I have been so thankful to get back to studying Thai full time again...and in a classroom setting no less! I am back to going to class three days a week for four hours each day. It is a long day of Thai but it seems to be highly productive and is helping a lot to be back in a classroom rather than trying to do online classes. In addition to studying in class, my Interpreter/Coordinator Bee Shield has also been a tremendous help in teaching me and helping me study. There is so much work to be done here, and that makes It is so easy to get distracted away from learning the language. However, as many of you told me when we visited on deputation, learning the language really is imperative for long term missions! Pray for me as I continue to study this very challenging language!
It has been a while since I have provided any update on Brittany and the kids. They are all doing well and working hard to finish up the current school year, which ends in March. Brittany and Cohen have taken a break from learning Thai for the next few months. Brittany has had her hands full this year homeschooling the kids who are in pre-K, 1st, 5th and 7th grade all while working to maintain her sanity as she worked through the first seven levels of Thai classes. Cohen is learning the guitar and Lyla spends every spare minute on the piano, we thoroughly enjoy their musical abilities and Praise God for them! The two youngest, Caleb and Ben, are enjoying the outdoors as much as possible before they are stuck inside for “smokey season” which lasts from about mid- March to the end of May. Caleb and I both have a type of allergy-induced asthma so when the skies turn yellow from all the pollution, we find work (and play) to do inside to escape the nasty air. Pray for us as this time approaches. The entire family really dreads the smokey months here!!
In my last letter, I touched on the possibility of starting a small Bible school that would allow us to train young men in God’s word who feel called to pastor or do mission work. Bee (my interpreter/coordinator) and I have been visiting some of the nearby (within about three hours) villages to talk with Pastors and church members about this need. We are finding there is great interest as well as a substantial need for more biblical training. I am thankful for the training I received when the Lord called me into the ministry. I was taught by many wonderful pastors. I was able at any time to pull up sermons and listen to them or find a book with sound sermons sitting on my shelf. In the West, we often forget that we have massive amounts of resources at our fingertips. These men...do not. They also do not have generations of pastors solid in the faith who can hand down sound doctrine to them. They need this greatly.
Most of them have a Bible (sometimes a poor translation of one) and a notebook. On top of that, the Bibles they carry often use words they aren’t familiar with and they have few, if any, resources available to help them sort through those unfamiliar words, phrases, and ideas. They don’t have Greek lexicons, historical biographies, confessions of faith, commentaries, etc...at least not in their native language. There is a special need here for translation work to be done, but unfortunately, we can not dive into that work right now...there are just not enough hours in the day or enough budget.
However, I do believe we can provide them with one-on-one Biblical training that will equip them for a lifelong study of God’s word. Then they can equip the next generation to do the same (2 Tim 2:2). We have assessed our monthly budget and feel we have enough to begin this work, although it will be tight. We also have plenty of space to work with about ten men at a time. We are hoping to begin near the beginning of July. Over the next few months, we will visit more villages and meet with pastors and any other God called men who desire to have sound biblical training. We also have several things to plan for and prepare before our classes will begin. Please pray that the Lord would raise up men who are passionate about His truth and His commission and who desire to study God’s word with us. Please also pray for all the things we will need to purchase for these men who will be coming to live with us as they study. We know that if this is what God’s will is, He will provide for it in all regards. Below are some of the upcoming needs for the Bible training school.
These are the obvious and known to us upcoming costs. There will be more incidentals as the school opens and the men arrive.
Books, Bibles and other study materials = $160 per student ($1,600) Washing Machine = $300 Refrigerator = $700 Beds and Mattresses = $2,000 Pillows, blankets, towels, etc = $20 per student ($200)
We are thankful for those who have given towards Bibles and Hymnals! We have distributed many to several churches and individuals already. Pray that they would help instruct believers and lead unbelievers to Christ!
For HIS Glory, Matthew Villandry