Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Josiah Evan Blake....:) Age: 3...but not for long - Josiah's Birthday is coming up: April 16th!! I can't believe it!
Posted by Picasa

My boys....
Posted by Picasa

Brotherly love!
Posted by Picasa

Posted by Picasa

Jude and Josiah's sad faces...
Posted by Picasa

Jude Andrew Blake - I think his eyes are going to be green.. Isn't he handsome!!!
Posted by Picasa

Jame, me and Asia...It was soo hot that day! It's just getting hotter and hotter as we head toward the worst part of hot season...
Posted by Picasa

Josiah, Jame, Oscar and Asia all sitting down watching Josiah's early birthday present from grandma Blake. Josiah requested "Micky Mouse in Ingwish" (translation: Micky Mouse in English) Dawn came to the rescue. The great thing about this video is that there isn't much english so the Thai kids love it too! Oscar is the son of CheAnn - who came to know Jesus about 2 months ago - he was handed a track and sent in the card.

CheAnn has been touched by God and has taken down all of the idols in his home! His face just glows when he talks about God and what he has done and is doing in his life. His wife, Pii Mam, doesn't know the Lord yet but she is open and we're sharing everything with her and she sees the huge difference in her husbands life. Jame is a boy on his own. His parents don't know where he is half the time (and don't really care). We met him through the outreach in Baan Phrut...and any chance he has he is with us. He comes to church every Sunday. He's sweet boy who is hungry for the love of anyone.

I made Fruit Punch Kool Aid from America and gave them a PopTart (a specialty item here - got some in a carepackage John's grandparents sent us) for them to share. Jame was thrown off by the Kool Aid...he just kept asking "What is this? What kind of drink is this?" He couldn't drink it...Oscar on the other hand drank it down and had a big red mustache like the rest of the kids. The PopTarts were a hit!!
Posted by Picasa

This is the bookshelf from Katherine...all those decorations came with me straight from America except for the two statues (John gave me those for our 4 year anniversary last year)
Posted by Picasa

This is the Thai rocking chair that Brian and MaryBeth gave to us...
Posted by Picasa

This is the shelf that came with the set that our friend bought for us. It's really neat - our friend took us to this neat little wicker shop and we got to look in a book and pick out a set that we liked...and they handmade all of it in a month - for around $250!! This shelf, two chairs, a small table and a bench/couch. We were sitting on a mattress in the living room before... :) The TV and DVD player was given to us by John's dad and mom - THANK YOU CURRY AND DAWN!!! And the VCR is Brian and MaryBeths - they let us borrow it so Josiah could watch Lady and the Tramp :)
Posted by Picasa

Two chairs and a table - this is the set that a friend of our bought for us...
Posted by Picasa

The couch that came with the set that a friend of our bought for us...
Posted by Picasa

Monday, March 27, 2006

Pure and undefiled Religion...

Things have been so unscheduled recently – it’s amazing.  Brian and MaryBeth are moving across the street from the Garsee’s and Katherine is moving in with Brian and MaryBeth…the Pruetts are coming in from Baan Nam Khem to visit for a week!!!  So the past couple of days have been nothing but moving…moving…moving!!!  

We are so blessed!!  Not that this is all that important to us but our living room looks like a real living room now!!  Katherine is moving and she has a bookshelf that she didn’t want anymore because it has mold on it – and so she gave it to us!!  I’m working on getting the mold off of it and my new picture fits perfectly on it!!  

Then about the night before yesterday I had a dream that I was trying to rock baby Jude while sitting on the bed and really wishing I had a rocking chair like I did with Josiah.  The rocking chair Josiah and I had in America was our best friend.  I put him to sleep every night in that thing…so when I found out I was pregnant I started looking for a rocking chair everywhere – but everywhere I found them they were over $100 dollars!  So I let go of my death grip on the idea of having a rocking chair with Jude and I’ve been swaying and rocking in the bed with him.  

Anyway…so, I had a dream that I was trying to rock baby Jude and I was wishing that I had a rocking chair and then all of a sudden I was sitting in one…I recognized this rocking chair – it was Brian and MaryBeth’s Thai rocking chair.  So Jude and I rocked away…and the next day – I came in from going to get food and there was Brian and MaryBeth’s rocking chair – sitting in my living room!!!  Since they were moving they decided that they didn’t need/want it anymore and so they gave it to us!!!  I was just shocked!  

I am so in awe and shock (because of the dream) that God wanted to bless me with that rocking chair.  Isn’t it amazing that He truly does care for us that much?  These two things got me thinking about how much we have been given.  Our living room furniture was bought for us by a friend here who said that God told them to buy us living room furniture.  Our table was given to us by Brian and MaryBeth a year ago.  

