Reunions & Retreats

Tags

, , , , , ,

 

44126013_10155620759832301_6739148710736822272_oWe are thankful to the Lord for the opportunity to go to the Philippines for three weeks. And we have many blessings to share these to you.

First, we are blessed to attend the MCare-Philippines member care retreat and conference. This was unexpected because we are not really a “member” of the organization. This events were timely provision for us to have the much needed break and more importantly to learn how to be more effective in our present ministry.

Second, we also had the opportunity to attend the Extreme Response (ER) Leadership Mundial Mission Summit.  Here we learned a lot about the leader’s heart and our commitment to the building of God’s kingdom. Here we found a community of like minded individuals who have similar ministries with us.  This a place where we found connections with people who are experiencing the same successes and struggles. This is where we shared and listened to the many stories and testimonies of God’s faithfulness and miraculous provisions.

Lastly, we attended our (Joey’s) mother 75th birthday. The family organized a surprise party for our mom. It was a joyful time and we were happy to see family and relatives whom we had never seen in a long time. It was a happy family reunion.  We also took the time to go to our old church family (composed of nine churches) anniversary and met our old friends from the churches we worked before. We were teary-eyed being reunited with old friends we didn’t see for twelve years. It was a precious time indeed.

While We Were Gone

We are proud of the children what they had done while we were away. The did well at the Bible camp they attended representing our church. They did celebrate birthdays for two of the children and they prepared the food. They also led the praise and play musical instrument at the church. Our Pastor took care of them while we were gone.

We came back to Mae Sai just in time for the school opening. We are grateful for our friends who helped us in the children’s expenses while we were away. God’s provisions extended to the school fees. We are thankful for the people whom God touched to provide for this need.

44062950_10212114955180742_9189580866257420288_n

Prayer Concerns

We have been including these needs in our prayer concerns. We have to admit these are not really urgent but we have been thinking how awesome it would be if God will give us these needs.

  1. We are praying for the construction of the boys’ room. It’s a 4MX8M bedroom with a “patio” for the boys to hang out and play music. The Lord is showing us how he will answer this concern. We welcome anyone who wants to help in this project.
  2. We are praying for musical instruments that the children can use and practice for preparation as they lead worship in the church.  God is answering this by giving us musical instruments one at a time.
  3. We are praying for a van. The children have grown up and they don’t fit anymore in our small truck. Moreover, we are expecting more short-term missionary teams will come here in the next years. The van is one way we can help them minister around here.
  4. We hope to continue ministering with the poor, migrant and stateless children around Tachilek and Mae Sai. We are praying that we can have our own Foundation and our own staff. We are praying for the right honest local people who will be willing to work with us.
  5. Our hearts are full of thanksgiving for the hospitality of our family and friends while we were in the Philippines. We no longer have home in the Philippines so we are thankful for allowing us to stay in their homes and for friends who booked us in the hotels.

Once again, thank your for your love and prayers. We are blessed to have a partner like you. We are excited on what God is going to do in our lives and the people in the community. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

Advertisements

He is Faithful

Tags

, , , , , ,

IMG_2069

We had a great time spending a week in the Philippines with our youngest son, Reuven. We joined him on his graduation day. It was one of the happiest moments of our lives.  We realized just how we missed our son. We are thankful to the Lord for making a way for us to spend time with him.

If you are a parent, you would understand how sad we were when we left him especially when we had been with him for a few days. As we were walking away and waving goodbye, Narlin said, “I can’t help but cry, I am sad we are leaving our son again but joyful just to remember how faithful God was to see our children through college.”

God’s provision for our children’s education is one of the most beautiful testimony we share about God’s faithfulness in our lives as missionary. We know some people who believe that God has called them to mission but could not go because of their children’s schooling. Likewise, we know people  who were in the field but decided to go home for the same reason.

When we went for mission, our children knew that they need to make sacrifice especially with regards to their education. We did our best to put them to school. The homeschooling didn’t work because travel and materials cost were way beyond our means. Moreover, International Schools in Thailand are catered for the affluents.

To make a long story short, the Philippine’s Department of Education came to Thailand to conduct Equivalency Test and all our children passed the test  that made it possible for them to go straight to college. God is faithful.

Sewing Ministry

It has been over a year since we left the sewing program. But it doesn’t stop Narlin from helping and teaching young women how to sew and make small items such purse, bags among others. The only setback for a while  was we didn’t have a sewing machine.

