Friday, November 21, 2014

We're back

We made our trip to the Philippines and back. Our son, Jared passed through a personal crisis. Relatives and friends thought we need to come home to help and support him. We agreed and besides we already missed our children and it's about time we should have time together. Thankfully, Jared was able to settle the issue by himself while we were still on our way. Regardless, we thought that it is about time to have bonding time with Jared and Jillian. We enjoyed spending time with them helping them with their house chores as they were very busy with their studies. We also had the opportunity to be with Joey’s mother when she celebrated her 71st birthday. The first time in eight years. Reconnecting with old friends was also another blessings we enjoyed during that time.

 We have many things to be thankful for with regards to that visit home. First we are thankful for God’s provisions for the airfare, housing, food and other travel expenses. Thankful for friends who are always ready to extend help may it be encouragement, prayers, cash and in kind. Thanks for Sayarma Beauty and Joanne for looking after the children while we were away. They did a great job. Thankful for the opportunity to reconnect with old friends.

Thankful for the opportunity to share our ministry and message at PBTS chapel and other three churches. Thankful for friends who picked us and brought us back again to the airport. We thank the Lord for everything. We took the opportunity to have family portrait while we were in the Philippines.

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Christian Hospitality Network GetAway

We praise the Lord for the opportunity to rest and be refreshed. We were recommended by a missionary friend to avail of the R&R being offered by Christian Hospitality Network in Horizon Village & Resort in Chiang Mai. It was God’s timely provision because he knew we needed a rest after airplane ride from the Philippines, sleeping on the airports, waiting on the bus terminals and thirteen hours bus ride from Bangkok. We are thankful for the wonderful time of rest, for the encouraging and inspiring messages and for meeting wonderful godly people. We are also thankful to its Founding Director Paul Cowell and the staff for working so hard to make this ministry possible. You are all a huge blessing to many missionaries serving around the world. We are hoping and praying that they will welcome us again in their ministry in the future.

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We’re definitely back

We’re back to reality. After being away for almost a month, we were expecting that many things will be out of order in the house. The children did a great job in our backyard garden but there are jobs that only adults can do. We fixed those that can be fixed and replaced those we could not. We also trimmed the trees and revived the dying ornamental plants. Sad to say, the fish on our small ponds are all dead. We made a couple of trips to the dumping area to get rid of the garbage that was piled up when were away.

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As soon as we are back, Narlin resumes teaching English to the young people in the neighborhood. The younger students may start coming next week. Joey will also have English and discipleship classes starting next week. He will resume his preaching ministry at Pantamit Church. Please pray that the Word of God could be preached clearly to the Thai people.

 Next week, we will have meeting again with the Network for Children and Women to plan for more activities. We also praying that we can help a friend to start a ministry for the young women in Mae Sai. It will be difficult because it will take a lot of planning and funding.

Please pray for that this project will have a good jumpstart so that young women can be rescued from human trafficking. The children, all eleven of them, go back to school after a three-week break. Reuven is already a week late. His school started a week prior to our return in Mae Sai. This is a start of another school term so we need to pay their tuition fees. We thank the Lord for his provisions for most of the fees. Please help us to pray that God will provide for all the school expenses this term. 

Thank you once again for your prayers with regard to our trips to the Philippines and now that we are back, you’re love and prayers are a big encouragement to us.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Our Part in a Miracle

John 6:1-13 Feeding to 5000

What is your favourite miracles of Jesus? For me it is the feeding of the 5,000. Many people think and agree that if you assume that each man may have brought their wives and at least two children with them, the number of people may have been like 15,000. The people witnessed how Jesus performed miracles and people are excited to follow him everywhere he goes. Jesus wanted to get away from the crowd cross the river by boat with his disciples hoping that the people would stop following him and he would have time alone with the disciples. But the people would not give up, seeing that Jesus and his disciples rode the boat, the people started running along the shore through a rough woods and headed where the boat was going.

So when Jesus saw arrived some of the people were already there and had looked for a place to settle down. Instead of getting angry with the crowd, the Lord Jesus had compassion to the people and do something to take care of their needs. In this story, we will learn how the Lord Jesus did a miracle and we will learn what did the people do to experience that miracle in their lives.

Jesus wants our participation (5-6)


5.When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?" 6. He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
These verses clearly say that Jesus did not have to ask this question because “he already know what he was going to do.” He asked the question to test the faith of Philip and in effect the other disciples too. The Lord Jesus Christ does need anybody to tell him what to do. The only reason he asked this question is to know what the disciples are thinking and he wants them to share their thoughts and ideas. Jesus want his disciples to participate in helping to resolve the problem at the moment. 

