Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Dinner Time...

While sitting at the table eating dinner tonight we were talking with our wonderful 5 year old Josiah and it went something like this:

Josiah: Daddy do you know that I looked on my calendar and everyday in October is gone today! I colored them all in! There are no more days...and we get to turn the page....

Daddy: Oh really?

Josiah: uh huh!

Mommy: What's next month Josiah? (thinking this would be a great opportunity to show my husband my wonderful homeschooling skills in action...HA!)

Josiah: ummm....uhhh....uhhhhhhhhhhhhhh......

Mommy: (thinking to myself...he's said it a million times before...why can't he remember? He just needs a hint...) It starts with the letter "n".

Josiah: Oh yeah! Nextember!

What a precious gem to put in my mommy bag... :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I just wanted to let everyone know that God has yet again done the impossible. We have the money to purchase our tickets thanks to a wonderful handful of people - some of which I have never met in my life!

Thank you Ginger, Dale, Chris and Michael - you guys truly amaze us! Thank you Jo for your faithfulness and love you have shown us from DAY 1! Crystal M - thank you so much! are such an encouragement - thank you for loving us! Thank you Robin for giving from your heart and always making us laugh! Jeannine - where have you been!? Miss you, love you! And last but not in anyway least- the people at Liberty Lighthouse that collected change for 2 weeks to help us buy our tickets!!! Thank you!! We love you and CAN'T wait to see you again! And I also want to say thank you to Dawn (John's mom) for always helping us and for always being on the other end.

We're going to purchase our tickets tommorrow - the very last day in which we had to pay it! God is never late! :) WOW! I have some other awesome news I'd like to share with you. I hope you understand what I'm about to say because it can be confusing but please stick it out to see what God has done.

John and I, on a whim, or so we thought, decided to check on how much cheaper the tickets would be if we left before Jude turned 2 years old and he sat in our lap. Eventhough, normally this idea sounds foolish since we're going to be on planes for over 24 hours and our 'almost 2 year old' can NOT keep still...but anyway, I checked on it and that moved our fly date from December to Nov. 8th because the fly date must be 9 days before the child's birthday.

So...we claimed that date and just started to believe God for the money. Today we discovered that we were late for our border run. A border run is something that we have to do to keep our visa current. We have a one year visa and to keep it current and not void we must leave the country every 3 months. Kind of like a check in. So this was our last set of 3 months and we were due to go on the 28th. Well, today it was the 30th!

And they changed the laws last year so that when you are late you pay a hefty fine of 500 baht per person - per day! So that meant 2,000baht ($62) for John and I (you don't have to pay for the children). While we're standing there going through the Thai pomp and circumstance...and paperwork...we are told that our visas are now invalid and we will be given only 30 more days in the country.

We had planned on applying for a tourist visa which would give us another 3 months in the country before being booted out...but because the visa expiration date was different from the day we had to leave the country to keep the visa valid (Oct. 28th)(if that makes any sense at all!) they would not be able to give us the 3 month extension!!!

So in plain english...if we hadn't decided to move our date up then we'd be being kicked out of the country (and face serious charges and fines) in November anyway and possibly not have the money to buy tickets because our date was set for late December! We thought we had until January to renew our visas! Anyway, I was just perfectly blessed by this...even in the seemingly small things we are taken care of.

Wow...what an awesome God we serve! So...we're officially coming home for a time! I really can't believe it! I can't wait to see all of you! Well, it's really really past my bedtime because of that late border run (which went quite badly by the way...had to go back to the Thai border 3 times while trying to get through the Malaysian border!). Goodnight everyone! I will write again soon!

Thank you for reading!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

SUN!!! Collecting money for the temple...

The sun is out!! I can not believe it! I can hang my clothes outside! I am a clothes washing woman today!! WAHOO! It is so nice to feel the sun on my skin again! I sent the boys straight outside to play and they returned red faced and in need of water within 10 minutes....ahhh...the Thai sun I have come to know and love is BACK! I had to remind myself that by around 4 or 5 it is sure to rain so don't get to attached. Rainy season isn't anywhere near finished.

Today I kept hearing drums in the neighborhood but kept missing whatever it was. But while I was checking on my ALMOST DRY *grin* clothes outside I saw it. So I jumped on the motorcycle and snapped some shots. What I found was a huge moving float that is put out by the wat (temple) every once in a while to go and collect money for the temple. So Thai people will run to the drums and go to the side of the float...wai the buddhist monk perched in there and drop their donation into a bucket while receiving "blessing" from the chanting buddhist monk.