The house we live in came with a bed, 3 air conditioners (one in Micheal’s bedroom, Josiah’s bedroom and our bedroom), a small side table, and a cabinet for the kitchen (which…if I didn’t have it I would have food sitting all over the floors because Thai kitchens do not have cabinets), a eating table outside and lots of plants (very common in thai housing).  When we first bought our plane tickets to Thailand we expected to live in a shack…we didn’t expect to have any furniture…or any nice things really (like my painting)…but yet here we are – BLESSED!!!  If the work that God has us doing here calls for us to move out to a shack someday then so be it…

It’s just amazing to me!!!  Thank you God!  Last week I had mentioned that Katherine and I were going to go out to an orphanage in Songkhla…unfortunately we were not able to go because we had to help out with some things here but we ARE GOING tomorrow!  I am sooo excited!  Josiah is such a doll – he’s giving up some of his toys to go to the orphanage and I’ve got some of the clothes Jude can’t fit into anymore ready to go too.  
I just keep thinking of James 1:27:  

27 Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us.

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God is that we must care for orphans and widows….it can’t get any clearer than that!  Do you know any orphans or widows that you could care for and help?  My mother is a widow and I am very sad to say that I don’t know many Christians who really take care of her.  And there are many times she needs it.  My brother has always been there to help my mother keep the house up (repairs and such) until recently because he had a baby boy(Braden: ) who was born at 1 pound 7 ounces and since then his life and the life of his wife have been turned upside down and he is unable to make the trip to Sherman from Denton every weekend like he used to.  

I know his heart is to make the trip but he has to take care of his son – and now my mother can make the trip by herself sometimes.  Please know that I’m not upset with anyone about this – I mean…when I was in America – I SURE didn’t seek out orphans and widows to help them.  Or not only just to help them but to just be in their lives so that they know they are loved.  I just want to challenge those of you who can…seek out the orphans and widows and show them the love of God.  Visit nursing homes…spend 40 minutes in a day to chat 10 minutes with 4 elderly people in a nursing home and make their month…Bring by some cake to the elderly lady who lives down the street from you…take that toy that your child never touches to a child who will cherish it…

I feel so soap boxish but my heart is just on fire about this.  Most people in America have SOOO MUCH stuff!  Things that just sit around and are never used and not really appreciated…look around your house and see if you have anything like that…and if so – find someone to bless with it!!!  I can’t tell you how blessed I am by the rocking chair and the bookshelf (even with mold) and I know there are those out there who would be sooo blessed by what you consider trash or last seasons fashions.  

And if you really want to be blessed(although that should not be your motive)…instead of looking for the things you don’t want anymore…give something that you cherish and that you would like to keep….give it away to someone to show the love of God.  Do it just between you and God…not to boast or brag of your goodness but just to give from a heart that is turned toward God.  I truly believe that is the true heart of God.  Just like he gave away his son to die on the cross…his most loved and cherish possession.  

**Side note – one time I wanted to give a whole bunch of stuff away in America and I found out that it was hard to do (except for to Goodwill)…I wanted to give it to a certain shelter and I couldn’t unless I was free to go at a certain time of a certain day.  So I tried to give it to another organization and they wouldn’t take it unless it was packed a certain way…I was like “I JUST WANNA GIVE YOU SOME STUFF – TAKE IT!”  So beware that if you step out and try to give away something it might be a little work – don’t let that derail you from giving anyway.  And don’t think you have to give to an organization either – open your eyes to the people around you everyday…even the ones you don’t have direct contact with – maybe you pass them everyday in your car…there are people in need everywhere…

Please keep us in your prayers tomorrow – I’ll try to get pictures if it is appropriate.  John will be starting back out to the villages tomorrow.  Thank you guys for reading!  

Monday, March 20, 2006

Here is the picture that I told you about below. I just LOVE it...What do you think? There are more pictures after that long don't forget to check them out. Thanks for reading!
Posted by Picasa

Movie Star...Free Painting...2 days of prayer...

***Ok…once again…another unintentionally LONG post.  Sorry guys it is 5 pages in WORD but will look like a mile long on the blog because it’s all shoved into one thin column…but I reviewed it and reviewed it and I’m just not going to cut anything…so I hope you have the time to read it…if not…maybe tomorrow?  Hehehe…love you guys!  


You know the Thai people can never tell that Jude is a boy!  No matter how much blue I put that boy in I am always asked “poo – ying ru poo – chai?”  (girl or boy) and I say every time “Poo – chai ka.  Whella farang siy sii faa luuk ben poo – chai ka” (He’s a boy.  When westerners put their children in blue they are usually boys…)  Educating about farang (western) ways – one Thai at a time!!!  Hehehe…  

It is amazing how our children are fussed over.  Just yesterday we had decided to get some ice cream and as we made our way to our seats the whole restaurant was oooing and ahhhing at our children.  Josiah was dodging “jops” left and right.  A jop is when someone reaches out and pinches you, sometimes hard sometimes not, but almost ALWAYS on your cheeks and almost ALWAYS more than once or twice.  

