Saturday, June 11, 2011


Yesterday, we Mississippi visitors had the extreme honor of visiting in three Thai homes.

The first home was the great-uncle (though he is just called a grandpa here) of Ja, one of the Thai staffers. Betsie calls Ja the "Miss Robin" of Thailand. If you know Robin Holder, you will know that this is a huge compliment. If you don't know her, just imagine the most encouraging, sweet, sympathetic, grace-filled woman and you are picturing Robin...and Ja, too.

Ja's great-aunt accepted Jesus just before she passed away two months ago. Now her husband has also come to Jesus primarily through the testimony and life that Ja has lived over the past years but also through the love and prayers of the other Thai staffers and missionaries here. This is huge for a life=long Buddhist.

We met in his home which is in the same village that Ja grew up in. While there, Ja and Chrissy helped answer some questions from the Bible for him and encouraged him to continue reading it and a Thai version of THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE. After we visited with him for a while, he took us to the house on the property behind his where Ja's other great-uncle and his wife live.

We visited briefly and then went back to the first house to pray over our elder brother in Christ. He is still recovering from some injuries caused by a fall from a tree. Please pray for his healing, that he will grow in Christ, and that he will continue to find peace in God as he learns to live without his wife.

Then it was just a short walk down the road to Ja's house. It was a beautiful, gracious home.

Her mother was very hospitable. We visited around a table in an open dining area while snacking on pineapple jelly filled cookies and green mango sprinkled with salt, brown sugar, and pepper flakes.

On the way back to Bann Athitan Church, we stopped at a basket shop then it was on to lunch in the office. We had some delicious carry-out. It was khao soi which is a delicious Northern Thailand chicken curry noodle dish. It was perhaps the very best thing I've had this whole trip which is saying a lot as I've eaten so many yummy foods.

Once lunch was eaten, we went and exchanged the money that the Restoration girls Sunday School class had raised for the children's home. Once business was complete at the bank, which was by a lovely Catholic Church (and maybe school?) and headed to Makro. Think Thai style Sam's Club.

We bought items for the Saturday visit to the children's home as well as some goodies for back home and yes, I was taking lots of photos.

Friday evening was focused on two different ministries. Chrissy is starting a new international ministry for women. I peeked in on that a couple of times but spent most of my time at the cell meeting which focuses in on youth and university students. A supper is served at 6:00. Our's was khao pah.

After just a time of hanging out and people dribbling in, the service started a bit after 7:00. By the time it was in full swing, there were about 100 students there. These are both students that live in the area and students from the Baan Eden children's home. This is a home I read about on an AIM World Race blog 2 or 3 years ago. I was even able to meet and talk to the founding missionary, Vern. I heard the brief story of how his family was called to Thailand, started the home, and then advice on moving our family to the mission field.

Cell group time consisted of joint worship, games, teaching, and small group sharing and prayer.

It was so amazing to see that every single student was expected to participate in the small group, even first time visitors. Each group member was given an Open Windows devotional book. They were told to look thru it and then share something that God had used to speak to them. Each student shared at least a minute or two if not a little more. I think it is such wonderful preparation for reaching their world with the message of Jesus. If they can't testify about God and share what they are learning among Christians, how will they ever be able to do it out in their culture which is less than 1% Christian.

Definitely made me think about the typical American youth class or group where it is often like pulling teeth to get participation and then, it is still usually only 2 or 3 who actually share beyond rote answers.

The Thai Christians definitely have a lot to teach us Americans about being bold and strong in a culture that desperately needs Jesus. I think it is too easy for us to forget that people around us in the States need to hear and accept the good news as much as people in foreign lands need to hear and accept it. Lost is lost and hurting is hurting no matter the setting.

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