June 2023 Newsletter
Happy June! Here are some exciting things happening right now in Thailand:
Sunday School Class
This semester, I've been co-teaching our English/international Sunday School class with a friend of mine. Even though our attendance has ranged from 1 to 10 students at a time in the room, it has been an incredibly fruitful and fulfilling experience.
This year alone, we've talked about topics like prayer, blessing, trials and temptations, how to be salt and light in the world, predestination and the dangers of determinism/fatalism, and money. I continue to be inspired by these students and their desire to learn and grow.
This year has also been an amazing year in the area of teaching English at Grace Language School. I will be honest and admit that I have not always loved teaching English. For a long time I only did it out of necessity, but I didn't really enjoy it. But over the last year, I have found my "niche" in upper-level teaching and private classes, and have found it much more effective at connecting with my students. I have students now that have been with me for over a year, and several new ones, and I have been able to have conversations with them about their lives and about God and all kinds of other important subjects.
School in Wiang Chiang Rung
I sent out a prayer update a week or two ago asking for you to pray for the community that we visited this month. You can read that full update here. I just want to reiterate how awesome it was to get to go to this school for a short time and spend time with the kids. This was also the FIRST TIME SINCE 2020 that I have been to a school that was COMPLETELY UNMASKED. Thailand is finally recovering!
Transformation Thailand, which is written out as "Transformation ไทยแลนด์" is our new online ministry that we launched this year. So far I have been focusing on doing 1-minute Bible reels/shorts that I call "Bible in a Minute." My goal when I started making this content back in April was to reach 1000 followers/subscribers in the next 6 months to a year. HOWEVER, we ended up hitting that goal in less than 2 MONTHS!
Doing this online ministry has been a powerful experience for me, because it is helping me see both the serious need that there is for sane Bible teaching in Thai, as well as how darkened the minds of some people are. You would not want to see some of the comments I have to delete from these videos. That being said, those are definitely the minority, and overall they have been received extremely well, with the top video now having over 20k views. Pray that God continues to bless this "broadcasting ministry" so that people in both Thailand and Laos will continue to hear the gospel through their phones.
- Our former church in Bangkok is moving to a new building. They have been in a tiny storefront for years and have now outgrown the space and are currently renovating what used to be a "dirty massage" building. This is a beautiful picture of restoration and transformation.
- I talked to a Chinese friend yesterday who was worried about his visa and getting deported back to China. He is pretty sure if he is deported he will be put in prison or executed because he has written books exposing the CCP. He said he's being helped right now to find refuge so that he doesn't have to be sent back, but he said he understands if this is God's plan for him. I can't help but admire his attitude and courage in the face of death. This is how we win.
- I have a student who is going through a really dark time right now. I can't give more detail than that, but please pray for this situation. - The pastor of our "home church" in Tennessee, has just announced that he is moving to a new church. After talking to him and my uncle who is a deacon there, it seems like this was an overall positive change for everyone. Pray for his transition and new ministry at his new church in Mississippi.
- Some of our friends just moved from Chiang Rai back to Bangkok. These are two couples we have been friends with for several years now, and the Kerrs have a daughter who has been best friends with Mary Ella since literally the day she was born. Mary Ella was heartbroken and already misses her friend.
Bonus: Liz and our friend Teekay were going to do a song for the talent show at school this semester, but Teekay got sick and couldn't sing. So they decided to record a raw version-- at least for the students-- since this would be their last semester at the school here in Chiang Rai.
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