One night, out of the blue, a friend sent us a text message asking if we want to continue the sewing ministry. When we answered yes, she told us that she would give us the money to buy a new sewing machine. It is a miraculous provisions for a specific need. Narlin is now helping a lady by teaching her how to sew and to extra income by making items.

Praise the Lord that even though we don’t have resources to run a training center, God provides the opportunity to continue helping young women.

_MG_6570-8

God’s Assurance

We were invited to attend an opening of a new children’s home in Chiang Mai. And we could not help but feel a little bit insecure thinking: How much money has been spent buying the property and constructing the buildings? What does it cost to run the Foundation and paid the staff?  We never in our wildest dream could afford any of these frills.

But then God assures us that the success of our ministry is not measured on how much property we owned, how beautiful our house is, or how much money we have. It is about caring and loving the children, teaching them  to be good person, to believe in God and to be like Christ. God assures us that we are doing well with the resources that He has provided.

We thank you for your partnership in the ministry, your support and prayers surely helps us to continue  to love and care for the children and do other ministries that God wants us to do.

Prayer Concerns

Once again, we want to share to you our thanksgiving and prayer concerns.

  1. We thank the Lord that our work permit problem is resolved.  The Rainbow Foundation helped us to keep our visa in spite of our cancelled Work Permit.  But this cost us to pay more fees to the Department of Labor. The only positive upshot of this hurdle is that we will be given a two-year work permit. Thank you Lord.
  2. Pray for the children’s national ID (Thai citizenship). To be honest, we don’t have any idea how to do this.  We are expecting our friends to help us by giving their testimony to the government in behalf of the children but they refused. Please continue to pray for this as we gather information about the process.
  3. The school term is about to end. The children are having their final exam next week. A long three week vacation is waiting for them to enjoy. Pray that they will do well on their final exam and for their needs for the second semester. We are preparing activities for the long break.
  4. Please for us, Joey and Narlin, for safe trip to the Philippines . We were invited to attend a Missionary Care Conference on September 24-29.  Although, we benefited from several Missionary R&R here in Thailand, it is the first time in twelve years that we have the privilege of being invited to  events like this. Please pray for safe travel and provisions.
  5. Pray also for our ministry involvement in the church. We are actually involved with two congregations. The children lead worship at a local Thai church and I (Joey) preached once a month. We also do the same tasks in an international congregation (which gathers once a month) composed mostly of Filipino English teachers and few people from Thailand, USA and Europe. We started this fellowship since we came here twelve years ago. Please pray that these ministries will be a blessing to the community.
  6. Please also pray for the Philippines in the aftermath of the category 5 typhoon, Mangkhut. Please pray for those who are greatly affected especially in the northern part of the Philippines.

Please continue to include is your thoughts and prayers. We appreciate your partnership in our ministry.

41388415_10155550026162301_7266993147668856832_o.jpg

Future Changes

Tags

, , , , , ,

38939138_2110564135623011_8714019723349590016_o

It’s August, two months more then the first semester of this school year will be over. We thank the Lord for His faithful provision for the children’s schooling. Thank you for helping us in this ministry. Your prayers and support have keep us going through the years.

In three years, we can’t imagine how our way of life will radically change when five of them will be in college. They will be living in dorms, far away from us. Nevertheless, we continue to put our trust in God for His faithful protection and provision.

Thai Mother’s Day

Thailand celebrates its Mother’s Day on the 12th of August because it is the Queen Mother’s birthday. She is considered the mother of all Thai people. It makes sense that this is the day that the Thais honor the Queen and all the mothers.

We took this opportunity to participate in the program at Tesaban 1 (Municipal) School and reconnected with our friends, Khun Po-o, founder/director and Khun Porwa, the assistant director. We also helped in the decoration and preparation for the church celebration. Narlin did the cakes and the flowers.

 The way it was celebrated in our church made this day meaningful for Narlin (and all the moms) and much more for the children. The children wrote and read letter of how they appreciate their mom and apologize for being stubborn and disobedient at times. It was an emotional and good (therapeutic) day for all the moms in the church.

Prayer Requests

Once again, we want to thank you for including us in your prayers. Below are our prayer concerns.

Children’s Thai National ID

Please help us pray for the children’s national ID. About ten years ago, nine of the children were able to acquired the 10-year residence ID. We are finding ways how their ID will be upgraded. Please pray that we can get all the required documents. The process for acquiring citizenship and getting the Thai national ID is a very complex process. Pray the children will be granted ID and things will go smoothly.

