Sunday, June 08, 2008

We're headed to Yala!

Recently the days seem to be slipping through my fingers. A week passes by so fast it feels as though we're living in fastforward! I believe we're finally in the groove of being a 5 person family...the boys LOVE their new sister and she is a wonderful baby.

We spent all day today at church and I can't tell you how blessed I feel. The people of First Baptist Church in Whitesboro have been so kind to let us stay in their missions house and today they poured out their love on us through encouraging words and prayer. It was awesome - we were able to share our video with both services and I was able to speak to the youth. After the evening service they held a "Biscuits for Thailand". I had never heard of a "Biscuits" for anything before but apparently it's a pretty normal thing that is done to raise money for things.

So after service we all gathered in their gymnasium and ate delicious homemade biscuits and gravy with bacon. It was such an awesome time of fellowship - It's going to be very hard to leave this time. I mean, it was hard last time...I still remember my eyes feeling like sandpaper and being as red as possible when we left last time and I can only expect it to be the same or worse this time.

No matter how at peace we are with what God has in store for us and how glad we are to be returning to Thailand...nothing can take away the sting and ache of seperating from family and friends each time. I have a feeling this time it's going to be a bit harder simply because we've been here longer this time.

I am so glad to finally get to give you the low down on what's going on. God has given us some really clear changes in what he has us doing in Thailand. Through a series of events and incredible confirmations God has shown us that we are going to be moving further south to Yala. Why is this significant? Well, as I've written before, the 3 southernmost provinces of Thailand are plagued by a Muslim insurgency and there is a desperate need for the word of God there.

More than 2,000 people have died in the provinces bordering Malaysia since the insurgency erupted in 2004, some say it is fuelled by accusations of decades of misrule by the central government. The insurgents have not announced their goals, but are believed to be fighting for a separate state imbued with radical Islamic ideology. The police believe that the attacks are planned to cause division and create fear among the people. They want to show that they are capable of carrying out attacks and it is rumoured that the insurgence are trying to get people to leave and sell their land cheap so that they could buy it.
The most recent bombing was June 4th of this year. Click here to read about it. We will no longer be working with our team: The Garsees and the Stubenrauchs on a daily basis. They are still like family to us but God is sending us in different directions. God has shifted their main focus on to serving the local churches and they are going to continue on doing the awesome work they are doing and growing up the believers in the church that was planted in Baan Phrut and helping churches from the surrounding areas with their needs. We will be now joining with the extended part of our team that used to live in Baan Nam Khem and keeping our main focus on reaching out to villages and spreading the gospel.

I have written about them before...they are incredible people. There are two families but are actually one. There is Todd and Renee Pruett and Trent and Amy Pruett. God put it on their hearts to reach out into Southern Thailand where there are few missionaries and even fewer churches. This part of Thailand is heavily populated with Thai Muslims and there is even a whole other language that they use: Pattani Malay.

Here is a small article on Yala from

Yala Province:
Yala is the southernmost Province of Thailand situated on the Country’s
border with Malaysia on the Malay Peninsula. The province was before a region
under the semi-autonomous Pattani Kingdom which was under the Sukhothai Kingdom.
The Province has a population of about 500,000 people.

The City of Yala situated in Amphoe Mueang Yala is the administrative
capital of the Province. The City is home to an estimated 65,000 people. Islam
is the main religion in Yala Province and is widely practiced by majority of the
population. Buddhism is the only other major religion here. Yala is served by a
small mainly domestic airport and a railway line linking it to Bangkok and other
major cities in the country.

Violence and armed conflict over the last
two years have hampered government efforts to promote Yala as a tourist
destination. Militants fighting for a breakaway republic have increased the
number of attacks on government installations and civilians especially in remote
areas of the province. The conflict has resulted in casualties on both sides and
has also affected civilians caught up in the crossfire.

While the idea of going to Yala does not sound like a good one...(God uses the foolish things to confound the wise) we are confident in what God has shown us and are excited about what God has planned for us. John will most likely be going into dangerous places but we will make sure that we find a home that is safe and take every precaution to protect our children and keep them from any harm. Please know that we would not be going into this area if we were not sure...beyond a shadow of a doubt...that this is what God wants of us.

So please be praying for us and keep checking back for updates. I am going to keep this blog updated every week starting today. Read with us as we begin what seems to be Act 2 in this incredible adventure God has us on. I was thinking about the scripture that says that we are never to hide our light under a basket but instead to put it up on a lamp stand for all to see...What better place to shine our light for all to see than the darkest place in Thailand? Thank you again for reading...

Jossalyn stretching...doesn't that look like it feels good?
Pretty in Pink!


Alexis Jacobs said...

You will be in my prayers. May God bring you peace, joy and safety in your new journey.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

Hi - We heard you speak Sun. in church and were thrilled to hear your love for the people and your commitment to God. We know the safest place to be is in the center of God's will. We have children who are missionaries where they cannot make known why they are there so we know the importance of having a lot of prayer support. Are you with a mission agency or tentmakers?

May God continue to bless and use you.