Since Resurrection Sunday in April, we had planned for the weeks following to announce, invite, pray, and visit for a special Mother’s Day celebration at the church on May 8 at the Nong Phlap church. We arranged for large umbrellas to be given away, flowers to be given to the moms by the children, and ice cream for all. Then after all was done, the plan was for the men to play soccer at a nearby artificial-turf field. At 7:00 a.m. on Mother’s Day—rain. At 8:00 a.m.—heavy rain. At 8:15 a.m., one of church trucks that is used to bring members to church had a flat tire. I think you kind of get the feeling we had: “Ahh, this is going to be an interesting one.” The possibility of sun looked impossible, as rains continued non-stop for the entire morning and into the middle afternoon. Arriving at the church that morning, not surprisingly, the crowd was lower than usual. Rain, cool weather, and traveling don’t mix well here. A lot of mold and fungus are stirred up, and people oftentimes get sick after heavy rains. This kind of thinking is just “built in” to society here. So, I just thought to myself: Well, Lord, You are in control, and we will just make a great day with those who are able to brave the weather. After all, He had brought 112 souls on Resurrection Sunday, just 3 weeks prior. By the beginning of the first service, the church was gradually filling. More arrived on their motorcycles in full-suit ponchos. In between the services, some helped in Junior Church or the nurseries to make room for others to sit in the second service. I made a routine pickup in between the services, where we usually have between 3 and 5 people come. Driving in the rain, I pulled up to the narrow row of houses in pouring rain, and underneath the overhang stood 15 people, all dressed in their Sunday best, ready to give God honor with their Sunday. It was a little overwhelming, and I wasn’t 100% sure if everyone standing there was planning to come. Yes, they were all planning to come, regardless of how heavy the rains were. My heart was filled with joy as we slowly rolled into church. Twelve individuals fit inside a 4-door pickup truck, and another 3 were in the bed of the truck with an umbrella. When the day was complete, God brought 120 souls on Mother’s Day, though it never stopped raining. I have many memories of big days, but this one will stick in my mind as the big day where people’s faith and desire to come to church would not be suppressed . . . regardless. Praise God! I should have gotten a picture or two of that, but I was quite caught up in the glory of it all. The day saw 3 salvations and 7 first-time visitors. Every mom received a very nice, large umbrella, along with orchid and jasmine flowers. The whole church was treated to coconut and strawberry ice creams. The soccer was rained out, but nobody was disappointed. God’s people chose faithfulness!
Twenty-Four Salvations in the Month of May: Our soul-winning times and initiatives remained strong throughout May (at least four windows of time each week, not including church services). Often, church members come out with us or recommend friends and neighbors for us to visit. We have seen out-of-town visitors, locals, Thai, Karen, Burmese, Cambodian, and English- speaking people trust Jesus as their Saviour. It is a joy to serve the Lord in this way, as we regularly teach and encourage our church to follow the Great Commission, beginning with our continuing example.
Answered Prayers and Prayer Requests
Several of our Nong Phlap church families have extended family living in Burma. We pray and ask for your prayers for their protection, as villages can suffer from operatives and political unrest. In most cases, thanks be to God, the families have been protected. Also, the orphanage our church supports has been safe, but they needed to leave their residence. In God’s perfect timing, some individual donors gave towards this need, exactly when more food and provision were needed for the 25-plus kids (fatherless) and their caretakers (some being widows). We pray for safety, peace, and needs to be met for the Burmese extended families of our church and the Burmese orphanage. Here in Nong Phlap, new families are joining the church. Two of those families have children who love coming to church, so much so that parents are basing their jobs and residences close by to make sure they can be in every service. Please pray for these new families and for more families to discover the greatness of God.
Family and Thankfulness
My Harmony turned 13 on June 1, Autumn turned 11 on May 17, and Forest turned 9 on May 8. Sarah and I are another year older as well. We thank God for our children’s health and growth and also for their schooling—their next three years of schoolbooks have already been purchased. Sarah’s health is excellent, as well as mine. We have so much to thank God for. Lord willing, our next furlough will be in the fall of 2025. Thank you all for praying for our family and church! Your prayers and encouragements are noticeable difference-makers!