Hi everyone, our newsletter will be arriving at many of your homes in the next couple of weeks so I will not spoil that for you. Here is just a little summary of the past few weeks of our lives.
We had a great Canadian Thanksgiving with some old friends from Mongolia and many new friends from Thailand. It was much smaller than what we used host in Mongolia with only 23 people present this time cooking only 15kg's of turkey instead of the usual 30kg's in Mongolia. But, that is really not bad for us considering that we only had just over 2 months to get to know people.
My Thai language studies 5 days a week are going well. Between my classes & the hours of study each day I am still praying that I am able to speak Thai well. I went through the 1st 12 lessons & was really discouraged because I felt like I did not know most of what I needed to learn. Thai culture is a culture of peace where you are never allowed to show frustration or anger & to question an elder is very difficult to do without offending their wisdom. This made it difficult because I wanted to review starting all over again, but knew I could not ask. I spent many days praying, knowing that I needed God to let my teacher (the school director) know that I needed to review all of my lessons over again. I knew I could not ask without offending her teaching wisdom & experience without deeply offending her. The Lord answered my prayer without me having to ask & we have started all over again.
My Thai language teacher is the director of the school & has been a Christian for over 20 years. She feels that her calling is to teach missionaries her language (Thai). I know that her being my instructor was not a coincidence. She knows that I used to be a pastor & have been a missionary for many years. Usually twice a week during our language lessons she will stop & start sharing her frustrations and the challenges she faces in her life. She is always apologetic, but I now know that in Thai culture they need a good listening ear. Every time she starts to share I always ask the Holy Spirit for the words to share because in situations like these my personal opinion will only destroy, but the Holy Spirit will bring life.
Once a week for a couple of hours I have started visiting a very small (6 room), very rundown (cracks in the walls) Thai clinic for AIDS & TB patience. I go with an older couple (in their 60 & 70's) one is Canadian & the other is Thai. They usually share a short word from the Bible, we sing praises to God (few songs) & then pray for the patience. The amazing thing is that this clinic is owned/run by Buddhists & have asked these Christians (now including me) to come each week. The reason is that during the prayer times over the past 6 years they have been coming 100's of the sick Thai's have been healed. Many completely meaning their AIDS & TB are completely gone. Also 100's have become believers & accepted Jesus. The Buddhists know that since the Christians started coming to their clinic things are happening & their patience are being healed & want it to continue.
We also hosted 5 people from Mongolia & one from Bangkok. One of the missionaries from Mongolia stayed with us for 3 days. While These people were here we were able to help them get around the city & help purchase some things that they could not find in Mongolia. Our lives are also continuing on like in Mongolia where we are having people over for meals during the week. Our kids are so happy because they like our home to be a safe, fun place for people to come & rest.
Our kids also miss having friends that are adults like they did in Mongolia. They asked us many times while we were in Canada on our home assignment why relationships where so different. They could not understand why kids their own age were socially awkward around adults & why they did not enjoy spending time with them. They also did not understand why adults did not want or enjoy their company having them around listening & taking part in conversations with other adults. They were told by other adults to please leave & that they were to go play with the other kids. They were not allowed to be present with the adults. They know that kids need adult friends (mentors) & that adults need children (to teach/remind adults what child like faith Jesus talks about is really like). It's the God's design for his community & it's in the Bible. Our kids like to share their lives & they really like to sit/listen to adults/seniors share their lives. Godly counsel for my life came from my parents, but also from adult friends (mentors) in my life & am so thankful they shared their lives with me.
For Teresa women have started stopping over for tea & coffee to share about their lives. Teresa has an amazing gift of being a Godly listening ear & sharing what God has taught her to help others. Teresa has a wonderful time sharing, laughing & talking with these women. When it comes to advice she always asks God for the words to share & it's usually few words, but she always prays for them.
"And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 1 Thessalonians 5:14"
The kids are doing great with school, homework & friends. They are so happy to be back in a school/friend environment where classmates, teachers & school staff are from all over the world. All of the kids teachers are missionaries & some of them were missionary kids. The missionary kid teachers share their stories of growing up in India, Africa & specificly Egypt. They love to listen to them & shares many of their stories from Mongolia. Both our kids really like being missionary kids. They see God's Kingdom working overseas. They know they have to work with God himself first, then others of all ages from all countries/people groups in the world. The awesome thing is that they do. Many times in a months they share how they like the adventure of not having access to everything, not being able to control things & needing God to help them/us because we cannot do it without him.
I think the word has officially gotten out that we want to host people. My Mongolian brother is coming to stay for 2 weeks in Nov/Dec, then we have 2 families coming from Mongolia to stay for 2 weeks during Christmas (1 family staying with us, the other in a nearby guesthouse), Jan another friend from Mongolia will be coming for 2 weeks. A Ukrainian friend who stayed at our home in Mongolia twice is leading another ywam DTS team from Russia & is hopping to stay (& the whole team) with us during their outreach debrief. Another friend from Truro NS is doing their ywam DTS in Oxford New Zealand & is coming to Chiang Mai for their outreach. We are so excited that we will see her again & that their team will spend some time with us.
God has blessed us with so much & if we are not sharing all of the blessings God has given to us with others around us, but specifically locals something is wrong & all 4 of us feel the need to share openly.
"After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. All
the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of
their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all. Act 4:31:33"
Please pray for us as this week we will be attending an all Thai church. We want to take the dive as one would say into the lives of Thai's. We want to move away from the foreign Christian bubble which is so easy to do. Serving locals is more difficult because of the many culture & language barriers. All 4 of us have God's heart for locals & know that now we all are ready.