“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (I Corinthians 15:58)
As we watched March come to an end, we had many things for which to praise the Lord! We shared in February how the Lord provided a new house to rent; and thankfully, with the help of our team friends here, we were all settled in and unpacked by the beginning of March. We could not have done it without them. The most wonderful blessing about our move is that each of us has seen an improvement in our health. God has once again taken such great care of us!
We have had the opportunity to move forward once again with the land development. I took a trip to Northern Thailand mid-February with Brother Sakrapee. We visited several ministries and looked at a few different churches and their properties. We also met with Missionary Srichand Horn, the widow of Missionary Richard Horn, in Lamphun, Thailand. She has served faithfully in Thailand for over three decades. Before Brother Horn went to Heaven, they worked together to start an orphanage, start many churches, and train many young people in service for the Lord. Mrs. Horn has continued to soldier on in Lamphun, and their ministry is still thriving under her care. I had the privilege to preach for their Sunday morning service. We also met one of the men, trained by Brother Horn, who is not only a pastor but also a builder. He has overseen the construction of several church buildings here in Thailand, and we are praying about partnering with this pastor and his crew of Christian laborers to help us in this first phase of our building project. He is scheduled to come and survey the project in a few weeks.
The following projects have been completed these last few months:
• Fence strengthened with more poles and barbed wire
• Two front gates completed with security lights installed
• Solar security lighting installed across the front of the property
• Mobile office with foundation, a bathroom, water tank, water pump, and temporary septic bathrooms for the builders
• Two wells dug with solar-powered pumps (both wells providing a strong water supply)
The local electric company (PEA) has been contracted to install a 250 KVA power transformer, power poles, and about 50 yards of cable to connect us finally to the electric company’s three-phase power grid. This should provide enough power for the property for several years at least.
Just today, the backhoe operator began clearing and leveling land for our first covered parking structure. The work crews will be able to use this space to rest during the heat of the day and get out of the sun. We are currently into the second month of Thailand’s hot season, where it is often over 102 degrees, with extreme humidity. It is very easy to suffer heat stroke between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. We have precious church members, men and ladies alike, who labor daily in the heat to see this project come to fruition. I find myself exhausted after just three or four hours in the heat. You can almost feel your brain cells boiling in your baseball cap. 😊
Lord willing, by the end of this year, we hope to complete an office building, two houses for the land caregivers, and a large pavilion. The pavilion will first serve as our auditorium until we can raise the needed funds for our permanent indoor auditorium. The office space will be used as Sunday school classrooms, for Junior Church, and for the nursery. We are thrilled to see how the Lord is allowing us to move
forward so quickly with the property development after what seemed like such a time of delay due to land border disputes and that ridiculous health crisis which befuddled the entire world.
We have equally exciting news regarding the reopening of our next church plant in Phetchaburi, where we had begun services just before COVID hit in early 2020. We had a wonderful service last Friday. God provided a public, local pavilion, and we saw seven souls come to Christ. Our team and staff from both churches, Hua Hin and Nong Phlap, came to help, along with a few of our faithful church members. Two ladies at that meeting came the next Sunday to the church in Hua Hin to worship with us, and both were baptized. It was such a joy to see their excitement in their newfound faith. Please pray as we work through some details before we can meet on a weekly basis.
God has given us great soul-winning experiences in recent weeks. We have seen many open hearts and those who are seeking. A few weeks ago, our family was out visiting. Missy met an older lady who had lost her husband when she was just a young wife and mother. She shared her story that she was so lost and needed to find work at that time. She would send her daughter to a church every Sunday just so she could have something for her daughter to do while she worked. Even though she sent her daughter to church, no one had ever told her about the hope of Heaven. When Missy gave her the Gospel, she began to cry. She said that all these years, she had been so weary of trying to do enough good just to hope to get into Heaven. Missy urged her to trust in Jesus. She was open and ready but did not want to pray publicly with the ladies. She told them that she would pray that night.
On the same evening, Mark and I spoke with two young men, Book and Noon, in their early twenties. Both men gladly received Gospel tracts and listened intently as we preached the Gospel. Both men realized that their religious traditions were of no use in regards to their eternal home. We showed them from the Bible that salvation is a gift, by God’s grace, through Jesus Christ. It was plain to see that they were struggling to wrap their heads around the joyful news that such a precious gift would be offered to them freely. Both men asked if we would come again. Please pray as we revisit these three people.
April will be Missions Month for the church in Hua Hin. I have challenged the church members to pray five minutes a week for our missionaries, to give out at least five tracts a week, and to give something every week to missions. Several of our missionaries will come to visit and talk about their ministries. I am praying that this will increase our church’s vision for lost souls even more, not just in Thailand but around the world. The next week, I had several newer members share how they had become aware of lost souls around them on a daily basis. One man shared that he was excited to watch people so readily accept tracts and invitations to church! He had never given out a Gospel tract before the missions challenge.
Would you join us as we pray about another possible church plant at the border of Burma in the near future? We cannot share much more about this now, but we are hoping to start it up this year.
Allow me to share one last story. Four years ago, Missy was out visiting one of our faithful church members, Khun Yai Meow. As Missy was getting ready to leave, Khun Yai asked her to wait a minute so she could to meet one of her neighbors who was a shut-in. The lady came slowly over, walking with a walker and the help of Khun Yai. As she chatted, Khun Yai asked Missy to give her the Gospel. She was sweetly saved that day. Missy went back and took the shut-in a Bible a few weeks after. With her health issues and then the hit of COVID, she was never able to come to church. When we were in the States on furlough last fall, Khun Yai messaged Missy and told her that she had finally made it to church. Just last Sunday, she was able to come back for another service. She had almost died earlier this year due to further health complications, but she had been waiting to come to church to see Missy. She gave Missy a huge hug and thanked her for leading her to Jesus. What an incredible moment it was for our family! We praise the Lord for those who are trusting Jesus, growing in their faith, and seeing the great need to lead others to Christ.
On May 1, our family, Miss Shari House, and the Chad Inman family will celebrate together our team’s 15-year anniversary as missionaries in Thailand! Our three families have worked together through thick and thin, in strong bonds of brotherly love. Your prayers and investment for all these years in our family, churches, ministries, and team have not been in vain. May we remain steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord!