After years of struggling with the Thai language, I recently passed a huge milestone. When I returned from furlough, I was worried I would forget all that I had learned, but I was pleased with how much I remembered and have continued to progress over the past several months. I even have had some success with witnessing on my own but usually rely on my translator to check for understanding and for praying with them.
On May 8, Kristi Mercer and I were sent out on our own during visitation because we were short on translators. I planned to just invite people to church and hand out tracts, making mental notes to return with a translator if anyone seemed interested in the Gospel, but these three sisters were very keen and wanted me to talk to them right then about what was in the tract. With trepidation I started, and the Holy Spirit took over. I found I remembered words I had heard my translator use for further explanation, and the girls seemed to understand every word I said. In the end they all sweetly prayed and accepted Christ as their Saviour. Afterwards I found out that they lived several hours away and were just in the area for the day. Praise the Lord! Since then I have had the opportunity to see several saved without using a translator. Please continue to pray for my language learning.
The Bosje family returned to the States several weeks ago, and Bro. Tim Shook and his family returned to Thailand to become our new team leader and pastor. It was wonderful to be able to host them for six weeks while they looked for a house and got settled in. We are excited to see how well the church has done during this transition time. Our faithful members have embraced the Shooks with open arms and are enjoying sitting under Bro. Tim’s preaching and leadership. We continue to see people saved and baptized each week and are bursting at the seams in our current rented buildings. Please continue to pray that God will provide us with our own land.
Thailand is home to many Karen refugees from Burma. In my last prayer letter, I mentioned we had 50-60 coming to church each week. That number has continued to grow, and we’ve also had the opportunity to minister to a Karen orphanage about 40 minutes away with food and other necessities. In June Bro. Scott Mercer organized the purchasing of shoes and socks with funds given from overseas for that purpose. Many of the orphans either didn’t own a pair of shoes or had to use shoes from two different pairs. How fun it was to hand each child their very own brand-new pair of shoes and socks for school. On a different occasion, we were able to give each child a copy of the Bible in Karen. It was a first for them to be able to hold their very own Bible in their language. These were also purchased with overseas funds. One of the perks of being a missionary is getting to be the go-between for those who have and those who need.
Several weeks ago I traveled with the Bosjes to our first church plant from six years ago so the people could say goodbye. What a blessing it was to see many people we had invested our lives in continuing to be faithful to the Lord and the ministry there. I had the wonderful opportunity to teach the children’s class for Nong Nat, who used to be one of my students. It thrills my heart to know that many of the classes and ministries are now being run by the teens we first started out with. Please continue to pray for spiritual growth in our converts.
Since my last prayer letter, two more churches have taken me on for support, bringing my support level to 80%! Praise the Lord! Thanks for praying for me!
Serving the Master joyfully,