Tis’ the season for yellow skies and heavy breathing. This month begins the smokey season here in Northern Thailand where they burn the forest to clean up the leaves that have dried and fallen. Farmers will also burn their old crops, which adds to the problem. All of this along with the seasonally dry, hot and stagnant air and you get yellow skies and toxic air for the next couple of months. However, our Lord has been merciful this year and so far it has not been as bad as previous years. I do covet your prayers for Caleb and I as we both deal with asthma flare ups during this time of the year. Nevertheless, the Lord’s work continues and I have much to report on…Praise God! We are also happy to report that Covid restrictions have lessoned significantly and we are seeing nearly no impact on our ability to minister here in Thailand.
Grace Baptist Bible Institute
The current class I am teaching is a detailed study of Bible doctrine. We are about half way through and the Lord has strengthened both the students and myself. During this class I have seen many of the students really excel in the knowledge, appreciation, and love for God as well as the price paid for our redemption. On a number of occasions I have seen that “oh wow, that’s it” moment when many truths of God’s word seem to come together for them. For me, this is a reward far exceeding earthly riches. What a blessing it is for me to be a tool in the Lord’s hand in this work of His here!
Additionally, this month all of my students began speaking in front of the group. Our morning worship services are now all led by students. This may seem like a small thing to some, but it is one step toward the goal of these men confidently preaching and teaching others. Our goal in everything we do here in Thailand, is to prepare men who are able to carry on and continue the Lord’s work here. They need to be responsible to carry on the instruction given in 2 Timothy 2:2. They should not need to rely on a Western missionary to carry on the work for them. They must be trained and prepared to do so themselves and in a manner that glorifies God in all things.
For about a year, my family and a handful of believers have been meeting for worship on Sundays. Now the students are meeting with us as well. Several of them wanted to discuss with me their desire to covenant together and start a church in our area. For two weeks now, I have been meeting with those interested in doing so. In our meetings, we have looked at the questions “what is a church?”, “why does church membership matter?” and “what is church membership?”. In the weeks to come we will look at “what are the ordinances of the church?”, “what are the offices and government of the church?”, as well as “what does a true church believe?”. I am so thankful for this opportunity. Starting churches and training men to lead in those churches is the reason I came to Thailand and it’s what Central Baptist Church sent me to do. Please pray for the Lord to give wisdom and that He would be pleased with the assembling of ourselves together as His church here in Chiang Mai.
Printing Ministry - Grace Bannasan
This month translation work continued to gain speed. We are excited to be in the process of finishing up workbooks for the Gospel of Matthew and Fundamentals of the Faith both which we will use for the bible school. We also just finished translation work and typesetting on an easy to understand book on The Gospel of Jesus Christ. In addition to these, we have translators working on small books that answer basic questions. Questions like, What Should I Do Now That I’m a Christian?, What is Baptism? What is Church membership? What is the Lord’s Supper? I have been asked these kinds of questions so many times since I’ve been here and all of these questions are imperative for them to understand as they relate to the church. One of the major problems here in Thailand is the believer’s view on the church and church membership. We have met so many “christians” that believe that church membership is not really important and so they skip around visiting a different church each week. This effects both the Thai people and the tribal villages. At some point, many tribal people will have to leave the village for work. Sometimes this is for a few months, and sometimes it is for years. They think the church in their home village is where their membership stays. Oftentimes they believe that moving membership to another church would bring dishonor to both themself and their families. Since honor is a major concern in Asian cultures, they will continue membership in a church they will only assemble with once or twice a year…or possibly never again. As you can see, basic teaching on the church is greatly needed here in Thailand. We trust the Lord will use this literature to help instruct pastors and churches. We have many other projects lined out after these are completed. Please pray that the Lord would use this printed material and that we can continue this work as funds allow. We thank those who have specifically given toward this ministry. It is a blessing to know that Christians here for many generations to come will be able read these books and we praise God for your sacrifice.
For HIS Glory,