The Time and Weather is for Hua Hin, Thailand where we currently live

Daily Bible Verse

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Water, Water, Everywhere. . .

On Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, September 28, 29, 30 and October 1st it rained. We had huge thunder claps and lots of lightening to go with the rain, but on Saturday, October 2nd, everything changed.

On Saturday the rains came as a deluge. Soon the streets were flooding as storm sewers and water canals overflowed. The waters just continued to rise throughout the morning.

Our home is up a number of steps so we were blessed with just getting water below the steps, but our hearts were saddened to look out our back windows and see people walking through the streets with water up to their knees. As we watched, four people came down the road pushing a floating car.

However, that was not the worst. The road that goes out perpendicular to our house slopes downhill as it goes away from our house. The homes on the streets in that direction used to be level with road, but they had flooding problems in the past so to try and alleviate the flooding problems they raised the road surface. . .3 feet. Well, as you can imagine with the road now 3 feet above the homes, and the gravity feed of the water, the homes now flood completely when there are heavy rains.

On Saturday, the water on the roads in this area was above my waist. Our hearts went out to all of the people who were trying to get their soggy belongings out of their homes. We helped people lift appliances off of the floor onto tables to try and keep refrigerators and other appliances dry. We carried people’s belongings blocks and blocks away to waiting trucks on higher ground. It took so long to walk through the nearly chest high water with our arms filled with as much as we could carry.

(Oh by the way, the water was not clean. Evidently septic tanks had given way and there was raw sewage everywhere. Gross just seems too mild a description.)

We were to have Youth Group at our house at 4:00, so we put out the word that all of the streets around us were flooded and that they should not worry about not being able to come. Well, we had 16 youth show up at our home. (I have talked to people from churches that have not come out to church because it started to rain.) I am so proud of the youth for forging through waist deep waters to get here for Youth Group.

At one point during the flood I looked out our back window and was astonished to see a fisherman with his fishing net over his right shoulder ready to cast. As he waded through the two foot high waters on the street behind us, it was just like watching the fisherman that I spoke of in my blog Casting Our Nets. He walked slowly with great patience looking into the water for just the right time to cast his net to catch fish. I later found out that a fish farm had flooded into the streets and the fish were out there for the taking. Later in the afternoon I saw some women and girls with nets on poles trying to catch fish in the street in front of our house.

The Lord laid it on my heart that even during disasters He can draw people to Himself, when we are willing to serve hurting people with the love of Christ.

Fast forward two days, to the Woman of the Word ladies Bible study at our home on Tuesday afternoon. The waters in the streets had mostly dissipated, except for a few really low lying roads. As we gathered for Bible study we talked about the flooding and about how so many people were forced out of their homes by the flood waters. At this time my good friend from the resort where we held the Youth Retreat, said “You will not believe this. One of my staff said that she saw my friend with the long hair, on Saturday helping people whose homes were flooded. In fact she said my friend had helped her husband move their things out of their home, before the flood waters damaged everything.”

I was amazed. I was amazed that this woman even recognized me because I had my hair tied back in a ponytail wrapped around four times, and I was standing in water over my waist, so that fact that she recognized me is incredible. Trust me I did not want my over 3 foot long hair dragging through the filthy water. Obviously, the Lord was doing a work.

The woman who saw me helping her family is a Buddhist, and knowing that I am a Christian and that I was willing to help the flood victims really seemed to have an impact on her heart.

The Lord is so amazing. To be perfectly honest I did not know the families that I helped, but it is awesome that the Lord worked through the situation even though I was oblivious to what He was doing.

Well, Bill searched our refrigerator and cabinets looking for food to share with the people from our flooded community. We had invited the displaced people into our home, but they declined. So, we fed the Youth Group, and then asked them to take all of the food outside for the flood victims, police and firemen that were congregating outside our front gate. Bill had set up the ping pong table that we have outside, and we covered it with vinyl table cloths and the youth placed the food out on the table.

After a little encouraging, the people started to come into our yard and eat. (They still refused to come into our home.) They were so grateful. Over the course of the evening, we must have had 30 people come and eat, get some soda or water to drink, or have an ice cream cone.

Thank you Lord for casting Your nets in our community during a time of trials.

Hebrews 13:16 NLT - "Don't forget to do good and to share what you have with those in need, for such sacrifices are very pleasing to God."

Luke 10:27 NLT - . . .`You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.' And, `Love your neighbor as yourself.'

Matthew 25:35 NLT - "For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home."

By April

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Ah, Puppy Love. . .

I have to say that when we went to America for 2 plus weeks in July, the last thing I expected to come home to was a pregnant puppy.

When we left in early July, our puppy Pumpkin was just 11 months old. When we came back, we noticed that her eating habits seemed to have changed, but we did not initially suspect why. Then about 3 weeks after returning to Thailand our sweet little toy poodle seemed to be developing a big tummy. Each week she grew larger around and wider, so we finally figured out that she was pregnant.

The reason it took a while to figure out that Pumpkin was with child(s) is that where we live the homes are surrounded by high walls and we have a 6 foot high sliding gate in the front, so the thought that a male dog had visited seemed somewhat remote. Although, there was that email from our neighbor that said that Pumpkin had climbed the four foot high fence that separates us from them. And oh yes, they do have a male dog. Hmmm. . .

They have a white Shitzu with short legs and a short tail, whereas, the puppies are all jet black with small areas of white on their chests and feet, and they have long tails. So the question remains, “Who’s the daddy?” DNA tests are underway. Just kidding.

On September 23rd Pumpkin gave birth to 6 beautiful, sleek black puppies. She has taken on the role of being a mama to those puppies in a wonderful way.

The last puppy born was about 1/3 the size of the others. Immediately the name Lil’ Squirt popped into my head. We will probably give all of the puppies away except one (or two, if I can talk Bill into it), so I guess I will let the new owners of the puppies name them in about six weeks.

So, we are enjoying the sweet little surprise gifts that Pumpkin delivered. We thank God for the gift of today, and for every good gift that He brings us. May God bless each of you.

James 1:17 NKJV - "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning."

Ephesians 2:4-8 NKJV - "But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,"

By April

Friday, October 1, 2010

Twenty Six Hours One Weekend. . .

On September 19th our first Youth Group Retreat in Thailand started. All of the youth and three adult volunteers were to meet at our house at 4:00 pm on Friday.

I had gone shopping with my friend that runs the resort, to get food and snacks for all of the meals that we would share together at the Youth Group Retreat. When my friend and I returned to the resort, I called Bill (my husband). He said that the youth started arriving at our house before 3:00 and that there appeared to be more than had signed up. Yikes!

