People Series: Part 5

Assumption University HuaMak campus

We meet Luke** last Christmas season. Before we had even started the Alliance University Center, Keith started a on-campus Bible study. And last December we threw a Christmas party for that group. Most of the people who came to the Christmas party had already come through the Bible study, but then there was Luke. Luke is a professor at the university and he happened to be on campus that day. So he was invited to come in for some cookies, snacks and party activities.

After the party, Keith exchanged contact information with him and they set up a time to meet. Before they even met for the first time, Luke wrote Keith a message that said, if he wanted to meet as friends that would be fine, but don't tell me about Jesus and try to convert me because I am not interested.  Keith agreed to meet with him.

He and Keith met several times and every time the conversation would naturally drift to Jesus. Then Keith went away to Australia to help out with missions mobilization there for six weeks. When he returned to Thailand, he began to follow up with several of the people he had been out of touch with while he was away, one of whom was Luke.

After receiving Keith's message, Luke immediately responded that he had been thinking of Keith and would love to meet up and discuss something that happened to him recently.

So they set up a time to meet and Luke shared that he had a dream. In his dream he stated there was a presence of evil like he had never experienced before, not something that was a typical nightmare. Previously his mother had told him if he ever experienced evil and felt in danger, he should do Buddhist chanting and prayers, but for some reason this time he felt inclined to invite Jesus to come into his life and get rid of this evil. So he invited Jesus into his life, the evil left, and he said it was one of the most impactful experiences he has ever had in his life. As Keith talked he re-iterated the gospel message, about believing in and following Jesus. Keith then asked well, I guess you believe and are following Jesus now, right? Luke responded yes, and proceeded to tell him his life has been completely renewed through Christ.

May you be encouraged with the people in your life who you are sharing the good news of Jesus with. Even those you believe are too far away, our job is simply to be faithful in the proclamation, and God will bring the success.

**names have been changed to respect the individual's privacy

The Father Knows Best

This post will not be quite as exciting as our last post,
but it is just as hopeful, maybe even more hopeful and expectant than before.

So here's a quick update: We have been praying to find and open up a center in a community near us. Our hope is to be able to use it to teach English, to do medical outreaches/trainings, to do various other outreaches and to use it as a place of worship. We have spent hours and hours praying over this and some of you have joined us in praying over this as well. We felt like we had been lead to a perfect situation. It was a small community center near the school that I teach English a few times a week. We were so excited about this new and ideal opportunity.

Last month, we made an official proposal to the board members and they seemed positive.  We were very hopeful and continued to pray.  However, last Thursday we got the final word that our proposal has been denied. They gave us a handful of reasons: issues with a current legal case regarding the building, fear of the outside Muslim community, and internal personal issues/disagreements among the board members. But regardless of the reasons, it was clear that this was not what God had for us.

We felt discouraged that this didn't go how we wanted and yet we felt a strange sense of hope and peace. We felt as if the Lord was asking us, "Do you trust me?"

It has reminded of this story found in the book, Streams in the Desert.
Many years ago there was a monk who needed olive oil, so he planted an olive tree sapling. After he finished planting it, he prayed, "Lord, my tree needs rain so that its tender roots may drink and grow. Send gentle showers." And the Lord sent gentle showers. Then the monk prayed, "Lord, my tree needs sun. Please send it sun." And the sun shone, gilding the once-dripping clouds. "Now send frost, dear Lord, to strengthen the branches," cried the monk. And soon the little tree was covered in sparkling frost, but by evening it had died.
Then the monk sought out a brother monk in his cell and told him of his strange expereince. After hearing the story, the other monk said, " I also have planted a little tree. See how it is thriving! But I entrust my tree to its God. He who made it knows better than a man like me what it needs. I gave God no constraints or conditions, except to pray, ' Lord, send what it needs--whether that be a strom or sunshine, wind, rain, or frost. You made it, and you know best what it needs.'"
 God is more passionate about the eternal destiny of the people in this country than we are. His heart longs to see all come to Him.  I fear that we have been acting like the first monk in this story, praying so specifically for certain plans to be accomplished.

We will continue to do our best to trust that the Lord knows best. Please join us in praying for the Lord to lead us and guide us to do His will. Join us in praying for the Lord to send whatever His ministry here in Thailand needs. And just at the second monk, who set no constraints on the work of God, we hope to see His ministry here thrive as we entrust it all to Him.