Now...why don't we do this as a church???? LOL! I mean can you imagine...a church going around town in a huge float, blaring music or playing loud drums and people running out to give money?? I mean...these Thai people RUN because they don't want to miss their opportunity to "gain merit" through their giving...not to mention the wonderful public display of piety...

I think the guys playing the drums were drunk...but not for sure. Anyway, here are some pictures...maybe you could talk to your pastor about getting your own church float going year round??? ;) ha!

Can you find the hidden monk?

Float for the Temple

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Friday, October 26, 2007

I Went Flying with Superman Last Night...Thank you AMY!

Ah...there are those wonderful moments in motherhood arn't there? I just had one last night and I think it might be pretty unique considering not many mom's jump on their motorcycle/scooter and run to 7-11 to buy some milk at 8:30 at night...

So Josiah was winding down for bed time and he was all decked out in his Superman outfit that grandmaw sent him. Just as I was going out the door for some much needed milk Josiah looked at me with those eyes and I said "Hey Superman wanna go?" and he said, "yeah but just call me Superman ok?"

We jumped on the motorcycle and on the way I felt a tap on my arm and as we slowed to a red light Josiah said "Momma, you just pretend that I'm Superman and I'm taking you to my planet. And those Christmas lights are the stars ok?" I conceeded of course and from then on...he WAS Superman! "Hang on back there. It's not safe if you don't hang on. Look over there at the stars...aren't they beautiful. We're getting closer...hang on. Be careful there is some timburlants (turbulance) coming up."

I just sat back (while driving completely safely) and enjoyed the view of the stars and the planets and made believe better than I have since I was a little girl. The nice moment ended pretty abruptly as we got off and headed inside of 7-11. The Thai's have a very strange way of handling children and I don't like it one bit. Every time I have to pray for grace and understanding...but it's really hard sometimes.

While a few of them just called "Superman!" and smiled from a distance...most did not. They started poking at him and calling him over to him. He didn't listen of course because we have taught him that he sticks with Mommy and Daddy when we go matter who is calling him. Then a lady comes up to him and starts pulling his arm to make him turn around - his face is buried in my leg as I stand in line.

She keeps pulling on him and speaking spitefully and pointing toward this other little girl that is in the store - obviously about 3 or so and she keeps saying over and over "Suay mai? Suay mai?" Which she beautiful? Is she beautiful? That's what all the Thai's want to encourage my son in when another young Thai girl is around...actually they do it when it's older Thai women too.

It's like they are gearing him (unintentionally of course) to judge beauty and to look at Thai women in that fashion. The little girl didn't know what to think and her mother was encouraging it too. I couldn't pick up Josiah at this point because I was paying for the milk and we were about out the door. He was handling it like a champ but I could feel my face getting red as she prodded him more.

Our town is so small...and our cultures are so different. What this woman is doing would not be considered rude or abrasive to any other Thai person but to most American mothers it's enough to send you through the roof. To most American people if a kid is turning away from you...espcially one you don't do not lay a hand on them and you do not make fun of them or pull on them.

Anyway, I prayed quietly under my breath as I was cut in front of...another cultural Thailand there is no line...there is no QUE! I was finishing up our transaction I grabbed Josiah's hand and put myself between the woman and him and smiled at her and said "Sawatdee ka. Prat jaow oyi powrn ka." Which translates "goodbye...God bless you" and she smiled back and we began our return flight back to our home planet.

It's times like those I wish I had foresight to know what was happening and then I wouldn't have to fight my flesh so hard and I could be on top of it and actually allow God to use me at that moment instead of just making it through on grace. I could make an impact or at least get the gospel into a heart that hasn't heard. I could have gotten right down their on her level and said "You know what...God is pulling and prodding you like you are prodding my son!!! You see how you just won't STOP! Neither does He...He's got the truth and He wants to share it with you!"

Oh how my heart yerns to be ready at all times...even on a quick run to 7-11. I was reading a dear friend's blog the other day and she just said something that I've wanted to say for a long time sooooo well...I just want to share it with you. Her blog is here: The Pruett Gang Please stop in and pray for them. Here is what she had to say:

"One thing I have become completely certain of is that we are here for Him
alone! I think when we left to come onto the mission field, we came as world
changers. There is nothing wrong with wanting to serve the Lord, but we had
ideas. We had plans. We were in the way!