Apparently, Philip is very smart because after looking at the crowd he knows right away how much money they need to feed all the people. He comes up with 200 denarii. In present times it is roughly equivalent to 4,000 US dollars or roughly 124,000 baht. And would not be enough to buy a bread enough that each person to get a little piece. Andrew, on the other hand, share his idea by getting Jesus’ attention that there is a little boy who is willing to share his food—five small loaf of bread and two small fish. He thinks it is impossible to feed all the people with this amount of food. I believe the important truth here is not only Jesus tests the disciples but also he wanted them to share ideas, do something to help with the problem. Jesus wants everyone to participate.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. We all know the saying, but we often fail to apply this lesson in our lives. If you view the elephant as one big goal that your whole life depends on, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Why not enjoy the bites along the way? If you ask somebody what goal they’re working on, what kind of answer do you think you’ll get? Assuming they even have goals, they’ll probably say they’re working on something really big, maybe even something that will make them feel like they’ve achieved their life purpose.1 Our church have big vision and big goal. We want to share Jesus Christ to many people as possible. We envision that our church will grow big and have many people come to worship our God. This goal is big. It is like an elephant. We can not eat it. It seems impossible. But if everyone of us will cooperate and will take a little bite one at a time. 

We will eventually accomplished the goal that God has set before us. The problem is only very few in the church like to cooperate. This is God’s challenge for us this morning. All of us should cooperate to accomplish our goal as a church.

Jesus Wants Our Contribution (6-9)


Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, spoke up, "Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?"
In verse 6, it says that Andrew speaks up and says, "Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?" Some Bible teachers think that this little boy is employed by the disciple to carry their food. But I believe, this little boy has committed himself to following Jesus wherever he goes that he make sure that he is totally prepared. 

The other people who follow Jesus and even the disciples never bother to bring their own food. I want you to take note the way John describes the situation. Here is a “little” boy with five “small” barley loaves and two “small” fish. I believe John is trying to show the greatness of our God that a miracle has come out using these small things. But, of course, these small things from little boy are what all Jesus need. He never asks us to have more education, more talent and more money in order to serve him and minister to others. All he wants is what we have right now. And as soon as he found out what is available in the crowd, Jesus performs a wonderful miracle. 

 There was a story of a little girl who stood outside the church crying. She could not get into the church to attend the Sunday School because the church was too small and there was no space for her. So the Pastor saw him and took her hand and found a place for her in the Sunday School class. The girl was so touched that night she went to bed praying and thinking of the children who have no place to worship. The Pastor told her that someday they would have a building big enough so that all the children can worship and attend Sunday School. Later the girl got sick and died. They found out that the little girl has a purse that contain 57 cents with a note saying that she was saving the money to help build a bigger church building. The 57 cents became the seed money that inspired many people to contribute to the fund that eventually built a 3,300 seating capacity of Temple Baptist Church in Philadelphia, USA. This story is being told to show what God can do with 57 cents. This is what God wants us to do, everyone can bring something to God. He teaches us that it is not the gift that is so important, it is the heart of the giver. 

In our church, people contribute different things. We need people who will be prayer warriors. We need musicians and singers to lead in worship. We need workers to clean and set up our church. Some contribute money, some contribute things that we can use in the church. If everyone of us will contribute to the ministry of the church, the Lord will do miracles in our church.

Jesus Wants Our Cooperation (10-13)


Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted." So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. (John 6:10-13)
When Jesus learns that little food is available, he asked the disciples to make the people sit down. Just imagine 15,000 hungry people want to eat and food was so little, it is surprising that everyone including the children are cooperating with Jesus. We read how orderly and organise was the event in Mark 6: 39-44:
39 Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied, 43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.
In this passage we learn how every one including the children cooperate with the process. John MacArthur: "Godly, Biblical church growth results from every member of the body fully using his spiritual gift, in submission to the Holy Spirit and in cooperation with other believers.” When each one of us is willing to cooperate with the church’s ministry and activities, cooperate with our leaders and with each other, the Lord Jesus will perform a miracle though us and through our church.

Conclusion

Imagine yourself asking someone to be part of our church. “Do you want to be part of our church?” And imagine that the person will answer like this: “I want a church will accept me as I am.” “I want a church that will care for me.” “I want a church that where my needs are met.” “I want a church that makes me feel happy.” “I want a church that will feed me spiritually and make me grow.” We can answer that is our church… provided (if) that: “If you and other church members will accept others as they are.” “If you and other church members will care for one another.” “If you and other church members will make others feel happy.” “If you and other church members will feed and make help each other grow spiritually.” Miracles happen or at least great things happen when the people of God all participate, contribute and cooperate in what God desires to do through his people.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Be still and know

For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. (Romans 8:19-22)
We are blessed to live in a place where the weather is friendly most of the time of the year. Just enough heat on summer, right amount of rain during the rainy season and comfortably cold during the winter. However, this blessing has been taken for granted by the people of Mae Sai. Waking up with a heavy downpour is normal but if it had lasted for three hours or more, we have a feeling that something unusual was about to happen. We seldom experience this kind of rain. We thought if the rain would continue for another thirty minutes, flooding was a sure thing. Thankfully the rain stopped but the flooding still happened. The water came with tons of mud in it.

