May 26, 2008
Today we are on our way to Thailand. At the moment our group is waiting for the plane to arrive. The group I am with consists of Dr. Moore and his wife, Bro Demoville, a pastor and his wife, one missionary, and six other students from the college. There are thirteen of us including me who are going.
It is amazing how I have gotten to this point. I still don’t understand it all. If some of the others who are with me knew what position I am in right now, they would think me strange and foolish. Most people at home would say that I should not go. Here I am, waiting to board our flight to Korea, yet undeserving of this whole trip.
Lord, I thank you for allowing me to go on this trip which is not totally paid for. I pray that you would impress on someone to send money before I get back. You are still so very wonderful.
May 28, 2008
Today is the first day in Thailand. Part of me still does not want to believe that I am here, but all the smells, sounds, tastes, sights, and feelings all resound with, “Welcome to Bangkok, Thailand!”
This morning I read Psalm 132. I did not even get through 1/3 of what I wanted to because of what I got from God out of this chapter.
In verse 8-10, there is a prayer to God. The psalmist asks God for five things. God’s answer is twice as much as what this man asked. Amazing how God desires to answer prayer. If a person asks rightly, God will give much more than that man asked for. The five things in this short prayer are as follows:
God’s presence vs. 9b
Proof and presence of God’s power vs. 8b
Right lifestyle of God’s men vs. 9a
The outward expression of joy and gratitude of God’s people vs. 9b
Petition for God not to give the silent treatment vs. 10
God’s answer to this prayer is tenfold, and it is as follows:
God would set his children in the same work to keep it going vs.11
The king’s son will have extended influence vs. 12
God would dwell with them because he desired it vs. 14
God would provide the needs vs. 15a
God would even provide for the poor in the city of his servant vs. 15b
God would be characterized by salvation vs. 16
God would honor the request of joy and gratitude vs. 16
God would prosper David’s position and program vs. 17
God would give charity in the way for his anointed vs. 17
God would take care of his servants enemies vs. 18
Today we went to a small mall where we had lunch. We went to a place similar to the Food Life. They gave us a card with money on it to pay for the food. All the dishes were written in Thai, so it made it interesting to tell the people what we wanted. It was good food though.
After eating Bro. Bosje took us to a few houses to help get ready for the Inmans, Arolds, and the Shooks. Thai people use bright colors to decorate their houses. It’s a whole different world over here.
We got to the church for five o’clock dinner. A Thai pastor, Pastor Allongott, Bro. Bowen, and another missionary were all there. Everybody brought a dish. All the food was good, but when I got up for seconds, I asked for the Thai rice and noodle instead of the American dishes. This greatly impressed Pastor Allongott’s wife.
The actual service was attended by more Americans than Thai. It was a good service, but I was expecting more nationals to be there. Pastor Allongott told me that about 80-100 people normally attend the church on Sunday. I could not wait for Sunday to get here. During the service Bernyce’s family came in. They got saved in the invitation, and one of the ladies got baptized. This was the first baptism the team had here in Donmoung. Dr. Moore called back home to tell the good news and got all choked up.
After the baptism I turned to see Saint, a Thai teenager, talking to our driver. When I walked over to where he was, he told me the driver had just gotten saved. In one service four people got saved and one was baptized. Three people got saved on Monday and Tuesday; therefore, that brings the count up to seven during the whole trip. I pray that God would give the opportunity for me to win others.
May 29. 2008
Today we went of the church to clean. We scrubbed the floors, cleaned the windows, changed the light bulbs, and made it sparkle from top to bottom. Bro. Kevin Arthur and I started scrubbing the floor.
About one o’clock the pizza came. It was interesting because when I think of a mission’s trip, I think of exotic food. On the other hand, I like pizza too. It tasted great, and I got to eat four pieces.
After lunch, we went back to work. I put the light covers back on. It was awesome; it was so much fun to work! We cut up and made jokes. Time never went by so fast.
At about four o’clock we went back to the hotel to relax before going off to the Future Park Mall. When we arrived at the mall, we went to dinner at Sizzler’s. Bernyce was impressed with the salad bar due to the quail eggs. It was a good time of fellowship. Right before we were to leave Sean went to use the restroom; nobody saw which direction he left in. Needless to say, we spent a little while looking for him.
May 30, 2008
Today was a sight-seeing day. So much for not having fun on missions trips. It was different than I had expected.