Looking back over this year (which has been the hardest year of my
life) I realize that it has to be ALL for HIM. People's lives go on back home.
The people you are serving never say "thank you". You serve day in and day out
& it is never enough. The food is just horrible. The smell of our village is
repulsive. We are in a nice sweat all day. We are persecuted behind our backs.

The people even just finished a festival in which the people paraded down
our very street daily for 10 days boasting of their devils. We can pour out our
hearts and love the people with brotherly/sisterly love, but only God can change
a person! We have shared the Gospel so many times and as a whole the people's
hearts are so hard. They want something. They want money. They want food. They
want the shirt off your back if you will give it. Only a few have truly pressed
into wanting Jesus.

But we have to stand in His love, so that we can share His love. The
Lord is teaching us to love the unlovable. We were the unlovable when our lives
were apart from Christ! We are tired, but He gives us rest. We do all of this
for His Name to be known, Him to be praised & to be challenged into deeper
communion with our Lord!

Pray for our renewed strength & for the people's hearts to want

~Amy Pruett

Monday, October 22, 2007

Rainy Season, Sunday, Pizza Hut

Hello out there!

I am writing you in the midst of neverending rain! It is officially rainy season! It has rained all day long without stop! And it will continue like this with short bursts of sunlight over the next 2 months or so.

Imagine trying to hang dry clothes in rainy weather! It's not easy but I think I've got a system that works now. I was trying to run out as soon as I saw the sun and put my clothes in the sun and then go in the house and wearily keep an eye out for rain and then at the first sign of rain - RUN out and pull the clothes under the porch. (The clothes don't get dry under the porch) Alas, this system failed completely because I would be wrapped up in something and bam...the rain would come wailing in and my clothes were drenched!

So I have resorted to VERY small loads and one rack inside my kitchen with a fan blowing on the clothes at all times. One positive side affect from this is that my house is constantly filled with that wonderful freshly launderd...fabric softner filled clothes! :)

Enough about clothes! I preached/taught for the first time in our church this last Sunday. God spoke to me about what to share and it was so awesome to be able to just spend time with the body of Christ sharing like that. To my dismay they had never known the thing I taught them! I did not know the difference between righteous anger and fleshly anger and that one was good and one was bad and not acceptable.

I talked to them about unity of the body and love and the only way to walk in unity and love is to remember the love that our God has shown to us when we were still sinners. Freely you have received...freely give. It was an awesome time together and it felt so good to be able to share. God was speaking to me too! It's not easy to keep your fleshly anger in check when their are so many cultural differences to deal with on a daily basis.

But through his strength and through remembering that God's love never runs out and that He's never held back his forgivness we too must give as we have received. Because we are supposed to walk in love and to be like the love God describes in his word I put this together for the Thai people to post and help them remember the traits that they are to attain to:

I am patient and kind
I am not jealous or boastful
I am not rude and proud
I do not demand my own way
I am not irritable
I keep no record of wrongs
I am NEVER glad about injustice
I rejoice when the truth wins
I never give up, I never lose faith
I am always hopeful
I endure through every circumstance

If I may share a petty story with which we had to embrace the culture once again and "not be irritable". Our family does not get to go eat "farang" food very often...but we do have a few places in a nearby city...such as KFC, McDonalds and Pizza Hut. So every once in a while we'll go and have a special night.

My boys...and my man have been having a particularly hard time with the Thai food this past couple of weeks. It comes and goes in waves. Sometimes we just can't stomach it...and it all looks and tastes pretty bad and then their are other times when that's all we want!
So we decided to pack up into the car and eat at Pizza Hut.

We get there and are seated and Josiah can barely sit in his seat he's so excited and Jude is looking around and having a great time with the people who work there. They keep coming and picking him up out of his little chair. He milks them for what he wants...he does his cute look and then he wai's them and then whammo...their hooked.

If he wants a cucumber off the salad bar...he get's it. If he wants to go touch the cash register...he can. It's hilarious and a little bit pitiful at the same time. So our pizza comes out after a big debate over Pepperoni vs. pepperoni and sausage. And we make the boys their plates first and while they dig in we make our plates.

