I am thankful that during the month of February Covid restrictions seemed to relax a little. We were able to visit two villages with minimal restrictions. We were scheduled to preach in a third village, but it was canceled because the animists in the village, who are very scared of the virus, didn’t want any visitors to come in. This is the Karen village of Pha Lai that I introduced you to a few months ago. Half of the people in this village are animists and don’t care much for Christians. During our last visit, we were able to make contact with a few of them and really wanted to get back there to continue developing a relationship with them. Please pray for an open door back into the village of Pha Lai.
This month we were blessed to get to visit the home church and village of my interpreter Bee Shield. His dad was the pastor there for 15 years. His 92 year old grandmother was a charter member and still walks uphill to church every Lord’s Day. What a precious and faithful woman! This church is mixed with Karen, Lahu, Shan, and Thai believers. This kind of “mixed congregation” if very uncommon but very good to see. There is still very much a “cast system” here in Thailand. I try to remind the churches when I visit, that in Christ, there is no hierarchy between tribes. We are all one in him! While there I preached, distributed bibles, and helped them with some medicine, but I was especially blessed with the opportunity to present a Shan lady with her very first Bible. She was saved a few years ago but has not been able to afford or find a Shan Bible that she could read. Her husband is still lost and her family has shunned her. She can understand Thai preaching but she cannot read Thai. Shan is the only language she can read and the church was not able to find a bible in her language. The Lord provided and she received her first Bible! Please also pray for their pastor, he has a lot of health problems and cannot stand up to preach any longer.
The second Church we visited was an Akha village. This was the first Akha village I had been to and was excited for the opportunity to preach and fellowship with them. Thanks to all the many generous donations we have received for Bibles, hymnals, and other literature, I was again able to bring them some much needed bibles and sound literature. After services we helped them with some medical needs and got to know Pastor Somboon.
A few weeks ago, we began holding Thai services at our house on Sunday. We have about 11 people attending regularly (including our family) and have enjoyed getting to know and hear about new opportunities in our area. Some have made connections with a Thai Buddhist who has been asking questions about “christianity”. Please pray the Lord does a saving work in the heart of this particular woman. Please also pray that soon we may be able to help organize a Sovereign Grace Baptist Thai Church in our area!
Bible School Planning
The last few months have been consumed with preparing and planning for the Bible School, which we hope will allow us the opportunity to train men for the ministry. A lot goes into planning for an endeavor such as this...interviews, applications, sleeping arrangements, lesson planning, etc. Needless to say, my days have been pleasantly full. But that is what I came here for, working daily for the Lord! This month has also included distributing and mailing letters to pastors concerning the Bible School and what we pray the Lord will use it to accomplish here in Thailand. I put together a student handbook and Bee translated into Thai. We worked hard to make sure our handbook and accompanying intro letter set forth our clear objective...to teach God called men for His work here in Thailand. We ask you to continue to pray for the Lord to raise up men hungry for His Word!
We are so thankful to the churches and individuals who gave towards the needs mentioned last month. The Lord again has provided in an amazing way through many of you. As of now, we have received more than enough to purchase the things needed to get started with the Bible School.
For HIS Glory, Matthew Villandry