“Are you sure you’re going to get a lot of people coming to your church?”
This was the question posed to Matt when he was sharing with someone we met while we were out one day and sharing about what we will be doing in Thailand. And it’s a good question when you take into consideration that Thailand is only 0.6% Christian. Yes, you read that right. Thailand is not even 1% Christian. Many folks have an idea of what church planting looks like that comes from the way things are done here in the US. When someone is wanting to plant a church in the US, they might gather a team of other believers who will help lead the church, work to develop their mission and values, secure a building, set a target launch date, and send out invitations to the entire community announcing the new church. And while nothing is wrong with that model and in fact it works well for many churches here in the US, it doesn’t work the same way in countries where there isn’t a Christian background or heritage.
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Thank you so very much for your continued encouragement and prayers. It means so much to us to have wonderful people walking alongside us and supporting the ministry work God asks us to invest in. Continue reading →
Well, not in this part of the world! April is the hottest month of the year here and is followed by an only slightly cooler May. This year May seemed to bring a few pleasantly cool days though and some refreshing for our souls as we have seen God at work. Here are some highlights for us in May:
- We’ve been working with Living Streams church to build up the international community. We’ve had our first of what we hope to be many small group gatherings. It was truly a sweet time of fellowship in the presence of the Lord as we all shared how we came to know Christ.
- Matt has been coordinating outreach efforts into a slum community with a group from the international community at Living Streams. They are partnering with our Thai brothers and sisters to teach English as a bridge, building relationships and sharing the gospel.
- Matt is also working with the church to do outreach and follow-up into a couple of other communities around Bangkok. Recently while doing follow-up with a new believer and her friend, the team felt led by the Spirit to start doing a Bible study with them, right there in their place of employment. As they were praying for these two precious sisters, they were baptized in the Holy Spirit and they started being filled with the joy of the Lord.
Home Visit Update:
We wanted to let you know we have finalized our dates for our visit and are starting to schedule times to connect with our partners and friends in the Colorado and Wyoming area. We will be arriving in Colorado on September 1 and will be staying in Colorado Springs through September 9, then we will head up to Northern Colorado/Southern Wyoming. If you’re in either of these areas and would like to have us share at your church or small group, or just meet for a cup of coffee or a meal, drop us an email and let us know some good times for you. We look forward to seeing you!
Real Life in Bangkok
Just this week we had a REAL BANGKOK LIFE moment we thought we’d share. On Thursday Matt went to pick up the kids and I as he often does after I have spent a day at Dton Naam. The trip is only about 7 miles round trip and with good traffic, only takes 30 minutes on the motorbike. (While we do have a car and use it often on the weekends, traffic during the week is such that it’s not as practical as the motorbike.) On Thursday though, traffic was so crazy that it took 2 hours from when Matt left the house to pick up the kids and I until we got home. Unfortunately, we were also running low on gas. Because traffic was so unexpectedly awful and gas stations in the city are few and far between, we ran out.
But the Lord was looking out for us and He gave us a sweet reminder we live in Bangkok in the middle of our not so sweet reminder we live in Bangkok… A guy pulled over with us when we were trying to find the nearest gas station on GPS and asked if we were ok. (I must admit we were driving a little crazy with sputtering and stalling out and then trying to do all we could to just keep going towards the nearest gas station) When we explained we were out of gas he told us he thought there was a gas station on the next street (turns out there wasn’t). He turned with us and told us he would help us. He started to push us along with his foot while driving his own motorbike. He proceeded to push Matt and Jed (Alizah and I hopped off to make it easier) all the way to Petchaburi Road (4 kilometers) until they were able to find a gas station and then refused to let Matt pay him for his gas. There are certain things I hate about living in this big city, but I am so blessed by the kind-hearted people God sends along the paths of our misadventures.
Over the past couple of weeks our little neighbors have continued to build relationships with us. We are encouraged to see how love is making a difference. Non, for example, has been asking for hugs from Matt when he comes to our house. This isn’t typical for Thais, who generally speaking, are hesitant to give or receive physical affection.
It’s also beautiful to see Jed learn how to pray for his neighbors. Each night before bed he asks to pray for his friends and will ask Amy to sing “Jesus loves me” for JJ, or one of his other friends.
