together, but to teach the children to pray together every morning in devotions. I was the photographer most of the time and was blessed to see through the eyes of a camera children listening attentively and praising God in their singing! I also enjoyed talking with the visiting American's some and was reminded of why I'm here for the length of time that I am and why I'm taking the time to learn the language and the culture. I was blessed to hear their individual stories and to know that God is working in their hearts to call some to full-time service and others to simply grow in their faith. The last day of camp we were so pumped up on adrenaline! We taught the leaders Uno, which was SO much fun. The kid's were so excited over everything and the last worship session was amazing with hands being raised to heaven and voices praising their Creator God! We were glad for it to be over, but so grateful that it took place!
       I came back with a different frame of mind. I can see that it's worth it. Worth all the hours spent making posters and booklets, worth all the words and tones I've learned in Thai, worth going without hot water to bathe with for a few day- worth it all to see children praising the Lord as they depart to their separate homes with more of a knowledge of who He is! As I started on the next Bible study lesson I learned about God being generous. He has been generous to me even when I've returned no gratitude back to Him for it. I've been reading Isaiah while I've been here and sometimes I can see this city being the rebellious nation like Israel was. The neighbor offers prayer at his spirit house every day, the people "carryin' on" at the bar/hotel every night, the monk who we pass on the street. Yet God never gave up on Israel- over and over He said He was disappointed but that He loved them, that He would give them hope, that His Word would not return empty.  
       The song, Blessings by Laura Story, has a phrase that says, “We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love: as if every promise from Your Word is not enough.” That's where my struggle has been. But, the thankfulness has returned, the gratitude to and trust in God. Yet, times of doubt will also return- but I've been learning to be content in all circumstances, to build my trust in God through thankfulness, and to see His face in the people and places that cannot. Thank you for your prayers. They mean so much!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Headed to camp tomorrow! It'll be Wed- Friday! It's been hot here (90 and above) so pray for everyone's health as well. Pray for the teachers as they give the gospel message and pray for the children's heart's be ready to listen and to understand! We have a great God and He can work any situation out for His glory! Pray for me to have a good attitude- the heat tends to make me grouchy! Thank you all!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Wing Chai

     This week I reached the point that I've never spent this long in another country before. Wow! Sometimes it feels like I just got here- especially when I try speaking Thai! Those confused looks can be both frustrating and amusing! I thank you for the prayers over my learning Thai and for my health. I haven't been sick at all and the Thai is slowly but surely starting to stick!
    Today I want to share with you about a couple I met who I can say with a clear concious is the best example I have ever met of faithfulness to the Lord. There names are Ajung (Pastor) Tee and Masse and they live in a small town called Wing Chai. The entire town of Wing Chai is completely Buddhist. Missionaries have come and left with no success. There has been no Christian church ever built. Five years ago, Greg and a friend  met an Auca lady (Masse) in the market who had a cross on her purse. They asked and she responded that she was a Christian and held up her Bible that she was reading when she had no customers. They became really excited when she told them that her husband and herself were looking to plant a church in Wing Chai, ministering to the Tia Yuan people. That started a relationship between Greg and Corinne and Tee and Masse! Tee and Masse bought a house in the middle of the town that was said to be haunted by ghosts and the spirits of it's former owners. Nothing could grow there and no one dared to live or go near it. But the rent was cheap and believing in God's protection, Tee and Masse moved in with their son! They took down the spirit string that was wrapped around the house, cleaned it up, prayed over it, and planted a garden! Neighbors watched and every morning they would call out if they were safe and if they slept well. Tee and Masse could say every morning that they were well rested and at peace! The garden grew and through their example Tee and Masse were a testimony of Christ's power right away! They did things contextually right by building friendships for the first 2 years. Their gentle spirits and servant hearts captured the town's attention and after the two years of performing mundane jobs for the town, the mayor announced over the town loudspeaker that "they are good people and are here to help. Welcome them into your homes." At that point they started evangelizing and praying with people. They work for their living completely, so, when questioned, people know they are not doing this for financial gain. Actually, they have turned down some better paying job offers from Bangkok. They have moved twice and the place they now live in is pretty rough. They knew they had no space to meet for church in their home, but the neighbors wanted them to stay and offered them the use of the town hall. And that is where they meet for church now- in the center of town!

         Masse with their daughter, Music!
 Pastor Tee with Music. (I didn't get to meet their son)

 Their small house that floods underneath in the rainy season.

  Their first house that was said to be "haunted".

The town hall where they meet for church!

     The hard part about this couple’s story is that five years later, not one person has committed their lives to Christ. There is still no fruit for all their labor and they are starting to question if they should stay. There is so much negative pressure, not only from families, but from the community as a whole to not accept their teaching. There is a lady who is so close to believing but is scared to loose the funding from her family for her children’s schooling. The moment someone goes to their little church they get hounded by the community and asked if they’ve become a Christian. They feel either they are at the calm before the breaking point or they need to dust off their feet and move on like other missionaries have done. They are not discouraged or depressed, actually they are quite joyful people and showing clearly the freedom God gives your soul! They just need guidance as to what to do next.

