When November comes around, my wife often asks the students she tutors what they are thankful for. Ping Ping, a 10-year-old girl who has been learning with my wife for about six years now, said that she was thankful for Jesus because she wanted to be a Christian. We are praying for her to trust God and not worry about her family, culture, and traditions. Despite the ups and downs of the past year and the cancellations and rescheduling of plans, programs, and activities, we are so thankful for God, our Creator, and Jesus Christ, our Saviour, Who never changes and provides for our every need.
Between October and November, we were able to order about 40 hymnbooks. What a surprise it was to everyone at church when they saw the new books. We are so thankful that there are enough books for everyone now. Thank you, Calvary Baptist Church. Our other praise is that my wife’s visa has been successfully renewed for another year.
This past Thanksgiving, we were invited to celebrate Thanksgiving with about 10 other missionary families that serve in different areas in Thailand. What a blessing it was to be able to meet others who serve God in Thailand and make new friends. This was a special treat for us all, but especially my wife, as we don’t often get to eat Western food or get to fellowship with other missionaries.
COVID Situation Update
The Thai government is extremely cautious. When new cases are known, the infected area is closed, and sometimes the city is put under lockdown. This happened in October for two weeks and at the end of December; again, a lockdown has been put in place indefinitely. During lockdowns, schools, meeting places, government buildings, restaurant dining, sports, and large group gatherings or activities are canceled. We then hold services at our house with a couple of families and then group call the others who can join in on social media. We are still going out on visitation and doing discipleship as much as possible.
Our theme for Christmas 2020 was Christmas Joy. Sweet December is celebrated by our Karen friends on the night before the first of December. It is celebrated very similarly to how we celebrate New Year’s Eve. So, we started our Christmas celebrations on the eve of December 1 with a faithful Karen family who attend our church. We began practicing Christmas carols and decorating the church on the first Saturday of December. The entire month, our church practiced and prepared for our Christmas program and service. On December 25, we had nearly 40 people attend our Christmas service/celebration. This was the most we have ever had in our small church building. Many hadn’t been to church in a while. We had 8 visitors, with 2 accepting Christ as their Saviour.
On the 31st, we had planned a large outreach with a football competition in the morning and a second Christmas and New Year’s service/celebration to be held at our home in the evening. Sadly, on the 28th, our town was put under lockdown, and we had to cancel nearly everything. Instead we had a small party of 15 people at our home. After enjoying a meal together, we had a time of sharing blessings and testimonies and singing. I gave a short New Year’s message, and then we all took some time to pray for 2021. Everyone went home with a gift from a drawing that we had. Thank you so much to everyone who helped with making our celebrations and sharing the good news of our Saviour possible.
Teerapat and Tiffany Phaisarnpiwat