We finally sat down and a lady brought Josiah a highchair (in which he did not want to sit) but I put him there anyway – but on his way into the chair his back scraped up against the not so child friendly back of the highchair and started crying and screaming.  Now everyone was REALLY staring.  I held him and calmed him down and we commenced in ordering our ice cream while all eyes remained on us.  

I really have a new compassion for movie stars….really.  It must be horrible life for them at times.  Always being stared at…pictures being taken all the time…speaking of pictures being taken….so we order our ice cream and it comes out and I get baby Jude out of his seat so he can look around (he was fussing)…and at this time some people literally turn around in their seats to stare and watch us.  Periodically the waitresses passing by “jop” Josiah’s cheeks…which frustrates him to no end.   We’ve learned there is no purpose in trying to tell them not to because it’s like a drive by jopping – and if you tell one person there are still 4-5 others who will get their “jop” in before we’re able to utter a word.  So you have to understand that we have to help Josiah and teach him to deal with this frustration.  

Can you imagine sitting there…minding your own business and someone walks up and pinches your cheek and then you get back to eating and then yet another person comes by and gets the other cheek and so on and so on???  Sometimes they will take whatever he has and hold it away from him so that they can get a rise out of him…on purpose.  I know this usually unthinkable but in Thai culture it is COMPLETELY normal.  Children’s feelings are not held in very high regard at all.  We try to encourage him to show the love of God and teach him that these people think that he’s cute and that they are just being nice but he doesn’t always agree.  

I continue to eat my ice cream the best I can when I’m being stared at…Don’t get me wrong we get this all the time...and for the most part we are adjusted to it and fine with it…it brings TONS of open doors but it’s just that this particular time there were many more people than usual and none of them exercised the normal restraint about staring.  So I’m holding baby Jude on my lap while shoveling the ice cream in rather ungracefully when I look up and find that…NOT ONE…but TWO tables have their camera phones out and are snapping pictures of me and Jude.

*ooopsss…I missed my mouth….ice cream dribbles down my chin*  I’m thinking to myself….uhh….do I smile and pose for the picture or do I keep eating???  Which camera do I look at….?  What would they do if I made a funny face at the camera?  Would they care if I turned around and stared at them while they ate?  Man…what would Jesus do in this situation?  LOL!  Why can’t I just eat my ice cream in peace?!?!?!  Ahhh well…I just pray we don’t end up on someone’s website or hanging on someone’s wall…that would be weird…

I’m used to the pictures being taken of Josiah…and sometimes of me...but mostly just the kids.  The thing is that – this love of our white skin and curiosity about us is exactly why we have open doors into so many lives and homes.  So when it is hard sometimes I just remind myself of that.  Plus…as hard as it is sometimes with our privacy being stripped from us – we’re here for the Thai people and this is part of our life here.  God gives us the grace we need to embrace this attention and not let it get to us.

After we finished we headed back to the car but on the way there was some art hanging up (I LOVE looking at painting and artwork) so we stopped to look.  I was taking my time looking at each work of art and I came upon one that just caught my affections instantly!!!  I just couldn’t stop staring at it…!!  I LOVED THIS PAINTING!   I would walk away and then come back to it…walk away and then come back to get one last look and then it occurred to me that I had my camera with me.  In America you usually can never take pictures of paintings…but I thought I would ask.

So I walked over to the table and asked if I could take a picture and to my surprise they said yes!!  So I gleefully walked over and snapped a couple pictures of this painting.  The price tag read: 5,000 baht which is about $125 dollars…We’ll at least I could look at it on my computer!!!   That’s good enough for me.  So we began to walk off and a Thai guy approached me and started saying something – and I couldn’t quite understand it.  Katherine was there and we deduced that he was saying if you buy one you could get one free.   But we were wrong…what he was saying was so hard to believe that we thought “There is no way we are understanding him correctly”.

He said that he wanted to give me the painting!!!!  I was shocked and a little embarrassed – my face turned red a little bit.  Katherine and John were being practical and saying ‘what does he want in return?  Does he want your phone number…what?’  But it turned out there were no strings attached!!!  I would normally have not accepted something like this but I LOVED THIS PAINTING!  I found out that he was the creator of this work of art and he wanted to give it to me for free!?!  He must have seen me pace in front of it…leave and come back to it and then take pictures of it.  I can genuinely say I appreciate his art.  

Anyway, we left and I kept thinking he was going to run out after us wanting his painting back.  What a blessing – we do not have one thing hanging on our walls (well, except for a picture that John taped up of him and his sisters)…they are all bare and white…I specifically feel from God that I am not supposed to spend money on decorating our home but that the money that God gives us goes to our ‘real’ needs.  But now I have been blessed and have a beautiful work of art that I LOVE to hang on our wall!!!  I’m blessed!!

I took many pictures that night of downtown and some of the things that have become completely normal to us.  Hey…I know this is long…but I haven’t written in a long time and I have lots to say – plus I know my Mom will keep reading!  I miss you more than I can say and love you Mom!  