I took a big bite and almost spit it right back out. YUCK! What was that taste? About that time John bit in and made some funny faces! The boys didn't seem to mind at all. I realized that it tasted like they had used ketchup instead of pizza sauce. And we're not just talking american heinz ketchup - we're talking Thai sweet ketchup. Most thai's eat their pizza with ketchup! It's one of the condiments that comes out with your pizza...parmesean cheese, salt, pepper, chili powder, oregano and KETCHUP. Our boys have adapted to Thai style and eat their pizza with this sweet ketchup.
So the manager stopped by to say hi and ask how things were (usually happens because we're farangs) so I said with a smile. "We'll the pizza tastes a bit funny today. It tastes like the cooks used ketchup instead of pizza sauce." He smiled politely and said he would go back to the back and ask.

He returned quickly and said with a smile "Yes it is ketchup. We are out of sauce." (all in Thai of course). I smiled and said...ahhhhh...that explains it. He then said the famous Thai phrase "mai ben rai chai mai krab?" Which means "nevermind right?"

I pushed my american mindset aside...which was not so easy at the moment...I kept thinking: This isn't fair. We don't get to do this often and it's expensive!! 530 baht for a large pizza and a pitcher of coke ($17) and we didn't come here to eat Thai ketchup pizza - we wanted PIZZA HUT PIZZA! My heart kind of sunk as I forfeited my american "right" to politely protest and proclaim my "right" to a free meal or a voucher for a real PIZZA HUT pizza.

I looked up at him and smiled genuinely and said "Mai ben rai ka" (a very polite it's ok, forget about it") and then proceeded to pull off my toppings and use a tissue to wipe off my "ketchup sauce". Customer service doesn't not exist in Thailand as it does in America...of course. Though not what we came for...John had unknowingly saved the day when he put the beloved Ranch and Tabasco into the diaper bag before we left house! I don't normally use these but I found out that with those two things you can make any pizza taste good!!

So...what I talked about on Sunday came around full swing. I had also talked to them about American rights and our spiritual rights and what rights we have when dealing with others. ha! On the way out I did make a mental note to remember to ask if they were out of sauce before ordering next time! :)

Please be praying for our dear friend Candy and for her husband Daniel. They need serious prayer. Well, I'm off to clean up around this house and get another load of laundry on the rack. Thanks for reading and praying for us!!

Friday, October 19, 2007

A plague???

Tonight after laboring over a new recipe that I recieved we were all seated and taking our first bites and then I heard a noise. It sounded like a fire was crackling right outside our window. When I turned around I was shocked at what I saw.

There was a stream of flying ants flying right into our home. The crackling noise was because they were flying in through the window and right into the fan that was set infront of the window. IT was on full blast. We hesitated for a moment thinking it was just a freak happening and that they would stop coming in at any moment but they didn't. I jumped up and rushed outside and shut the windows as fast as I could (they can't be shut from the inside unless you have Mrs. INcredibles arms.

John, quick thinker that he is, jumped up and grabbed a towel and threw it over the food and moved our drinks. As I stood there trying to shut the windows these things were flying into the back of my back and head! Once the windows were shut and I went back into the kitchen I met a floor covered with flying ants...some dead and some still fighting for life. The floor was really covered with them!

I couldn't believe it. John went outside and there were none at the front of the house. Normally when this happens (yes it does happen sometimes when it rains) the flying ants are everywhere. But this time it was like there was a swarm that decided to fly right into our window and unfortunatly they didn't have the forsight to know their was a fan there.
John and I had conversations of the plagues of bugs in the old testament. They flooded into our home like they were being forced in by some invisible tube! I can only imagine what a plague of locust must have been like. WOW!

Ah...such is life in Thailand...ALWAYS something to keep you on your toes.

They were termites! I got online to find a picture of flying ants and I found out that they weren't flying ants! They were termites! AH!! I knew they didn't look like the normal swarms we get after rain...Imagine a bunch of these guys covering your kitchen floor...hehehe...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

October Newsletter 2007

Dead2Sin Ministries - Thailand

Romans 6:5-10

Sober greetings from Thailand! October 16, 2007

As I sit here writing you my heart is torn. Today John and I had to run some errands in down town Hat Yai while a friend of ours stayed at the house while the boys napped. When John and I arrived down town we found that the shop we needed to go to was closed…as were most all the shops. So we jumped back on John’s scooter and headed back home but as we were driving we noticed something strange. Everywhere we turned there were policemen directing traffic and talking into their walkie-talkies.

There are normally a few police officers in downtown Hat Yai but today there was about 4 per corner. We were redirected by them and found ourselves in the midst of some heavy traffic. John weaved through traffic as only John does and we found ourselves at a slow crawl and could not go around other vehicles anymore. It was then that we saw the parade coming our way.