We would love to ask you to join with us in prayer this week for our neighborhood as we have had a special opportunity come up to reach them. Each month, the house of prayer we are a part of does an outreach into one of the neighborhoods around the city. This past weekend, they informed us that they would like to come to our neighborhood specifically to pray for the families of the children who have been coming to our home and to share the gospel with our neighbors. The leadership of the House of Prayer has been aware that the neighborhood children have been coming to our house and relationships have been forming, but the Lord was the one who put it on their hearts to specifically target our neighborhood with their upcoming outreach. Please join with us in praying that the Lord will move powerfully this weekend and bring those in our neighborhood into a radical encounter with Himself.
Thank you for reading our updates, for praying and believing with us that Jesus will have His inheritance in this nation and in our neighborhood.
Matt, Amy, Jedidiah & Alizah
In the last month, we have been praying for God to open up doors in our neighborhood for us to share the Gospel. Though we had been having one of the neighborhood children come to our house often prior to praying for an open door, since then we’ve been having seven kids come to our house on a regular basis, which is a little stressful some days, but is an amazing opportunity to love. We really believe God is entrusting us with this as we didn’t go seeking these kids out- rather they came to our door and we welcomed them in. Continue reading →
Last night I (Matt) went on an with another local Bangkok ministry into the Sanam Luang area of Bangkok near the Grand Palace. During the day the Grand Palace and Wat Pho draw some of the biggest crowds of tourists in all of Bangkok. After these well-known tourist attractions close for the day and the sun sets, this area is a notorious gay prostitution area where Thai men come purchase other Thai men.
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The other day we took a break from the chaos of Bangkok in one of the city’s beautiful parks. While sitting on a park bench listening to the birds chirp and the squirrels chatter, the tranquil of the park seemed to speak deeply to me, though at the time I wasn’t sure why.
The park was built on the site of a century-old city prison and bits of the old architecture remain.
It strikes me as odd that a place so beautiful was once a place which held captives and prisoners and was a place of torment.
It makes me think of one of my favorite passages, Isaiah 61:1-4:
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
3 To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
4 And they shall rebuild the old ruins,
They shall raise up the former desolations,
And they shall repair the ruined cities,
The desolations of many generations.
This park makes me think of what I feel the Lord’s desire for this city is. He wants to heal the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom to the captives, open (or in this case, demolish) the prison for those who are bound, and proclaim his favor to this city. He desires to comfort all who mourn and give beauty for ashes, the oil of joy where there has been mourning and give a garment of praise to those who have been heavy laden. He desires to establish his dear ones as trees of righteousness. And then, these ones who have been broken will rebuild the ancient ruins, even those places that have been left desolate for generations. May it be so. Even on earth as it is in heaven.
Hello Bangkok! Our first week in Bangkok has been a blur (thank you, jet lag and culture shock). While we arrived safely, all seven of our bags containing all our belongings were lost in transit thanks to our first flight out of Denver being delayed three hours. Thankfully, all our bags were delivered in-tact to our apartment within 48 hours of our arrival.
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Memories flooded me as I walked into the guest house by the city wall in Chiang Mai last night… Memories of a feast on fried bugs and exotic fruit on a wooden floor. Memories of banana pancakes that have left my mouth watering for years. Memories of night markets, treks into villages, and Thai friends. Memories of getting lost and wandering into the red light district, and running away scared. Eight years ago, this place was home base for the two months in which I fell in love with Thailand. Much has changed. I no longer choose to eat fried bugs, unless I must. The pancakes aren’t as good as I remembered. And now I wander into the red light districts intentionally to find my friends. My heart is no longer in the North, it seems but with former bar girls, ladyboys, and break dancers in Pattaya. As I wandered the streets this morning, I was reminded that my heart is with my friends. Where I have friends, there my heart is… for my friends are my treasures. My heart aches to be with them again. I know He will bring me home soon… Home is now with these broken ones. They have become brothers and sisters. So much more than friends.
In a few short days I will head to a different home… a home where the brokenness looks different, where dreams lay shattered on different ground… a home with snow and Christmas and family and friends. A home I have missed so much in being here. I can’t wait to see you all and connect, for you are my treasures, too.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope it was a wonderful celebration of the goodness of God in your lives!
Here’s a little synopsis of my first-ever Thai Thanksgiving:
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
High: 91° F
Low: 75° F
Wind: From NE at 7mph
The day was full of friends, fellowship, worship, sharing about God’s faithfulness, and food! I’m so blessed that my Thai friends have a thankful heart. It’s beautiful to watch them worship God and thank Him for His many blessings.
This year I am thankful for the ways in which He has moved during my time in Thailand. I’m also thankful for you! You’re such a part of the journey here. Thanks for giving your lives to love well. May God’s abundant blessings overtake you! Love!