We made it home late Friday night! After 30 plus hours of travel, we are finally all the way back to the other side of the Earth. We have all experienced some jet lag as our bodies try to readjust to the 12 hour time difference where day is night and night is day. I woke up at 3 am this morning, wide awake and wanting something to eat. I just made myself go back to sleep, but today I have still felt like I am walking in a fog. I may have a little cultural adjustment in coming home as well. No more motor scooters, 90-100 degree heat, sticky rice, and thai language to speak of. There is always both relief and let down after a trip like this, but you learn to grab the reigns of your life here in the US and ride again.
Everyone is asking if we have made a decision yet and I wish I had a solid answer, but I don’t yet. We have taken in a whole lot of experience and we are still digesting it all. We trust that God is in control and that he is working in us right now. There is a definately a cost to be counted and price to be paid when you consider being a pioneer church planter in 10/40 window country, but we have been encouraged by our friends who have made Thailand their home and have been faithfully integrating themselves in the language, culture, and the work. They are real unsung heroes and reports of the price they pay, as well as the work of many more like them, will never make it to many eyes and ears of people in the US church. Yet they plug along trying to be faithful to Jesus and fulfill the work he has given them to do.
In this part of the world and with this work, there are not many glowing statistics to speak of, yet there are miracles that happen often and all of heaven rejoices as one by one the Thai people enter the kingdom of heaven. Here is a recent excerpt from an email that our friend sent out about a Thai woman who received Jesus and how God used her to bring another woman into the Kingdom of God
“Gope had called me a few days ago and was so excited by the revelation God was giving her through her Bible.
- She realized that Jesus baptizes us with His Holy Spirit.
- That we are like John the Baptist sent before Jesus returns.
- We should worship like Mary, Lazarus’ sister.
- We are dead to the law and alive to Christ.You may not realize how big this is. It is so normal to you, but to me it is like when the Hebrew language was revived from being a dead language not spoken by children to a again (in Israel). A Zionist (man) spoke only Hebrew to his daughter born in after it became a nation again around 60 years ago. She didn’t say a word for four years and then started speaking Hebrew all at once. For four years I have been speaking the gospel to these people and mostly they know only what I have taught them, and now they are hearing from God and preaching to me! Hallelujah!
When we went for this week’s meeting she (Gope) was still on fire. She shared what God had revealed to her. And then I encouraged her to ask Lye (her friend) if she was ready to receive the honor of becoming God’s child. Gope asked her and Lye said yes! Gope then led Lye in the prayer of salvation. Obvious joy was shining from Lye’s face after she prayed. We all rejoiced together. Tepah and Gope are going to take Lye to the pool and baptize her. I am not going. I want to go, but this is such a break through that Gope is taking the lead and the girls are able to do things on their own. They are real disciples who know how to serve the Lord.”
Friends, this is the kingdom of God taking root. Plowing, sowing, and watering faithfully by servants of God and then God brings forth the fruit. But it doesn’t end there. For a nation to be reached, there must be rapid multiplication. Those who receive Jesus, must grasp his Word and will and then be able to teach others. They must take ownership of the responsibility to lead others to him from the beginning. If they are taught to look to the Pastor or leader to do the work of the ministry then the movement will stagnate.
The same is true for us in America, yet it is easier for us to hide in church meetings each week without feeling the responsibility of taking ownership of the precious faith that has been given us and seeing to it that it multiplies because of our witness. The edge is taken off here in the States when we see churches all around us and have instant access to Christian teaching on TV and radio among other things. “Someone will get it done” is what we tell ourselves, yet this is not a luxury that can be afforded in a country where less than 1% of 65 million are believers. Every single believer must be activated as a disciple of Jesus. Every single believer must become a witness and a teacher. Every single believer is precious.
The same is true here in America. The question is, “how well do we know and understand it”?