After getting off the phone with Bill I quickly arranged for the use of a third dorm, as we had more youth than we anticipated.

Around 4:15 the vehicles left our house and transported the youth to the resort, and we were off and running. The retreat included dinner on Friday, then a Bible Study followed by a time of discussion. Next, they had free time – which a lot of the youth choose to spend swimming, playing board and card games, or doing art work. Then we walked the two minute walk to the beach for a bonfire – where we taught the non-Americans about the yumminess of s’mors. After that, we went back to the resort for a movie that ended around 11:00 pm, the youth went back to their dorms and we had lights out at 11:30 pm.

Saturday was to start with the youth waking-up at 7:30 am. I had planned to get up at 6:00 to spend time in prayer, reading my Bible and perusing the lessons we were going to teach. After my shower I heard talking, and sure enough a number of the youth were up and excited about the day, not long after 6:00 am.

Saturday went as follows: Breakfast at 8:00, followed by quiet time/prayer time, then about 40 minutes of free time (aka swimming, swimming and more swimming). Actually some of the youth did go for a walk along the beach, and some played games or worked on arts and crafts, but the pool and the slack line were the big hit. The slack line was like a tightrope across the middle of the pool. We then had another Bible Study, followed by a time of discussion. Next, it was time for lunch. As I watched the youth get in line to get their lunch and then find a seat, I thought about the cartoon that shows a whole fish on a plate and then something runs by the fish, and all that is left is bones. That was what feeding the Youth Group was like. There was a lot of food, the youth went through the line, and then there were empty serving dishes. I guess they liked the food.

After lunch we had free time down on the beach. The youth played Spud, volleyball with a huge ball, walked on the beach, sat and talked with each other, and made sand castles.

After brushing off the sand from the beach, we went back to the resort for the third Bible Study and discussion time. The youth then had 45 minutes of free time, which most of them spent. . .you guessed it, swimming and walking the slack line across the pool.

After all that excitement, we had the task of trying to get everybody back upstairs for a time of Worship.

We then shared dinner together, followed by packing up their belongings and clearing out of the dorms.

Before we left the resort, I gathered all of the youth together for a group photo. Standing toward the front was a young boy with two tears flowing down his cheeks, he tried to smile as he realized that the retreat was over and it was time to go home. Seeing that young boy and the emotion he felt about the retreat being over, tugged at my heart. Bill and I had tried to make the retreat a wonderful, fun, exciting time to learn about Jesus. We had been planning for months, so that it would be a meaningful time for each of the youth. Seeing and later hearing, how much the retreat meant to each of the youth was such a blessing for us. We feel so blessed to be used by the Lord. We are humbled and grateful. Thank you Lord!

We headed back to our house around 6:20 pm on Saturday. Upon arriving, with the youth and their belongings strewn around our yard and house, we served up the usual ice cream cones that signify the end of Youth Group. A lot of the youth hung out at our house well past 7:00 pm, reminiscing about the retreat. Praise God!

The Lord was awesome in bringing just the right youth to the retreat. With 27 youth from at least three different countries, there could have been disagreements or problems, but there were none. Thank you Lord!

Being in a foreign country it is amazing to see the Lord work in the hearts of the Thai youth. Only He can do that, as we are still learning the Thai language.

Mark 10:13-16 NLT - "One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch them and bless them, but the disciples told them not to bother him. But when Jesus saw what was happening, he was very displeased with his disciples. He said to them, "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you, anyone who doesn't have their kind of faith will never get into the Kingdom of God." Then he took the children into his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them."

The English speaking youth blessed us with a wonderful, huge Thank you card, and the Thai speaking youth blessed us with a great Thank you card that was artfully folded into an intricate heart shape.

Oh how we pray that each one of the youth would come to truly know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

We want to give a huge thank you to all of you that supported us with prayer and with funding. Thank you for your faithfulness. We were able to offer the retreat to all of the youth at no cost to them. We pray that you will each realize that you are as much a part of the work that is being done for Christ here in Hua Hin, as we are. God bless you!

By April

Photo by Stefan Schmied

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Casting Our Nets. . .

The other day Bill and I went to look at a possible house to move too, as we have outgrown our house. Well, our Youth Group and Friday night Bible Study have outgrown our home, to be perfectly honest. So, we have been looking for a house with a large living room for gatherings and a large yard for Youth Group games. The house that we looked at is on the other side of town, about 15 minutes away from our current location, and the rent is really inexpensive. . .

When we got to the house, we peered at the yard and the outside of the house through the 6 foot high wrought iron gate and over the cement block walls that surrounded the house. The yard was overgrown but definitely had potential for all kinds of games, nothing that a few hours (okay, maybe more than a few) spent mowing, pulling weeds and planting grass seed wouldn’t fix. The house also needed a little loving care, and a couple of gallons of paint. We are supposed to see the inside the house tomorrow or Sunday. I’ll keep you posted as to whether this is the answer to our prayers for a larger space or not.

After looking at the outside of the house we decided to grab a quick lunch, as I had a friend coming over soon, and then we had other people stopping by right after that. So Bill drove toward the beach in this part of town that we are not familiar with, and we found a cute little outside restaurant. We got off of our motor scooter, but were not sure if they were open or not, as we did not see any customers. The staff caught sight of us, and came running saying “We are open! Two for lunch? This way please.” The restaurant was right up against the beach, so we sat at a table overlooking the beach and gazed out over the Gulf of Thailand during lunch.

As we looked out over what looked like the endless water of the Gulf, we noticed a Thai man walking across the sand toward the water. He had a blue net over his right shoulder, and instead of stopping at the water’s edge he just continued to walk into the water. He not only got his feet wet, he walked in until the water was up to or just above his waist. We watched as he very slowly walked in one direction, parallel to the beach for 5 to 10 minutes. His head was tilted down as he intently stared into the depths of the water. Evidently he was looking for fish, or something in the water that would indicate to him that he should throw his net out into the water.

After nearly 10 minutes, he slowly turned around and started walking in the opposite direction, still trying to discern when he should cast his net. Another 10 minutes went by and again he turned around and headed back in the direction he had started in. Suddenly his steps slowed, and then he stopped. He slowly dropped his net down his arm and lowered it into the water to get it wet, then he lifted it from the water and cast it out in front of him. Standing motionless he stood and waited. Was he praying? Then he slowly gathered his net to himself. It was empty.