We were not directly affected but those who live beside the mountains had a difficult times. For the last three years, construction business is booming here in Mae Sai. Rice fields are being converted into subdivisions and these construction projects need tons of filling materials. Contractors are cutting the mountains like crazy to meet these needs. This is a disaster waiting to happen that may be triggered off by even hours of heavy downpour. We are praying that would be last heavy downpour this year and that the government will do something with the cut mountains. Once again, we thank you for your partnership in the gospel.

We sincerely thank you for your untiring prayers which we feel every second of our life. His protection surrounds us his provision is constant.

  Flooding in Mae Sai

Flood in mae sai

NCWSS against human trafficking

The Network for Women and Children Under the Same Sky (NCWSS) is determined to be more proactive in fighting human trafficking. Many NGOs have data to prove that Thailand is on the top tier of human trafficking activity. Mae Sai is considered as gateway for transporting people from poor country like Burma, Laos and Cambodia to the target market. Our last three meetings were very fruitful in laying out plans of actions we need to do as Christian leaders so that children and young women might be protected and prevented in becoming victims. Most of the network members are already involved in providing shelter for children, we thought of having projects that will give empowerment to children and young women to fight against the evil of human trafficking. Please pray for NCWSS members to be more supportive and pray for financial provisions to support some of the programs and activities we hope to implement in the future.

  NCWSS Members

United Christians in Mae Sai

It is safe to say that Joey and Narlin have a small part in the early years of the United Christian in Mae Sai. When the organization decided to go bigger to include all the churches in Mae Sai and neighbouring towns to become The United Christian Protestant in Mae Sai, we thought our participation was no longer needed. However, this month, the President invited us to attend the meeting for the election of new officers, I learned that we are considered as representative for Filipino workers in Mae Sai. We are thankful to the Lord for this opportunity of being a part of God’s bigger work here. United Christian Protestant Mae Sai

More Prayer Requests

We are praying to go home next month. We did not have plan to go home this year. But our children in the Philippines are facing personal difficulties Our children need our presence Please pray for God’s provision for our air fare. Please pray also for our children in the Philippines. Please pray for our health. Perhaps is a break out of “pink eyes”(conjunctivitis) here in Mae Sai and Tachilek. And at the moment, two of the children are infected already. We are doing our best not to spread it to everyone in the house. Moreover, Tina has fever and suffering from most probably a flu. Please pray for our health. Pray for that we can go home to the Philippines in October. Wehad no plan to go home this year. However, our children are experiencing difficulties back at home. We feel that our children need our presence at least for a month just to be with them and settle a personal problem. Please pray for God’s provision and for the safe travel. We are also asking you to pray for our children’s needs and difficulties.

  Fluke s Conjunctivitis Pray for our teaching and preaching ministry. More children are coming to us to learn English. We are thankful for this opportunity to bless the children and their parents too. In addition, we will be teaching young people to prepare them to university or church ministry. Also, Joey was requested to become a regular preacher at Pantamit Mae Sai Church. Please pray that God will use these opportunities that more people will come to know Jesus Christ.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

We Are Never Alone

Ephesians 2:19-2:22
Brick in grass We live in an entertainment culture. People want to be entertained all the time. We want to watch movies, play games, do social media, listen to the music. We do want to feel good all the time and we easily get bored. Sometimes we think that people who comes to the church need to be entertained. So we want our worship service to be more appealing to the people so that they will come back again and again. However, we should keep in mind that attend worship not to be entertained or not to get something out of the service. If we come here for that reason then this is a selfish motive. We are here not to feel good or get something out of the church service but to give our worship to God. In Ephesians Chapter 2, the Apostle Paul reminds us that when we go to the church let us forget about ourself but think about God and the church. So let’s read our passage together: Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. - Ephesians 2:19-22 (NIV)
Many people think that being a Christian is all about their needs. They think it is all about me. Or it is about me and God. Being a Christian is about God, me and other Christians. As Christian we should think we are not alone because…