I know it’s been a while – but I just want to tell you that the 2 day prayer time was incredible!  There was one specific revelation that I had while praying after reading some from a book by John Wesley.  John Wesley was talking about the deceitfulness of man’s heart.  I personally grew up thinking that initially everyone starts out good and that at the root of everyone there is good…but truly I was wrong.  I had been told that man was inherently deceitful by my own husband but something in me just kept saying “That can’t be…men are good deep inside…”  John would tell me that the heart of man is evil and I would just keep telling myself this can’t be true.  

So I was reading about what John Wesley said and he points out over and over in the Bible where it says CLEARLY that the heart of man is evil and deceitful.  Jer. 17:9 That we have a sinful nature (which I knew) and at the root of it all…we are inherently evil.  That is why children must be taught to behave, obey, think of others and be nice.  Even at a young age children are selfish, lie, and usually think only of themselves.  It comes naturally…I’m sure even you could agree with that.  It just naturally comes to us to think of ourselves first.  

So anyway, I realized that we are as close to God as we choose to be.  I’ve always known this to be true but not to this extent.  I know so many people at home (I have been one of them) who constantly says: “I will spend more time with God when….(fill in the blank).”  Example:  I will spend more time with God when my children start back to school.  I will spend more time with God next week when I’m not so busy at work.  I will seek after God more when American Idol and my favorite tv shows aren’t on anymore (Hahaha – that one is real).  I will spend time with God in the mornings once I get more sleep.  I will go to church once things aren’t so hectic.  

I will make time for God in my day once I…blah blah blah.   There were even something’s in my life that I said that about “Once I leave for Thailand and am on the mission field….then….ect. ect…”  but I found that I had to make a decision to conquer those things in my life…that going onto the mission field was just an excuse I was giving myself to put off being disciplined and to live by the truth that I know.  

The truth is that our hearts have deceived us.  For the most part we think we would do these things to draw closer to our creator if these things happened but the truth is that if we really wanted to do these things…we would do them.  If our hearts were truly hungry for God and truly wanting to seek after him we would MAKE the time.  On the other side of that excuse there is usually another excuse waiting to delay you…with your complete compliance of course.  

I know many people who desire to live their lives for God – because they know Jesus died on the cross for their freedom from sin – but yet they keep making excuses and they live day by day trapped in the same patterns and same life – refusing to let go of what they want for their lives for what God wants for their lives.  So with that being said…what do we do we do when we realize our hearts have deceived us and we are in all reality putting God in our lives off with every excuse…we repent (turn away from whatever it is that is keeping us from going after God’s will for our lives) and seek after God as if He is the very air that you breathe.  

Is Jesus’ death on the cross – the ultimate sacrifice – not worthy of your life?  I want to ask some of you…do you really believe this religion that you claim???  Do you really believe in the God of the Bible?  Do you even know what Jesus really says in the Bible?  Not just what someone has told you or what you heard when you went to church the two times out of the year that you go but the true words of  Jesus!?!  

Not what you learned at bible camp when you were a child…the REAL words of God!  Do you believe that there is a God that at this very moment (as you read these words) is interested in your life and has a plan for your life…a God that really sent his ONLY SON (I have two of them) to suffer a horrible death on the cross and to take our sins once and for all as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.  Do you really believe it?  

I want to challenge you to ask yourself genuinely “If I were to die today and come face to face with God…do I know that I have truly given my life to him?  Can I say that I know Jesus?”  The word of God says:  (Matthew 7)
21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'
So that right there tells us that religion and doing good things alone will NOT get us into heaven – We MUST know our Savior and putting into practice what he has told us in the Bible:

 24"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."

Is your hope built on the solid rock foundation of Jesus or a sandy foundation?  Are you putting into practice the things he has taught?  Are you actively seeking God by praying, reading the Bible…going to church?  I honestly didn’t intend on writing all this but apparently it is for someone reading – even if it is for one person it is worth it.  

I want to leave you with some scriptures…and this: if you find that you don’t KNOW Jesus and you aren’t living your life for God and you don’t know what the Bible says…pray to God right now…be real…speak from your heart…and open up His word and dive in…His word is life…and you will not be disappointed.  (I recommend starting in John).  If you do not have a bible at home or at your disposal:  

  • "Jesus said to him, I AM The Way, The Truth, and The Life: no man comes to the Father, but by Me" (John 14:6).

  • "If we confess our sins, He is Faithful and Just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1John 1:9).

  • "For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13).

  • "If you love Me, keep My Commandments" (John 14:15).

  • "And by this we do know that we know Him, if we keep His Commandments" (1John 2:3).

  • "But who keeps His Word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know that we are in Him" (1John 2:5).

  • "Jesus answered and said to him, If a man loves Me, he will keep My Words" (John 14:23).

  • "If you keep My Commandments, you will abide in My love" (John 15:10).

  • "For this is the love of God, that we keep His Commandments: and His Commandments are not grievous" [literally, not burdensome] (1John 5:3).