Work Permit Problem

My work permit should have been extended in July but the Department of Labor in Chiang Mai does not want to give work permit for volunteers anymore. This creates a serious problem for thousand of volunteers who get their work permit through NGO’s and Foundations. Without a work permit our one-year visa will be cancelled. It means we can no longer stay in Thailand.

Several NGO’s and Foundations organized a dialogue with the Governor of Chiang Mai appealing for him to intervene with this issue. This is a period of uncertainty for us who do volunteer works here. However, it may also be a blessing in disguise if the immigration office think that the best solution for this problem is that to do away with work permit as a requirement to get a one-year volunteer visa. Please help us to pray for the favorable resolution for this particular problem.

Reuven’s Graduation

Reuven has finished his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. The graduation ceremony will on the 25th of August. Narlin and I will fly to the Philippines to attend the graduation. We want to stay longer there but  we do not have anybody available to look after the children, so we have to return home quick. Please pray for our safe trip to the Philippines on the 21st of August.

Thanks again for your prayers and support. With your partnership, we can help and take care of poor migrants and stateless children in Mae Sai.

A message before the miracle

Tags

, , , ,

DhVclF8X4AIBtFM

This is the message I shared at the church about the 12 football team and their coach trapped in Tham Luang Cave. I shared this message on the first of July, the eighth day that the team hadn’t found yet. Everyone was sad and expecting the worst. Somehow, deep in my heart I believed that they were still alive and safe inside the cave. As you already know, they had been found on the next day and eventually successfully rescued.

Last Sunday, we woke up with the news about the 12 children and their coach trapped inside Tham Luang Cave. The rescue efforts have been going on for several days now. We are amazed on how many people, organizations and companies who are willing to help. Tragedy likes this draws the best from the people. It also shows that in doing good we have unity. We hope and pray that all the children are alive and safe.

Perhaps some of us personally know some of the children. We happen to know one of the boys from Mae Sai Grace Church and three of our children are classmates and friends to four of them.

We are praying and hoping that they can be rescued sooner than later. We pray for the family of the children and we pray for the people who are doing the rescue.

As a believer, how do we deal with tragedy like this?
What can we learn from tragedy?

We learn that God is in control

Perhaps I should say here that we are reminded that God is in control.

There are times when we are outside and a strong wind blows, the clouds get dark, lightning and thunders roar, and heavy rain falls. What is the first thing that we normally do? We get inside into some shelter. We go inside our homes, we closed all the windows and we sit back, watch TV or we go to bed and take a nap that you get to take when it’s raining outside.

However, what happens when the storm is so strong that destroys our house? The storm is so strong that it rips the roof off and the rain get inside our house? Then we come to realize that the shelter we think can protect us is not so safe after all.

We see, there is a shelter that we can find refuge that can withstand any storm we face, not built by human and is not made with bricks and cement. We can read in Psalm 46 verse 1-7 that:

1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. 7 The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Here we learn that God alone is the shelter that we should find refuge during the storms of life. No matter what we face in life, we can be assured that God is in control. When we are facing tragedy or when we are worried that someone close to us is facing tragedy, we can pray with confidence and trust God completely because He is in control.

We learn just how important a relationship with God is!

When tragedy happens, we will see two groups of people.

One group of people are those who try to rescue people. They worked hard and sacrifice themselves to save others. We appreciate what these people are doing. They are good people.

Second there are group of people will take advantage of the situation and would try to gain something for themselves. In fact, the police announced that there are people who are asking for donations and giving their bank accounts. But the police warned that nobody should give cash donations. These people are not doing good.

We are reminded here that Satan can use people to do bad things. At the same time, God can use people to do good things this time of tragedy. But I believe that what is important is that every people, good and bad, need Jesus Christ.

In Luke chapter 13, Jesus used a tragedy to make this point. A tower in Siloam collapsed and 18 people had died. Many people thought that those who died are bigger sinners than everyone else and that God was punishing them.

Jesus taught that it doesn’t matter how small or big their sins. They were all equally guilty and that if the people don’t repent they are going to die too. He reminds them that in the midst of tragedy we are all going to face death someday and we need to repent and turn our lives to God.

We don’t know when tragedy will happen to us, but I believe the most important truth that will help us to get through suffering and tragedy is that we know and have a personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.

We learn that we will really never know “Why?”