The man did not appear to be discouraged; he simply tossed his net over his shoulder and continued the process of slowly walking back and forth parallel to the beach. A while later he again cast his net.

As I watched this man during our time at the restaurant, I felt the Lord place on my heart this thought. As Christians, sometimes we get discouraged when we cast our nets. . .aka, tell people about Jesus, and then do not see the fruit of people giving their lives to Jesus. However, our job is to keep our eyes on Jesus, to praise and worship Him, and to listen to the Holy Spirit as to when and how we should ‘cast our nets’. When we come before the Lord in Heaven, He will not be asking us one by one to show our spreadsheets showing the number of people that came to know Jesus because of us. We are to act as directional signs, always pointing to the Lord. (We should never be pointing at ourselves, which we inadvertently. . . well maybe not so inadvertently when we let the sin of pride take over, do at times.)

Some of us get so excited about telling people about Jesus that we just keep throwing our nets and throwing our nets, oblivious to the timing of the Lord. In our enthusiasm we may actually alienate people rather than draw them to Jesus. Instead, like the fisherman we saw, and like the fishermen that Jesus spoke to, we should look for the fish that God puts before us, and throw our nets in His timing.

"When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Now go out where it is deeper and let down your nets, and you will catch many fish." "Master," Simon replied, "we worked hard all last night and didn't catch a thing. But if you say so, we'll try again." And this time their nets were so full they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking. When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, "Oh, Lord, please leave me--I'm too much of a sinner to be around you." For he was awestruck by the size of their catch, as were the others with him. His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed. Jesus replied to Simon, "Don't be afraid! From now on you'll be fishing for people!" And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus." Luke 5:4-11 NLT

By April

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Has It Really Been a Year. . .

Has it really been a year since Bill and I left America and moved to Hua Hin, Thailand as missionaries? August 30th was our 1st anniversary of being in Thailand.

Wow, in some ways it seems like we have been here for years. We have made wonderful friends; the Lord has worked through us and used our home in a mighty way, as only He can. At other times it seems like the year whizzed by, and we can hardly believe that a year is up already.

The blessings over the year have come in the form of starting a weekly:

Ladies Bible Study -

Men’s Outreach Project

Men’s Bible Study

Day of Prayer

Youth Group – Games, Bible Study, Dinner & Fellowship

As well as, moving the Friday night Dinner and Bible Study to our home; and my taking over all of the church accounting; and Bill produces a weekly church bulletin and prints Our Daily Bread in English and in Thai for those attending Sunday services. We have added a prayer box at church for those that do not wish to lift up their prayer concerns during the service. We pray over all of the prayer requests each day of the week.

We praise God for faithful Bible Study participants that come eager to learn about Jesus; share in praying for each other and share in giving praise to the Lord.

We praise God for youth that show up for Youth Group half an hour early with grins from ear to ear, they are so happy to be here. They don’t let flat tires, or rain drenched days keep them away, and they thank us profusely for letting them come when they leave. They are joyful and thankful. Praise God!

We have added a Prayer Box and Prayer Pops program for the youth. When the youth leave a prayer request in the Prayer Box, they get to take a Prayer Pop (a tootsie pop type lollypop). It has been such a blessing to hear the hearts of the youth. They confess weaknesses and ask for strength in following the Lord, and they lift up the needs of others. We lift up these prayer concerns to the Lord every day.

Of course there have been some difficult times, but as Jesus reminds me during those times of trial “Keep your eyes on Me!”

As we continue to live and minister here in Thailand, we pray that when people see us – they will see God; and when they hear us - they will hear God. Every day we will seek to see where the Holy Spirit is leading us; seek to follow Him in all we do; and pray that we reflect Jesus everywhere we go.

A beautiful friend brought us beautiful roses to commemorate our 1st anniversary of being in Thailand. What a blessing! Thank you, Moni!

By April

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Broken Toe and Two Colds to Go. . .

On Thursday Bill and I started to come down with what seemed like a cold, so Thursday night we decided to watch a new movie that we had gotten. This was a real treat, as we have given up watching TV.

Okay, back to the movie, we watched “Letters to God”, which was just released this month. The movie was wonderful and I went through half a box of tissues. I won’t tell you whether that was because of my cold or because of the movie. You will just have to watch the movie for yourself.

After the movie was over there was very little lighting in the living room and I got up to turn off the DVD player, when I slammed my toe into the metal leg of a chair. Oh my, that really hurt. Bill asked if I was okay, and I told him that I stubbed my toe and that it really hurt but that I was fine.

Thursday night I tossed and turned, as I coughed and blew my nose what seemed like incessantly. Bill did not sleep well either, as he spent the night getting up again and again, with intestinal distress. (Need I say more?)

Friday morning I sat on the couch sniffling and coughing when I decided to cross my legs. As I brought my left leg in front of me I saw purple. Now normally purple and my foot do not go together, so I stopped my leg in midair and took a better look. Yes indeed, the middle toe on my left foot was a rainbow of hues in the pink and purple range, not to mention that it was swollen. Bill asked what was wrong, so I tilted my foot toward him. He said, “Yikes! After we looked at it closer, we decided that it was probably broken.

Isn’t it funny how once you know you have hurt something, you notice that it hurts? I really had not noticed that my toe hurt before I saw my toe in its purple splendor, but once I knew, then I noticed that it was throbbing. Of course I had been taking Thai pain killer and decongestant for my cold and headache, so that may have had something to do with it.

As the morning continued, Bill and I started to feel worse, we were achy all over and had fevers. We were supposed to host about 25 people in our home that evening for dinner, fellowship and Bible Study. As I continued to cough and empty yet another box of tissues, I told Bill that I did not think we should be potentially infecting other people. So, Bible Study was moved to the house next door.

Saturday found me sleeping. . .and sleeping. . .and sleeping. Around 11:00 a.m. we realized that we needed to cancel Youth Group. We did not want to share our sickness with the Youth. After notifying the Youth, you guessed it, I went back to sleep.

This was the first time that we had ever had to cancel Friday night Bible study or Youth Group. We felt bad about it, but knew that it was the best decision for everyone.

Sometimes our bodies just need a rest, and Jesus calls us to come to Him for the rest that we need. I love that He does not say we should feel guilty about needing to rest, He just says come.

"Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls." Matthew 11:28-29 NLT

By April

Get well flowers from my friend, Rose.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

American Blessings. . .

For a little over two weeks in July, we were blessed with a trip back to America. We saw our beautiful niece get married to the love of her life; we visited family and friends, and we sold one of our vehicles. All and all it was a blessing filled, albeit, whirlwind trip.