God has made us part of the new kingdom

…you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people…(verse 19). Paul is mainly writing to the Gentile believers. In verse 12, he described how these Gentiles were excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise. But the point he is making here is that it doesn’t really matter because they are now citizens of a new kingdom that is higher than the kingdom of Israel. For us who lives near the border, we know how important is citizenship. For those who are not citizens, we watch closely the changes to the immigration laws. As citizens, you have benefits that you enjoy. You have the right to travel wherever you want and to choose wherever you want to live and work. Your rights are also protected by your laws. You have benefits that we non-citizen will not enjoy. But you also have responsibilities to pay taxes (although some do not). You have the responsibility to follow the laws and obey your leaders. When we choose to be followers of Jesus Christ, we also become citizens of His kingdom. And that citizenship also comes with privileges and responsibilities. We get the privilege of being part of a body where we can be encouraged and where we can grow in our faith. We get the protection of our King – the Lord Jesus Christ. At the same time, we also have a responsibility to participate in the life of the body and submit to its leadership. We have a responsibility to give financially so that the church can do the ministry. We have the responsibility to minister to those who are in need. We have the responsibility to live a good Christian life. We have the responsibility to obey our leaders.

God has made us part of a new family

…members of God’s household… (verse 19) Again, Paul has already made reference to this aspect of our life in the church earlier in His letter. You’ll remember that at the beginning of chapter 1 Paul wrote that when God chose us He also adopted us into His family. As great as it is to be a citizen in God’s kingdom, it’s even better to be a part of His family. Look at how John described the greatness of being God’s children: How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1 (NIV) I was reflecting this week on all the benefits that I enjoy by being part of a family here on earth. Nobody love us like our own family. Our family will protect us if somebody will try to do us harm. Our family will lift us up when we fall. We may have arguments with our parents, brothers and sisters but the family relationship will never be broken. A family is also the place where we experience the deepest intimacy here on this earth. The relationships between husband and wife, parents and children, brothers and sisters provide a far greater opportunity for intimacy than any other relationships we have. Our church is our family in Christ. We should love each one like a true family. We have responsibility to one another. God has chosen us this family to help us grow in Christ. God brought us to this church so that he can use us that we can help each other to be strong in our faith. This is the place where we can develop deep intimate relationships more than any other people outside the church family. Our common bond is our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the strongest force that connect us with other Christians. God does not create spiritual orphans. It is never His intent that His children would be estranged from His family. So why would any Christian want to try to live out his or her faith apart from the family that God has given to them?

God has made us part of a new building

The third imagery that Paul uses to describe our place in the church is a building. The church is not the building but it is like a building. It is built on the foundation of the Word of God—the Bible. …built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets… When Paul mentions the apostle and prophets, he is referring to those who received and proclaimed the word of God. The preaching and eventually the writings of the apostles and the prophets is passed on to us. Joined together in Christ …with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling… When Paul talks about Jesus being the cornerstone he is thinking of the cornerstone that was used in Jerusalem Temple. It was a stone as big as a Green Bus and it weighs about 600,000 kilos. The cornerstone was the most important stone in the building. It marked the point in which the rest of the building would be constructed and in a sense it held the whole building together. But Jesus is more than just the cornerstone. He is the means by which all of the individual stones are being joined together in this building. A single brick is worth nothing, in fact, it is not much to look at. But when we have thousand of bricks and put them together we can build a beautiful house. The bricks do not put themselves together. A workman had to prepare a plan, make it square and they have to be put on top of one another and bond them together with a cement. This is like what Jesus does when he builds the church. He takes a lot of bricks that are not really good and worth nothing on their own. He first them together with other blocks and bonds them together with a cement. Although Jesus is concerned with the each brick, his overall purpose is to create a building that will give glory to his name. On our own separate from the church, we cannot do anything. But if we are bonded to Jesus Christ and to each other. We can do great things for God and we can win more people to Jesus. Indwelled by the Holy Spirit …in which God lives by his Spirit. Most of us are probably familiar with this passage that describes how God’s Holy Spirit lives within us: Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16 (NIV) At the moment we received Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to live within us. And we all become the temple of God. Here the Apostle Paul is saying that the Holy Spirit dwells within all the believers but there is only one temple. All of us who believed in Jesus Christ are joined together to become one spiritual temple where God’s spirit dwell. God does not want Christian to be away from the church. Every follower of Jesus has been designed to be joined together with other believers into beautiful spiritual temple called the church in which God lives and works. This is the challenge for us. God wants us to stay and minister in this church. Otherwise, we will not be here. Those who are not here or who went to other church maybe does not belong here. But we are here and God called us to be here. There is no perfect church and no perfect pastor or church members. But Jesus wants everyone of us to be part of this church. A certain writer said: If we consider ourselves followers of Christ. We need to know this. The church is not here for us. We are here for the church. And the church is here for the world. Jesus did not die on the cross so that we can choose a church that make us happy. He died to give us abundant life, bring that life to the church and to share that life to the lost world.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Father Cares for Us

