Friday, February 17, 2012

Her Story

This post was written by my sister Nori one summer when she was here and her family were with us. This is her reflection of what she learned from us and from the children themselves about Tina. Here, she says that Tina is eight years old and still missing her front teeth. She will celebrate her birthday on the 18th of February and we found out she is just turning 7. (Her teeth are finally showing up). Tina is our first “adopted” child and the she is the main reason that makes us believe that part of God’s calling to us here in Mae Sai is to care for the orphans and abandoned children (and yes even cat) . This is her story.

“Ditche, Thyanat had been crying, I do not know what to do.” Dadai’s text messages always had the same thoughts for some days. “Just keep on hugging her… She cannot express herself because she does not know what to express.” That was three years ago. Until now, Thyanat easily cries even at a slightest provocation — a simple word or a slight bump.

Thyanat lost her mother from tuberculosis when she was five … 6 months after that her father died of AIDS. Kuya recalled how thin was Thyanat’s father and how he talked about her … that if ever he would die, he begged Kuya and Narlin to take care of her girl.

Since Thyanat’s father knew of his impending death, he desired to cross the river and go back to Tachilek. Kuya and some other church members tried to do their best to help him. So, they waited for the water level to become very low and they carried him on their back alternately until they can bring him home, but since the police security was very tight, it became totally impossible. He died before making it there, and when that happened the believers panicked. They called the paramedics and when they declared him dead, the Thai police respected the body and allowed the believers to give him a descent burial.

At his death, someone took Thyanat from the Child Care Center. Narlin was so mad when that happened because children without parents are easy prey for human trafficking. Anybody can pretend to be family relative and take advantage of the situation. Narlin and Kuya did everything to find Thyanat again. Narlin went as far as barking at people just to know where Thyanat is kept. With the family’s very limited resources, she proudly asked the person who was claiming Tina as her niece, “can you feed her 3 to 5 times a day, can you send her to school, can you provide her clothes, a good home and a family? if your answer is no, then let me have her, because i can have that and i can do that for her… ” With that, the other person succumbed and gave in Tina.

The family gave Thyanat the name Tina or Tina Pie. Narlin calls her “my own”. Tina is very sensitive and the other children always bully her since she always receive special care. Narlin would say, “you all have families–some have both parents, others have lost either a mom or a dad… but Tina has no one… She is mine. She belongs to us. We are her only family.”

Tina is now 8 years old. Her four front teeth have been missing since she was five. Until now she lisps when pronouncing the “s” sound. We still tease her “All I want for Christmas are my four-front teeth”. The couple knew that Tina needs to have a general check up and let her undergo different medical tests. But they are waiting for her emotional and physical readiness. Such tests can be very stressful for her. They also need a doctor whom they can trust with her case. Plus they need financial back-up. In due time, the Lord will provide all of her needs.

Please remember Tina-how the Lord will continue to assure her that she belongs and that she is loved. Remember her health-both physically and emotionally. Mention her needs — what can a little child in her situation need? Maybe, courage to face the unknown of tomorrows, strength to overcome, parental love for she knew what it meant when she needed it most but has been deprived too soon, hope for a better and brighter future, and most specially faith in God who is the only source of everything.

May God’s grace abound in you as you adopt Tina in your prayer life.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

God provides opportunity

I wrote this quick prayer update to my friends. We were amazed with the testimonies we received about the success of their children’s education to encourage us. We also received a couple of responses expressing desire to help us with our travel expenses. Our hearts are full of joy because God never fails to provide our needs may it be finances or encouragement. We thank the Lord for giving us wonderful friends. Thank you!
Here is the prayer update letter:
Greetings in Christ’s name. God is indeed our great provider and he provides not only for our material needs but also opportunities. One of our biggest concerns as parents is our children’s education. The international schools here although run by missionaries are way beyond our financial capability. We have the same struggle with their home schooling. Truth be told, unlike other missionaries, we are not receiving support specifically intended for our children’s education.
The Lord has answered our prayer regarding this concern. On the 8th of February, we received an email from the Philippine Embassy informing us that it will be adminitering the Alternative Learning System Accreditation and Equivalncy Test (ALSAE) in Bangkok. If they passed the test Jared and Jillian are considered high school graduate and Reuven, elementary. Hence, Jared can go to college in the Philippines and Jillian to a university here in Thailand. Reuven, can continue his home schooling and can go to public high school English Program here in Thailand.
Please help us in prayer:
Jared, Jillian and Reuven are a bit apprehensive. They have been out of school for six years and this is somehing out of their comfort zone.
Pray that God will give them confidence and wisdom (although they are out of school they are well read and well informed). Please pray that they will pass the test.
Pray for financial provision. We need extra money for travel expenses (bus and taxi), overnight stay, food and registration fees.
We believe that God answers the united prayers of his children. You are a huge encouragement to us. We are as we are in God’s harvest field because of God’s answer to your prayers. Thank you so much.

