Tim and Missy Shook Prayer Letter: Back Home in Thailand!
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:10-12)
On January 7 at 12:30 a.m., we landed in Bangkok, Thailand, after our long, almost 30-hour trip from America. God blessed us with protection, and all of our baggage arrived with us. Our friend and co-laborer, Bro. Chad Inman, was there to pick us up from the airport and drive us home to Hua Hin. For those who don’t know, Hua Hin is just under four hours south of the city of Bangkok. Missy and Lauren caught a virus while on the long flight back. It has taken them a little while to recover. Thankfully, they are both on the mend and getting back to feeling 100%.
The day after our arrival was a Sunday, and we were thrilled to be reunited with our friends and church family. There were tears of rejoicing and a lot of hugs given all around! What a joy it was to see folks faithfully in their places of service. I am thankful for the team of missionaries and national staff who worked extra hard in our absence. It was also wonderful to see the new faces of those who have joined the church in the past few months.
God continues to bless the two church plants in Hua Hin and Nong Phlap. Please pray as we move forward with another church plant in Phetchaburi, the city one hour north of Hua Hin. In the next several months, we will begin midweek services there. We are currently looking for the best place to rent.
Two Saturdays ago, Mark, Lauren, and I were excited to get back to Youth Soul Winning. The Youth Soul-Winning group was started less than a year ago, and we have about 8 to 10 teenagers who are faithfully involved each weekend. These teens have been trained by Khun Tan, and each one of them has had the opportunity to lead others to the Lord because of this training. In less than a year’s time, these young people have collectively seen over 50 souls come to Christ, and 5 of those newly saved souls are attending church each week.
Last week, Missy and Mark went out with the youth, and God allowed Missy and Joop Jang, one of the teen girls, to lead an older lady to the Lord. One of the challenges of teaching the Thai young people about soul winning is that it goes against their culture to approach an adult with a serious question, especially about their eternity. God has given the young people boldness and help in this area, but we adults who go out with them are able to help start conversations and also answer complicated questions they might face. This lady had grown up in the northern part of Thailand and had even been to a Christian church. She had heard of Jesus, but no one had ever told her how she could go to Heaven. She told the ladies that she knew works religion was not the answer, but she had wondered for years what was the true answer. God had this dear lady there, waiting for them to walk by and give her the greatest news! Missy gave her the Gospel and encouraged Joop Jang to read the verses while giving added explanation. Joop Jang led her in prayer, and she was sweetly saved!
On a different topic, we would appreciate your prayers as we look for a different house to rent. When we returned home, we had many items of furniture, including our kids’ mattresses, that had black mold on them. We have had to dispose of and replace several items and thoroughly treat our house with a mold-removal solution. Mold is not uncommon here, but the house we have rented for the past nine years has recently had a mold infestation in the walls due to structural problems and the location of the property on which it is built. This, in turn, is causing serious health issues for us all.
As we have started to look for houses, we were connected with the manager of a specific house. Last week, we went to look at the house. After we spent some time there, I went to the car and brought in a church tract for the manager, Khun Noon. When she read it, she began to cry and asked me if there was a way to be sure about her life and eternity. I took the time to give her the Gospel, and as Missy and I spoke with her, she could only weep. She shared with us that she had been seeking the truth for several years. She did not accept Christ that day, but she came to church this past Sunday. During the service and invitation time, her eyes continued to fill with tears. Missy had a chance to take her aside and talk more with her. She invited our Thai pastor’s wife Udomluck to share her salvation testimony also. Khun Noon’s heart is so tender. She took home a John and Romans and said that she wanted to understand more. Would you please pray that she will continue to come and that she will trust in the Lord as her Saviour?
As we returned with full hearts from our encouraging furlough, we are soberly reminded that we must be strong in the power of HIS might. The things we are fighting are not of this world, and those we are trying to reach are heavy-laden with sin, grief, and many burdens. Praise the Lord, we have the armor of God and His strength to fight against these things!
Thank you for your continued prayers, faithful support, and love for our family. We look forward to this new year and all that God has planned for the ministries here.