Thursday, October 06, 2005

Love the Lord with all of your heart, soul, strength and mind...

Welcome everyone!

There are lots of pictures and posts below! There was a lot to report so please don't forget to check out the posts after the pictures. I had to break my post up into 3 because it was soo long!! Before I leave you to the pictures I wanted to put up this scripture because I think everyone should be reminded of this simple yet challenging scripture from time to time. Whether you've heard it a million times or not....

Luke 10:25-28
25One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: "Teacher, what must I do to receive eternal life?" Jesus replied, "What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?" The man answered, " `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.' " "Right!" Jesus told him. "Do this and you will live!"

How would you love a person with all of your heart, soul, strength and mind? Do you love the Lord like this? Just something to think about in your own life before diving into what's going on in ours.. :) Love you all - thank you so much for reading! Don't forget to comment if you have the time! :)

Do you ever feel like you've got a monkey on your back??? When your out in the villages - it can feel like that sometimes...but usually it really is a monkey on your back...
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John's new friend...
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You can't see very well in the pics but the monkey is literally picking John's head and cleaning him...We have a video of this and it is amazing how the monkey just took to John!
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John and a guy he met in the village that wanted to know more about Jesus...
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Oh...if your awesome friend of ours Katherine took these pictures...
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Good company is a greatly treasured gift when you are working in the villages...we love you Clinton!
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This is really typical in Thailand - people living in tin homes or homes that are trashed but they have a NICE TV...and a NICE PHONE...or a REALLY REALLY NICE CAR...Not so much in these villages...but more in Hat Yai...
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yes...that is someone's home...John looks kinda mean when he's squinting...what do you think?
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Going door to door...
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Going door to door...
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Clinton and John walking through a village...
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This guy was going door to door with a tin with black dye in it (heated by a fire under it) asking if anyone had anything he could dye black for a fee..
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An example of Thai housing in the village...
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Example 2 of Thai housing in the village...
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A beautiful Thai sky!
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John talking to some women they ran across going into the village...
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Here is a cute baby that they met in the village...
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I know this is a dark picture but I wanted to put it up for family anyway. This is Josiah, Asia and Nawng Am playing ball outside. They all had sticks and were hitting a ball around...having a great time! :)
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Josiah and I with a really bad case of red eye...:) I don't have the software on this computer to take it off - so it'll just have to stay.
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Here I am again...umm...I'm 8 months along...just at the 8 month marker.
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Update – Monkey on John’s head – Tambon – No RIGHTS!

Hello everyone out there!

I sat down and wrote a book! Not a real book - I just mean I wanted to give everyone an update on what's going on and I wrote, I've broken it up into 3 posts.

1. Update - Monkey on John's head - Tambon - NO Rights!
2. My birthday is Tomorrow! WOW!
3. Our Financial Need - Holding the Rope

So please...when you have the time read goes part one....

*Sit tight – this is a long post!*

It’s been a while! Micheal – our bestest friend since high school – is officially in Thailand with us. He arrived last Saturday and is working through jetlag. It’s great to have Micheal here – no that he is here it already feels like he’s been here all long.

We’ve been really busy – John spends almost all day in the villages with Clinton passing out tracts and reaching out to all that they meet. From 10am – 3pm they have been going into the deep parts of the villages sometimes riding through the woods on their bikes for 30+ minutes only to get off and walk door to door through jungle like areas going to each house in the village. In some of the areas that they go to the people have never seen a white person – much less, heard the name of Jesus.

Just yesterday John, Clinton and Katherine were on the outskirts of a pretty big village. They handed a tract to a guy and he wanted them to sit down and explain the gospel to him – so they sat…Clinton begins to explain about who Jesus is and about how He is the only way to heaven…(John 14:6)…and while John is sitting there a monkey came out of a tree – ran across everyone’s lap and jumped on John’s shoulder. John handled it well as the monkey continued on by picking through John’s hair and cleaning him as if he was one of its own!!!

This whole month is a very religious ‘Buddhist’ month. Although, you really can’t call it purely Buddhist because they have mixed their religions with many many others – such as Chinese and Hindu. All month long they go to the ‘wats’ (temples) around Thailand and offer sacrifices of food and prayers to there gods and to show respect to the monks. There are numerous festivals around town throughout the month. Many of the shops and street vendors have shut down for a week or more for this occasion. Last month they made offerings to dead relatives…trying to appease the dead people for several weeks.

