Bible School Update
October was once again a whirlwind! We have spent the last six weeks completing a “brief” survey of the Old Testament. Three hours a day, five days a week these men have studied an introduction to each book, geography, key people and events, chronology, harmony with other books, and most importantly, how each book of the Old Testament points to Christ. Someone asked me the other day if I was able to present the Gospel much during class...my response was every single day! Praise the LORD! Most of the students had little to no teaching from the Old Testament. Sometimes we can take for granted those precious Sunday school teachers we had as kids who each Sunday faithfully taught us from God’s word. These men have not had that. Churches please don’t forget the impact a SS teacher can have on future preachers, missionaries, and faithful church members. This week we are taking 5 days off, our first break since we began school in June. I will spend the week preparing for our our upcoming module on New Testament Survey. We will spend the next six weeks covering a single book of the New Testament each day. Please pray for my studies as well as for the upcoming class which begins next week.
Thankful for a time of fellowship
This past month we were able to travel with our students up to MaeAi to visit with Paul and Susan Brown. Our students enjoyed their time getting to know Susan’s students from the Learning Center and we all enjoyed a couple of friendly games of Soccer in the evenings. Christian fellowship is much harder to come by here...so it was an enjoyable time for everyone!
This past month I had the opportunity and great pleasure to baptize four believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. The first was a man named Long, who is one of our students in the Bible school. Long believes he has been saved for a few years but had never been baptized due to persecution from his family. His story is similar to that of so many here. The Lord saved him but he was reluctant to make a public profession of his faith because his family is comprised of animists who simply have no interests in Christianity. However, one Sunday, I preached in John 4 and the Living Water that Christ gave to the woman at the well. Immediately after the service he came to me and said he was tired of hiding and knew, regardless of the cost, that he was ready to be baptized. We went that afternoon to baptism at a nearby lake. Two days later we saw him outside with tears rolling down his face. He had spoken to his family about his baptism and they told him they didn’t want to speak to him. They could not understand why he would do something that would bring such dishonor to his family. Over the past few weeks since his baptism he has been working hard to talk to them to help them understand but it is going to take time, patience, and ultimately the Lord. Please pray for him. He is the youngest of 6 children and comes from a family that is strongly animistic. Ancestor worship among the Hmong Hill-tribe people is very strong and is also why they hold family in such high regards. Some even say that their dead parent’s spirits eat with them at the table every meal. It is part of their daily life. Long has a huge heart and desperately wants to see the Lord work within his family and ultimately his village. Long is also one of our hardest working Bible students. He is up early every day studying and sits with me whenever he can to discuss and ask questions about the lessons we are covering. On top of that he is diligently working his way towards English fluency. He has a desire to teach and interpret in the future. Be praying that the Lord would use him to continue His work here in Thailand.
The second Baptist was for my daughter Lyla. Lyla had been baptized previously when she was young but has come to me and Brittany over the past few months to express that she felt the Lord had just saved her and she knew she needed to be baptized. We have seen such a change in her over the past few months that we have no doubt whatsoever that the Lord has indeed done a mighty work in her life.
Before I talk about the next Baptism I need to make a quick introduction. In May of this year, the Lord added two more children to our family. Lala and her brother Papo came to us on Mother’s day from a nearby village where they had been living without any parents. We had met them several times over the past three years during trips to their particular village, where a good church we fellowship with is located, and through a series of events and open doors we realized these kids were the ones that the Lord wanted to add to our family. Lala is 12, same age as Lyla, and the two girls were instant best friends. Papo is 9 and has fit himself right in with our other 3 boys. Overall, the process has been smooth sailing and the Lord has really brought everything together beautifully. For now, they attend a private Christian school in Chiang Mai. It is very inexpensive, Christian, and in Thai, something we can not provide for them within our homeschool set up with the other kids. They don’t speak any English but we are okay with that. We can communicate effectively enough with the Thai we know so teaching them English is not our top priority at the moment. Reading, speaking, and learning in Thai is what they need most, so we are helping them the best we can to flourish in the land God has placed them in. We have seen so much growth in just a short time. We are thankful for these precious additions to our family. We are even more thankful that the Lord has chosen to save Lala! After about four months with us, she came to me to tell me about how the Lord had saved her and that she wanted to be baptized. Praise the Lord! We had already spoken to Lyla about her salvation and desire to be baptized a couple weeks before so we took both girls to the lake to Baptize them the next day.
Baptism number four, came at a surprise to us all. Caleb, our 7 year old, came upstairs to talk to me a couple of weeks ago. His heart was full and he was full of questions. But most importantly, he was certain the Lord had saved him and he was begging to be baptized. “What are we saved from”, I asked. “From our sins” he replied. We had a long talk for several days about the person and work of Christ. At the end of our conversations, he kept saying “all I know is that I am trusting in what Jesus did on the cross”. His simple faith in Jesus Christ is so strong and a blessing beyond words for his dad to witness. Please pray the Lord would would continue to move in the hearts of the lost no matter what age. May the waters of this lake be weekly stirred with the baptism of believers in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!
For HIS Glory, Matthew Villandry