Here in Thailand, Thanksgiving isn’t an official holiday, but many Christian farmers have a thanksgiving dinner at their church to thank God for their harvests. We have much to be thankful as we look back over the past year, including moving to a nicer home in November. When a Buddhist family moves into a new home, they invite some monks over to bless the house to rid the house of any bad spirits; they also have a party. Christians will invite a pastor over and have a thanksgiving service and dinner together with friends—thanking God for the new place to live, dedicating the home for God’s service, and asking for God’s blessings and protection on their family and home. We did just that on the first Sunday of November—held our evening church service at our home. We want to thank each one of you who have prayed for us and donated towards the ministry here this year. With your help, we have been able to lay the groundwork in starting Charity Baptist Church, plant many seeds, see several trust Christ, teach in the local Thai schools, and teach and train the young people attending our church that they may be servants of Christ. We wouldn’t have been able to do these things without you.
Charity Baptist Church, my wife, and I would like to specially thank Calvary Baptist Church and Pastor Smith for donating the necessary funds to put a roof over the back of our truck. Our truck is now an official transportation vehicle, fit with benches, a roof, and sides to protect from the sun and rain. As we have been praying for this since April, it was so exciting to share with everyone that their prayers had been answered.
Learning to follow God’s leading and being flexible is so important. In November, we started practicing songs to prepare for caroling and a Christmas drama. What we had planned didn’t go as planned, but God opened other doors for us. Instead of a drama in one village, we partnered with Missionary Eddie Arold and taught the true meaning of Christmas in four Thai public schools. Many of the schools have Christmas celebrations at school, but they don’t know the true meaning of Christmas or what they are celebrating. When we went to the schools and asked if we could do a program in their school to teach about Christmas, including teaching English, they were excited about having us. Some students who attend each of these schools also go to our church. Around 900 children plus teachers heard the Gospel and learned about the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ. The teachers also asked us to come back. What an exciting time to be able to preach and teach in Thai Buddhist schools! We were able to make new contacts through teaching at the schools and have new families visit. We celebrated Christmas at church on December 23 and had a wonderful time with a special dinner, gifts, and games following the morning service. Victoria, my wife’s sister, joined us just in time to be a part of our different Christmas celebrations and outreaches. We are excited to have her here until mid-January.
Please pray with us for God’s provision, guidance, and wisdom in the New Year. Pray that we will be able to make a difference in the village of Maeku, that doors will open and hearts will be softened. The people are not only strong Buddhists, but they are also spirit worshipers. Please pray also for my wife and me as we travel to Laos to get a new visa for my wife at the end of January.
Happy New Year to You All!
Teerapat and Tiffany Phaisarnpiwat