The current wave of Covid is finally starting to lighten. Since our last update, restrictions have continued and there has been little sign of letup until just recently. We are finally seeing potential changes in the amount of restrictions as public gatherings up to 50 persons are finally allowed once more and the possibility of reopening schools may be as soon as November.
As we mentioned in our last update, Thailand is currently experiencing a resurgence of COVID. The past month or so has been challenging for us on many fronts. We want to say a huge thank you to those who gave since our last update, either through finances or through giving of their time to us in prayer or other ways. It is truly an encouragement to us!
“Fear not to go forward as you are engaged in the Lord’s work, and go on this distant mission at His command; it is your privilege to plead the Saviour’s promise to be present with you. While you feel your own weakness and unfitness for so great a work, forget not the strength of His Almighty arm. Live near to Him, and you will have nothing to fear.”
April Showers Bring May Flowers. That is what we say in America anyway, but here in Thailand it is our HOT season. We’ve heard it said that in Thailand there are only three seasons: Hot, Hotter and Hottest. This would be HOTTEST. We are grateful though, that our week started with a bit of cool, refreshing rain. This April we celebrate 4 years of being in Thailand. This month also marks the beginning of a new season in our life and hopefully it will be a month of refreshing rain so that we can experience the flowers to follow.
We have recently had a new church member join us to worship. Ba Ae has been a believer for about six months now and is originally from Map Ammarit but she had moved away to Kho Samui and had been working at a hotel until the COVID situation devastated the island’s economy. After her husband left her and a season of not having work, she decided that she needed to move back to Map Ammarit. We really love how the Lord connected her to us as we see how only He could have done it.
As we mentioned in our Christmas newsletter, in January we were unexpectedly preparing to move house and moving across town. We believe that the story of how we came upon our new home is truly a wonderful God story and so we wanted to share it with you!
In the fall, we started talking with a missionary family with nine children (yes, you read that right, 9 children) who were trying to come into Thailand. Because of the current state of lockdowns in Thailand due to COVID they felt unsure of how they would get here, but knew that God was still leading them to continue taking steps to prepare such as selling their house, their car and most of their belongings to downsize for the big move. They had joined a group for Protestant missionaries we are a part of and heard that while many people cannot get into the country that teachers are able to get in. And of course, our school was looking for teachers at that point. After a series of conversations, the school extended an offer that would let Bill, the husband, teach part time and still allow him time to learn Thai language and culture.
We hope you and your family are making merry and bright this season, keeping your hearts focused on Him. We are in such an unprecedented time and we know the year has been challenging for so many. You are in our thoughts and prayers this Christmas!
Each year in November, I like to take time aside to remember just what I’m grateful for. Even when things are challenging, it’s good to remember and count the many blessings which God has given us. But to be quite honest, sometimes, finding the things to be thankful for takes a little extra effort. 2020 has been for many a challenging year. Chances are, it has been for you too. Even right now, America is facing a challenging time between COVID, the restrictions, and the current political situation. We are praying for America for peace during this challenging political season.
“Chan datsinjai laew dit dam Phra Yesu. Chan datsinjai laew dit dam Phra Yesu. Chan datsinjai laew dit dam Phra Yesu. Mai han glab laew. Mai han glab leaw.”
Partaking in communion at our first baptism service this month.
The familiar chorus of “I have decided to follow Jesus,” sung with Thai words stirs a deep place in my heart. It is a song I have seldom heard sung outside of a baptism service in Thailand, which deepens its meaning to me. At our little, but growing, church plant we have had the joy of singing this chorus two Sundays in the past month as a total of 8 believers, including Uncle Biak (who we have shared about previously), have chosen to follow Jesus through the waters of baptism.
Though the church is small, we are seeing many encouraging signs of growth. In the beginning, we had just two families seeking the Lord together, but this past Sunday we had roughly 30 people in attendance. Many of those who joined with us are new believers. Some have been Christians for a bit longer but have never had anyone disciple them and truly are hungry for the Word of God. They want to know how to read and understand the Bible. Many of these believers are eager to share the gospel with friends and family. We are seeking to steward this growth well. We’ve been blessed to have Ajan Barnabas, a Thai believer, join us and he frequently goes with Matt to do evangelism and discipleship. We are seeking the Lord how to do small groups to disciple these new believers effectively and praying for the Spirit to move, transforming their lives and opening the door to share the gospel with their family and friends. We believe we are in a field ripe for harvest.
Thank you for continuing to stand with us in prayer and financial partnership so we can see the Kingdom advance here in Chumphon province.
“Teacher Amy, is the Bible real?” AimAem’s question came through my LINE messaging app one evening a few hours after school had let out for the day. This wasn’t the first time she had asked this question and since I had already sent her some videos explaining the Bible in detail and why we can trust it, I decided on a different approach and encouraged her to ask God to show her if the Bible was real. “How?” Came the reply. “Pray and ask God. Remember how we were talking about at the Bible Adventure (Children’s Church) on Sunday? Ask Him to show you and speak to you in your heart if the Bible is real. I will pray for you too, that God will show you. But is there one thing specifically you are not sure about that I can help with?”