Concordia Gospel Ministry November 2002
Volunteer Missionary Newsletter
It is with much prayer, praise, and thanksgiving that I share with all of you, again, the many wonderful things that God is doing here in Thailand. This past month has been another busy one, but I continue to enjoy everything that I do here in His service. And not a day goes by that I do not spend at least a few moments in wonder at all of the blessings He has bestowed upon me. Having lived here in Thailand for a combined total of about 18 months now, there are many things that I see and do every day that have, for the most part, become commonplace and routine. But every now and then, I am blessed with a moment of clarity and awesome wonder. And I am able to appreciate just what a blessing it is for me to be here, and just how wonderful it is to be doing the work that He has specially prepared for me.
The other day I had one of these moments, and I was able to really take in the breadth and depth of what it means for me to be here. And this all happened as I was doing the one thing that I do every dayI was simply riding the bus. Of course, being Thailand, it was blazing hot and the vast majority of buses are not equipped with any type of cooling system. My bus was no exception to this rule. I was, however, surprisingly comfortable. So I praise God for that small miracle. I found myself just sitting there in the back of the bus for the longest time, elbow on the window ledge, loving everything about being here. I love the fact that the hot weather doesn't even bother me anymore. I love the frizzy quality that my hair takes on in such heat and humidity. I love that they drive on the 'wrong' side of the road. I love that, even though there are lines on the road dividing it up into lanes, people do not pay much attention to them and simply drive wherever they need to be. Whether it is a bus barreling down the road or a motorcycle comfortably transporting a family of four to school in the morning, the lane markers are mere suggestions of where one should be. I love that when I get off the bus and get to work, Ar and Joe, my Thai friends and co-workers, will be there to greet me with a smile. And we will happily spend those first few minutes in conversation (in Thai) about all that has happened since we last saw each other 16 hours ago. I love that I am just coming from four hours of language school where all of my teachers and friends care about me and I them. And I love all of my students and Thai friendsI love them for their every kindness to me, for their eagerness to learn English and to learn about me and my faith in Jesus, and for the blessing that each of them is to me. And so I never go long without giving or receiving so much love, blessings, and many a warm smile. And I praise God for this!
All men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:35
In Other News
This past week marked the first week of the new teaching term here. I praise God that all of my classes are full every night with students excited to learn about English. I also praise Him that I am also able to share with these same students the Good News of salvation to be found in Jesus Christ. We also have many fellowship activities planned for students this term. Many students, staff-members, and teachers (myself included) are very excited for these extra opportunities to spend time with students and friends.
Unfortunately, while my classes are full, the overall enrollment at the center is down and has been down for two successive terms now. There is some concern as to how to best boost enrollment in the future in order to meet the basic financial needs of the center.
v Please pray for all of the students that God has brought here to studythat the Spirit would work in their hearts to someday bring them to that saving faith to be found only in Jesus Christ. And please pray that I may be an effective witness to that faith, an effective teacher, and a good friend to each of them.
v Please pray that God would lead more students to the center, and that our enrollment would be sufficient to support our already minimal budget.
And so, I continue to do very well here! I am in the final stretch of language school preparations for my proficiency test on December 1. It is going well, but is sometimes a bit overwhelming as there is so much to be retained. Never did I think that I would need to know the Thai word for absolute monarchy, but I do. And at this point, it is a word that I can not only say, but also spellwhich is no easy feat given there are 44 consonants and 22 vowels in the Thai alphabet J
v Please continue to pray for me as I make every effort to learn the language wellto do well on the test, but more importantly, to be effective as a communicator among the Thai people.
v And finally, I just ask for your continued prayers in support of the work and ministry that I have been so blessed and called to be a part of here.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every wayin all your speaking and in all your knowledgebecause our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. 1 Corinthians 1: 4-6