“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,
Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference.” (Jude 20-22)
We rejoice to see folks here, among our church membership, building one another up in their faith during this fragile time. Many have lost their jobs, or their monthly income has greatly dwindled. Several of our staff and church members have taken the initiative to start private Facebook or social media groups to encourage their friends by praying with them, sharing the Gospel, and sharing encouragement from God’s Word. Our ministry has temporarily moved to online-only services, and God has used this outlet to reach more who have not yet heard the Gospel. Our church made a video of our Thai assistant pastor, Bro. Sakrapee, giving a detailed and clear presentation of the Gospel. After just a few short days, the video had more than 20,000 views. We may never truly know how the COVID-19 virus impacted the world, but we can continue to live in great urgency when it comes to spreading the Gospel to this dark world. What a great opportunity to use the tools of modern technology to reach more for HIM!
Of course, many have been affected financially, and we have had multiple opportunities to help our church family with food and needed supplies. At the beginning of March, our team and staff were able to visit every church member and take a bag of food with rice, canned fish, cooking oil, eggs, and instant noodles. Also included in the bag was a small verse card of encouragement and a gift of money. This was a special time as we drove to the different areas to see the church members in their homes.
God has also allowed our family to be a conduit of giving. Missy’s aunt and cousin gave generously to help those who needed food and support. With this gift we were able to help several widows who had lost their jobs, several members who had been sick and needed hospital care, and a group of our church members whose work hours had been drastically reduced. This last group of about 15 believers work at a famous Buddhist temple in our province. They are groundskeepers, plumbers, and carpenters. As immigrants, they have limited options for employment, and working at the temple has allowed them to stay and live in Thailand. They are strong Christians who love the Lord, faithful church members, tithers, and soul winners. Their lives are so different than yours and mine, but their faith is just as real! I am thankful to live in a place where the needy are never far away.
We are looking forward to the return of normalcy, especially when it comes to meeting together as a church family. The government extended the Emergency Decree (stay home, no groups over 11, large gatherings prohibited, etc.) until the end of May. We are unsure how the events around the virus will affect things here long-term, but we are using this time to plan and prepare for the rest of the year and the years to come.
Team Thailand celebrated its 12th anniversary on April 30. Looking back through pictures and videos of the past 12 years, God’s faithfulness and blessings have been abundant. In a country that is dominated and controlled by the idolatrous, false religion of Buddhism, our team has seen over 50,000 souls saved and over 3,000 baptisms in the past 12 years. We pray that God gives our team decades more to serve the Lord as we strive to teach and train Thai believers to go out and do the same.
Please continue to pray for our team as we move forward with plans to build and develop the land which was purchased in December. We also pray that the government will continue to move forward with reopening the country so that folks can get back to work and we can meet together as a church once again.
We love you all and want to thank you for allowing us to represent you in Thailand.