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.


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


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.
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.
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.
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.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Thankful for every blessing

The seemingly long summer vacation was officially over. The long break away from the school rekindled the children’s enthusiasm to go back to school. The girls who are in fifth grade are delighted to find out that they all made it to the top section. The boys on the other hand remains on the same section. The children are growing up in all aspects and the challenges we have in raising them up also go up to a different level. We will not stop our teaching ministry at the school and organisations but we deem it necessary to do less of these this year so that we can give time and focus more to the needs of the children. Once again, words are not enough to express our sincere thanks for your love, support and prayers. The children surely can feel your love for them. We are sharing to you our thanksgiving and prayer concerns. DSCN0279

Dorm for the boys

Two years ago, we felt the need for a separate sleeping quarter for the boys. So we rented another house to meet the need. However, trying to manage two different houses plus the expenses of paying another rent and utilities proved to be costly and impractical. We believe it is more economical and practical to build a boy’s dorm on our backyard. We will draft a plan and will ask our builder friend how much it will cost and will give you update as soon as we can do it. We want to hear from the Lord regarding this. Please pray and share your ideas about this project. DSCN0288

Home away from home

Our house, although old and lacking in amenities, has served as halfway home for guests, kingdom workers and even co-laborer working in Burma. If we have the time we also show them around bringing them to the places that are considered tourist attraction. In our own small way, we are hoping that we may be a blessing to them. We were blessed to have several guests last month. One of them is Amor, a fellow-kingdom worker ministering in Burma. Every 14 days, she will stay 2-3 days in our home so that she could extend her stay in Myanamr. She used to work with YWAM-Philippines and she had been a big help in cooking and taking care of the children. Because of the new Thai immigration rules, she is no longer allowed to enter Thailand moreover her ministry in Burma did not work out as planned. Please pray for Amor as she continues her ministry in the Philippines. Please pray also that our house will be a home for those who are temporarily “homeless.” Amor  Mau

Thankful for backpacks

We begin to notice that we are spending a lot of money for the children's bags. The new bags that we bought for them at the start of the school would be broken even before the semester ends. We considered buying them quality backpacks that will last at least a couple of years but we did not have a budget for such bags for 13 children. We thank the Lord for touching people’s hearts to give each child a brand new original Jansport backpacks. We thank the Lord for Nori and for the people whom God used to provide for this particular need. Boys Backpacks Girls Backpacks

Pray for Thailand

When we came to Thailand in 2006, the then Prime Minister Thaksin was accused of corruption and was unseated by coup d’etat. But when democracy was restored and an election was held later, it was ironic that majority of the seats was won by Thaksin's party members and even his sister was elected as Prime Minister. After eight years, it seems the situation has not changed. The hostility between the pro and anti government is becoming worse. The military declared martial law again on the 21st of May to “calm the situation” and eventually took over the government 12 hours later “to allow the army to maintain and restore peace in more effective manner.” For those who live outside Bangkok like us, except for the visibility of soldiers guarding offices and patrolling the streets at night, we barely feel the effect of the military junta. But we know that the Thai people are suffering for what is happening to the country they love so much. Please pray for Thailand and that this will be a good opportunity for the Christians to share God’s love to the Thai people. Curfew

More prayer requests

  • We thank the Lord for your continued prayer and support specifically regarding our visa and educational expenses of our children. Your partnership keeps us going on.
  • We thank the Lord for local people who would knock on our door to donate food, clothes and even used bicycle.
  • Please continue to pray for Jared and Jillian as they are going through college in the Philippines.
  • Please pray for Reuven. He did not pass the ALS exam this year. One of the reasons was that the circumstances did not allow him to study for the test.
  • Pray for our English teaching ministry. All of our students’ parents decided to continue their English language learning with us. Pray that this will become an opportunity to share God’s love to the community.
  • We are praying for a more intensive church involvement. Although we consider Grace Church as our home church, our involvement is becoming lesser. Also most of the children do not speak Burmese. We are asking the Lord’s guidance to look for a church that God can use us and the children. Having said that, we are praying that God may use us to start a new church in a village where there is no Christian presence yet.
We cannot stop thanking the Lord when we remember you and your partnership in the ministry. PTL!

Skipping Songkran

We skipped playing Songkran this year. The festival is one of the most celebrated and longest holidays in Thailand. Skipping it is like skipping Christmas. We did not mind missing it though. Regardless, we had planned several activities for the kids during the holidays like holding mini English camp and playing water with the people in the community.  But God had better work for us, days before the Songkran,  Angela requested us to hold and lead a Summer English Camp (DVBS) at her place of ministry in Tachilek, Burma.  And it easily became the highlight of our activities this month. We will share more about this here. Songkran2013 copy   We thank you once again for your love and prayers. Your financial support is sincerely appreciated for without it, we know that we could not stay a day longer here in Thailand.

Summer English Camp (DVBS)

We held the Summer English Camp (DVBS) in Tachilek, Burma from 13th to 19th of April. It was a last minute request so we had to prepare all the lessons and materials in few days.  The initial plan was Narlin would go to lead the camp alone but we thought it would be better if all the children will go with her and joined the camp. Joey and Reuven stayed in Mae Sai and bought all the necessary supplies needed and brought it to the other side of the border.   About 140 children and young people attended the camp from different villages in Tachilek. We thought it would also be good if our children would join the activity. It was a great opportunity to share the love of God and at the same time disciple to children to grow in their knowledge and faith in Christ. We are thankful for Angela’s staff and Filipino co-workers who labored together to make the event successful and glorifying to God. Please pray for the children who have heard the good news that they will grow in their faith and knowledge of our Lord Jesus. Young People VBS Class Children praying Narlin Leading

Visa...again (sigh)

Just barely two months has past when our visa travails for the year has ended that received a noticed from Rainbow Foundation that we will be renewing our visa this July and we need to start submitting the required documents.  Besides the requirements, we also need to give our yearly donation of 17,000 THB. Part of the donation will cover the salaries of the staff and other operational expenses. Although this is a big amount, we are happy to give because we do appreciate the work that the staff is doing in our behalf preparing all the necessary documents and dealing with the Thai labor and immigration officers.  Please pray that this year’s visa process will not be as complicated like the last time. Pray also for God’s provision.

Teaching Opportunity

We are privileged to partner with friend and fellow kingdom worker who have the same ministry vision. Having said that, we are also grateful that we are also no longer working with people who have different kingdom agenda. The Lord indeed guides his servants who wanted to follow his will.   Last week, we had the opportunity to train leaders among Lahu people from Laos and nearby towns in North Thailand. We taught evangelism and discipleship using Chronological Bible Storying. Please pray that this ministry will continue and that God will provide for discipleship and leadership training for these people. Nam Tok Village

Family Visit

We are happy to be visited by family again this month. Nori visited us last month and this time, Dadai, who is leading mission teams in Thailand and Cambodia took time out  to spend time with us. Although it was a very short visit, it was a big encouragement for us especially these days when we could not find the time and we do not have the resources to go home. Thank you Dadai. Dadai visit We are thankful to God for your partnership. We want you to know that we sincerely appreciate the time you are spend praying for us and the sacrifices you make to support the children and our ministries. May God bless you always.