We landed around 7 in the evening of the fourth of July, which of course meant fireworks were coming in a few short hours. So, after Bill’s brother and his wife picked us up at the airport, we went and got takeout food for dinner, as we were hungry. We then went to the parking lot of a large store, as it was purported in the newspaper to be the best spot from which to watch the fireworks from. As we sat in the parking lot, having met another niece and her husband and their son in the parking lot as well, Bill and I ate and chatted and stretched our weary legs. Others had obviously read the notice about the prime location for watching the fireworks and they had set up lawn chairs and had toys and blankets for the children. However, as time went on and darkness came, the only fireworks we saw were obviously home fireworks sent into the sky to delight their families. So, one by one, families that had set up camp in the parking lot began to pack up and go home; and we followed suit. Because we had been up for over two days, except for a couple of cat naps we took during a couple of the flights, we were not too disappointed that we were not able to see fireworks that night.

We were humbled and blessed by the hospitality of so many. Thank you to the many family members and friends that opened their homes to us, invited us for meals and provided wonderful encouragement and conversation. We cannot thank you enough, as this was balm for our souls. We were also blessed to have met two babies that had been born since we have been living in Thailand. As we got together with family and friends, even though it had been nearly a year since we had seen them, we immediately felt comfortable with them and the conversation flowed easily. Thank you Lord, for these blessings!

After a little over two weeks in America we were headed back to Thailand. Four flights and 35 hours later, after greeting our puppy, Pumpkin, we fell into our bed at home in Hua Hin at 3:00 in the morning on Friday. When we got up later that morning we hit the ground running. After all, at 6:00 p.m. we would be hosting 25 people for dinner, fellowship and Bible Study. (The hit the ground running method has worked wonders for not suffering from jet lag.) The following day, Saturday, we had 20 youth for Youth Group at our house. We played games, led a Bible Study and supplied dinner for them.

I love serving others, by serving the Lord.

The Lord is continually working on my heart,

To make it more like HIS!

“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men,”  Ephesians 6:7

“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”  Romans 12:11

By April

Friday, August 27, 2010

We hope you have a great day today!

We hope you have a great day today! We know you will if you believe the following: The Bible is not merely a rulebook for better living. Its central purpose is an invitation to a dynamic and personal relationship with God himself – the only true fulfillment of every human desire for love and significance. It is the only true source of happiness and meaning.

Unless we know, believe, and live in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we will never have long-lasting fulfillment and happiness. A life without Christ is a rollercoaster ride through life. While we may have great highs while separated from God, we will also have horrendous lows. Not to mention a bottomless pit for eternity. With Christ at the center of our lives we will even-out our journey on this earth. And be on a continuing brighter and upward path as we grow closer to that day when we will live for eternity with Christ!

We pray that you have a wonderful day!

By Bill

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Carnival for God. . .

After months of planning, shopping for materials, prizes and building supplies; and building booths for our first outreach Community Children's Carnival, we finally held the carnival. Bill and I built booths for games, painted plywood for carnival activities, and shopped for prizes and food. One of the youth, is an amazing artist and drew and painted many of the photo stations where children could put their heads through the hole and have their photo taken.

There were neigh sayers, predicting rain or unbearable heat, but the Lord was gracious and we were blessed with a beautiful day. For months, we prayed daily for the carnival and put it all in the Lord's hands.

Bill and I had walked around Hua Hin for weeks, putting up flyers and handing out information about the carnival.

So, with so much time and effort having been put into the preparation, it was thrilling for the carnival day to actually arrive. The youth and several adult volunteers gathered at our home an hour before the start of the carnival and we confirmed who was going to be doing the different jobs such as: face painting, running booths with games, making snow cones, giving out popcorn, and taking photos and printing them for the children.

We then gathered together for prayer, giving the whole event to the Lord, praying that we would honor and glorify Him in all that we did.

Then the children started to arrive and the fun started. . .

Everything was free to the children and their families, and most of them had a hard time believing it. We offered them free snow cones and popcorn, and they kept asking how much? It was a real blessing to see how much fun the children had playing the games and enjoying the treats.

One of the most popular games was throwing darts at balloons. Bill had built a great booth with a counter to hold the darts. We were amazed at some of the little children's accuracy in throwing the darts. Pop! Pop! Pop! Followed by much laughter and a request to do it again.

After a couple of hours we had all of the children and their families come and listen to the gospel story. We had a Thai friend tell the story and explain the love of Jesus. The entire group sat listening with great attention.

Then it was back to the fun. The carnival ran from 2:00 in the afternoon until 6:00 pm. At 5:00 the pizza that Bill had ordered for the youth and volunteers arrived. You know you have to feed youth! It was great because there was enough pizza and hot dogs for not only the youth and volunteers, but also for the families that were at the carnival at that time.

A little before 6:00 the families started to leave and we gathered together to praise the Lord and give thanks for the successful carnival. We then packed up the leftover prizes, food and supplies. We gathered up the trash and brought some tables in the house, but decided not to stress about trying to get everything cleaned up that night. It was already dark, and we would just address the rest the next day or two.

We are still praising the Lord for the carnival and the great outreach that was done through it. The youth still talk about the event with great enthusiasm.

Thank you Lord!

Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these." Luke 18:16

By April

Monday, May 3, 2010

"Belief, Trust, & Faith" - Bill's Sermon at ANCF on May 2, 2010

Belief, Trust and Faith
Three commonly used terms, but what do they mean in our lives?
Belief is a mental act. It is a mental acceptance and conviction in what we think is the truth, actuality, or validity of something.
Trust, on the other hand, indicates a depth and a sense of assurance that is based on strong, but not necessarily, logically-conclusive evidence. It can be based on the character, ability, or truth shown by someone or something over time or it can be based on the situations we have experienced.

Trust makes us feel safe. Trust helps us be free of fear, free enough so that our focus can be on other matters because that matter which we would otherwise fear is taken care of. With trust, it becomes easier to simply enjoy life. Trust breeds confidence and conviction. Trust is also a risk. We leave ourselves open for loss. Betrayal of trust hurts so much because the lost sense of security multiplies the damage.

Today I want to ask each one of you, what do you believe?
In what or in whom do you trust?
What is your faith in? What role does your faith play in your day-to-day life?
And, more importantly, what role does your faith play in your future?