Today we went to Ayutthaya. It was the capital before Bangkok. This town is about an hour north of Donmoung where the church is located. The first place we went to was a Buddhist shrine. I stayed with Bro Demoville. He told me different things about it. I saw the reclining Buddha. The statue was of a man lying on his side, with one hand propping his head up. This icon was about twenty feet long and about six to seven feet tall. The people put up a little brick wall around it separating it from the rest of the temple.
We took a few pictures then went to a small pagoda. There were steps leading up to it with mini shoes on it. Past the steps was a little pavilion. Straight ahead was a statue of Buddha and people praying with their face to the ground. Just to the right of the Buddha were written prayers and incense for people to purchase. We walked up the right side of the little building, took our shoes off, and walked inside. Bro. Demoville explained the prayers. He and I walked around the statue to find a door. The area we were just in was like a porch or veranda.
We walked through the door to find a larger shrine at the opposite end of a great room. On the left sat a wax figure of a Buddhist monk. One of the ladies in the group thought it was a real person. The monk sat there wearing his saffron robes and looking distantly through his cage of glass. On the right wall hung a portrait of a battle with elephants and soldiers bearing primitive weapons. The place was very surreal. The shrine had a constant flow of people worshipping these costly yet useless gods.
Leaving that shrine we went on to an old pagoda. This stone structure reached high into the sky. Many stairs carved into the stone led high into the pagoda. It gave a new meaning to the quote “high places” I have read about in the Bible. Half-way up the staircase a path on either side led around the pagoda. A wall was set up around the pagoda with statues of Buddha sitting inside the wall and facing the pagoda. These statues were pure white with bright yellow cloth as their clothing. (In Thailand yellow is the color of the king.)
Next we went to a place selling elephant rides. These elephants are not as massive as the African elephants, yet they can still bear much weight. Boy, did we ever test that out. Astride the neck of each elephant was the driver who wore bright red clothes and a black broad rimmed hat. These drivers use their feet to steer the elephant by its ears. They took us about one-half mile and brought us back the same way. We all handed tracts to the elephant drivers who took them readily. After reading the tracts, they passed the goodly papers to other drivers heading in the opposite direction. The Thai people are a ready people for the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Bro Bosje took us to an outdoor market upon departing from the elephant rides. Some of the places stunk of rotten flesh, and others had nice fragrances of tropical flowers; but all had inexpensive items. We enjoyed getting souvenirs and bartering with the sellers there. We learned a lot about the culture and how to deal with people in a business sense.
On our way back we stopped at McDonalds. I had the opportunity to eat with Bro. Demoville and Bro. Kevin. We talked about Scripture, preaching, and marriage. They gave me some advice for my upcoming marriage. It was a great learning experience for me as well as a relaxing time of fellowship. That night we went back to Tesco Lotus for dinner.
May 31, 2008
I Kings 21
We got up early and went down to the church for the workers’ meeting. Pastor Allongott gave us our “kick in the seat of the pants” in his sermon. We went out soul winning in three’s and four’s. One Thai interpreter went out with two or three Americans. All of the translators were soul winners from Pastor Allongott’s church. I reveled in this because you can see the concern they have for people. We all had an opportunity to win someone to Christ. At the end of the day, our little group of thirteen won forty-two peoples to Christ.
Pastor Allongott took us to a Thai restaurant that served authentic Thai food, and I ate what the Thai pastor ate. Bro. Bosje tried to get me to try some of his curry which I respectfully declined. After lunch some of us guys went back out to visit while the girls helped Mrs. Bosje prepare for our time at their home.
At three o’clock we went back to the hotel for a little down time. I went to my room and spent some time with the Savior.
Today was spent in I Kings 21. Of course, “Pay Day Sunday” came to my mind as I read the chapter. God took me in a different direction and made verse three stand out. The fact that the parcel of ground was an inheritance to be passed down stuck out in my mind.
God had just given Ahab a great victory, yet he could not trust God for a trifling vineyard. He saw that Naboth lived near the palace, so for convenience sake, ha asked to purchase the vineyard. Ahab intention was to rip out the vines and to plant herbs there. He did not see the importance of the vineyard. It was an inheritance. Even if Naboth had sold the vineyard to Ahab, the king would have to give it back at the Year of Jubilee. There are a few thoughts in the story I would like to point out:
The vineyard was never intended to be sold. Naboth got it from his ancestors when Joshua divided the land. It was to continue to be passed down. The vineyard was never intended to be changed. Naboth did not want herbs. He probably got that vineyard from the heathen that were there before him. Naboth was a producer. He would have gotten a lot of money, but his opportunity to produce would have been gone. Naboth was to teach his children to produce and give them the opportunity to produce. It was not just a vineyard to Naboth, that plot of land housed the history of his family. It represented his fathers trust in Naboth. It was the family business. Naboth was too stubborn to let it go. Why do we not get stubborn about the right things?