     I’ve been struck with how many times I’ve judged missionaries in their same shoes. I would think that the missionaries are doing something wrong in their methodology. I even tend to pray for them less, when what they really need is more prayer. This town is so controlled by Satan and their own sinful desires that not even one person can commit to Christ. How ashamed I am that I have not been on my face praying for those who have no prayer support, those who are in dark places and barely receive the encouragement to keep going. Why does money have to be a motivation for prayer? Why are we so quick to judge our brothers and sisters in Christ? I was filled with remorse and shame that I had not seen this earlier.
   So, I plead with you now to pray for this couple and others who are in these same predicaments. They are trusting God and loving Him and the people around them. They need encouragement because it is not easy to see friends reject the only thing that will give them freedom and joy. Sometimes encouragement has to come straight from the Word of God and that is where our prayers from a distance can come alive. Pray that the Lord will impress upon them certain scriptures and truths about Himself. Pray also that the Lord will guide their future. I don't want to see this couple be labeled as another failed case in this town. I must trust in God's goodness and justice in every situation as well. God forsook towns in the Bible who would not turn from their wicked ways, but I believe there is a reason that Ajung Tee and Masse were called to come to this town and be a witness for Him. 

    Concerning my own ministry, please be in prayer for the CEF staff as we will be doing a 3-day camp on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I'm pretty excited about it and I think we are pretty much prepared for it! There will be 100+ kids there, the majority being unsaved. Pray they will understand the gospel and desire it. It is difficult for a child to accept Christ if their family is against it, but many who hear the gospel as children respond to it later as adults.
      Thank you so much! Sorry it's another long post. God bless you all!   

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Pastor's and Congregations

     Wow! Can't believe it's October already! Where has the time flown? I'm pretty well adjusted to life here. I have my routine and feel confident buying stuff in the market. I'm learning Thai and starting to recognize some words around me. I've felt your prayers surrounding me and have realized things about my character that have needed to change. My heart is being burdened with the depravity of this country.  
     Today I want to share with you about a little church I went to in the northern part of Thailand. But first I want to explain a little about Christianity in the past. In the eighteenth century a Protestant man named Daniel McGilvary brought the the gospel to the Tia Yuan. Thousands believed and numerous churches were started. For 150 years the work has been carried on by missionaries and national workers. Despite all that, today less than 1% of the Tai Yuan believe in Jesus Christ. I was able to visit the first church planted in Chiang Rai. It's used as an office now, but the set-up is very American. Many church members are nominal and pastors are struggling to awaken them to serve Christ and to be a light in their communities. Congregations are more than willing to kick out a pastor who pressures them too much. Those who serve Christ well are gossiped about and many times are having to find a new ministry. Greg and Corinne feel burdened to encourage these pastors. Many would say it's not worth the effort, especially since it's a different denomination, but Christ is still being taught and pastors need to be directed to preach a gospel apart from materialistic rewards.
     This is a picture of a Christian bookstore at the first church in Chiang Rai. The owner's husband is a good pastor who's church kicked him out because they didn't like the pressure he was putting on them to serve. The bookstore is not too different from our own, but is a very special thing for the Christian community because they are rare and small in size. Please stop and take a moment to pray for this pastor and for revival within this denomination....

...Now I will tell you the story of my visit to Pastor Siy Jiy's church in Mae Sai, Thailand.

Every 3rd Sunday of the month, CEF travels northward to a little village church. Past rice fields, mountains, and border patrol.
 The clouds covering the tops
of the mountains amaze me every time.

We go to what seems like the end of the road and stop at a
fairly large home with a covered tile area and a side porch for the
children to play at.

This is  Ban  Toen Yang Friendship Center: a small
                          but vibrant church! 

There are three young girls who giggle and laugh as they play
games and listen well to the story. (the little one struggled

 There was a little boy who could care less about learning a lesson, but then, Sunday School is something new to children here. Sunday is usually their day to play. (and he's a little out-numbered by girls!)

Koi is a good teacher who has prepared her lesson well.
They memorize everything they teach and can take questions and
interruptions with ease. It puts me to shame at the lack of effort
and time I put into teaching.

We joined the adult service then. Singing hymns, many I knew, and listening 
to God's Word being preached. Pr. Siy Jiy pastor's several churches, is the 
director of CEF and is a natural leader that I admire greatly. She cares for her 
handicapped son and her two in-laws as well. I was speaking to a member of the 
congregation later and he said that the church was big once, but that the pastor didn't 
handle money well and eventually left. The faithful still met, but without a pastor. Then Pastor Siy Jiy
came and though they are small, God is growing them spiritually. They are so grateful to have a woman who has not only got her college doctorate, but who diligently studies the scriptures and presents God's truth in context of their culture. She is a servant leader and needs our prayers.

   We shared communion and fellowship afterwards around a meal! I played with the children- helped them say their ABC's a little better and played the piano while they sang. They asked me to play the piano for them when I came back. I look forward to it!

   So, I know this is a long post but, can you pray for this little church near Mae Sai and for the children and members who are struggling to share the truth of Jesus Christ to those around them. Those who have decided, like Paul, to say "But I do not consider my life worth anything to myself, so that I may finish my task and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God's grace." (Acts 20:24)