Let’s go back to the term belief. Think about what you believe in that is really important in your life and think about how your beliefs differ or are similar from those of your friends, your relatives. Think about how your beliefs differ or are the same from those that Jesus expressed to his disciples and those he preached to or had casual conversations with.

Now think about how your beliefs differ from or are similar to those of Satan as shown in the Bible. Let me help you here. Satan believes in God. Do you believe in God? Satan believes that Jesus is the son of God who was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, and was buried for three days. Do you believe these events actually occurred? Satan believes, he knows for a fact, that Jesus rose from the dead, spent forty more days with his friends and disciples before he ascended into heaven and that he still sits at the right hand of the Father to this day. Do you believe these events actually occurred? Satan was there for those events, he knows and believes from his own experiences that these things have occurred. Do you believe in these same things?

Many people "believe" Jesus Christ really walked the earth 2000 years ago. Many believe he is who he claimed to be - God himself and the Savior of the world. But that does not mean that they trust Jesus for their daily needs and for providing them with a glorious eternity. It does not mean they trust that God will do everything he says he will do in the Bible. And I mean everything God says he will do in the Bible, Not just the things we might like, but the things we might not like, just as Curt spoke about last Sunday.

Biblical "faith" is very different than having a belief that the Bible is true. Biblical faith goes beyond mental acceptance of the facts. Let’s look at something that actually occurred in more recent history to illustrate the differences between belief and faith.
Niagara Falls is a beautiful place on the border between the United States and Canada. April and I spent our honeymoon there. I know it exists. I believe it is both powerful and deadly. I believe it is both beautiful and an abundant source of hydroelectric power. I believe it is both tall and wide and extremely difficult to impossible to cross. The first of many tightrope walkers to cross Niagara Falls was Jean Francois Gravelot, a French aerialist, who called himself "The Great Blondin, because of his fair hair. He was born back in 1824 in northern France. Blondin had been walking the tightrope since the age of five. He was orphaned at age nine and was on his own. He became a famous tightrope performer and practiced each new feat until he could perform it with his eyes closed.

On June 30, 1859, at 5 pm, Blondin made his first journey across Niagara Falls. He wore a dark wig, a vest of purple plush, and a pair of white Turkish pantaloons.

For this crossing, Blondin utilized a rope 400 meters long and 10 centimeter in diameter stretched from what is now Prospect Park in Niagara Falls, New York in the United States to what is now Oakes Garden in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. He began his first walk from the American side and completed his crossing in 20 minutes. Blondin used a thirty-foot long balancing pole that weighed 40 pounds.
For two summers, Blondin performed above the Niagara. During his subsequent performances, he crossed the Falls on a bicycle, on stilts, and at night. He swung by one arm, turned somersaults, and stood on his head on a chair. Once he pushed a stove in a wheelbarrow and cooked an omelet. On one occasion, he crossed blindfold in a heavy sack made of blankets. But his greatest feat was to carry a man across on his back. I believe that Blondin actually did all these great feats. Many witnessed his performances and wrote about them and took pictures.

The story goes that he would yell out to spectators watching his daring walks, Do you believe I can cross the falls on this thin rope? And the spectators would yell back to him. Yes! Yes! We believe, we believe you can do it!! Then he would shout back, Do you believe I can cross the falls on this rope while carrying another person on my back? And the crowd would yell back. Yes! Yes! We believe you can do it, we believe you can do it! Then Blondin would yell back: Will anyone volunteer to ride on my back while I cross the falls? And suddenly the crowd would go silent.

While they believed Blondin could carry a person on his back across the falls, none were willing to place their trust in him to do so. None had the faith that he could carry them across the falls. If I had been there for each one of his previous walks, I too would have believed he could carry a man on his back across the falls, but I doubt I would have trusted him enough to carry me across the falls on a thin rope, even when I was fifty pounds lighter than I am now!

During his fifth exhibition, he persuaded his manager, Harry Colcord, to climb on his back and to hazard the long trip across the huge gorge. Harry put his trust in Blondin and, in faith, got on Blondin’s back and let him carry him across the falls.

Biblical faith is believing that God will do everything he says he will do in the Bible. It is trusting Him with your life, now, and for eternity. Harry had faith in Blondin to carry him across the falls. We need to have faith in Jesus, to live an abundant life now and to live for eternity in Heaven with Him!

Biblical faith is an action, like actually jumping on the back of Jesus to carry you through life and through eternity beyond. Biblical faith is allowing Jesus to carry you over and through the storms and deadly rapids of life. Biblical faith is the belief and trust and the action of - putting your eternal destiny in the hands of this Jesus who claims to be the only Savior of the world. And the great thing about Jesus is not just staying on his back, but having a face-to-face relationship with him for eternity.

Believing facts about God and his son Jesus as told in the Bible does not equate to Biblical faith. That's just mental acceptance of facts. The Bible says in James 2:10 that the demons "believe" in Jesus. If all it takes is belief to be a follower of someone, you could call me a Buddhist, or a Muslim, because I believe that both Buddha and Mohammed, lived good lives on this earth trying to do the best they could for others. I believe they died, and I believe that I can even go and visit their tombs where their earthly bodies still rest. But I am not a Buddhist or a Muslim.

Some people might even call me a Satanist for what I believe about Satan. I believe that Satan exists. I believe that he has power over much of what happens in this world. I believe he has spiritual helpers that we refer to as demons. I belief he often looks like the light of the world and that following him can be fun and exciting for a period of time. I assure you I am not a Satanist. I do not trust or have faith in Satan. He is evil, he is a liar, and he cannot be trusted.
I believe, and trust, and have faith in the yet to happen event that God will defeat the destructive power of Satan. I have decided to place my trust and faith in Jesus who lived not only a sinless life, who was killed by men, and who was buried, but whose earthly body no longer rests in a tomb to be found by men. Halleluiah!

Satan still trusts in his own powers and his own promises, not the powers and promises of his creator. We too can trust in our own powers, and have trust in our own abilities, but that will lead us to the same ultimate destruction that Satan faces. An eternity in Hell, separated from God.

Jesus said in John 5:24, "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word, and believes him who sent me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life." One who believes in this way is trusting Jesus Christ with his eternal destiny. More than 60 times, the New Testament tells us "eternal life" is given to those who put their faith and trust in Christ alone for salvation.

So, the real question is, do you simply accept some of the facts of the Bible as true. Or do you maybe go further, and believe all of the facts of the Bible are true? Or are you going still further and moving that acceptance to your heart and trusting Christ with your life every day, as well as your eternal destiny?