  • "Unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His Glory with exceeding Joy, to the Only Wise God our Saviour, be Glory and Majesty, Dominion and Power, both now and for ever. Amen"(Jude 24, 25).

Let me introduce you to the most stinkiest fruit on the entire planet: DURAN! It's the crazy looking fruit on the left. When you cut one of these babies open everyone within a block will know. There are even signs in buildings next to elevators that say (right next to the no dogs and no smoking signs) NO DURAN! Many of the Thai people LOVE this fruit...must be an aquired taste...
Posted by Picasa

Yummy yumm...this is a Som Tom cart - you can ttell by the shredded papya, tomatos and limes in the glass case. This guy will typically make Som Tom and one of my other favorite dishes Lap Moo. Most of these pictures are most of the people you see are more westernized...way more westernized by far.
Posted by Picasa

This is a typical view downtown...well, except for Katherine standing there...not so typical... :)
Posted by Picasa

Some traditional Thai dancing was taking place outside...
Posted by Picasa

Katherine and I cheesing for the camera...Katherine has become an incredible friend here...she's an incredible woman of God who God is using mightly here...
Posted by Picasa

They had lots of neat Thai handicraft things out the night we were out. It was a special art night downtown and there were a lot of vendors with things like this...
Posted by Picasa

This is one of the soup vendors and all that stuff out in the front is RAW meat...uh huh...raw...un covered and delicious in the soup!!!
Posted by Picasa

This is a fruit stand...these are always all over town. The pineapple is delicious...well, it all is really...for 10-15 baht (about .25 cents) you get a piece of the fruit in a bag.
Posted by Picasa

Seafood lovers eat your heart out for about .50 cents to a dollar!!
Posted by Picasa

A street vendor selling tasty chicken and other stuff...against all American regulations this food normally sits out for hours uncovered and NO ONE DIES!! Amazing huh?
Posted by Picasa

A typical street vendor selling dried flattened squid...yeah this is food...I personally don't eat it...
Posted by Picasa

John and Josiah sit infront of a big department store as I go and take pictures...John is not cutting his hair and we're letting Josiah's grow out too - so they are pretty hairy...You can't really see how thick John's beard is but he's starting to look like a mountain man - a really handsome one of course...:)
Posted by Picasa

Me and my painting...
Posted by Picasa

Yes...this is Jude sitting up!!! I just can't believe it - he's just 4 months and this boy is trying to sit up. Of course he does have a pillow supporting his lower back but it's amazing how he lifts and holds up the rest of his body by himself!
Posted by Picasa

Jude Andrew and I
Posted by Picasa

Posted by Picasa

Jude Andrew - chillin! :)
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


HAHAHA!! Ok...I didn't click on it but when I posted my last post the ad that popped up was "Get your own prayer room"! That is just funny to that funny to anyone else??!?!?! Steph says in her best Dragnet voice, "The Ads on this site do not in anyway reflect the views or beliefs of John and Stephanie Blake...hahahaha...." Some of these ads are just goofy....just plain goofy...ah well... :)

Love ya'll


*This post is not really as long as it looks so keep reading (the length is due to the fact that I posted the book of Philippians on this post...hehehe...some people have told me they see how long the post is and if it's too long they don't wanted to warn ya!*

You know - you guys just bless my heart! Sometimes one of the things I struggle with personally while here is that I feel like we're forgotten - I know that's not the truth but it's what the enemy tries to attack me with. I sometimes feel like "Everyone is on the other side of the world - living their lives...and they've forgotten about one is even reading about what's going on...we're all alone..." (being transparent here...don't get mad now...)

I know that is not the truth!!! And even more importantly - even if everyone did forget about us and what God is doing here...we're not here for man...we're here because of God. If we never got e-mails and our counter at the bottom of our blog page read "5" we should and will keep our eyes focused on what God has set us to do here and not be discouraged in anyway. I said all that to say I was just so blessed when I got back from going away - I had e-mails from people I hadn't heard from in a long time and some e-mails from people saying they were waiting to hear how things went (Love ya Joan!) just blesses me soo much to know that we're not alone and that you are reading.

LOL...John never struggles with do I? I think it has something to do with being a know, women can be so meladramatic...(spelling?) but never the less...I know the truth and I will never feel upset or alone - no matter who is reading because my eyes are set on Him! I wanted to let everyone know that John has been so blessed by the birthday e-cards and the birthday e-mails! He said "I never got this many birthday wishes when I was living in the states!" He's feeling much better and today is his BIRTHDAY so he's gonna get treated like royalty!!!

Speaking of which - the king and his princes' are I need to make this quick...hahaha. I won't have a moment to reply to e-mails today and tomorrow is our team meeting day which consumes almost all day (prayer, worship, fellowship and preparing for the coming week) from about 11-5pm...then at night the team is throwing John and Katherine a birthday party at a restaurant here (Katherine's b-day was yesterday) is out for having time to reply to e-mails...