Red whiskered bulbul 2 EDIT The sweet songs of what seem like a hundred birds awaken us from our sleep every day. In fact, they sing the whole day, come rain or shine. A reminder to us that God’s faithfulness is new every morning. Jesus asks us to look at the carefree lifestyle of the birds to teach us not to worry about life’s necessities. God uses these little feathered creatures to tell us that we have a caring heavenly Father who looks after our needs.
“I tell you not to worry about your life. Don’t worry about having something to eat, drink, or wear. Isn’t life more than food or clothing? Look at the birds in the sky! They don’t plant or harvest. They don’t even store grain in barns. Yet your Father in heaven takes care of them. Aren’t you worth more than birds?” - Matthew 6:25-26
But to be honest, in our moments of weakness, we could not help but feel anxious. We worry about our own children who live away from us. Are they safe? Are they in the company of good people? Do we have the financial capability to see them through college? We worry about our children here. What would happen if for some reasons our visa is not renewed? Who will take care of them? Do we have enough funds to provide for their needs? But then we heard the birds sing, remember God's constant care and our friends whom he uses. All our worries are gone as soon as they came. Thanks again for your love and prayers. Our appreciation could be expressed in words.

Nobody Saw It Coming

The Mae Sai municipal school English drama team composed of five of our children that represent Mae Sai a drama competition won the third place. It was an English drama competition among municipal schools in Northern Thailand. Nobody in the school thought they had a chance but the children outdid themselves and and to everybody’s amazement was able to snatched the third prize. By virtue of their win, they will represent three teams that will represent Northern Thailand in a nation wide competition in Bangkok on first of August. The municipal and school officials, recognising that the team has the potential to win the first prize, are exerting extra effort to make the drama better. They allocate more funding to replace the hand drawn backdrop with the printed tarpaulin and the recycled plastic costumes with the real dresses. Narlin has been spending sleepless nights sewing dresses. She will also accompany the children to Bangkok. Please pray for their safe travel. The children are praying for another opportunity to win. Please help them in prayer. This is another to give glory to God through the lives of our children. Cinderella Casts
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We Can Call This Place Our Home

Thank you for helping us in praying for the extension of our visa. We went to Chiang Mai immigration office on the 18th of July. The process was a bit different from last year. This time, we had an interview with the immigration officer and our photo was taken while they are receiving our payment for the visa fees. It makes you wonder why they are doing that. We were given the usual provisional period of one month and by 19th of August we expect that our visa will be extended to full one year. Thank you so much for praying for us about our visa and also for helping us financially. God has allowed us to stay in Thailand for another year and now we can really now call this place our home.

When We Pray God Works

At the moment, the cost of education of our children adopted and natural, here and in the Philippines is really overwhelming. But we are grateful to the Lord that we still have enough to pay our bills, eat good food and have transportation going and to and from school. Having said that, we are grateful to God for his faithful provisions. I was reminded again by Hudson Taylor's words: "God's work, done in God's way, will never lack God's supply." I believe God's supply does not refer only to crisp dollar bills, it may refer to people touched by God to become our friends and partners in the ministry. We are greatly blessed to have you. Pray for Jared and Jillian studies. God’s provision for their studies is nothing short of a miracle. Their monthly expenses can be considered a heavy burden for parents who have regular job and income. We neither have both but we have a great God who provides for everything that they need. DSCN2777 Pray for Reuven. We are hoping that he can take and pass the test for Alternative Learning System (ALS) this year. He needs reviewer so that he can properly prepare for the test. If he passed, he will qualify for college in the Philippines. He will be going home to be with Jared and Jillian maybe in the same university. Pray for Aipang, SamChing, Dina, Yekchai, Muey and the other members of the English Drama Team. They will go to Bangkok for the competition. They will be going with other teams from their school that will compete with dance and recycling contests. Narlin and the other school staff will go with them. Please pray for safe travel and that God will give them favour to win the English drama competition. Pray for Joey as he will take care of the seven other children who will be left behind for three days. Pray for the Network for Children and Women. Some of the members opted to disassociate themselves. Khun Ngaw, one of the founding members is now back and bright prospects are now possible under his leadership. Meetings with the members makes us realise that many children still need home and they asked us if we could take more. Unfortunately, we our house and resources are just enough for the children we have at the moment. Please pray for the network that God will use this to help minister to children and women needs help. NCWA Meeting Pray for our need to build a quarter for the boys. We are seeking God’s guidance regarding this need. We believe that if it is God’s will for us to have this building, will receive confirmation and funding. Please pray about this particular need. Please continue to pray for our teaching and preaching ministry. Through this community service to the children and young people, we are able to connect with other schools. Please pray for Joey's as he is regularly been asked to share the Word to Pantamit church. English Teaching 1
English teaching

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Higher Calling

"I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:14).