Hebrews 11:1 says: faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews, Chapter 12 tells us that:
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Belief – in simple terms, is accepting the fact that Jesus existed 2000 years ago on this earth. Belief is accepting what the Bible, God's Word, tells us about God and Jesus. Belief is passive.

Faith – on the other hand is trusting that Jesus was and is who He said He is, and trusting that He will do, what He said He would do.
Faith is active, it’s acting upon your beliefs and trusts. Just like Ryan preached two weeks ago, that the Gospel is active. Our faith to be real and alive must be active.

Belief is a state of mind. Trust is taking that mental fact to your heart. Faith is taking what you believe and trust, and acting upon it.
Belief manifests itself in the thoughts and words of a person. Faith, on the other hand, is what a person does (James 2:17: Acts 16:5 faith needs to be strengthened), it displays itself in the actions taken by a person, based on what they believe, think, and say concerning a person, situation, or circumstance.

Trust is the confidence that the actions or steps that one has taken, will yield the desired result. For example: A farmer thinks and believes that planting seeds will yield him a crop. Therefore, he takes the action steps of planting the seeds. He does not see the results of his action steps, (planting the seeds), right away, but he is confident and trusting that the crop will come based on the facts and knowledge of what he knows about the ground, the sun, and the rain working together to change the seed into a fruit or vegetable.

You see, believing remains unable to help us until believing mixes with trust and faith, and ", if it hath not works, is dead, being alone." James 2:17. Mere believing will get one nowhere unless " show your faith by your works." James 2:18. Unless one arises and gets onto God's spiritual back, by faith, fully trusting Jesus, he has merely "...believed in vain." 1 Corinthians 15: 1 and 2 states:

Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

One individual who had great trust and faith in God was Abraham of the Old Testament. But Abraham not only wanted the peace of security; he also wanted the joy of prosperity. Like all of us, he wanted not only to survive, but also to thrive and to experience a life of blessing and satisfaction. God filled that desire for joy and satisfaction by offering himself as Abraham's great reward.

And while this reward is available freely and abundantly to all now, through Jesus, it is often neglected for substitute rewards that glitter and shine, but tarnish easily.

We get caught up in a delusion of our own making, convincing ourselves of the value of the treasures we pursue while blind to the treasure that is right before us in God himself. We demand gifts and quickly forget the giver.

We set our sights on the fleeting pleasures of this world — a happy family, a prosperous career, a luxury car, a beautiful house, a powerful position, a good reputation, a night on the town, a sexual experience, a good hearty laugh. Like a jilted lover, God laments his bride's unfaithfulness, choking out his sorrow between tears: "She decked herself with rings and jewelry, and went after her lovers, but me she forgot" (Hosea 2:13).

We fool ourselves into thinking that satisfaction is found apart from God. But in the end we find that all of the things we chase are either elusive or unsatisfying.

We frequently waste out time and energy seeking and reaching out for things that are just out of reach. And on those rare occasions that we actually grab hold of them, they fall disappointingly short of our expectations. Satisfaction is not found apart from God or even through God — it is only found in God. The reward is God himself. The reward is a relationship with God Almighty through Jesus Christ.

My friends, here is the truth: our lives cannot be destroyed by the storms of fear, or hate, or divorce, or mistakes, or hurtful words, or diabolical deeds, or sin—since our souls are sustained by God’s promises and power. This is what Paul meant when he wrote in Romans 8:37-39:

In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

You and I show our lack of faith in Jesus when we call ourselves Christians yet give our hearts to money, or material things, or selfish pursuits, or anyone or anything other than Jesus. We can get into ruts, or bad habits, and think that we have so much trust and faith that God will save us that we can do anything we please. This is exactly how Satan is and is exactly how Satan wants us to live our lives even if we are Christians.

For example, we show our lack of faith in Jesus when we spend more time on the Internet than in prayer. We show our lack of faith in Jesus when we spend more time reading the morning newspaper than reading the Bible. Let’s take a quick quiz concerning our faith:

Does a 500 Baht note seem like a large amount of money when you donate it to church, but such a small amount when you go shopping?

Does two hours in Church seem like a really long time; but two hours seems so very short while watching a good movie or your favorite sports team play a game?

Do you sometimes find it difficult to find a word to say when you're praying, but you have no trouble thinking what to talk about with a friend?

Do you find it difficult and boring to read one chapter of the Bible, especially from the Old Testament; but find it really easy to read 100 pages of a popular novel before you go to sleep at night?

Do you find it interesting how everyone wants front-row-tickets to concerts or games; but they do whatever is possible to sit in the back row in Church? Don’t feel too bad if you are currently sitting in the back row, I often sit or stand behind the last row here in church!

Do you need to know about an event for Church 2-3 weeks before the day so you can include it in your agenda; but you can adjust your agenda for other events in the last minute?

Do you find it difficult to learn a fact about God and to share it with others; but find it easy to learn, understand, extend, and repeat gossip?

Do you find it easy to believe everything that magazines and
newspapers say; but you question some of the words and stories in the Bible?

Do you find it interesting how everyone wants a place in heaven; but... they don't want to believe, do, or say anything to get there that is in the Bible?

So, how well did you do?
The fact is, we really have very little faith. Even Jesus’ disciples had little faith much of the time.

Matthew Chapter 17:14: When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 15"Lord, have mercy on my son," he said. "He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him."

17"O unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me." 18Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment.

19Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, "Why couldn't we drive it out?"

20He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."[a]

On another occasion, In Luke Chapter 17

The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!"

6He replied, "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you.

Where there is trust, there is peace; an unbelievable peace, and a freedom from the fears of the world. As Curt said last week, fear God, not the world and the things in it. Where there is faith, there is growth. We all need to continually grow in our faith.
We need faith like potatoes. If you want to know more about faith like potatoes, come out to Friday night Bible study on May 14th and see the movie, Faith like Potatoes. It is actually less than two hours long, and is very enjoyable. I don’t want to tell you every point that is in the movie, but I will tell you that we need to feed our faith so that it grows, just like potatoes grow.

Faith indicates persistent action, devotion, and direction of self, and is often charged with emotion. When there is faith within someone, they become faithful, and when they have faith in someone, that loyalty can grow into a covenant. When we believe all that is in the Bible; when we put our trust in God’s Word and his Son Jesus Christ; and when we have faith in God and all his promises, we are in covenant with God and God is in covenant with us.

Unlike Baptism, which is a one time event demonstrating our trust and faith in Jesus and our new life in him, Communion is a practice that is meant to be observed over and over throughout the life of a Christian. It is a holy time of worship when we come together as one body to remember and celebrate what Christ did for us.