This week is tamboon…they make many different kinds of offerings like food offerings, money offerings and some even pierce their bodies. From what I understand for the rest of this month there will be many parades and festivals in which many Thai people get swords, broom and mop handles and pierce their jaws through – they parade in the city like this. Some put hooks through their backs and walk on fire to show strength of spirits that they allow to enter them. At times they sit in front of the monks and they chant over them to communicate to their dead relatives…and sometimes they allow themselves to get possessed by spirits (aka demons). Many sons go into monk hood for two weeks to make merit for their bad kharma and the bad kharma of their parents. Also this month there are yellow signs all over the city that remind people that they are not supposed to eat meat all month – to purify their bodies and atone for their sins because they are not killing animals. Not all Thai people do these thing but many do.

With all this going on this month the whole team has felt a sense of urgency to make sure everyone that we encounter hears the gospel – even if it’s just a tract. Tonight as I sit here John is with Clinton again downtown passing out tracts because they are having one of these huge festivals right now.

John has literally been going non-stop from going to villages to studying Thai. It’s incredible to see my sun drained husband walk in everyday and tell me what went on that day in the village. Every Thursday from 10-11am Katherine and I are going to be the Bible to Thai people. Today Katherine brought the main lesson out of Romans 6 about being dead to sin and alive to Christ and what it means to truly live for Jesus. It was wonderful because what I am going to be sharing on next week went perfectly along with she felt like she needed to share today.

I shared about how God has called us to be people who have no rights. If we have truly given our lives over to Jesus and we are really striving to live as Jesus said we should – dead to sin and alive to Christ – then we are to realize that we forfeit our rights as humans for the will of God in our lives. Is He not our creator and the one who knows what is best for us and our lives? Do you really believe this truth?

One example is when we get angry with our friends or our spouse. We are to be like ducks in a pond. When a drop of water hits a ducks back it rolls off and never penetrates the ducks body. We are supposed to be people who walk and live in such a way that when people do things to make us mad or irritate us we let it roll off our backs just like water off of a ducks back and we return their wrong treatment with love.

We don’t have the right to get angry anymore…you know, it is really hard to communicate this through writing. I really admire writers…because I know right now there some people who will read this and think – WHAT?!? Is she crazy!? We don’t have any rights as Christians?!? And I feel that if I were able to explain this in person I could make more sense. But since I can’t…I’ll continue.

As Christians can we speak our heart and our mind…? Yes – of course! What I mean by no rights is that we have no rights to the following: lying, anger, selfishness ect… The only rights we have is the right to love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. You know..that’s it! I’m trying to put into my own words what the word of God says perfectly…read this: (Gal. 5:13-26)

13For you have been called to live in freedom--not freedom to satisfy your
sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love. 14For the whole law can
be summed up in this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." 15But if
instead of showing love among yourselves you are always biting and devouring one
another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.

16So I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17The old sinful nature loves to do evil, which is just opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us
desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. These two forces
are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this
conflict. 18But when you are directed by the Holy Spirit, you are no longer
subject to the law.

19When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, 20idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, 21envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

22But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law.

24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit's leading in every part of our lives. 26Let us not become conceited, or irritate one another, or be jealous of one another.

Yep – that says it pretty well! :) I am just not a writer…I communicate much more effectively in person. Anyway, this morning was very encouraging!


So – tomorrow (Oct. 7th) is my birthday! I’ll be 25!! I can’t believe it! The whole team plus many of our Thai friends (saved and unsaved) will all meet together to eat and hang out together. I’m very excited because Pii Saow – the lady who helps with Josiah and the house heard the gospel from another Thai person the day before yesterday!

I have talked to her as much as I can with my limited language and she has been reading tracts that are in our house and one time about 4 months ago John came home to a crying Pii Saow because she had read a tract and she wanted to know more. She is currently Muslium (although she does not dress in the head dress and all) and she is married to a Buddhist. Pii Saow has been a very good friend and helps me a lot with my Thai…so anyway, Pii Thak came over to see if Josiah wanted to come walking with Asia and she came in and was waiting for me to get Josiah ready and she started talking to Pii Saow.

About 15-20 minutes later Pii Saow was listening intently as Pii Thak finished telling her testimony (about how God brought her out of prostitution and changed her life). Pii Saow was visibily moved and when she returned the next day she went on and on about Pii Thak’s heart…and how she wanted to talk to her more!! So at my birthday party they will have the opportunity to do just that! I’m also very excited because my teacher Khruu Rot is going to come and it will be great because the team has been trying to spend time with her for years…and she’s going to come tomorrow!