Friday, February 10, 2012

PayPal Donate Button

My friend suggested that I should setup a PayPal account. According to him, it is the most convenient way to send money. He does need to go to the bank and wait,  So I did setup an account. This post is a test if the pasted html code for donate button will work on blogger. I have been trying to do it on WP and it seems that WP is removing the code when the post is published. You could not even put it on the sidebar as text/html widget.

It seems to work here, if you have a paypal account you can donate to our ministry by clicking the button.

Blessings to all!!!

Monday, February 06, 2012

New Perspectives in Missiological Anthropology

I have not been reading theology books lately. I don't have any desire to read books about mission. Nowadays, I read books for entertainment or to get myself to sleep. So I guess, it is time for me to pick up a book and try to finish it. I'm reading Church and Cultures: New Perspectives in Missiological Anthropology written by Louis J. Luzbetak. He is formerly editor of the international journal Anthropos , studied cultural anthropology of the Universities of Fribourg and Vienna. He received his doctorate in anthropology from Fribourg. He has taught anthropology at the Catholic University of America and linguistic at Georgetown University. Church mission has always been the focal point of his teaching and research. He is at present in the service of the Pontifical Council for Culture Vatican City.

His theology and mission obviously comes from the Catholic perspective. Which is more of a strength rather than otherwise. It is evident that the Catholic Church has more experience and relatively more success than the evangelical mission endeavors.

Here is the summary of the chapters of the book from the preace:

Chapter 1 lays the theological foundation, for missiological anthropology. This explores the solid rock on which the application of anthropology to mission  must be based.

Chapter 2 describes in detail is meant by "Missiological Anthropology." He discusses in detail how missiology and anthropology blends. He further states that the scope and purpose of the book is missiological whereas the process and analysis is anthropological.

In chapter 3 he examines the failures and successes of the past.  He looks closely at the theory and the history when this theory is applied. At the same time, the theoretical presentation serves as a preview of the theory that is to come. It also serves to clarify some of the terminology that will be used in the chapters to follow.

He entitled chapter 4 as the "Signs of Times," looks at the present and the future of mission to see what challenges await missiological anthropology. It also provides the basic theological parameters within which present-day mission anthropology must be applied.

Chapter 5 examines the recent anthropological developments in regard to the concept of culture. IHe then formulates this knowledge into a working missiological model. In Chapter 6, he looks at culture as a system and in the next chapter, he examines the  the dynamic of culture. It should be noted that traditional accomodation generally passed over such important considerations; on the other hand, inculturation (incarnation, contextualization, "evangelization" of cultures--all synonymous) may not do so.  Chapters 5,6, and 7 are the heart of inculturational theory. Corresponding missiological application are made throughout these chapters as to illustrate the relevancy of the anthropological theory discussed. Chapter 8 is an epilogue. Here the anthropological theory of the early chapters is synthesized in the light of the nature and misson of the Church.

It looks like an excellent reading for those who are involved in mission.  Cross-cultural Christian workers have a lot to learn from this book specifically with regards to making the message of the gospel  clearer through understanding the target people culture.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Welcome 2012: A Prayer Update

Greetings in Christ name! Happy 2012!  Although many people welcome the new year with apprehension, we on the other hand, welcome it with  joyful anticipation for what God will do around us, with us, for us and through us this year.

All the nations you have made will come and worship before your, Lord they will bring glory to your name. For you are great and do marvelous deeds, you alone are God. - Ps. 86:9-10

With your prayers and support you are so much a part of everything that God is doing in this part of Thailand. Thank you very much.  We want to share with you some of the activity highlights this month.