We observe Communion because the Lord told us to. We are to obey His commands:

In observing Communion we are remembering Christ and all that He has done for us in his life, death and resurrection:
And when Jesus had given thanks, he broke the bread and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." 1 Corinthians 11:24

When observing Communion we take time to examine ourselves:
A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 1 Corinthians 11:28

In observing Communion we are proclaiming His death until He comes. It is, a statement of faith:
For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. 1 Corinthians 11:26
When we observe Communion we show our participation in the body of Christ. His life becomes our life and we become members of each other:

While they were eating the Passover dinner, on that night that Jesus was betrayed Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body." Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." Matthew 26:26-28
" For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. 1 Corinthians 11:24-26

Communion follows...

By Bill

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Yikes . . .

Yesterday our puppy Pumpkin assured me that she had to go outside at 5 am. As I rolled out of bed and sleepily shuffled to the door to let Pumpkin out I thought “Just a couple more hours of sleep. Yes, that would be great.” I laid down on the couch waiting for Pumpkin to finish 'her business' outside. You see, she is rather clever, and when she wants to come back in the house she knocks on the door. Sometimes she does this with her head, but most of the time she scratches at the door which then causes the not very tight fit of the door to rattle and sound like knocking.

As I lay waiting for the knock at the front door, my mind started to put together my 'to-do-list' for the day. As I got up to let Pumpkin in when she knocked, I decided to just stay up and get a head start on the day.

I got a lot done between 5 am and 8 am. I was so pleased that I had stayed up and accomplished so much in the early morning hours.

Around 8:30 am one of the boys from next door rang our door bell. He told us that there was a snake slithering along our laundry rack. Ewww! This was all the more gross because we actually had clothes hanging on the rack. (We, like most people in Thailand, do not have a dryer. We just hang our clothes out in the nice hot air and they dry rather quickly.)

Okay, back to the snake. . .

Bill went outside to see where the snake was and to decide what to do about it. I glanced out the window, and not only was Bill investigating the whereabouts of the snake, but all but one of the neighbors' family members and their housekeeper were outside. There was a lot of squealing, and I heard one person yell “I don't want to die!”

I decided that there were enough people viewing the snake chase up close and personal, and that my vantage point of looking through the window would be just fine.

I started praying for Bill's safety and that he would be able to catch the snake. Finally after chasing the snake under leaves, around planters and up the neighbors steps, Bill got the snake. Praise God! Bill 1 – snake 0. My hero!

We all breathed a huge sigh of relief, but it got me thinking. Just how aware am I?! We have lived here in Thailand for six months now and I do remember to look around for creepy critters . . . sometimes. But, I would have to say that most of the time I am busy and just trying to get things done, so I am not necessarily that aware of my surroundings.

The other day Bill and I were walking to town to pay some bills. People here do not use checks to pay bills, so we have to go to each place to pay the electric and internet, etc. As we turned the corner and walked a short distance down the road Bill suddenly stopped and said “Look!”. I looked into the shallow creek bed that was about 3 feet below us, and found myself looking at a 4 foot monitor lizard. Yikes! There have been several sightings around our neighborhood.

Yikes, I felt like the Lord was reminding me to be aware of Him working in my life. To be aware of His constant companionship, His constant leading through the Holy Spirit. That is, if I am aware enough to see the Lord's leading. I truly want to follow the Lord in all that I do. I want HIS agenda for my every moment, not my own. I do not want to miss any Divine Appointments He has for me, as I go about my day.

So, “Thank you Lord. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for your unending forgiveness, and thank you for never giving up on me. All praise, honor and glory be to you oh Lord!”

“For that is what God is like. He is our God forever and ever, and he will be our guide until we die.” Psalm 48:14

The LORD says, "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” Psalm 32:8

By April

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Stranger Blessings . . .

When we got to Thailand we dedicated our home to the Lord and we have enjoyed sharing our home in many different ways. Be it, Bible Studies, days of Prayer, or hosting travelers, the Lord is using our home. Praise God!

In the span of 7 days we were blessed to have people from 3 different countries stay with us. We were opening our home to bless them, and we hope they were blessed for having stayed here, but we too were blessed for having them stay with us.

The first two people to stay with us during that 7 day period were a brother and sister from New Zealand. We really enjoyed meeting them and getting to know them over their short stay with us. It was so interesting to hear about their lives in New Zealand, careers that we had no experience with. It was great to hear of their adventures as they boldly explored Thailand. They showed a small portion of the photos that they took along the way, and we were amazed. These photos will serve as wonderful memory stimulators for them, for years to come.

The day after our first guests left, a young couple from South Africa joined us. They have stayed with us before, but we always enjoy having them here. They joined in our Youth Group activities on Saturday and gave us some good ideas for Youth Group games. We were also blessed to share in times of prayer, and times of encouraging each other's hearts as we all seek to follow the Lord. Their passion and excitement about life is infectious.

A day later we were joined by John, a missionary from Mongolia. Talk about a temperature change! He left 30 below zero temperatures in Mongolia and came to Thailand where it was in the high 80's to low 90's. Unfortunately he had visited another country before coming to Thailand and was suffering from some stomach problems, but a friend of ours recommended some medicine and it did the trick. We enjoyed visiting with John for hours and sharing our hearts about our ministries.

How neat that prior to their coming, we did not even know two of the three groups that stayed with us, but because we shared a love of Christ we had an immediate bond that led to our being friends and family.

Thank you Lord for your ever growing family.

Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church about your love. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. We ought therefore to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the truth.” 3 John 1:5-8

By April

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Clean, Fresh Slate . . .

The other night Bill and I went out to dinner, to celebrate my Birthday. My parents had said they would treat us to dinner, and that we should find a nice restaurant. We went to a wonderful restaurant right on the beach in Hua Hin. The restaurant was carved into the side of a steep hill, with two terraced levels with tables and chairs. Each table was set with woven place mats, a napkin and utensils, as well as fresh flowers and a candle.

As we sat overlooking the beach and the ocean, we watched the sky change to include hues of pink and deep blue . . . and then it was dark. We are still surprised by how quickly the sun sets here in Thailand each evening.

After we ordered, we sat quietly enjoying the sound of the waves from the Gulf of Thailand rolling in and out. Each wave lulled us into feeling of relaxation and peace. In the background playing quietly we could hear soft English speaking songs, which was a nice surprise.

