We are grateful for the outpouring of texts, messages, and emails while our family was ill with COVID. My recovery was not as rapid as that of Missy, Lauren, and Mark; but I rejoice to report that I am completely well now. We saw a wave of the virus go through the local communities around our church location, and some of our members and their families were affected as well. God has been gracious to allow our church to remain open, and all of those who were sick have recovered.
While giving out the Gospel two weeks ago, Missy and I were able to see several folks saved in one family unit. The grandpa and grandma of the family were outside of their home as we were walking down their small road. The ladies spoke to the grandma Noi, and Bro. Sakrapee and I talked with the grandpa Neekome. Noi told the ladies that her daughter was a Christian, but that she had never heard how she could go to Heaven. When she learned that is was a free gift for her as well, tears filled her eyes. and a big smile spread over her face. Noi and Neekome sweetly trusted Jesus as their Saviour. After we spoke with them, we met their grandson Dton and three neighbor friends. All were interested in hearing what we shared with the others; and they, too, accepted Christ. We went back to visit them, but they had a death in the family and were out of town. Please pray as we build a relationship with them and encourage the whole family to come to church.
God has brought many different new families to our church in the last month, many of whom have found our church because of our online services or through a Google search. One of those families is a couple who has been watching our services faithfully for over six months. They relocated to our city during the last major COVID shutdown and were looking for a Bible-believing, Gospel-preaching church. The husband is an American, and his wife is a Thai national. He has been a believer for several decades, but his wife has only been saved a little over a year. Once we were able to have in-person services in January, they began attending. After their first visit, I received a message from the husband saying that our church was the most friendly and welcoming church they have visited. He shared with me that he was also greatly blessed to receive sound doctrine and preaching straight from the Bible. That is what we hope and pray the ministries of Team Thailand will always be. Missy and I have had the opportunity to begin discipling them, upon their request, regarding baptism and Bible doctrine. Please pray as we minister to our church members and point them always to Jesus and His Word.
Both church plants had a truly miraculous Resurrection Sunday this past week. This year the special Sunday fell on the Songkran Festival (Thai New Year), which essentially lasts five days—it starts on Wednesday and ends on Sunday. Many travel to different provinces to see family during this time. Even with the New Year happening, International Baptist Church of Hua Hin had 118, and International Baptist Church of Nong Phlap had 112 in attendance.
Our church in Hua Hin shared a video of John’s account of Jesus’ Crucifixion and Resurrection before the sermon. We had special music, and the church choir sang for the first time. Every child and teenager received a goodie bag with treats and candy, and each adult received a gift. We surprised our adults with a fun raffle in the adult Sunday school class. Every head of household received a ticket and a chance to win from a variety of small electric appliances for the home. After church, we shared a delicious meal with a special Thai dessert, sticky rice, and mango . . . and ice cream for the kid in everyone. It was truly a Christ-honoring and joyful day to remember that because He lives, we can face tomorrow!
We are seeing God work in our church members’ lives on a daily basis. After Sunday’s church service, one of our newer members shared with Missy that ever since she received her own copy of the Thai Bible from our church, the Word of God has come alive to her. She said now when she reads it, she learns something new every day. With tears in her eyes, she said, “I didn’t even need to watch the video today about Jesus’ betrayal and death to know what was happening, because I just read that same passage last night before bed.” She went on to say that she
has learned more about following Jesus in this last year of being in our church than she has in the last several decades. Before attending our church, this lady was not even sure of her salvation, and now she is a growing, thriving believer and follower of Christ!! What a joy it is for me to share these precious testimonies from our dear church family. It is all because of your support and faithful prayers that we can do the work here for His glory.
Speaking of faithful prayers, we had a large spitting cobra in our yard last week. Our two dogs spotted it first. One of them took a hit of the spitting venom in her eyes, but I believed she saved our lives. In our city, there is no anti-venom medicine available. Once Mark and I realized there was a dangerous cobra in our yard, we took action. We had to corner the snake, so we had a chance at killing it. Mark kept the raised-up, hood-flared cobra distracted and cornered, and while it hissed and showed its fangs, I was able to strike its head and kill it with a large bamboo stick. Just after that happened, my wife posted a story about the experience on Facebook. She later received a message from a dear friend who said that the Lord woke her up in the middle of the night and told her to pray for us. She was praying at the same time that Mark and I were trying to kill the snake! If that doesn’t make you believe in the divine power of prayer, nothing will. This is just one of the many times we know God has used the prayers of our friends to protect us from physical danger and encourage us through spiritual oppression. Never underestimate the power of prayer, for it is the believer’s best defense and greatest weapon.
God has filled in our furlough calendar dates for this fall, and we are praying that He will use us to be a blessing as we present to many new churches and report to some of our supporting churches. We appreciate your prayers as we finalize our transportation needs and prepare to fill all the many areas of our responsibility here before our trip. We wish we had the time to visit each of you and thank you personally for your love and support.