When tragedy happens, the first question we ask is “why?” In this life, we may never know the “whys” of everything, especially what happened to the 12 boys and their coach. If we will have a chance to talk with people who are ask, why did God let this happen? Why these 13 people have to suffer? We can honestly tell them that we don’t always know the answer to the question “why?”

But there is one important truth that we know. We can encourage them that God is our shelter that will be with them during and will bring them through tragedy. We live in imperfect world, sickness and accidents happen. This isn’t heaven and we cannot expect that our lives here will be like heaven.

One thing we do know is that bad things happen in this fallen world. In a world full of sin, bad things are going to happen. That’s why we must hold on so desperately to the only one that can rescue us from sin. That is Jesus Christ.

The worst tragedy has nothing to do in this world. The greatest tragedy is that many people in this world has no relationship with God. We know how to help them, yet many times we don’t do anything about it.

If anybody of us is given a chance to meet these children, we hope we can let them know about God and how God loves them that His son died on the cross for their sins. We hope we can still have a chance to pray for them and love them when all this is over.
What can we do in tragedy?

In Nehemiah chapter 1 verses 3 to 4:
3 They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire. “4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.

If we will read further, we see this wonderful prayer of Nehemiah, which deserves more and closer study than we can give it this morning. We don’t have the time to study about Nehemiah’s prayer here, but we know for sure that he sat down, wept and prayed for those people who were experiencing tragedy. What can we do in tragedy?

The first thing that we must do is pray.

As Christian, we neglect our duty when we fail to pray to pray for the people who are hurting and suffering. This was Nehemiah’s first and most natural response to the tragedy he was facing. He went to prayer. When people are facing tragedy, when we ourselves are facing tragedy, we must pray. Why?

Remember that first point we said a while ago, that we learn from tragedy that God is in control. We can pray and trust God because he is in control.

I know everyone wants to go to Tham Luang and volunteer to help. We want to do something. But at this point in time, the best help that we can do is not to go there and be a distraction and hindrance to the people who are doing their best to help rescue the children.

However, we can continue to pray that God that although they haven’t been found yet, pray that God will sustain the children, that they are still alive and safe. We can also continue praying for the children, their family and the people who sacrifice to save the children.

The second thing we can do is give

When a tragedy happens, there will always people who will be in need. We can do it individually or we can give through the church. I know some of us have already given. As I think about this tragedy, the 13 people are not the only one who are in need right now. There are many people who are sacrificing their time and work to help. They also need help.

We praise the Lord that the Christian community and churches in Mae Sai are doing their part to help. But we give not to attract attention to ourselves, we give because people are in need.

The third thing we can do is help

There are people facing personal tragedy around us all the time. It is just that their tragedy doesn’t make the news. They may have lost a loved one or are in need of food or clothing. Some lost their job, or their spouse left them. We personally know stories like this.

There are people hurting all around us every single day, yet we get so busy and don’t realize it. During times of tragedy, our heart opens up to people who are hurting. Especially now that we know some people who now are in tragedy. Now we suddenly get unselfish and we start wanting to help.

We are praying that this tragedy will be over. And when it is over, we hope that as a church we can continue to help these 13 people and their families. Not only through giving them material things but to help them overcome their bad experience by helping them emotionally, psychologically and I believe the most important is that we may be able to help them spiritually.

As I said, there are people around us who have personal tragedy that do not make the news. They may be our neighbors, our friends, maybe even in our family, and maybe in our church.

This a challenge for us, let us help people who are experiencing difficulties in their lives.

In the Ditch

Tags

, , ,

IMG_1480

It was raining, we were taking our friends to Doi Tung Garden, a beautiful place up to the mountain. I (Joey) has driven this uphill winding road many times. I knew the road very well and drove on it in any condition—rain and shine. The truck was cruising on the uphill curve and  wet road when the tires lost traction and spun around. Thankfully, the truck ended down in the ditch rather than the cliff on the other side of the road.

It was a close call. We were unharmed and the truck was undamaged. We are thankful that the Lord sent people who helped us get out of the truck and hauled it out from the ditch.

Before this happened, we almost did not make the trip because the truck’s temperature gauge indicated that the engine was overheating. So we decided to make a u-turn and looked for a place to determine what was the problem. Fortunately, an auto mechanic shop was nearby.