As I looked at the sand in the fading light, I noticed that there was hardly any undisturbed sand. Everywhere I looked I saw footprints going in all different directions, the remnants of sandcastle works of art, and random holes dug for who knows what purpose.

The Lord started to speak to my heart . . . if I were to come to the beach tomorrow morning what would I see? Would I see the disheveled beach of the day before, or would the beach look like a clean, fresh slate, free of footprints and sandcastles, and holes to fall in? This Bible verse came to my mind, “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” Lamentations 3:22-23

Each morning. Wow, not every once in a while. Not once a year, but each morning God's mercies begin afresh. How awesome is that?! (And I reserve the word awesome for God.) Just as the beach would be clear of the disarray each morning, so too are our lives a clean, fresh slate each morning.

Thank you Lord for Your great mercies! Thank you for the clean, fresh slate that you gift us with each morning. All praise and honor and glory be to You, oh Lord!

Seeking to serve HIM in all that I do!

By April

Monday, January 11, 2010

Thanks for the Encouragement. . .

As I have said before, working with the Youth Group has been a blessing, but to be perfectly honest sometimes I wonder just how much they are taking in. After all, almost every week we have youth from 3 different countries. As we play games, fellowship, and study God's Word it is obvious that the non-Americans are not seeing things as we do in America. At times we are laughing our heads off, and the others in the group look puzzled. So, imagine my delight when one of the Thai youth accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior the other night. . .

Bill and I walk everywhere we need to go, as we do not have a car or motorcycle. So, the other night Bill and I were walking home from the mall when all of a sudden we heard one of the boys from Youth Group yell “Hello.” We looked around but did not see him. He spoke again and we looked through the slats of a fence of the house we were passing. Sure enough there he was, sitting with a Thai girl from Youth Group. He cut right to the chase, “How would you describe salvation to her?”

Okay then. . . We were taken a little off guard, but we were thrilled that this young girl wanted to know more about having a relationship with Jesus. The young man explained that he had come by to visit her and that she had gone right into her house to get her Bible. She immediately started to asked questions about salvation, and now he wanted us to jump in and help explain things to her. Through the fence I explained the plan of salvation to her, but the young man said that she still did not understand.

Bill and I left, and walked the short distance home. I kept praying that God would show me how I could reach this young lady. We put our packages in the house and I grabbed a dry erase board, a marker and an eraser and headed back to the girls' house. I went around to the gate and entered the yard. The young man seemed relieved that I was back, but started to laugh when he saw my supplies.

The young lady was immediately intrigued and listened intently while I told her about God and Jesus. I told her that God was the creator of the heavens and the earth, and each one of us. I said that he loves each one of us, but that he did not want us to love Him because He put a gun to our head or something. I told her He did not want robots walking around saying “I love you Lord. I love you Lord.” Then I grabbed my dry erase board and gave her an illustration about how in the beginning we were in harmony with God, but then after we sinned we were separated from God. God then offered His only Son, Jesus, as a sacrifice for our sins. When we ask for forgiveness of our sins, give our lives to the Lord, and ask Jesus to come into our hearts, Jesus then becomes our Lord and Savior. It is as if He holds a hand out to us and a hand out to a Holy God, and when we take hold we are united through Jesus.

I am so thankful that this young lady accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. I am so thankful that the Lord encouraged the heart of the young man that had been talking to her about Jesus for over 4 years, and our hearts, by helping us to see the fruits of our labor. Praise God!
“in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:12-14

“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:8-9

By April

Friday, January 1, 2010

Christmas Presence. . .

In case you are wondering. . .Yes, I do know how to spell. :-)

In the days leading up to Christmas I was so excited. About presents, you might inquire? But the answer would be 'no'. I was excited to see how the Lord's Presence would affect people here in Hua Hin, Thailand where we are currently serving as missionaries.

I heard many people around me talking of gifts they hoped to get, or about the gifts they were giving. But as we approached Christmas my eyes were on THE GIFT, JESUS, and I looked with anticipation as to how that GIFT would be received.

In the weeks before Christmas, Bill and I received and saw many others receive Christmas Presence.

Several weeks before Christmas, a woman at church came up to me and said that she did not feel that she has ever really embraced the Lord as her Savior. She said that although she had been going to church for years, she felt that she had a huge hole in her heart. She said that she sensed something different about me and wanted to talk with me about her lack of faith. She and another woman decided to come to our home to talk and for prayer. The Lord was so faithful in giving her HIS Christmas Presence. The Lord gave me just the right words, to speak into her heart. She gave her life to Christ and we hugged and cried. Praise God for Christmas Presence!

Then there was the Youth Group Christmas Presence. The Youth Group baked hundreds of cookies to be used as part of our outreach. It was so great to see the care and concern the youth put into making and baking the cookies. We went caroling at a local hospital and open air restaurants around town giving out cookies, tracts and information about our church services. The youth did such a wonderful job.

The Youth Group also packed backpacks with school supplies, food and toiletries to give to needy mountain children. We prayed over the backpacks and for each of the children that would receive them. We drove a little over an hour to meet the children and give out the 78 backpacks. As we got in the truck to head home, the youth said that we had to come back, and we started talking about what we could do for them next time.

Bill and I walked and walked and walked, around neighborhoods and along the beach (hey, somebody had to do it ;-) ) giving out information about our Christmas Eve service, Prayer Time and Bible Studies. We distributed over 500 hundred fliers throughout the area.

Another Christmas Presence occurred on the beach. We were walking down the beach with fliers in hand, when a young Thai woman said “Hello”. We stopped to speak with her, and she opened her heart saying that she was sad and feeling depressed. We spoke for quite a while and then we prayed with her, leaving her with a flier. I am still praying that she will come to church, because you see, she was depressed that she could not find a job and I found someone at church who thought they could hire her. I am hoping that as the Lord continues to work on her heart, she will find the courage to come to church. I believe she will be blessed in many ways.

On Christmas Eve we had a church service followed by a time of fellowship. The Pastor invited people to stand and say Merry Christmas in their native tongue. It turned out that we had people from 15 nations attending the church service. People stayed around for quite a while talking and munching on cake. Bill and I had gotten two cakes from a local bakery. One said Merry Christmas, and the other said Happy Birthday Jesus. It was such a blessing to fellowship with other believers from around the world.

Thank you Jesus. . .for Your Christmas Presence. I look forward to seeing them throughout the year!

Praise God and thank You Jesus!

“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"—which means, "God with us." Matthew 1:23

“Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.
Look to the LORD and his strength;
seek his face always.”
Psalm 105

By April