Sunday, July 12, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
it has been interesting that this entire trip a very large portion of our time talking with ron and praying (at least for me personally) has been about prostitution. it's so bad. and more and more the Lord keeps on putting situations in our midst that confront us with it's evil. the Lord has really shown me that while yes, there is obviously a very real physically dimension to this problem, the root is spiritual. we fight not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. this is more than a struggle of earthly justice; it is a fight against demonic forces that have ruled in this land for centuries. there is so much "social justice" being done in thailand to try to stop the trade of children and trafficking of women into prostitution. but to what avail? it's like trying to stick a bandaid on a gunshot wound; yes, it may cover the puncture, but the wound goes so much deeper than the surface. i was reminded of the partnership between evangelism and social justice when thinking about this. just as faith without works is useless, so works without faith is useless. to see Jesus glorified in thailand, we must work and fight with Him against the evils in the physical and spiritual realm. we must take hold of the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, and not only love in word or tongue but in deed and truth. prayer not only changes things, it prompts our hearts into action. it truly is the time to live for our Savior. He is more than worthy.
wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.
love you guys. keep us in your prayers; we both have been experiencing sickness for the past couple days..headaches, stomachaches, bodyaches(this mostly just from slipping around in the dam...). pray that we would finish strong and walk in the good works God has placed before us daily!
Monday, July 6, 2009
so sunday(your saturday) we headed to a hmong village to do an outreach. they did their first outreach there 17 years ago, and since then the church has grown and stood strong. it was really sweet to see the change in christian villagers compared to unbelievers. normally, hmong men and women are very cold towards one another in marriage, and it is very VERY uncommon to see a man be affectionate in any way. however, the men at this church were being affectionate with their children and some even with their wives. it was very sweet to watch. there are so many needs, guys. so many children that are malnourished. so much demonic baggage and strongholds. the Lord has done a neat work within the villages, but it is still a target for a lot of oppression. ron told us with a heavy heart that many children that he has watched grow up in the villages over the years will one day not be there, and when asked about their whereabouts, the parents will reply that they are "working" in bangkok. they are tricked into thinking it's a factory or restaurant business, but in reality it is slave labor, either in prostitution or hard labor. these are 7 year olds, 10 year olds, 12 year olds. babies. and their bodies are used for the profit of many twisted people here in thailand. there are thousands of girls and boys, no different from the kids you've seen at baan immanuel, being used as prostitutes in thailand. this is something that has always been near to my heart, but even more the Lord has been really breaking me over this. it is so easy to become apathetic as an american, where a lot of the world's pain is far away and easy to ignore. but the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for ALL who call upon Him. even a marginalized prostitute in Thailand. the Lord has so much more for their lives. we need to stop being so focused on ourselves and realize God placed us here for a purpose, and that is to give Him glory. i need to.
please be praying also for the pastors in the villages. a lot of them are struggling financially, and are dealing with a tremendous amount of physical and spirtual needs. and they are an open target for the enemy, who hates all that God does here. but the Lord has the victory; pray for physical and spiritual protection, and that they would be able to trust in hebrews 13:5-6 and rest upon the fact that God knows they have needs, and all they need to do is seek first His kingdom and righteousness and everything else will be added unto them. pray for ron that he would have wisdom in who to support.
the kids have a holiday for the next three days, so keep in prayer our time spent together. we bought some balls to play games tonight so pray that it would be a fruitful time of fellowship, and the Holy Spirit would be in control.
thank you all for praying for us, we are so blessed to know that we are being lifted up by so many people. we love you and will update you again soon!!
to Him be the glory, forever and ever, amen.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Friday, July 3, 2009
Me and Bethany borrowed a motocycle this afternoon and went to the rice fields..i stopped by the market to pick up some rubber field boots for myself too....they are kind of like rubber boots but they feel like long stretchy plastic socks..
The rice field workers loved that i took their pictures.. they kept saying Thank you thank you!!! it was funny.
Bethany didn't care to go in but she did get some funny pictures of me trying to wade through the mud. :)
thought yall would enjoy!
Thursday, July 2, 2009
5 No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.
6 "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
Be Strong and very Courageous, and be careful to obey all the laws Moses gave you.