The beginning of the parade was what you would expect of a normal Thai parade. Thai children dressed in traditional Thai outfits, smiling and waving. But as the parade progressed my stomach began to turn. Trucks filled with people bowing and praying with their eyes rolled into the back of their heads. The smell of incense was so strong it felt as though it was a dense smoke that had settled on us.

What came next, I will never forget. I have seen the pictures of people mutilating themselves to appease their gods but never before had I seen it in person. Droves of people came by cutting their tongues with swords…cutting their bodies repetitively. Some of them had huge poles rammed through their cheeks from one side to the other. There were even banners that were hung across 4 men with a pole going through all of their cheeks. Blood was dripping from their chin and covering their bodies as their eyes rolled in the back of their heads…and they shake sporadically.

The most shocking of all was a young boy…no older than 9 who bore 2 poles going through his cheeks following in suit as blood dripped down his chin. I looked around to see the reaction of the Thai people and they were smiling and chattering away…unmoved. Tears filled my eyes as righteous anger flushed through my spirit. The deception of the devil is so great and so strong that these people truly believe that this is the truth. They allow spirits to enter their body…upon which they continue to mutilate themselves to show their devotion. If they feel little to no pain then they are pure and if they scream or feel pain then they are deviant and unworthy.

This festival happens every October in Thailand…this practice is preluded by a 10 day vegetarian fast to cleanse their bodies and make merit to their gods. The presence there was so strong that at one point I felt afraid as we passed another group of men cutting away at their tongues…only 2-3 feet away. I thought how easily they could sling that blade and cut right into John and I. I then felt the Holy Spirit remind me of this scripture:

“12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12

And of THOSE powers that we wrestle with…we have power and authority over them given by our Lord Jesus Christ. Fear left and I started praying and coming against the powers that were at work. As John and I were finally free of that horrid scene I think we were both in shock at what we had seen.

Cambodian workers gathering to see the Jesus filmAs we were returning home we were reminded why we are here. John is not JUST going to language and studying his heart out to learn the Thai language. We are not JUST building relationships and being there for our disciples and church. We are not JUST passing out tracts in every village and sharing the gospel at every opportunity because we are missionaries and that’s our job…we are, in fact, doing our part in a war for the souls of men, women and children in Thailand.

The enemy is not playing around and neither are we. We want to thank you from the bottom of our souls for giving your money and for praying for us. I want to personally say thank you in a way I’ve never felt before…from a different place in my heart…from the place in my heart that has grown to love the Thai people more than I thought possible.

I want to say thank you for enabling us to have affected Sam’s life forever, for enabling us to impact this nation by spreading the gospel to hundreds of thousands of people through tracts and other outreaches, by enabling us to show the love of God to the people that we meet and talk to everyday and by enabling us to help equip the body of Christ in Thailand to spread the gospel. You ARE making a difference in Thailand through your donations and prayers.
Sam's new Mom!
John praying for some of the 20 that came forward to know Jesus that night.Because of changes to Thai laws last year we MUST leave the country and return to America before the end of December to reapply for our visas for the coming year. We have set a goal of leaving on November 9th because if we leave at this time then we can save over $700 dollars because Jude has not turned 2 yet and we won’t have to purchase a ticket for him. As of now we have $120 dollars toward that goal.

But this time is no different from the time that I went into the hospital to deliver our second son and had no money to pay the hospital but had it just in time to pay when we had to. This is no different from a year ago when there was no way for us to be able to purchase tickets to return for furlough and God came through. And this is in no way different from each time God does financial miracles so that our needs are always met.

Please pray with us in the next 3 weeks that all loose ends would be tied up and that we would continue to press forward here with all fervor until it is time to step on that plane. Some of the toughest times that missionaries experience is that time before leaving…so please pray for us. Thank you for reading and for praying for us!

“There is joy in Hell when a saint grows idle! There is gladness among devils when we cease to pray, when we become slack in faith and feeble in communion with God. — Charles Spurgeon, 1893

All for Him,

John, Stephanie, Josiah and Jude

Dead2Sin Ministries
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Monday, October 15, 2007


Please...please...please...take the time to see this. I know ti's been a while since I've posted and I have a lot to tell you guys but I'm leaving this up for a day or so...just so it can be the focus. I was so moved I could not stop crying! Oh GOD let our hearts burn in such a way that we make such a resolve as this....and beyond. What an incredible story!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Our neighbor mowing his lawn...WW!

Mowing the Lawn in Thailand

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