So the truck was fixed and we thought we just had to go back home. But we decided to might as well go on with the plan. Then the accident happened, we took it as a clear message from the Lord that we should stop, go back and just spend time with the children. Our guests, a young couple, Bryce and Patience,  played football with the children. We had a good dinner together at home.

We praise the Lord for for his faithful guidance and protection. We definitely believed that God saved our lives that day.

The Kids Can Still Sing

Tags

, , ,

29496312_1611748008860440_5669667851538515227_n

We were invited to a wedding, the children were requested to sing and I (Joey) did the opening prayer so I was at the stage. The kids were singing a love song and they were nailing it. I could see that the audience was enjoying the performance. The bride was shedding tears of joy. I thought to myself, wow they can still sing if they really put their hearts on it. The children are growing fast and I thought they have outgrown singing for an audience, but I was proven wrong.

These days we felt like changes are happening too fast, we could not help but think how difficult our life would be for us if we don’t have friends like you who faithfully pray and support us. We realized how blessed we are.

This reminds us of Paul’s prayer in Philippians 1:5-7:

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Thank you for your partnership in the gospel. We pray that God will bless you more and more.

It’s still flu season

Tags

, , , , , , ,

_MG_7940-30

The month of August flew us by so quickly and we are late (once again) in sending out our prayer update.  It is still rainy season here in Thailand, the outbreak of flu virus is not over yet. Narlin was among the first ones who caught the virus and the children take their turns in catching it too.

Taking care of the children has keeping our hands full. The children are growing up and as they do, they are going through physical, emotional and psychological changes. This result in personality conflicts among them and are magnified when there are fifteen of them. We have our nightly worship together and we take that time to help them resolve their personal issues. Nevertheless, most of the time, they live in joy, peace and harmony. Please continue to pray for the children. Help us to pray for wisdom as we guide them. We hope to give them the best care we can. We pray that they will be successful when they finish their school and have their own careers.

_MG_6099-2Hospitality Ministry

In more than a decade of our stay here in Mae Sai, hosting teams, friends and “strangers” has become essential part of our ministry. In the past, we were able to help out Filipinos who were trapped in a tight situation. We had provided shelter and placement for those who were suddenly terminated from their work. We also hosted people who do “border run” and need a place to stay. Last month, we had the opportunity to host a Filipino family friend from Italy. It was a great time to be reconnected with old friends and helped us to be refreshed. Their time here and provide them mission exposure (especially their children) a learning experience about God’s ministry here in Thailand. And of course, we tried our best to show them around and enjoy this beautiful city. Please help us to be able to continue this kind of ministry.

_MG_7530-211

Medical Outreach

We also had the opportunity to do a medical outreach (15-19 August.) The medical team consisted of Dr. Peter Yoon from California, Cecilia Ceralde, and Pastor Julius both from Philippines. We had the opportunity to provide medical help to the community of the Lawa Mae Sai Church and Grace Mae Sai Church. The team stayed here for four days and many people are blessed through the medical mission. We are able to help out church workers and leaders who are unknowingly suffering from diabetes and hypertension. Dr. Peter gave his glucose monitor so that we can use it to follow up on patients with “abnormally” high sugar for their medications. He is a wonderful man of God and we hope we can work with him again ministering to the people in the community.

_MG_7923-13

Sak Saum Continued Partnership

We thought our connection with Sak Saum in Cambodia ended when we left New Life Creations Foundation (NLCF).  However, we are glad when Ginny, the Founder and Director of Sak Saum reached out to us and expressed her desire to work with us in saving young women and children from human trafficking. She will be helping by allowing us make product items for Sak Saum.  We praise the Lord for this because with or without Sak Saum we are committed in helping young people in the community. We are praying to have one or two young women that Narlin can train to sew and make products. For the meantime, while we are waiting,  Sak Saum asked us to make small items like bag accessory (tassels) that we (with the older children) can make on our free time. The amount we earned from making this product will help with the children’s school expenses. Because NLCF keeps the sewing machines that were donated by our friends, we are praying that we can buy our own sewing machines. Please pray for wisdom and guidance as we do this ministry.