These were the two things that would ultimately give the Israelites success for their Promise land. I personally see the world very black and white and also have much difficulty multi-tasking. Quite literally..I cannot walk and text-message at the same time. So when I read a text like this it causes me to think about it differently because God is giving them two very different callings in both orders... Be Strong and Courageous is written in a very physical sense here, while obeying the laws is about the inner person.
The thing is God calls us as believers to trust and believe his word. If you trusted in a chairs stability you wouldn’t be opposed to sitting in it but often we believe in God’s calling but lack the trust to act accordingly... There is a disconnect because we like to believe its ok just to believe and not trust!!!
You see here in the text God calls the Israelites to be Strong and very Courageous in a physical sense, to be prepared to physically walk out the commands he gives them. He tells them, “Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God WILL be WITH you wherever you go.”
Sooo what does that mean exactly?
The text tells us right underneath the calling to be Strong and very Courageous, to be careful to obey all the law Moses had given them, and not to turn from it to the right or to the left, THAT you may be successful WHEREVER you go. God gave them the law so that they could remain in His will for their life, wherever they went in His will. Earlier in Numbers 33:vs 50-56 giving them the Commandments and telling them to destroy the inhabitants of the land because of their disobedience. He ends with,
vs.55 'But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will give you trouble in the land where you will live. 56 And then I will do to you what I plan to do to them.' "
Your probably thinking..geez thats harsh but we have a way of strangling ourselves in sin. Sin leads to death. God did not want death for His people, He wanted life. In the same way He allowed the earlier generation of Israelites to die in the Desert because they would not trust in Him. God wanted to raise up His people to know and trust Him. So 40 years passed and a new generation who had been raised seeking and asking of the Lord entered in.
So God gave the Israelites Two points to lead them and continue leading them into to His will for their lives.. Physically proclaim your Trust in me, and also Mentally believe in me.
We also are called to believe in God and trust Him to walk out in faith what he has called us. It is not His will for us to believe and remain unchanged. I believe if you truly believe in the existence of something you would have no problem staking ones life on it. This is where our problem lies.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
we have had a very mellow last three days, and it has given us a lot of time to reflect on what God has been speaking to us and listening to Him even more. we had a sweet time of prayer this morning. God really is faithful, and i believe He is starting a new work in Thailand. "the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come." praise God that He is the God of new beginnings. pray for a new beginning in Thailand. that all works of flesh would burn away, and the Holy Spirit would have full control of what begins.
we are going to go help teach english to the staff right now, so i have to be brief, but thank you for checking up on us:) we feel your prayers. pray for continued strength, endurance, and importunity in prayer. may God's kingdom come!
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
This morning I was reading in Joshua 1,
1Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, that the LORD spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' [a]servant, saying,
"Moses (A)My servant is dead; now therefore arise, (B)cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel.
I was struck by the fact the Lord told Him to arise... I couldn’t think of the last time anybody had told me to arise and then given me an order.. It occurred to me that this word meant more to Joshua than a simple physical “sit up”. I think it was God telling Joshua, to arise like a King tells to a man recently knighted. There is a calling pinned to the word arise that a simple “get on your way” lacks..
My tendency is to hear songs like “I will rise” and for myself to both cringe and revel. I have heard that song sung so many times at Friday night church and part of me would cringe at the idea of rising up.. All I could think was I needed to become smaller. Less of me more of God. I know my heart, and the last thing I needed was to stand up and become bigger!
But I was mistaken, there is a calling to rise up that is not about a physical rising but a call to something higher. The Lord calls us to live a life that is sanctified by the blood of Jesus Christ. We have been adopted into the family of God! No longer wretches of the sin that entangled us, we have been made new. We have been called and we need to arise to the battle that has been made known to us! He has prepared the Armor of God that we might put it on.
So I bid you Arise... Arise out of the ordinary, you have been called by a God who’s extraordinary. You have been named His Son’s and Daughter’s and have been inputted grace through it. Arise.
