Outreach Week 2
This week has been physically hard on the team, and six of us got the stomach flu one after the other. Those who were well took turns as caregivers, but when those too got sick, the well members courageously took the teaching, house visitations, and work duties. God’s grace has sustained us physically and emotionally especially since we are all out of comfort zones. Our church family has been extra concerned and understood the need for simpler meals during the recovery period. Our cooks adjusted and didn’t worry too much when we said that toast and eggs were sufficient for meals. We have been praying towards unity and maturity in the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:7) and this love towards each other has been evident as we have taken turns taking care of those who were weak and ill.
Our church members love sharing stories of how they came to know Christ - or testimonies - as we call it. When we do house visitations, a whole conversation can be about a person’s desire for their spouse or the whole family to come to know Christ.
Mee Nooie came to know Jesus through her granddaughter Music, who had been going to church. She kept hearing about this God, Jesus, who could heal. “If Jesus is real then he will heal my arm, which I couldn’t raise past my shoulder. I asked him to come into my life…he didn’t heal me immediately but over time.” Everyday she marked the wall where her fingers touched, believing that God would heal her completely. The marks got higher and higher until one day she was able to completely lift it over her head! Upon her request, we prayed that God would provide comfort when she felt hurt by people around her. We also prayed for her husband and children to know Christ as their Savior.
We attended a cell group (growth/Bible study) at the home of Pii Son and Pii Nit, who are leaders at Dongsawan Church. Pii Son leads worship on Sunday and helps drive the second van whenever the team needs to be transported. His wife Pii Nit serves as our tour guide and helper in meal preparations. Their two children – Beam (13) and Sun Seun (4) – have provided friendship and cheer to the team. We learned that “sun seun” means “to praise” and hear this a lot in the Thai worship songs! “Praise the Lord” is translated as “Sun seun Phra Jaow (God)” or “Sun seun Phra Iesu (Jesus).”
Suzi, Holly, and Jaron prepared worship songs from a Thai hymn book so we sang simultaneously in English and Thai. How wonderful to sing the same songs in different languages, knowing that our spirits were lifted in unison! People took turns sharing stories of God’s protection, faithfulness, and goodness and the whole evening was about praising God and encouraging each other. Our translators Peng and Pop did a great job translating scripture, songs, and testimonies for the whole evening. We “broke bread” together through the traditional way of eating – sitting on the floor, eating with our hands, and trying out a variety of locally prepared dishes.
We also visited a sister church where Nate preached, and stayed for part of the afternoon hanging out with the youth group. We all had frappe bubble tea (Thai tea is our favorite) and exchanged life stories. To spice things up, we learned how to sing “Deep Down in my Heart” and “Amazing Grace” in Thai, and our friends learned the English equivalent. We hope we can impress our hosts by singing these songs for them!
Last night for intercession, we did a prayer walk through the side streets and listened for the Spirit’s voice as we passed homes and villagers. We prayed for the physical open doors to represent open hearts towards God’s message of salvation.
This is our last week in Dongsawan and though we feel that it’s too short to make an impact, we are trusting that God is working through our obedience. We helped the church distribute around 200 prepared meals and snacks to a nearby public school. The men also worked hard in welding a chicken fence/gate to create a new storage space behind the Dongsawan Church. On the evening of our day off, our friends from the Dongsawan and Nonsomboo Churches (both of whom we serve by assisting their various ministries) honored us with a buffet farewell dinner, a traditional Thai dance – the Auy Pon Wan (sweet blessing dance) – and gifts (Thai skirts, pants, and blankets) to bring back home. We were so emotional at the generosity and love our friends have for us…what an honor to see their love and worship of God, and the sweetness of their praises to Him.
The Holy Spirit is the one at work in the hearts of believers and unbelievers. Our faith, love, and hope continue to grow as we continue to ask the Holy Spirit for the power and grace for another four weeks of outreach - Phuket is our next stop! Please keep is in your prayers!