Prayer Concerns

  • We need to renew our passports.  We will be on 13-hour travel (round trip=26 hours) by bus next week to go to the Philippine Embassy in Bangkok. We prefer to travel by plane but our finances is very limited.  Narlin needs to be fully recovered from flu before we can make this trip. Please pray for health and safe travel.
  • We are praying to have our own Foundation but we are waiting on the Lord and seeking His guidance to do this. This venture will require a lot of funding, time, wisdom and effort. We desperately need your prayers regarding this project.
  • We continue to pray for the construction of the extension of the boys’ room and more bunk beds. Help us to pray for provisions.
  • Thank you for praying for our family. Jared after after working as teacher for five months is due for promotion in October. Jillian will acquire her teacher’s work permit before the end of this month. Our children are officially Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW).  Reuven will be graduating from college next year. God is truly faithful.
  • Thank you for your commitment to pray for all the children. Taking care of them is not a walk in the park but by God’s grace most of them turned out to be good people. They are still growing up and we are not certain of their future. We hope to take care of them until they can look after themselves on their own.
  • Pray that the children’s  Non-Thai National ID will be upgraded by the government to Thai National ID.
  • Please continue to pray for our ministry involvements in the school, church and community.

Six Months Have Gone By So Fast

Tags

, , ,

20170522_200758

At the start of this year, I was hoping to update this blog at least once a month. Evidently, I haven’t posted anything here until I realized that it is already over halfway 2017. Here is our recent prayer update.

First of all, we want to thank you for your love and prayers. We experienced God’s faithfulness through you. We couldn’t believe that we are already past half way of the year 2017. Time goes by so quickly and so are the seasons. After an extremely hot summer, we are now experiencing one of the “wettest” rainy seasons in Northern Thailand, not in terms of volume of water but in the length of time that the rain falls. It feels like its raining day and night for a month.

Just like Israelites who believed that rain is literally a blessing from God, we also believe it. “Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God.” (Hebrews 6:7)

Besides the blessing of rain, God has blessed us with friends who are faithfully praying and helping us with the ministry to the young women and children. We could not stay a day longer in Thailand without your prayers and support. Thank you so much.

Thankful For Another Year in Thailand
July is one of the stressful months of the year for us. This is the time when we will know for certain if we will stay another year in Thailand. This month we renewed our work permit and visa.

We did a lot of traveling going to Chiang Mai and back, the office of the Foundation that kindly provides us work permit and visa is in Chiang Mai. Thus, we are required to renew our visa in Chiang Mai Immigration Office.  What added up to our anxiety is the notorious fluidity of the Thai immigration laws. Somehow, there is always some changes. This year, one of the changes that we found out too late is that the visa ends on the expiration date of our passport. Before this law was enforced, it was easy to transfer the visa into the new issued passport. In fact, we had done it twice already.

Our passport will expire on April 18, 2018, hence in stead of having our visa until July 20, 2018, we have to renew it again three months earlier.  All the same, we are thankful to the Lord for allowing us to stay in Thailand for another (almost) year. God is good.

More Time at Home
The demand to be present (at all time) at Life Creations Training Center took a lot of our time away from home and the kids.  We were sad to leave because we work so hard to put up this ministry and we were hoping we can spend the rest of our life there. But we are grateful to the Lord for giving us a clear message to part ways with NLCF.  It was a blessing in disguise because now we have time to work on our home and care for children.

We are able to do things we could not do for the last couple of years. Narlin have time to cook special food for the children and teach them baking. She can also do projects like sewing clothes and bed sheets. She also teaches baking to the young people at the church. Joey have time do maintenance works on our already ”ancient” house. We had replaced the kitchen’s broken roof and patched up the leaking roofs of the boy’s room and the small room upstairs.  We have more time to be involved in the church through preaching and teaching.

We also have the time to help more people as we used to do. We now can again minister to the sick people by not only praying but also by driving them to the hospital in Chiang Rai. Also for those who do not have a mean of transport going to places they need to go for training and seminars. We are thankful to the Lord for giving us (Rocky) the truck.

Prayers and Thanksgiving
Thank you for continually praying for us. The Lord has been providing us wisdom, strength, health and material needs because of your prayers. Here are our prayer concerns and thanksgiving:We are thankful to the Lord for providing for all our needs.