After our time at the hotel we went to Bro. Bosje’s house for dinner and fellowship. Tuow had fun watching us. Mrs. Bosje made a Thai dish. She got a little nervous when she found out that Tuow was a chef, but I thought it was delicious.
June 1, 2008
Today we had a combined service with the Thai church. This morning Bro. Socropy taught the Sunday school lesson, and Bro. Bosje preached the morning service. The lesson was awesome. Most of us American Christians think nationals do not know much. This morning I found that God can use a Thai man to teach me.
Bro. Bosje preached about culture. How much culture is involved in salvation? There is none. The sermon was quite interesting with a clear presentation of the gospel. Nine people got saved that day, and five people were baptized. It was amazing.
Dr. Moore preached tonight about faith. He used some verses that I had read this afternoon. I shared them with Sean. After the service, I asked Sean if he noticed anything. He did not get it, so I explained it to him. I think it is great to see God work like that.
June 2, 2008
Today we packed up everything and headed up to Mae Sot with Bro. Sinoy. It took us seven hours to get there. We stopped on the way at a place that had about ten thousand monkeys just roaming around.
When we pulled into “monkey manner,” there was an arch way with a huge statue of a primate on either side of the road. As we drove up we saw an alligator and one or two monkeys. All of the sudden, there were hundreds of them roaming the street. Our driver went slowly so as not to harm any of them. On the left side of the street sat a vending truck with bananas and other various foods to give to the monkeys. We stopped and the vender through a stuffed alligator on the windshield to keep the monkeys from climbing onto the vehicle.
A few in our group bought some food. A big monkey snatched a bag of food from Mrs. Moore and sat in a tree watching for other monkey thieves. He was going to make sure that nobody else took his food that he had rightfully stolen. A few of the smaller monkeys were more polite. They would timidly walk up and pull on a pant leg or a skirt in hopes of getting a snack.
After leaving “monkey manner,” we made our way to Bro. Sinoy’s orphanage. Bro. Sinoy came to Thailand from the Philippines. He came to work with the Burmese who live on the border. Well, when he got to Thailand the government wanted him to do something that linked him to the Thai people.
The journey from Donmoung to Mae Sot is about a seven hour drive. The orphanage is situated, more or less, half-way between the two cities. We arrived at the orphanage at about three o’clock in the afternoon. The vans pulled up to a small house with a large awning attached to the front. In front of the porch sat a shoe rack consisting of two wooden shelves attached to six short wooden posts. Many sandals covered the shelving.
In the center of the building there was a small assembly room. Three rooms were situated on the left and one room on the right. A little farming area was arranged in the back with a small room for boys in which stood a solitary bunk bed.
Some of the orphans lost their parents to death. Others had parents spending time in prison. Soon a pick up truck bustled into the driveway with children on the back. The kids quickly jumped out and changed out of the school clothes. Upon our arrival we were told about a baptismal service. We were to hold a preaching service, but the baptisms would have to be held first due to the lateness of the day. The people desiring baptism were taken to a nearby river, and it would be difficult to see in the dark.
Everyone soon returned to the truck, and we set off for the river. Bro. Sinoy took us about ten minutes away and stopped the van. We proceeded to hike a little ways to the river where a few of the children were already lined up. Bro. Demoville, Pastor Schelling, Bro. Kevin Arthur, Sean and I walked down to the water. We each had a chance to baptize someone. I felt like a real missionary out in the river. Although, to my shame I blanked out on some of the words, and everybody made sure that I knew I had messed up. Later on Bro. Sinoy told me that he messed up the words during his first baptism he performed.
Afterwards we headed back to the orphanage for a short service. Dr. Moore asked me to preach, and I naturally took the opportunity. I preached a salvation message from John 3. Seven out of ten new orphans received Christ; it was great. Once the sermon was over, our group returned to the vans and drove to Mae Sot.
