Friday, January 05, 2007

New Year Notes

Sawat dee pee mai! Happy New Year!

The year 2006 (2549 for the Buddhists) passed by so quickly. My prayer right now is that 2007 will be a fruitful year for us as we live as “strangers” in a foreign land. At this point, I want to look back at the past year and note down here the significant events in our lives.
1. Our coming to Thailand exactly one year ago.
We came here one year ago to respond to God’s call to become harvest field workers. In spite of the hindrances and difficulties God made a way for us to come and work here. We are celebrating God’s faithfulness to us, he sees us through and he provided all we need by using people through out the year.

2. Our Visa struggles
We have been turned down once and we experienced difficulty in processing our non-immigrant visa. A lot of money was spent and we experienced physical and emotional stress. The problem was compounded by abrupt changes in the Thai immigration rules. But God was with us every step of the way.

3. Church family and ministries
We are blessed to be a part of a church family where almost of our ministries are done through its partnership. “We are on our own with God supported by our church, friends and families,” is the best explanation we can give to the people who asked us who sent us. Most of the missionaries here have a platform; they work as Christian Non-government Organization (NGO) or as businessmen with their English Language Center. We can neither claim the same because we don’t have the resources to do so. My wife is a volunteer English teacher and I do the work of a pastor-evangelist and theological educator through the church that have a big vision to preach the gospel to the different people groups here.

4. Our new friends
This morning my wife and I went to the market and I believe we are really blessed with friends. We were happy that the vendors in the market consider us their friends because we look like we need one. We look like them but could not speak their language. They are the vegetable vendor, the meat vendor, the fish vendor, the fruit vendor, the banana vendor, clothes vendor and our lady barbers. Our neighbors: the kapun (vegetarian noodles) vendor, the siopao vendor, our handyman neighbor and his wife who are ready to do everything in the house not expecting any payment. My children's Thai tutor and his husband with whom we really learn to share our lives with. Our Canadian friend, who went to Korea to teach English, entrusted us her house, 12 cats and a dog. And more Christian friends… we are blessed to have many friends in our one year stay here in Thailand.

5. My blog and blogging friends
I started blogging last July simply because I unexpectedly have an internet connection and a laptop given to me by a dear friend. I could not afford an internet connection back home. Here the connection is cheaper. Moreover, I didn’t expect that this blog would attract readers. Somehow it did, I began receiving emails and was linked by fellow theology bloggers, I really appreciate this. Blogging friends gave me theological books that I will not get anywhere or anyhow. They even paid for the postage. This is indeed a blessing.
We welcome 2007 with open hands, praying that we will accomplish greater things for God’s glory. New Year will never be complete without resolutions. Although most of the times they are never kept, it is good to make them. So as a family we want to:
  1. Be used by God according to our gifts. My wife as a volunteer teacher and trainor, my children as they sing and play instruments in the church, and being friends to local children. Me? As Pastor-teacher-evangelist, and a servant to a local pastor.
  2. Be good learners. My children in their home-schooling. My wife and I as we learn more of the culture and language.
  3. Be more effective witness to Christ—telling them how he died and resurrected to reconcile the world to himself.
  4. Be friends to someone. It doesn't matter if they need a friend or not.
  5. Be focused in writing my dissertation. I am a postgraduate student and needs to finish my dissertation. I have a hard time finding the time to do so. I hope I could do it this year.
We need important tools as harvest field workers. Please help us pray for:
  1. A motorcycle. We are using an old motorcycle lent to us by a friend. She might need it this year and may take it anytime. A motorcycle here costs more than $1,000.
  2. A desktop Computer. The whole family is using the laptop. We all do our works here including teaching materials, church bulletins, emails, bloggings, etc. We are worried that this may breakdown anytime and we don’t have anything to use.
I should stop here, these notes are getting longer. In behalf of my family, I'm praying that 2007 will be a Christ-filled year for all of us.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Regarding the issue of finances have you thought of adding a link so that readers who would like to can donate something to assist you in this? It may not cover everything but whatever is received would be at least a start.

Some time ago another blogger I read and greatly respect did exactly the same post url is http://anabaptist.lifewithchrist.org/anabaptist.lifewithchrist.org/2006/05/22/help-me-to-help-you.html

In whatever small way possible I know I would be honoured to share the burden of your work. I have intentionally left this comment anonymous but know you have my prayers at this time.

Steve Hayes said...

I found that interesting reading, and would be interested in knowing where you are, and more about your environment.

I visited Thailand 20 years ago, but only spent a few days, but thoroughly enjoyed it, and wondered what a good mission strategy would be fore there.

Jayred said...

I enjoyed reading this post. It blessed my heart to read what you've been through in Thailand and what you and your family intend to still pursue in the frontlines.

Praise God that you have new friends now (the vendors). I know that friendship evangelism always works.

I wish you and your family a purpose-driven 2007. May you conquer the land for His glory.

Joey said...

Hi Richard,

Yes I occasionally visit Graham's blog. And thanks a lot for the prayers. I really never thought of asking for ministry support (although my post really sounds like it) from this blog, now that you mention it, i might as well do it. However, I need to learn how it works, I don't have any idea how paypal or any such sites work. I'm not really a techie. But thanks a lot for the advice and especially for the prayers.

Hi Steve,

Thailand is really a very interesting place. And the fact that I live at the Northernmost part of this country makes it more interesting. We are here in Mae Sai, if you will look at the map of Thailand, look for the northern tip and mark it with a pencil, that is where we are right now. So as you can imagine, Mae Sai for its better economy and relatively freedom has been attracting a lot of people, tribes from China, Myanmar, Laos, and even China. There are diversity of language, race, ethnicity and religion. It is a game for our family to guess what tribe or people group that the people we meet belong to.

The Thais are proud people... and as of now many Western missionaries are trying to reach them through different platforms. Those I know use English Language and agriculture. But i always believe that personal friendship always work and partnership with a local church for me is the best way.

Hi Jayred,

The vendors are friendly because they want us to buy from them hhahahaah. But still I believe, we are able to develop a friendship with them. They are so glad that we can speak Thai.

Thanks for those encouraging words. And yes, everything is for God's glory

Jayred said...

Ahahaha! Your line about the vendors made me laugh out loud. :-)