  • With 16 children and 3 adults living together living in one old house, our utility bills and the kids school expenses are getting higher each month. But God is faithful to provide. Thank you for your partnership.
  • This is the month of Academic competitions and the kids are doing well again. Tina won the English competition (5th place) all over Northern Thailand. Mike won the writing contest in Thai in his school. Thank your Lord for guiding the children.
  • Rainy season makes going to school more challenging. We are thankful for the truck, we can bring and pick up the kids to school safely protected from the weather.
  • Thankful for our miracle truck. It’s been a while since it was in the shop for repair.  However, the tires are five years old and the mechanic think we need new set of tires.
  • Thankful for the one year extension of our work permit and visa. In spite of the changes in the laws and paying more fees, the renewal process went relatively smooth this year.
  • We are praying that we can build the boy’s room and buy three bunk beds. We are trusting on God’s provision in the right time.
  • When we part ways with NLCF, we start praying for a project to help protect young women from human trafficking in our small but effective means. Help us in praying for this ministry.
  • Thankful to God for giving Jared and Jillian the opportunities to stay and work as teachers in Thailand. The way things are going it looks like they will be staying in Thailand for a long time. Praise the Lord. Pray for Reuven also in the Philippines studying in the University for one more year.
  • Most of all, we are thankful for you friend. We honor the sacrifices you are making to partner with us ministering to the children. We thank the Lord for your love and generosity.

New Decade of Hope

Tags

, ,

img_6428-231

Happy New Year!

As the year ended, we could not help but once again remember God’s faithfulness. 2017 is the beginning of a new decade for us here in the mission field. We arrived in Thailand on the 6th of January 2006, with three luggages, meager support and three children, nobody thought (including ourselves) that we could even last for a couple of years.

But here we are, with God’s care and provisions and with our friends’ love and sacrifices. We are ready to face another decade of ministry. We will continue serving God and helping people to find their freedom in Christ.

In Thailand, they don’t celebrate Christmas or at least they do not know the real reason why Christians celebrate it. Although it is not considered as a holiday, the supermarkets and shopping malls are full of Christmas stuff on sale and Christmas songs filled the air. This is the time of the year when Thai people are open to listen to the true message of Christmas. This Christmas, the Lord had given us several opportunities to be in that situation-share the message.

Christmas Activities
We are thankful to God that the Tesaban 1 Municipal school asked us to sing carols and explain the meaning of Christmas at the school during their flag ceremony. We thought it was a great opportunity to involve our church in the activity. Our church’s youth joined us in the singing and our Pastor, Ajan Sunit shared the message.

We also had the privilege to join several Christmas activities. First, we organized the New Life Creations Foundation Christmas Party. Second, we had the opportunity to be part of Pantamit Church’s Christmas outreach program in Baan Nana, one of the biggest children shelters in Mae Sai. Lastly, for three years now, we had been invited to be part of the Christmas program for the School for the Blind in Mae Sai. We are praying that our working relationship with the School of the Blind will grow deeper. We pray that we may be able to help through connecting them with people who have called to work with the blind.

English Camp at Tesaban 1 
Narlin is doing what she does well, organizing English camp at schools. Joey has to excuse himself to take the time to write this newsletter. She had been planning this English Camp (with YWAM-Madison Team) for more than a month when Teacher Jar (the head of the school English department) told us that two other teams from Univeristy in the US would join the activities. So instead of having 7 people from YWAM, we ended up with 18 volunteer teachers from the US.

_mg_7186-28

It is a big group, but by God’s grace we are on the last day of the English camp and as far as we can see, it was a success. We are once again, thankful to the Lord for giving us the opportunity to serve the children at the school. We also have helped the teachers and our good relationship with the school has grown stronger. All for the glory of God.

Family Update
We considered going home to the Philippines to celebrate Christmas with our family. But we thought it would be better if our children, Jared, Jillian and Reuven, would come to here to celebrate with us and also that they would be reconnected with their little brothers and sisters. Nuch came home from Chon Buri to join us. That was the first time in five years that we were reunited.

dscn2057-13-edit-2

Honor Your Father

Tags

,

father-day

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you. -Exodus 20:12

One of the most important holidays in Thailand is Father’s day. It is celebrated on December 5, which is the birthday of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. It is celebrated all over the country.  The King is considered as the father of the nation and of all the Thai people. He is recognized as best role model for fathers. This is also the day when we give honor to our fathers and grandfathers by giving them flowers and by treating them with a good dinner.

As Christians, I believe this is an appropriate day for us to honor our fathers. The command to honor our father and mother is in the Ten Commandments. In Exodus 20:12, it says honor your father and mother. But today we will give honor and respect to our father.

Among the Ten Commandments, this is the only one that is given with a promise. “That your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.”