Ministry to the children of Tachilek (Burma)

Few days before Christmas, we received a call from Angela telling us that Samrung, Tilek's brother was sick. She assumed that he was sick because he was missing his brother. Sam rung was staying in a children's home in Tachilek.  So she brought Sam Rung to be with his brother hoping he would get better. But when we saw him, we were certain that he was very sick. We took him to the clinic and the doctor said that we should bring him to the hospital at once. There he was found to be suffering from chronic TB.

Sam Rung with room mates
Sam Rung is in the isolation room in the hospital
with his room mates being tested for TB three weeks later.

This caused deep concerns for health officers, to prevent a breakout they asked us to bring the other children that share the room with Sam Rung. We brought a total of 16 children to the hospital to be tested and if found positive, and thankfully all of them are found out to be negative. It was in God's timing that a team from Displaced Orphans International (DOI) was in town doing medical mission. They kindly extended financial assistance for the children's TB test. We thanks the Lord for his provision and the opportunity to minister to these children.

Ministry with Teams

The year started with us working with two teams. The other is the 11-person YWAM team from Maddison and medical professionals from Displaced Orphans International (DOI).

The YWAM team wanted to minister to the hilltribe children so we brought them to the village that is close to our heart, Ban Kok Noi. We drove them to the mountain. Narlin and I have the chance to be reacquainted with people we befriended two years ago when we held our English camp there. We also gave gifts to them. We took the opportunity to visit the village leader. They also minister with children home in Tachilek and to our children.

The Kids with YWAM Team
The kids with the YWAM team from Maddison.
Narlin with the Ban Kok Noi Village Leader
We were giving a small gift to Ban Kok Noi village leader when he requested to
be photographed. He invited us to come back and teach English.

Moreover, the Displaced Orphans International (DOI) Foundation was able to connect with us through a friend of a friend. They told us about their medical mission in Tachilek and their desire to come in our home to bless us and our children. They did medical and dental exams to the children. Narlin and I were treated with the best dental care in the hotel. We experienced the best missionary care in a while. We felt so special. Our hearts are full of gratitude to the teams that truly blessed our lives.

Teaching Ministry

We praise the Lord for what He is doing with Narlin's teaching ministry. Although, our Bible teaching and discipleship training may take another year to kick off, Narlin's teaching ministry is getting momentum. She is now teaching conversational English to the municipal employees and teachers at Wat Pohweehan Municipal school. It is a big blessing to be part of the municipal school family.

The school wants to employ Narlin as fulltime English teacher but we believe that being a volunteer give her better opportunity to share the gospel in the school and to have more time with the ministry. Moreover, the school is looking for more English teachers and our prayers is that the Lord will use our relationship with the school in acommodating kingdom workers in the future.

Rainbow Children

The children are busy with the school and with learning music. But we took advantage of the New Year holiday to camped out at Ban Than Luam Forest Park. They enjoyed the camp that we decided to continue it to our backyard. Playing and eating out were so much fun.

By theway, the children are really enjoying learning to play violin, guitar and piano. We are short of musical instruments to use for practice, if you have old violin or guitar, you may consider donating it to us. =)

Children Camp at Tham Luam Forest Park
Narlin with the kids after hiking to the mountain
The boys in the tent

Prayer Concerns

We thank the Lord for the opportunity to network and work with other mission organizations and ministries.  We pray that this networking would bring more people to a relationship with our Lord Jesus.

We praise and thank the Lord for his promised provisions that makes us not to worry about our financial needs. Thank you for your love, prayers and support.

Please continue to pray for our plan to have a English language/Discipleship/ Leadership Training and Resource Center. This will also serve as home stay for coming missions teams and Angela's place (most of the time she is in Burma) in Mae Sai.

Please continue to pray for our children's education. Not only for the financial matter but the difficulties and technicalities of home schooling.

Pray for our "adopted" children's national identity. The school recommends them for Thai ID llast year but it is taking unusually long time for the approval.

We are expecting a very busy summer with organizing camps, trainings and teaching. We are also expecting several mission teams to come at about the same time to help us with these activities. Pray that God will use the teams to share the gospel. Pray for wisdom and strength.

Please pray for another year extension of our visa and house stay. Pray that just like the previous years, the process will go on smoothly again. There is so much development in our neighborhood that the owner of our house might be tempted to sell the property.

Once again, we thank you for your untiring support and prayers. We always feel your love for us.