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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Update - Part 1 of 2...

This Sunday was the most incredible Sunday I have had in years. The journey to church was just that...a journey. It seemed like we drove forever with 6 children in the backseat and Joss between John and I. I'm sure the trip wasn't that long but the amount of noise being emitted from our children was almost overwhelming and, believe it or not, it was being controlled.

When we arrived I was shocked at the amount congestion we encountered. This church called Abundant Grace Church was being held every Sunday in the back of the local YMCA building. We stopped in the middle of the road amongst all the congestion and piled out like one of those funny commercials when there is small car and tons of people keep piling out. I'm sure the Thai's were like..."How many farangs (westerners) can you fit in a vehicle?" HA!

I think my morning had just started off chaotic so that may be why it felt so chaotic...once we got inside I was relieved when John took our kids up to sunday school but was, honestly, horrified when John came back down with Jude in his hands. He was too young to go! AHHH!!! I imagined trying to wrangle Jude in our lap for 2 hours...and keep him relatively quiet at the same time...I walked into the room where church was being held and the chairs were place Thai body width apart and just so that you know...my husband and I ARE NOT Thai width!

So we sat down and I situated Jossalyn and John attempted to rangle a now riled up Jude. I was sitting next to 4 younger Thai gentlemen and I realized I had to feed Jossalyn. I manuvered around a bit and was able to successfully feed her literally undercover and without causing a scene. Jude on the other hand wanted out of our arms and free to run the isles...imagine that!

So the sweat starts...even though the air cons are running and not a Thai person is glistening...and worship insues. I don't think I was in anything but MOMMY MODE from the moment I walked in but once worship started I was floored. No...floored doesn't do justice...I was astounded. I finally looked around me and I was surrounded by Thai people...the place was packed out - with people standing in the back.

Worship started in Thai and in English and I was so moved I couldn't even sing. Tears streamed down my cheeks and I could not stop my chin from quivering...I was surrounded by REAL CHRISTIAN Thai people!! This is has been my dream for Southern Thailand...this is what I have longed to see for the past 4 years of our time as missionaries in Thailand and here I was...they were really worshipping too!

I could barely contain myself - I just wept most of the service. Then after worship was over the pastor asked all the missionaries to stand up and specifically prayed for us and that we would reach out to, his words, "EVEN OUT TO THE THAI MUSLIMS and that THAI MUSLIMS would come to know God and that southern Thailand would be reached". He didn't know us or the team...he has no idea that we are heading for soutern Thailand and there were other missionaries standing up too.

Like I've said before Northern Thailand is full of missionaries...we even have a missionary co-op for our children! It's incredible...starting in Sept. every monday we will go to a rented place and we have a school setup run by the moms from 8:00-1:30 so that the kids can spend time with other missionary children and learn from other missionary moms/teachers. What an incredible thing!! I was even able to purchase a few used homeschool books from missionary moms at the meeting for less than a fraction of the normal cost.

In Chiang Mai there is ALMOST anything imaginable if you can get to it...and afford it. I mean, you could totally live like americans here if you had the will and the money. There are also tons of foreigners here just traveling and vacationing...so it's shocking to see so many. This last Monday we went to a co-op meeting to discuss all the tons of details that go into making this thing happen and I was just in awe and sooo incredibly blessed to sit with these women. They have been at this for years...I mean they are seasoned missionaries...and they have this homeschooling stuff down to a T.

They know all the different curriculums and all the fancy names for teaching methods and most of them had older children. I wished I could just open up their brain and take out their wisdom...I wished...once the meeting was over that I could spend hours and just ask them all the right questions...or at least ask what they would have wanted to know at the beginning of their journey.

Even though we were obviously from different background and denominational beliefs we were there together...working together to teach our children and raise our children the best we can on the mission field.

There are so many missionaries here in Chiang Mai itself it's shocking...it's good for this area...don't get me wrong...You can obviously see the results of all of these missionaries being here...the believers I met at church this last Sunday were real believers...not just pew sitters.

One sweet Thai woman who runs a home group which I will be going to tonight came up and was just encouraging Renee (Todd Pruetts wife) and just saying how much she appreciates and honors missionaries and their sacrifice and that if we didn't come that the church that we were now in would not be there. She was saying thank you and was encouraging us in going to the south because there are almost no missionaries there and no churches that we know of (although there might be some there...just don't know of any).

I was just so moved by Sunday...I walked away so encouraged. And the really awesome thing was that the pastor preached an incredible message - I was challenged as well as the Thai people. I was most bless though that I was able to see in reality the things I had only dreamed of for southern Thailand. I will never forget that...

I apologize that I have not written earlier but I have literally been going from the moment I wake up - about 6:30 until I drop - about 9pm. And for a while there we didn't have the internet setup. But anyway, I haven't been able to find the time that it takes to write a real update beside..."HI WE MADE IT!" ha!

The most amazing thing is that we found a house and moved into it the 2nd day we were in Thailand! THAT is amazing...the first night we were here and I laid my head down my brain just started spinning about all the things that we would...

***TO BE CONTINUED...with videos and photos too...SORRY***

2 comments:

hotsy said...

Praise the Lord Stephanie! Christ has truly brought times of refreshing to you and the Thai people!! AMEN GLORY!! God Bless you all!!! Love Joan

Barb said...

I'm so happy for all of you. God is so very good!

Quite a tantalizing little lead-in note you left us hanging on... : )

Love you guys,