June 3, 2008
Today Bro. Demoville, Bro. Kevin Arthur, Sean, Jon and I preached in five Burmese schools. The rest of our group went on to Bro. Rick Horn’s ministry near Chang Mai. We three college guys stayed at the Sinoy’s house while everyone else stayed at a hotel in Mae Sot. I enjoyed staying at the house because it gave me opportunity to talk to Bro. Sinoy about his work. I also got to see how a missionary lives. The life of a missionary is not what most people think. Bro. Sinoy has electricity, running water, and other modern conveniences. It was interesting to take a shower with a bucket and a ladle. I enjoyed every second of it.
We had over three hundred people saved in the Burmese schools. All five of us had opportunity to preach; it was as a dream. All the people were very receptive. Though most of them were children, the Holy Spirit was not hindered from working. The people all sat with wrapped attention as we expounded the Scripture.
This evening preached at Gospel Baptist Church. This church was started by Bro. Sinoy and all the people who attended were Burmese with the exception of Bro. Sinoy’s family. The sermon was about desire from Proverbs 18:1. It was insightful, and the Lord even convicted me of a few things of my desire. Thirty people got saved at the end of the service.
June 4, 2008
Dr. Moore and his group returned from Chang Mai. They had a good time except for the bugs and lack of air conditioning. Everyone was hot and sticky during the night.
The task for today was going to the refugee camp. I was psyched. This was what I came for. There are 40, 000- 50,000 people in this refugee camp. I spent over two thousand dollars on yesterday and today.
Bro. Sinoy parked the van on the main road by a dirt path which led to the camp. Bro Winston informed us that we would attract more attention to ourselves in a vehicle than walking. The fifteen walked about a quarter of a lime to the camp. Actually, only fourteen of us walked. Our guide let Bro. Arthur use his motorcycle. We had no sooner gotten to the gate than a Thai soldier rode up to us on a dirt bike and started telling us to leave. Apparently, we could not enter without someone in the camp hosting us, and our host forgot to put us on his calendar.
We started walking back to the vans; some of the girls seemed defeated. One of the men said, “I was afraid this might happen.” I went a few paces ahead and stood alone. I just looked out at all the huts and thought of the people who occupied them. After a few moments of thinking, I asked God to let us into the camp. I told him that this was my reason for coming on the trip and that He had supernaturally worked it out for me to go. I pleaded with him to let us into the camp. A few moments later two trucks came pass us, dropped some people off at the road, and came back for us. God speedily answered the prayer. We could go into the camp. The only catch was we had to stay with our host, and we could not take pictures.
The principal of the school gathered about 150 college students for a service. We walked into a large room, and one of the students conducted us men to the platform. The ladies sat on the front row. The principal, Pastor Simon, told us about some of the students and about the different camps in Thailand for Burmese people. The group sang wonderfully after his opening statements. Bro. Arthur preached.
During the preaching Bro. Sinoy came to get me. I felt bad leaving the service that had already started. When I got to Bro. Sinoy, he asked, “Can you preach?”
“Yes,” I replied. “Show me where.” I walked with him to a little building that was used as an office for the teachers. Bro. Sinoy asked them if we could hold a thirty minute service for the children, but the head teacher refused.
“Can we have twenty minutes to talk to them about God?” he pleaded.
Reluctantly the teacher agreed. “Go to the building we use for the church,” she offered, pointing to our left. She then turned to another teacher to call the children. That teacher promptly rang the bell to signal the start of class.
I went to the building with the translator to await the arrival of the children. This building was the biggest place they had. It was about one hundred feet long by about fifty feet wide, and in a matter of moments the place was filled. I preached a salvation sermon, and about half the crowd got saved. I learned later that there was an estimated seven hundred students plus their teachers attending that service. Needless to say, I was very excited, that group was the largest audience I have ever preached to!
We then left the camp to rest before the Wednesday evening service. Dr. Moore preached a powerful message about sin. More people were saved in the invitation, and one person was baptized.
June 5, 2008
Today we drove back to Bangkok having 642 saved and six baptized since leaving the team. This has been an amazing trip. Bro. Demoville asked me if it was everything I had expected. I told him that the trip exceeded my expectations. We spent all day traveling back to our place of origin, the FBMI office in Donmoung. We took shifts freshening up, and Mrs. Bosje brought sloppy Joes for dinner. When Bro. Bosje asked me for the totals, I told him, and his eyes got real big. It was a nice feeling of accomplishment. The Lord certainly used us these pasty two weeks.
After eating we headed off to the airport to come back to the States. I did not want to leave, but I knew I must leave to finish school. There is no work like God’s work! I am ecstatic that he allows me to be a part of His work.