13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen..."(heb. 11:1)
"Faith honors God. God honors faith and goes wherever faith puts Him. Faith, Biblical faith, can do all that God can do. (Because its sole desire is God's glory, it would not ask anything amiss- 1 John 5:14.) Faith's supreme longing is for the return of the glory that has departed from the sanctuary. Its ambition is not colored by the clay vessel. Faith is wedded to the love which "seeketh not her own." Faith longs for an overthrow of the powers of darkness. Faith yearns that the world might know the message of redeeming love, and aches for the enslaved millions to be unfettered from the chains of sin. Faith has compassion for those 'Bound, who should conquer; slaves, who should be kings." -Leonard Ravenhill, Revival Praying.
"And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him."-Hebrews 11:6
"For we walk by faith and not by sight."- 2 Corinthians 5:7
Faith...what is there even to say? I can't even begin to scratch the surface. In praying and seeking God, faith keeps on being impressed upon my heart. We absolutely and entirely need faith to be able to present ourselves as an effective tool in the hand of our Father. It is impossible to please Him without it. We need faith to dream big, to see the unseen, to believe the unbelievable, to not only agree that God is indeed able, but that He WILL provide. Jesus Himself tells us to, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened." (Matt. 7:7-8) But James then warns us, " but he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord..." (James 1:6-7). Oh, if I only had faith the size of a mustard seed! Thailand needs people who have faith. God, who is faithful, has drawn many men and women of faith to this land to establish His kingdom in the heart of its people. Yet still, only 1% of Thailand has come to the saving knowledge of Christ Jesus. It is hard to think that God can penetrate a hardness of that degree, but we can believe in faith that ALL things are possible with our King. God give us faith to believe that You will create worshippers in Thailand!
Pray that we would walk by faith, lead our lives in Christ, whom we received by grace through faith, and that we would ask God in faith, fully assured that He is a good, compassionate, giving God who desires that all might become more like His Son.
Monday, June 29, 2009
This is my sweet little friend Hannah...Hannah decided to wake me up one day by placing this little rodent on my knee... Now I'm in thailand and when your asleep and you feel a bunch of little hairy claws start moving around on your skin...you don't think Russian Dwarf Hamster... This little guy probably no longer has working ear drums and was very close to having his poor little body launched across the room... But from the look of his bitty face, he might have appreciated it....
"Help me PETA!"
Yesterday we went to Burma, it was interesting.. The U.N. recently named Burma the most corrupt country in the world...so when they asked us to hand over our passports to get in, we really prayed we would get them back... God is good :) My Mom and Dad are probably choking about now but rest assured God is in control..
The first thing we did was go visit a local doctor’s office that Ron met a little girl at a few weeks ago.. She was trying to run away because her parents were making plans to sell her to a local casino. She was asking the Doctor to take her and her sister into the orphanage he runs. When Ron and Courtney left they felt uneasy and felt like they needed to go back and get her. During that time her parents had called the Police and taken her away... they soon sold her to a local Casino. So we went back to ask the Doctor where she was taken to hopefully get her back. He was not there and we were told he will be back in four days so we are going to go back for more answers.
One of the things you can pray about however is that the Doctors heart would be softened for the girl. We sense that he might be hesitant to share her location because he holds a position in the community... This is just what we sense so we are praying that His heart is stirred for the girl. The Doctor is a christian but a lot of time we justify things because we want to believe the greater good is better...if we neglect one. We know Jesus died for her though and we believe that her life is worth a position of greatness...if it comes down to that... So we are praying that the Lord would stir His heart in compassion for her.. That His position would not hinder his compassion.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
"Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the scrpitures of the prophets, according to the comandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith, to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever and ever. Amen." (Romans 16:25-27)
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Since you are honored and I love you,
I will give other men in your place and other peoples in exchange for your life.
5"Do not fear, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
And gather you from the west.
6"I will say to the north, 'Give them up!'
And to the south, 'Do not hold them back '
Bring My sons from afar
And My daughters from the ends of the earth,
7Everyone who is called by My name,
And whom I have created for My glory,
Whom I have formed, even whom I have made."
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
These guys got a real laugh out of me, I was trying to get an up close picture of the lizard below when it jumped....I squealed. That little bugger was massive!!
My new companion :) Carl, he's sitting next to me now.
My favorite!!!! This is a little hut they built for the kids!
It raining! I’m loving it here already... Today we got picked up from the airport and were given a tour of the orphanage, then joined the staff for lunch. Rice, chicken, green beans and HOT sauce. :) I was happy to have real food in my stomach considering we have been living in an airplane or in layover for the last two days and I already posted pictures of the food...soo you know why.