So, if you've e-mailed...give me a little bit more time k? And...I also can't wait to share about my trip was an incredible time! OH...and I can't wait to tell you how God has supplied our needs to us once again - down to the dollar!! It's amazing...when we have a need and there's almost nothing in the bank...the exact amount that we have to have comes in!!! Thank you GOD and thank you again for reading....


PS - the book of Philipians is soo good - havne't read it in a long while and when I re read it I was just so blessed....I'm gonna post it below so you can read it if you want...



Greetings from Paul 1This letter is from Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus.
It is written to all of God's people in Philippi, who believe in Christ Jesus, and to the elders[a] and deacons.
2May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

3Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. 4I always pray for you, and I make my requests with a heart full of joy 5because you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. 6And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again.

7It is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a very special place in my heart. We have shared together the blessings of God, both when I was in prison and when I was out, defending the truth and telling others the Good News. 8God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus.

9I pray that your love for each other will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in your knowledge and understanding. 10For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until Christ returns. 11May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation[b]--those good things that are produced in your life by Jesus Christ--for this will bring much glory and praise to God.

Pauls Joy That Christ Is Preached 12And I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters,[c] that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. 13For everyone here, including all the soldiers in the palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. 14And because of my imprisonment, many of the Christians[d] here have gained confidence and become more bold in telling others about Christ.

15Some are preaching out of jealousy and rivalry. But others preach about Christ with pure motives. 16They preach because they love me, for they know the Lord brought me here to defend the Good News. 17Those others do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me.

18But whether or not their motives are pure, the fact remains that the message about Christ is being preached, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice. 19For I know that as you pray for me and as the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me, this will all turn out for my deliverance.

Pauls Life for Christ 20For I live in eager expectation and hope that I will never do anything that causes me shame, but that I will always be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past, and that my life will always honor Christ, whether I live or I die. 21For to me, living is for Christ, and dying is even better. 22Yet if I live, that means fruitful service for Christ. I really don't know which is better. 23I'm torn between two desires: Sometimes I want to live, and sometimes I long to go and be with Christ. That would be far better for me, 24but it is better for you that I live.

25I am convinced of this, so I will continue with you so that you will grow and experience the joy of your faith. 26Then when I return to you, you will have even more reason to boast about what Christ Jesus has done for me.

Live as Citizens of Heaven 27But whatever happens to me, you must live in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ, as citizens of heaven. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing side by side, fighting together for the Good News. 28Don't be intimidated by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself.

29For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. 30We are in this fight together. You have seen me suffer for him in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of this great struggle.

Philippians 2
Unity through Humility 1Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and sympathetic? 2Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one heart and purpose.

3Don't be selfish; don't live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. 4Don't think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing.

Christs Humility and Exaltation 5Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. 6Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. 7He made himself nothing;[e] he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form.[f] 8And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal's death on a cross. 9Because of this, God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name that is above every other name, 10so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Shine Brightly for Christ 12Dearest friends, you were always so careful to follow my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away you must be even more careful to put into action God's saving work in your lives, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him.

14In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing, 15so that no one can speak a word of blame against you. You are to live clean, innocent lives as children of God in a dark world full of crooked and perverse people. Let your lives shine brightly before them. 16Hold tightly to the word of life, so that when Christ returns, I will be proud that I did not lose the race and that my work was not useless. 17But even if my life is to be poured out like a drink offering to complete the sacrifice of your faithful service (that is, if I am to die for you), I will rejoice, and I want to share my joy with all of you. 18And you should be happy about this and rejoice with me.

Paul Commends Timothy 19If the Lord Jesus is willing, I hope to send Timothy to you soon. Then when he comes back, he can cheer me up by telling me how you are getting along. 20I have no one else like Timothy, who genuinely cares about your welfare. 21All the others care only for themselves and not for what matters to Jesus Christ.

22But you know how Timothy has proved himself. Like a son with his father, he has helped me in preaching the Good News. 23I hope to send him to you just as soon as I find out what is going to happen to me here. 24And I have confidence from the Lord that I myself will come to see you soon.

Paul Commends Epaphroditus 25Meanwhile, I thought I should send Epaphroditus back to you. He is a true brother, a faithful worker, and a courageous soldier. And he was your messenger to help me in my need. 26Now I am sending him home again, for he has been longing to see you, and he was very distressed that you heard he was ill. 27And he surely was ill; in fact, he almost died. But God had mercy on him--and also on me, so that I would not have such unbearable sorrow.

28So I am all the more anxious to send him back to you, for I know you will be glad to see him, and that will lighten all my cares. 29Welcome him with Christian love[g] and with great joy, and be sure to honor people like him. 30For he risked his life for the work of Christ, and he was at the point of death while trying to do for me the things you couldn't do because you were far away.

Philippians 3
The Priceless Gain of Knowing Christ 1Whatever happens, dear brothers and sisters,[h] may the Lord give you joy. I never get tired of telling you this. I am doing this for your own good.

