The past few months have been full of up-and-down or start-and-stop moments. In June, we were fully moved into our new building, and everyone was enjoying worshiping together in our bigger, nicer place. We had all of our chairs full and some visitors. Our three Bible students had begun living there and preparing for their first semester of Bible college, which would begin in July. They planted a large garden and dug a fish pond to raise catfish to sell and eat. Then in the middle of a Sunday evening service, the village leader and a couple of his workers came into our church. Those who didn’t have masks on quickly pulled them on, and the leader informed us that someone had turned us in for having a large group in one place. He kindly informed us that we would have to set up our auditorium to be up to par with the COVID guidelines and that we could not meet with more than 5 people without getting permission first. Previously, we had understood no more than 50 could gather. Instead of meeting at the church, we began to hold services at our home, which is in another town, and rotated who would come. After our church building was up to their standard, we attempted to contact the village leader to gain his approval to hold services again. Instead, there was an outbreak of COVID near our church, and that area went under lockdown. Locals became more and more paranoid of getting COVID and didn’t like us even leaving tracts at their gate. In July, a semi-lockdown was put into place, and by August, a full lockdown for our entire province was in place. Two of the young men who were going to start Bible college ended up returning home to work and help their families. We praise God that my brother-in-law still began online Bible college even though he’d be studying alone.
Through each seemingly dead end, God turned it into an opportunity. Although we couldn’t go out on regular visitation and share the Gospel or hold services with our church family, God gave my wife and me other opportunities to teach and preach the Gospel. With many places closed due to the lockdown, some of the families are struggling due to not working. We received a donation and were able to buy food and supplies to distribute and make quick visits to some families of the children who attend our church. My wife’s old student, who hadn’t been in contact with her for nearly two years, reconnected with her. She requested to resume conversation lessons online with a focus on the topic of Christianity. She is searching and wanting to understand what we believe. Please pray with us that Felicia will trust Christ. I was also given the opportunity to preach and teach for SBC’s chapel (the Bible college) via livestream. With moving all of our services online, we have also been able to connect with others who don’t usually attend our church.
In June and July, we had daily heavy rains, and many areas of our town would flood after a downpour. Our church had two bad leaks in the roof, which caused mini-waterfalls going down both staircases. In between the rains, the repairmen have slowly fixed the roof over the past month. Now the building is ready, and we are praying for the number of COVID cases to decrease and the restrictions to lessen.
I have been having strong stomach pain from a stomach ulcer and would appreciate prayer for healing and for good health for our family. Thank you for faithfully praying and supporting us.
Teerapat and Tiffany Phaisarnpiwat