Goose chicken
Kierkegaard, the Danish philosopher, told a story about a goose who was wounded and landed in a barnyard with some chickens. He played with the chickens and ate with the chickens. After a while, that goose thought he was a chicken.

One day a gaggle of geese flew overhead, migrating home. They gave a honk up in the sky, and the barnyard goose heard it.

Kierkegaard said, "Something stirred within the breast of this goose. Something called him to the skies. He began to flap the wings he hadn't used, and he rose a few feet into the air. Then he stopped, and he settled back again into the mud of the barnyard. He heard the upward call, but he settled for less."

Is there a chance that this story is about you? Are you settling for being less than you know in your heart God has called you and created you to be? It's not just for your sake that you must respond to God's call on your life — it's also for all the other meaningful people in your life. The longer you wait before answering, the more annoying your life becomes to those around you. There are few things as disruptive to the peace and well-being of other people than a person who is running from God. How many lives are being distressed because you won't answer the call? And besides, are you really that happy clucking with chickens?

Rylisms: Daily Devotion, by Pastor James Ryle
The photo is taken from Google images. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Father to the fatherless

How could such a little boy possess so much charisma? We have been doing a lot of thinking lately about Fluke. Fluke was a street children used to beg for food and money at the Mae Sai border market. Apparently, her mother abandoned him with his alcoholic father. He was brought to us because nobody wanted to adopt him. The day he came to live with us, he was dirty and the years of living on the streets made him rebellious.

He is staying with us for almost a year now. With a lot of work giving him love and discipline, he transformed into a happy and handsome boy. Now we are having problem stopping people to like him. People talked to us about adopting him. In fact, a lady in the church started “borrowing” him for a day. We thought it is good but it is now causing us a problem. She is spoiling Fluke and it causes us headache and heartache too. We are seeking God’s guidance regarding this incident maybe we can consider finding a family for some of our children. But at the moment, the Lord has impressed to us to keep all the children.

Church and School

When Ajan Sunnit invited me (Joey) to preach at his church, I thought that would be the first and the last. It is because I’m not really a good speaker. Second, my command of Thai language is terrible and even if it is good, I don’t think I can speak Thai words with the proper tone. A slight mistake in tone totally change the meaning of the word. Nonetheless, we are grateful that the Lord has given us opportunity to share the Word to the people regularly.

Our community English teaching continues with Narlin bearing most of the teaching load. Her presence in the school is not required but she still works closely with the director and principal. In fact, she is at the moment, is in charge of the school’s drama presentation in a inter school competition. We consider this school and church involvement as God’s way to extend His love to the people in some schools here in Mae Sai.

Land and Building Projects

Please continue to pray for our need to build a dorm for the boys. We could not yet find the time to sit and draw the plan and estimate the cost. Our handyman-friend is busy and the kids’ school activities are keeping us tied down. Nevertheless, we believe that in God’s time our little dream will become a reality. In relation to this, we are going to Chiang Saen to see the land that we are planning to buy. We already forgot about it because the subject was not discussed again during our meetings with the Network. However, we learned in our last meeting that some portions of the land are still available. We are envisioning that this land will be the home of our future ministries like children’s home, leadership training and a church building. We will give you an update as soon as we are able to see the land and the owner. Please help us to pray for God’s provision about this future project.

Visa and Work Permit

Our visa will expire on the 20th of July, so this yearly requirement (although it seems more like monthly) will occupy most of our time these coming weeks. We already made several trips and we are anticipating to see more of Chiang Mai. We are hoping that the current political situation may not affect the visa processing which is already complicated as it is. Thank you for praying and extending financial help to pay both for our visa and work permit expenses. God is good!

More Prayer Requests

  • Pray for the children as they present a drama in a regional competition. Not just to win but to testify how God has help them grow in wisdom and stature.
  • Pray for God’s provision for our prospective dorm building project.
  • Pray for God’s provisions for Jared, Jillian and Reuven. And also for the study needs of the twelve.
  • Pray for our health both for us and the children. A humid rainy season makes people vulnerable to sickness. 
  • Pray for more opportunities to testify about the greatness of God.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Upgraded Commandment

John 13:34-35 Iphone5 store australia reuters People get excited when something new comes out. I can tell that it is true with iPhones. When the first generation iPhone came out, everybody wanted to have one. Now it iPhone 5c had been out for over a year and Apple is already announced the coming of iPhone 6. Many people still insanely excited about having the latest iPhone. In John 13:34-35, Jesus in his darkest hours, anticipating his suffering and a violent death on the cross told about his love and his coming death on the cross. I bet the disciples were expecting something else from Jesus than giving them a new commandment. “I give you a new commandment - to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples - if you have love for one another.” It is time for the disciples to get excited because Jesus was giving them a new commandment. We are supposed to get excited with this new love commandment from the Lord. What makes this commandment new? Isn’t the command to love is as old as the Old Testament? Here we will look at the reasons what make this commandment new and different from other love commandment.