2Watch out for those dogs, those wicked men and their evil deeds, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved. 3For we who worship God in the Spirit[i] are the only ones who are truly circumcised. We put no confidence in human effort. Instead, we boast about what Christ Jesus has done for us.

4Yet I could have confidence in myself if anyone could. If others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more! 5For I was circumcised when I was eight days old, having been born into a pure-blooded Jewish family that is a branch of the tribe of Benjamin. So I am a real Jew if there ever was one! What's more, I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. 6And zealous? Yes, in fact, I harshly persecuted the church. And I obeyed the Jewish law so carefully that I was never accused of any fault.

7I once thought all these things were so very important, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. 8Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ 9and become one with him. I no longer count on my own goodness or my ability to obey God's law, but I trust Christ to save me. For God's way of making us right with himself depends on faith.

10As a result, I can really know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I can learn what it means to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11so that, somehow, I can experience the resurrection from the dead!

Pressing toward the Goal 12I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection! But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be. 13No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be,[j] but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.[k]

15I hope all of you who are mature Christians will agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. 16But we must be sure to obey the truth we have learned already.

17Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. 18For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. 19Their future is eternal destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and all they think about is this life here on earth.

20But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. 21He will take these weak mortal bodies of ours and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same mighty power that he will use to conquer everything, everywhere.

Philippians 4 1 Dear brothers and sisters,[l] I love you and long to see you, for you are my joy and the reward for my work. So please stay true to the Lord, my dear friends.

Pauls Final Thoughts 2And now I want to plead with those two women, Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. 3And I ask you, my true teammate,[m] to help these women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. And they worked with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life.

4Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again--rejoice! 5Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.

6Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

8And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and heard from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you.

Pauls Thanks for Their Gifts 10How grateful I am, and how I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but for a while you didn't have the chance to help me. 11Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. 12I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need. 14But even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty.

15As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I brought you the Good News and then traveled on from Macedonia. No other church did this. 16Even when I was in Thessalonica you sent help more than once. 17I don't say this because I want a gift from you. What I want is for you to receive a well-earned reward because of your kindness.

18At the moment I have all I need--more than I need! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable to God and pleases him. 19And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. 20Now glory be to God our Father forever and ever. Amen.

Pauls Final Greetings 21Give my greetings to all the Christians there. The brothers who are with me here send you their greetings. 22And all the other Christians send their greetings, too, especially those who work in Caesar's palace.

23May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Going away...

Good Morning – or whatever it is where you are!  I’ve been up early this morning praying about an important decision.  About 2 weeks ago the team setup a much anticipated date for the women of the team to go away, fast and pray.  The men on the team have done this quite a few times this year and we all felt it was the women’s turn.  

So today after church Amber, MaryBeth, Katherine and I will be heading off to Songkhla – which is about 15 minutes away by car – to stay in some bungalows for 2 days.  OH…Jude will be coming too because he is still breastfeeding and I won’t be fasting – in order to keep his food coming.  I’m so excited about this even though I won’t be alone and I won’t be able to fast.    

So the reason I had to make a decision about going is because money is John is having some side effects from the Tetanus shot and he’s not feeling good at all, Jude has a small cough and money is extremely low and this trip will cost about $30-40 dollars.  I got online this morning and was checking my e-mails and I got an e-mail from a friend and it said that he has just put $40 into our paypal account!!  Thank you David!  Yesterday Katherine and Amber were just encouraging me about the money saying that it’s not like we’re going to go out for pleasure with this money – it is for time consecrated to the Lord –to get alone with God and really press in through prayer.  They encouraged me that God would provide the money for this trip and He did!  Thank you God!

I spoke to John and he encouraged me to pray about it and that he was feeling better and he didn’t want me to stay because he wasn’t feeling good.  Before I even read the e-mail about the money I had already prayed about it and I knew I was supposed to go.  We’re leaving in a little while and I’m excited.  Please keep me in your prayers – there are many things and people that I am going to be pressing in for…

"Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:4-7)
"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you" (Matt,7: 7);
"The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful and effective" (James 5:16)
"Therefore I say to  you, all things whatsoever you ask when you pray, believe that you will receive" (Mark 11:24 -- see also Luke 11:11; John, 16:24)

We went on our border run yesterday.  For those of you who don’t know what a border run is…it is when you go to the border of Thailand and cross over into a nearby country, for us it’s Malaysia so that you can get your passport stamped.  You have to have your passport stamped because foreigners are only given 30 days in the country of Thailand before they are supposed to leave – so every 30 days we have to leave Thailand and come back in…if not we have to pay an overstay fee (as of Marh 15 this fee is 500 baht - $12/per person).  John wasn’t able to go with us because he was feeling so bad – so he will have to make that trip today on his motorbike – it is about an hour there and an hour back – please be praying for him.  It a rough trip on a bike and he has to make the trip today or else we incur fees.  

