December 2023 Newsletter
“Merry Christmas!” & “Happy New Year!” from the Vaughn family to you and yours.
Christmas @ BAC
Christmas is always a great time here in Thailand, and as the years go by, it is becoming more and more of a celebrated holiday, even among the general Buddhist population. This year, we had between 400 and 500 people at our annual Christmas celebration at church, with many of those people having never been to a Christian service or celebration before.
(Giving Christmas invitations to our neighbors.)
In fact, one of the coolest stories that came from that week (for us at least) was seeing some of our new friends from 7/11 of all places, come to the Christmas party. We usually go to the same 7/11 and grab breakfast before church on Sundays, and over the past 6 months or so, we’ve gotten to know one of the girls that works there. She followed me on Tiktok and loves our “Daddy-Daughter Podcast.” She messaged me and told me she wanted to get to know us all better. She came to our Christmas party and even brought a friend with her who had never been in a church before. In fact, her friend was almost speechless seeing so many Thai Christians in one place.
At the Christmas celebration, Mary Ella sang a solo, and our makeshift choir sang a famous Thai Christmas song, called “Beum Rauk.”
Speaking of new people, we have also had a handful of new students in our Thai university Sunday School class over the last month. This month, there were 2 new girls, and just like with the two guys last month, this was their first time in church. They even came back the next week and came to the Christmas party!
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The Pipers & Mississippi Team
This month we welcomed Doug and Paulette Piper to Thailand. Doug came from Crosspoint Church in Gulfport, MS. He and his wife, Paulette, have moved here as long-term missionaries after several years of preparation.
We also hosted a team from their church last week. They were able to help us with the Christmas celebration as well as several English Fun Days at local schools, and “Coffee House” for our GLS students. Some of them also started building a treehouse outside in front of the church for the kids to play on.
Coffee house is our quarterly event that we do with all of the students together at Grace Language School. We usually have games and a presentation, usually about American culture and some season or holiday (although this year we've started expanding our themes to things like music, movies, sports, etc.). This was our Christmas Coffee House and Liz made gingerbread houses for everyone to do a gingerbread house building competition!
CRICS Christmas Concert
CRICS, or Chiang Rai International Christian School, is the international school where Liz went to school from grades 7-12. She and her mom were able to help with their Christmas concert this year.
One of the nights this month, we also went Christmas caroling at several members' houses.
One of the highlights of that night was getting to see baby Luke (Luka in Thai) for the first time. Some of you may remember me posting about some of our friends having their gender reveal back around August or September. I am happy to report that baby boy is out and doing well!
Christmas Eve Sermon
This past Sunday, on Christmas eve, my friend Ball preached and I had the honor to translate for him again. (Excuse the mask-- my nose wouldn't stop running!)
This month has been FULL, but one of the other special events we had was getting to celebrate Mary Ella’s 4th birthday!
And of course, we had to do a special Christmas episode of our “Daddy-Daughter Podcast.”
I wanted to share this video from our old church in Bangkok. They have been in the middle of moving buildings this year, and you might remember me asking for prayer a few months back. They have run into some hangups, which is normal for these kinds of transitions. Pray for them as they continue to move forward and do ministry in the capital city here in Thailand. (I loved hearing that they have seen 17 people make professions of faith this year!)
A Closing Thought
As New Year’s rolls around, many of us are starting to think about our “New Year’s Resolutions.” I’ve noticed that it’s becoming popular online to scoff at the idea of New Year’s resolutions. In my opinion, this is part of the decaying process of our culture in America, because resolutions are a GOOD thing. It’s a good thing to have goals, as long as those goals are measurable and realistic. As we enter the new year, I encourage you to reject complacency, and to think of 3-5 ways that you could better yourself and improve your discipline and habits in 2024. Personally, I have already started working on 2 of my resolutions for this upcoming year-- learning guitar and getting back to working out a solid hour almost every day. I am grateful for a time of the year to not just look back on all that God has done in the previous year, but to make a plan for an even better year moving forward.
THANKS FOR BEING PART OF THE TEAM!
By God's grace, we have witnessed many lives transformed, and some family legacies changed forever. But the story is not over yet, and we are anticipating and believing for even greater things moving forward. Consider becoming a financial supporter so you can play a significant role in sharing the gospel, creating Christian resources, and raising up young leaders in Asia.