God adds a provision in the verse by saying that if you do this look at what will happen. Serving God comes with benefits. If you serve him:

  • He will take care of you
  • He will provide for you
  • He will protect you
  • He will guide you
  • He will direct you
  • He will make a way out of no way for you
  • He will make your enemies leave you alone
  • He will comfort you

The Hebrew word that we translate as “honor” has several implications and meanings. Among them are respect, model and obey. So in fact, when the Bible says to honor your father, it is saying to respect your father, to model your father and to obey your father.

Honor Means to Respect (12)

Honor your father and your mother.

To respect literally means to hold in high regard. It is a word that is more than “ignore” but less than worship. To respect our father does not mean that we worship him, because only God is worthy of our worship. But it does not mean that we don’t care about them either.

Respect includes a right amount of fear. We fear God and we in some ways fear our father when we do something wrong. Respect means we are afraid to do something that is against our father’s words.

When I was little, just like many children sometimes are not afraid of our mother. Because mothers just like to talk when they are angry. But when our mother tells us that, “I’m going to tell your father” or “just wait until your father gets home.” Then this makes some children afraid. Why? Because we do not want to face the consequences of our father’s anger.

What the Bible is teaching us in this verse, the value of respect. The Bible is saying to us that if you want people to respect us , then we need to respect our parents.

Honor Means to Model (12)

Honor your father and your mother.

“Honor” in Hebrew word can also be defined as “to model.” I think many of us grew up thinking our father is cruel. We tell to ourselves that we are not going to spank our children like our father did to us.

Personally, when our father spanked us to discipline us, I promised that when we have our own children we would not do the same punishment to my children. I had this perfect picture in my mind that when I became a father, all I was going to do was to just talk to my children with a calm voice.

However, it did not take me long to discover that the picture I had in my mind was just a picture. And that when my children disobey me I found myself doing the exact same things with my children as my father had done with me.

Honoring our father means that we considered him as our role model. And though there are times when we don’t like our father, the day will come when we realized that we are just like our father and our mother. Someday we are going to:

  • Pay the bills
  • Put the food on the table
  • Take care of our own family
  • Work for living
  • Raise our own children
  • Help our children get an education
  • Provide for the needs of the family

Our father has done all of these things. We honor our father for that. And when we honor our father, we also honor God.

Honor Means to Obey

Honor your father and your mother.

Finally friends the Hebrew word honor can also mean obey. The Apostle Paul who was an expert on Old Testament Law and therefore very familiar with exactly what the Ten Commandments said, had this in mind when he wrote the “household codes” found in the book of Ephesians, he says “Children obey your parents”. This is just another way of saying honor your father and your mother.

I believe that the Bible is correct, obedience begins at home and the failure to teach obedience is the highest form of child abuse. You see there are some fundamental basic behavior that all children must learn if we are going to expect them to survive when they get on their own and live from under our roof.

My father used to say to me “the reason I beat you at home is so that somebody else won’t have to do it in the streets.” You see, young people, it really is rather simple. When children fail to obey your parents at home you are bound for failure when you are living on your own. If we disobey our parent at home then:

  • We are not going to listen to a teacher in school
  • We are not going to listen to the principal in the office
  • We are not going to listen to a coach on the game
  • We are not going to listen to a director in the band
  • We are not going to listen to an instructor in the arts
  • We are not going to listen to a pastor in the church
  • We are not going to listen to a doctor in the hospital
  • We are not going to listen to the policemen on his beat

When a child fails to honor or obey his parents at home they are setting themselves on a course that will end in disaster because that pattern of disobedience will follow them the rest of their life.

But brothers and sisters in Christ, we are not disobedient.  We honor our father and mother today and everyday of our lives and we will have God promise.  “That if you honor your father and your mother your days will be long upon the land thy God hath given thee.”

Conclusion

Honoring our father means we respect, model and obey them. When people dishonor their parents they suffer from high blood, stress, anxiety and other psychological ailments. They also end up in a bad situation. Many are dead and many are in jail. Fortunately, if we simply obey our parents, we can avoid those bad things. However if we honor and treat our parents right it makes us a happy person and we live longer and blessed life.

Again, listen carefully to what the Bible says; “if you honor your father and mother then your life will be long in the land that God has promised you.” The land that God has promised us is not just life here on earth. It included in the land that God has promised us is eternal life in heaven. So if we honor our father and mother, we increase our chances to on not only having long life down here, but we will also sure of eternal life in heaven.

So this morning, we give honor and respect to our father just as we respect, honor and worship our God, the Father.

Adapted from a sermon by Pastor Gene Sample