Phon (John’s Thai teacher) and her boyfriend are also going to come! I was wondering if I would be sad about not having all my friends and family from the states at my birthday party but I am surprised to say I feel fine! Not that I don’t miss them all terribly and I wish that I could be with them – I'm just not upset out it! Thank you God! That’s a miracle in itself since I’m 8 months pregnant and terribly hormonal! Although - Lisa, Misty, Guy, Epiphany, Summer, Brandon, Lori, Crystal (oh I love you guys!)...and all my friends - I wish we could have another birthday party like we did at the church that time! WHAT FUN! Ah well!

I have incredible friends here in Hat Yai and I couldn't thank God more for them and I know we will have a wonderful time! Thank you God for the peace that I have in my heart!

Our Financial Need - Holding the Rope

Our car was broken for about 2 weeks (I think…is that right?)…and it was ROUGH! I can’t get on the back of the motorcycle with John and Josiah anymore…barely enough room and very dangerous. We finally got the money to get the car fixed and I appreciate that car more than ever – no matter how many problems it gives me! We had to have a new alternator put in and it cost us about $100 us dollars!!! ARGg….I don’t know if that’s cheap for the states or not…but it felt like a million dollars to us! But God knows our needs!

I have been told that I really need to make our needs known more. John and I have generally felt that the only person that needs to know is God…but someone made a good point. Some people are being prompted by God to give but sometimes they just don’t listen for whatever reason…and if they were to come to our blog and see the need it would make them realize that they are supposed to give and it’s not just thought in their head…that there is a real need.
So, I talk to John about it and we are going to share a little more about our financial needs and such.

God has provided every month so far- sometimes we’ve had days where we didn’t know if we would have the money to eat the next week…but we had the money for that day. Then there are times when we have a little extra money and we can bless others or take Josiah out to play at the play place here. For some reason for the past 2 months, maybe partly due to all of the catastrophe in many peoples lives in the states due to Katrina and Rita, almost all of our support has stopped.

I can count the number of faithful supporters on one hand! I say this for God’s glory because it has been enough – we have been able to make it! I do need to let this be known though – at the end of November I will be giving birth to a baby boy and the cost for the hospital labor and delivery is about $700 US and then about 2 weeks after giving birth our whole family has to appear at the US Embassy in Bangkok to apply for Jude’s passport and American citizenship – this will cost anywhere from $200-300 more because of the trip there…hotel…and application fees.

While we are in Bangkok we hope to be able to find a doctor that will circumcise our son and I don’t know how much that will cost – but I am told it could be around $100-200 because it is something that is rarely done on an infant in Thailand so it will be expensive – if we are able to find a doctor that will do it.

We also do not have a crib…changing table…or anything for a new baby – except for one awesome thing! We will not have to worry about clothes for a LONG time! My brother and his wife are sending us baby boy clothes (Braden’s clothes – I do have to say that I am fine with not having a crib or changing table – people do it ALL the time! Currently our income through support varies from $250 – 700 a month. $650 is enough to pay our bills, have gas, and eat. This is not enough to save money for labor and delivery costs unfortunately.

I know God is in control and this will all work out – I have no doubt. John and I have always quoted this little bit about supporting missionaries from Oswald Smith because it really says how we feel:

“Suppose a child should fall into a well, who would get the reward for the child’s rescue, the one who held the rope and lowered the other to the bottom, or both? God says they will share alike. The one who stands at the top and makes it possible for the other to go down into the well in order that the child might be rescued is just as much entitled to this reward as the one who goes down.

You may not be able to go down; you may never see the foreign field, but you can hold the rope. You can make it possible for someone else to go. You can send a substitute; and if you do, if you give your money, your reward will be just as great as the reward of those who actually go.
Everyone must be in the bucket brigade. You may not be the one who throws the water on the fire at the end of the line; you may be somewhere in the center passing the bucket, or you may be dipping up the water. The question is, are you in the line? Do you belong to the bucket brigade? Are you doing something? Or are you merely a spectator? Our motto must be: “Every Christian a Missionary.””

If God has laid it upon your heart to support us in what God is doing here you can click on the ‘make a donation’ button at the top right corner of the screen or refer to the ‘Address and Contact Info’ link on the right side of the screen. If you can not support us financially please remember to support us through prayer! Thank you!