We are in one of the hottest months of the year now, and the summer vacation has already begun out here, but in our ministry we are not going to have a vacation right now.
This newsletter will mainly be about a piece of land we have rented for our ministry: Good News for the Shan, which has been an answer to prayer for us and has a great potential for the future and we have already seen some good results by just having it for a few weeks.
Got a Heart for a Village
When I moved to Thailand as a missionary for the first time in early 2000, I was quite sick and did not do a lot of ministry, but I had a motorcycle. I took a ride on my motorcycle every day on a hill where I had a good view of the whole Fang valley, and I prayed for the Shan people and that people should hear the Good News here. I also prayed for a village behind this place, and this is where we now have rented a piece of land and have a lot of our ministry.
I got a heart for this place and the village, but it was quite far (about 30 minutes with car) from where we started the ministry I was part of until 2016 (2003-2016) and we did not have much activity there, just a few sporadic house churches.
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Answer to prayer
Last year, we began to get in touch with some Shan who lives there.
A family asked us if we could teach a some Shan language there, something we had prayed God for an opportunity to do. So that was a concrete answer to prayer, and we started to teach every Saturday here.
During our Christmas celebrations this last year, which we also had near this place, some received Jesus and our focus became even more on this village. We also have children and youth ministry that is quite spread out, so we saw a need for a place to gather them all.
After New Year, we should arrange children's day and we had asked if we could have it in an orange farm. It seemed at first that it was okay, but the day before we should have the celebration, we were told that the owner did not allow us to have it there anyway, so we had to improvise and make it in another place.
A Place for Our Selves
The wish we had to find place for ourselves was strengthened that day. So on the children's day, in January here in Thailand, we began to ask around, when we send the children home. One place they said there was a house and a garden that was for rent. I did not think so much about it there and then, because on the outside it looked like it was just a small house and a garden with lots of banana plants, so I was not so positive. But my wife insisted that we should check it out.
We also shared it with our co-workers, Tip and his wife, and they went and looked at this place one day.
They were very positively surprised and the place was perfect for us. It already had everything we needed there: A small house, a shed we can have teaching in and a large outdoor area.
The owner is also Christian, and was glad that we could use it in Christian ministry.
We signed a one-year rent agreement with the landlord and with the village leader and we also got good contact with him. The rent is just 3000 bath plus electricity and water.
The land is about 200 meters from the place I went up to almost every day for two-three years and prayed when I was sick in the middle of 2000. I can see God’s hand in this.
Saturday and Sunday School
We have now started Saturday and Sunday school and gather around 20-30 children. Last Sunday there were also five new children/youth, and this weekend there were also some local Thai from the village who came and was interested in learning English, and three of them came on Sunday, so we already see that things grows.
The challenge we have is that we are a bit understaffed for the time being, with me as an English teacher, my wife as a Shan teacher, and a some Burmese (but she has not been well lately) and our co-worker Tip, Thai and some Shan (actually some of the older children/youth are engaged in helping us in doing this). He also teaches from the Bible one hour every Sunday, and he is the leader of our Saturday and Sunday school, plus our home Churches.
We also have just one car, my own car, to bring the children, so a lot depends on me. It takes about 1 hour to pick up everyone, even though all the places are on the way to the village or nearby.
A Sad Goodbye
This Sunday it was also the last day for three of our children at our Saturday/Sunday school, they will move to another city. It was also this family who asked us if we could teach Shan for the children last year. I have known this family for some years now, and the youngest boy was also healed when a former staff and friend of mine prayed for him. It's sad to see them go but they will still live in Thailand so we hope that we can still be in touch with them.
Gatherings For Parents and New Christian
Everybody who were there were very excited about the fact that we have started up ministry at this place.
- Pray for our new piece of land and our ministry there. Pray for a good reputation in the village we are working in too.
- Pray for all the children we reach out to every week.
- Pray for our house churches and the new Christians.
- Pray for volunteers and teams that can help us out. We would also like to see some more local help, including teaching Shan.
- Pray for more support for the ministry (Good News for the Shan).