Anyways we got to sit down with Ron, the man who started the orphanage and hear story after story of God’s grace over the children and the staff. One story that truly struck me was that every year they give the children 500 baht for christmas... 32 baht=1dollar
it was around 15 dollars a piece... That november Ron had taken a few of the older orphan boys to a orphanage that was struggling significantly so they could help aid them for a few days. The boys came back and told the other orphans about the conditions of the other orphanage and a little girl spoke up and said she wanted to give her christmas money to them. She was only the first.
It was moving to hear. I want to meet her just so i can learn from her. What generosity!
God’s grace is so amazing to me. He continues to offer it arms open to all. What relief is gained by so easy an acceptance. What is it within us that pushes it away? It is confounding to me, but then i remember I’m not who I was... I remember that anything worthwhile in me is through the grace of Jesus Christ. He who died on a cross, needs nothing from us... we need only to surrender, and that grace is bestowed upon us. He takes the burdens that shroud our minds and weights of brokenness and moves to heal. We are the one who beg him not to do it, believing we can do it on our own, when its just more weights we unknowingly add to shoulders so small...
I guess its just human nature is so opposed to God’s... if you think of holding a grudge. We do it because we want to...It is human nature to hold it, but God commands us to forgive. We realize not that the grudge is but a poison we have drunk, hoping the other person dies. So pointless our vindication to destroy anybody but ourselves while God bids us forgive! What weights are lifted at receiving it and what blessing by giving it?!
Its just raining and thinking is a good thing to do when it raining... Blessings from Thailand!
Monday, June 22, 2009
We made it safely to Bangkok! We ate some delicacies from Burger King and are now sitting in a little cafe trying to kill time until our next flight departs in a few hours. The flight here was uneventful and peaceful; the Lord really covered it with His hand and we both slept a lot, which will be very important as we might not be getting much in the coming weeks...:) For some insight into prayer for Thailand, something the Lord has begun to show me is the lack of conviction for so many in Thailand. A lot of foreigners come here expecting to do whatever sinful fantasy they have conjured up without ever being accountable to anyone or anything for it; and in the immediate sense they are usually right. However, they are accountable to God and they will have to deal with their sin one day for eternity. Romans talks about this. "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness." (Rom. 1:18); "And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper." (Rom 1:28). This verse then goes on to list all of the "unproper" things people now do in rejection and rebellion to God's presence and truth. But God is still present here in Thailand, "for in Him we live and move and exist..." (Acts 17:28a), regardless of what people want to think. Pray that God would send conviction to the hearts of those engaging in unrighteousness and perverse sin in Thailand. Pray for those who mobilize these sinful acts, those who contribute to it financially, the women who are trapped in prostitution, and those who apathetically ignore it. May God's presence become REAL and THICK in Thailand! Who can stand in the presence of a living and holy God? Only through Jesus Christ and His work on the cross; so please pray that Jesus would become so beautiful and longed after by hearts here.
Thank you all for checking up on us; we truly love you! Keep us in your prayers, that we "may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that we will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strenghthend with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously gving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to share in the inheirtance of the saints in Light!" (Col. 1:9-12)
A Scatter-brained Account of our Thailand Adventures:
Day one: We are sitting in the airport, Bethany’s chowing down on a fish taco/with a substituted chicken, and I’m writing this thinking about you all. Its already been a great day with Beth!
I love to people watch...i could sit all day long on a bench observing people and their different attributes...love, frustration, spontinuity, youth..its all so interesting to me...... And Airports are one of my favorite places to people watch!
I swear, its like a sociologist’s candy land... Different people, different ways of life, different languages, different size bags...different stress techniques. It could easily become like a I-SPY game of “spot the strange” :)
I spotted a woman in first class line with a translucent shirt and leopard bra... Bethany responded “well that just doesn’t bless anybody” HAHA....I LOVED it! I laughed about that one for awhile! What a response!
I liked the way she was thinking about it.. what blesses others!? If we could all think in context of what would be a blessing to others how our lifestyles would change... Anyways TTYL (talk to you later) and keep us in your prayers :)
Thursday, June 18, 2009