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Feb/ March



Feb_March Thailand Ministry Update
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As I write this letter, my heart is heavy but at the same time rejoicing in hope, for our dear friend and co-laborer, Paul Brown has gone home to be with the Lord.  On March 13th, Paul was traveling to Chiang Mai when he was involved in a fatal motorcycle crash. As we grieve this sudden loss, let us lift up Paul's wife, Susan, and their family in prayer during this incredibly difficult time.  May they find comfort and peace in the Lord.  Paul will be deeply missed!  I have received many messages and calls about the continuance of the preacher’s training ministry in MaeAi and while we do not have any answers yet, some members from our sending church, Central Baptist Church in Grenada, MS will be coming in late April to meet with the pastors and individuals involved with both the ministry in MaeAi as well as the one here in Chiang Mai.  Together we will pray and discuss how we can all best serve the needs of both training ministries going forward.  We will keep everyone updated as decisions are made.  We are thankful for the support and love shown by the members of Central Baptist Church and many of our supporting churches during this difficult time and are very grateful for the outpour of love and support that each of you have shown over the past few weeks.  Please keep Susan in your prayers as she seeks the Lord’s will, may He grant her strength, wisdom, and direction in the coming weeks and months ahead!


Grace Baptist Church - Doi Saket


I am thankful to report that attendance every Sunday has been steadily increasing.  Almost every week we have new visitors. Five of these visitors are desiring church membership.  Three of them are Lahu, one is eastern Thai, and the other is Chinese.  Lord willing this month we will begin new membership/new believer’s classes.  In my last letter, I wrote about our Buddhist neighbor wanting to come attend  a church service.  Thankfully Pon has come a few times and has now heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Please pray for Pon as her family is strongly opposed to her coming to church.  The seed has been planted and we will continue watering and waiting on the Lord to bring the increase.  We have also had anywhere from 6-10 Thai children attending regularly each week.  They have only missed a few Sundays.  Sadly, when they miss it is because their family takes them to the Buddhist Temple.  Please pray for these children.  They seem to be mentally grasping the gospel message more and more.  Please pray that they will lay hold on Christ, trusting him fully and may we all see this fruit of the Lord’s work in their hearts!




Grace Baptist Bible Institute


Please continue to pray for the men the Lord is preparing to study here with us at the residential side of the Bible School.  We have set more strict requirements this year and will only be accepting men who are seeking to pastor a church or be sent out someday as native missionaries.  We have three men already and two more that will be moving here.  Some of these men have left everything to move here, but are excited for the opportunity to serve in the church here and to study God’s word full time.  One of the young men that has joined us is married and has children. They have just moved their family here also and will join and serve in the church while he studies with us.  I am already encouraged with what these men are willing to give up in order to serve the Lord.  Pray with me that the Lord will bless these men as they seek His kingdom.  Also, please pray the Lord would send more hungry students of His Word!  As we made plans for the new student requirements we knew that our pool of students would potentially be smaller, but we are okay with that knowing that these men are truly serious and committed. Now that a church has been started here, the church can also be more involved in mentoring these men and providing a biblical model for them to see and follow, now and in the years to come. Church membership and church authority is not taught or practiced here in Thailand and I truly desire for these men, and all those who work with us here, to see what that looks like and why it is so extraordinarily important.  


Grace Bannasan - Printing Ministry and Bible Projects


While the printing ministry is only a small piece of what we do here, it has continued to be fruitful and we are thankful for the on-going support for this side of the work.  We have completed a few small projects this past month, including a study on Ecclesiastes, a daily devotional, and a workbook on studying the scriptures.  We are currently finishing up a book that will provide an overview, outline, and a set of questions of every book of the Bible.  We hope this will make the scriptures a bit more approachable for those here who seem overwhelmed with reading the Bible as a whole.  Literacy in Thailand is extremely low and most people who actually own a bible have never really read it.  Not only is its size intimidating, the translation is not great and the cost is exorbitant.   We face a lot of challenges here with encouraging people to read the scriptures.  We regularly hear things like, “I don’t have a Bible”, or “I don’t understand what it says”, or “I have no idea where to begin”.  The churches and pastors do not teach people to open up the Word and read for themselves….it is truly disheartening.  


Something our team here is discussing is printing small booklets of different books of the Bible (a long term project).  The left page would have the scriptures and the right side would be lined with a place to take notes.  At the beginning of each of these books we would like to add an overview of the book, an outline, connections to Christ, keywords, doctrines, etc.  We are hoping to start with Mark or John in order to provide a less intimating introduction to the Gospel.  This would be something churches or small groups could sit down and read together and it would allow them a place to take notes and discuss the scriptures together.  In America we have a seemingly unlimited amount of physical and digital resources available.  It is true…that “all you really need is the Bible”.  But we also tend to take for granted the excellent Bible translation that we have.  Other countries are not so fortunate.  While books on theological issues and study guides are helpful here, our ultimate goal is  to get people in the Word!  Please pray with us as we seek the Lord’s direction in how we can best encourage this much needed element in people’s daily lives.  




We are so thankful for those that are giving towards the purchase of Bibles each month.  We are currently able to purchase and hand out about 30 free Bibles per month using the funds that are given.   We praise the Lord for this opportunity!  Ultimately, we ask that you pray that the Bibles that are sent out would be read.  Holding one in your hand does you no good…it must be read, studied, understood, and obeyed!  Pray that the Lord would provide the opportunity for us to help and encourage Thai Christians to know and truly understand His Word! 


Family 


I appreciate your on-going prayers for Brittany and the kids.  They are all doing well and continuing along with their normal homeschooling routines.  It is smoke season here in Thailand so we are all dealing with the usual bouts of daily headaches and congestion.  Thankfully, the season is short and usually only lasts six weeks or so but we are ready for it to be over and we are only a couple of weeks into the thick of it!  Yellow skies, smoke filled air and the constant hum of air purifiers in every room make for a bit of dreary season for all of us!  

Brittany has to get a bit more creative with the kids this time of the year since they can not go outside at all so prayers are appreciated for her as she takes care of things in the home and with the children.


For HIS Glory,

Matthew Villandry

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