From loving our neighbours to loving one another

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. The command to love is not new. Jesus had already taught that the whole Law of Moses was summed up in two great commandments in Mark 12:29-31 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, "Which commandment is the most important of all?" Jesus answered, "The most important is, ’Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ’You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” In John 13 the focus is upon the community of believers that Jesus will establish before he leaves. He knows that in order for the community to be strong and successful it should have a guiding principle. In order for Christianity to grow big they should follow the new commandment to love one another. It is true with the church. During the early years of Christianity, the Christians have always had tremendous impact on the people around them. They said that Christians love each other even before they know each other.” Is not just about loving our neighbors as yourself but we should love one another. It means loving other Christians and our church mates more than we love our neighbors and ourselves. We should not only love one another but we also should love like Jesus loved.

From like loving ourselves to loving like Jesus

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another just as I have loved you; you also are to love one another. (ESV) The love that Jesus is calling for is not about not hating one another. It is not just about being patient with one another. This command is about being an active, self-sacrificial love just like Jesus loved the people. Jesus exemplified this love when he declared to the disciples that greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. This is the kind of love that He wanted us to demonstrate for our brothers and sisters in our church. How do we show our love to one another? We may not be able to love like Jesus but we can at least show our love to our brothers and sisters in Christ by praying that God will bless them, by doing good for them and by overlooking their faults and by forgiving their sins. On our own, it is impossible to love one another like Jesus loved us but we should ask the Holy Spirit to empower us to love like him.

Conclusion

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." This love that Jesus mentioned is new in three ways: (1) There is a new focus. We are still to love our neighbor, but now this love is directed toward “one another. (2) We are no longer to love others like we love ourselves but we love just like Jesus loved. (3) This love makes the world realizes that Jesus is real and that we are his followers.[1] Love enables “all people” to recognize we accept Jesus. Here is a strong testimony to the world. All people will know we are Jesus’ disciples by our love. Christians will never be known by the beautiful building where we worship, they will not be known by what we hate, we will not be known for what we strongly believed (although that is very important), we will not be known by how good our music team is. All people will know that we are Christian if we love one another. If we love like Jesus loved us. Photo from NDTV Gadgets

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Power of Small Things

Mustard Seed Faith by CRI 2 The first thing I did when I woke up this morning is to fire up my computer and checked what was the devotional reading. I was amazed on how the Lord has encouraged us today. These words are totally related to what we are doing for the kingdom. So I am sharing it here. May you be encouraged too. 

"Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed nothing shall be impossible unto you."-- Mat_17:20.

THE GRAIN of mustard seed is the smallest of seeds, but Jesus says that it is a fitting emblem of the Kingdom of God, and the unostentatious beginnings of the Christian era. The number and social position of the disciples was insignificant in the extreme. And the first germ of truth sown in the heart of man, woman, or child, is sometimes equally insignificant. It may be just a sentence, a text, a passing remark which results in a mighty harvest (Mar_4:30-32).

What is it that enables this tiny seed to make such a prodigious increase? It lies in its receptive power, as it receives into its nature the mighty forces which slumber in the soil, the effect of sunbeams, moisture, and air. So long as a little aperture is kept open, there is no limit to the fertility and usefulness of the plant. You may be but a child, and your life seem weak and ineffective, but if you will open your heart to God by faith, He will pour in His mighty fullness, and the tiny seed become a great tree of strength and usefulness, grace and beauty.

Let us not despise the day of small things. Faith may be as a grain of mustard seed, but as it is used it will grow. Your effort to do good may seem so insignificant that it would be hardly missed, if it were discontinued, and yet out of it may emanate some mighty work which will bring help and comfort to thousands. How many orphanages, schools, and philanthropic efforts have owed their origin to the most infinitesimal beginnings. One destitute child cared and ministered to for Christ's sake has led to another, until finally thousands of little ones have received a good start in life. What could be more insignificant than the beginnings of the Gospel message in many a heathen country.