John will also be taking care of Josiah all by himself on top of everything else he normally does and Josiah will be without his Mommy…He loves…LOVES his Daddy but he’s a Momma’s boy…  So just keep our family in your prayers.    Thank you again for reading – and I’ll be writing again in 2 days or so!  

OH and John’s birthday is in a couple of days – March 9th!!!  He’ll be 26!!  We’re getting old!  No I’m just joking…I know we’re young but I remember a time when it thought that 21 was old!!!  Hehehe…drop him a Happy Birthday e-mail if you want to:  I know he’d like that !  

Thursday, March 02, 2006

John and the Machete....Reports of what's going on...

What a day! I stayed busy all day with the boys and studying Thai while John was out in the village...and then about 5 pm we had a surprise! John was testing out a machete that Chase had brought over and he hacked his thumb!!! I heard some commotion downstairs and something about blood - as I started to get up - John asks me to get a towel (very calmly I might add). So I get a towel and I come down to see my husband holding his hand over the sink with a huge chunk of his thumb hacked into. It wasn't off...just chopped...I could tell it was pretty bad right off...and I told John I was taking him to the hospital (whether he liked it or not)...He would have protested more if he hadn't been so sidetracked by the blood...

So, we hopped in the car and headed off to the government hospital - it was the first time John had been in that hospital other than praying for the sick. They cleaned out the wound and then asked us if John had had his Tetnus shots....I looked at John and he shook his head...nope....

My first thought was...."Well that's just great!" and then I just felt peace come over me...we're in God's hands. So, they cleaned the wound again and stitched him up. John has been at my side while I laid in hospital beds 2 times and once for another surgery and you know it felt so weird to be at his side as he was the patient...It was almost as if I felt like he was invincible and it was surreal to be holding my husbands hand while he winced in pain as they stitched him up.

He did really well though...they gave him a local anesthetic (spelling...sorry) but it didn't do hardly anything at all 5 stitches hurt pretty badly. And it was followed by a wonderful Tetnus shot! :) And John gets to return on his BIRTHDAY - March 9th - to get his stitches removed!!! Poor guy! He's doing well now and has a greater conciousness of using extreme caution when using machetes... :)

So was eventful....:) Yesterday when John and Micheal were passing out tracts house to house....a lady yelled across a field..."He's telling me about Jesus" (in Thai of course...!) the only thing on the other side of the field was an old rickidy tin didn't look livable. John went down a trail to her hut. John said "Prat-Yesu rak khun na kuab" (which means 'Jesus loves you'" and started to hand her a track...and when John looked down he noticed she was reading a bible and as her eyes filled up with tears she said that she knew already. John sat down with her and talked with her a while (had some communication problems)...he wasn't able to tell her that our team had just opened up a house to minister out of in the village next to hers.

So, today John took Pii Thak, Brian, MaryBeth and Katherine out to meet her. It turned out that Brian and MaryBeth had given her rice a long time ago. As soon as they started walking up her eyes filled with tears. They got to share with her for a while and were able to give her some money. She's a widow and she has four children. She said she doesn't hardly ever see her kids which is a huge deal in Thailand because here children are raised knowing that when they get older they are expected to take care of their parents and almost all do. As soon as they get a job they start paying for their parents bills and helping them - mostly when their parents are edlerly. It is the norm here in Thailand - can you imagine that ever being the norm in America?

While the ladies spent time with her the guys finished covering the rest of the village. In other news...a lady that has been coming to our church called Amber last night after reading the book of Matthew and said that she was ready to really give her life to the Lord!! The Amber, Katherine and Pii Thak went to her house...stayed and prayed with her until 12am. Last night during the prostitute outreach one of the girls was really excited about everything and asked them to come and pick her up for church.

Che-An has been steadily growing and learning more and more about God! It's amazing to see God at work in his life. One of the guys on our team, Brian, is teaching him weekly. Brian is the best at the Thai language...they've been here for going on 4 years and Brian is incredible!! It's wonderful to see people's lives being changed - and even better seeing people come to know that there is only one God...and Jesus sacrifice on the cross is worthy of our lives.

WOW - long post...sorry bout that...Welp, thanks for reading!!! Please keep our finances in your prayers...this is a very very rough month! :) God will provide!!!

With much love,

Today Josiah and I got the paints out and had a blast the end of painting time...there was paint everywhere - including on the bottom of my shorts...1 of 3 pairs of shorts gone...LOL... :) But they went for a worthy cause...
Posted by Picasa

Josiah having fun - finger painting...err...hand painting...
Posted by Picasa

He's quite the art-teest...
Posted by Picasa

The hospital here gave this book to Jude when he was born - and even though it's all in Thai - it's his favorite one for us to look at together...It has textures on each page that he can reach up and touch - he loves it! He gets so into it. Here he is yesterday...swinging in his ultra mega swing (thanks for letting us borrow it MaryBeth - love ya)
Posted by Picasa

This is a great book!
Posted by Picasa