Do not be discouraged. Like Gideon, you may be only a cake of barley bread, but by faith you may overturn the tents of Midian. Like the little lad, you may only be able to place five tiny loaves and two small fish in the hands of Jesus, but He will bless them and make them sufficient to feed the multitude. A stone may bring Goliath to the dust; an arrow may pierce through the armour of the mailed warrior. Have faith in God; Reckon on God's faithfulness to you!

PRAYER Lord, increase our faith. Give us a child-like faith to receive what Thou dost offer, and from this moment may a new sense of the presence and power of God, through the Holy Spirit, come to us. AMEN.

 From F.B. Meyer, Daily Walk

Friday, June 20, 2014

Here and there

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We made two trips to Chiang Mai within a week. The first one we did hesitantly and the other one was unplanned. Although we like to travel, we could not afford it. With 13 children and one teenager every cents count.
The first trip was necessary. We had been planning to go to Chiang Mai for the renewal of my driver’s license. I know it can be done in Chiang Rai but in order not to complicate things, we always do it in Chiang Mai. However, we still think that going there just to renew my driver’s license was not a strong reason to make the trip.
Then we had a surprised call from Nueng, the Foundation’s secretary. She told us that the Labor officer in Chiang Mai wanted to see us for an interview.  So now we had more than one reasons to make the road trip.
We drove 4 hours to Chiang Mai and went straight to the city hall to see the labor officer. We already met the officer before so I knew it would be a very friendly and pleasant chat. She wanted to know what we are doing in Mae Sai.  After our business at the labor office was over, we checked-in at the cheap hotel beside the bus terminal. It was becoming our favorite place to stay whenever we are in town.
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The hotel was fairly good with cable TV. So we took the opportunity to watch some movies and just took the much needed rest and sleep longer.  In the morning, we went to Rajayev Hospital to get the medical certificates. I needed one for the driver’s license and I also got one for the work permit.
The labor office requirement for a yearly medical certificate was the only opportunity I had for physical examination. Usually, I passed the physical exam with flying colors. But in the last two years, my blood pressure was beginning to get dangerously high.  I guess father time was catching up on me. For some reason or perhaps the hospital deliberately did it, I was assigned to the same doctor every year.  So I decided to make him my personal physician. I requested him to give me prescription for my high blood. In fairness to him, he asked me last year if I want treatment  but I declined because I thought I was there only for the medical certificate.  He made an appointment with me to come back for more test at the end of the month.
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I renewed my driver’s licenses in the afternoon. Everything here was quick and convenient. This year they required us to watch a one-hour video about traffic rules and safety. It was cumbersome but I think it was good for the local drivers who do not have any idea about driving courtesy. Another productive day was over.
The next day, we took the opportunity to attend the Association of Filipinos in Thailand (AFT)- North Chapter’s celebration of 116th Philippine Independence Day. New officers were elected. We had fun playing games and watched a friendly karaoke-singing competition.  It was good to see old friends we had not seen for a while and meet new ones. Then we came back to Mae Sai expecting not to return to Chiang Mai for at least another two months or so.
If only we knew, we would be back in Chiang Mai after a week. We received another call from Nueng telling us that one of our co-workers (with the Foundation) and his family died in a car accident. We barely knew them; perhaps we uttered a quick “hi” and “hello” every time we see each other when there was a Foundation meeting or activity. Although we had other plans, I will be preaching on the next day and usually I used Saturday to polish my already prepared sermon. Narlin and I felt that we need to go to honor our co-worker and his family who died serving the Lord in the mission field.
It was a very sad day for us who barely knew them more so with people who were closer to them. Apparently, their truck lost control on a wet slippery road, spun wildly until it eventually smashed onto the coming delivery truck.  The truck, as shown on the LCD projector, was a total wrecked.
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It reminded us of similar experience we had five years ago. I vividly remember, it was raining we were driving on the mountainous winding road going to Chiang Mai. We were going uphill when I sensed that the back tires lost tractions, so we negotiated the asphalt road very slowly.  Suddenly, we saw a pick-up truck going downhill slipped, lost control and spun fast toward us. We felt helpless, all we could do was put our car as far to the side off the road shoulder, prayed and waited till the pick-up truck smashed on us. But thankfully, the Lord had saved us from that fatal accident; the truck missed us maybe by an inch as we watched it passed us by.
Please pray for the kingdom workers in Thailand. Pray for our safety as we do a lot of traveling for our visa and other errands. Pray for our health too. In the light of the health issues and accidents happening, we are praying that God will protect us more. We really do not have anything like insurance that will take care of our children when something happened to us. But we fully trust that God will take care of us.
By the way, I just celebrated my 50th birthday. Thankful for the life that has given me. Thankful for friends who remember and find way to greet and encouraged me.