Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas in Thailand

So it is about to be christmas in Thailand. Much different then home. Rite now it is -9 at home with a foot of snow, while in Thailand it is 34 degrees and I haven't seen rain in about a month. Things are much different. I like to think it is more accurate weather anyways to when Jesus was born anyway, it isn't really suppose to be cold. Truly though I miss the cold and I love sow. Although for Thai people it is really cold. 30 degrees with a breeze is there winter. 
These last two weeks have been really busy for us here. We have been doing lots of planning for the christmas out reach. Our first one was in Chachengsow, close to the Bethel Church. The night was a success. We had lots of fun. It was filled with skits, Break dancing, prize auctions, and people hearing the gospel. A little cool story that happened. Pi Ying, one of our friends from TLC church was wishing for this fat boy, she loves fat kids, to win a prize. She promised him that he would win a prize. So why not pray, so she prayed that he would win. She was sitting there when they were handing out the bike saying, 268, 268, and then they called his number. She was really stoked. More excited than the kid. Anyways what happened was on wednesday during the cell group at Bethel, the kids mom took the bike and biked over from her village to the village where Bethel is to the cell group and she accepted christ and became a christian on that day. 
The second christmas out reach was on saturday. This was for the kids around Bangsaen. Again as success. A little bit of a gong show actually. There were about 250 kids. It went really well. The Trek team put on a skit. It was a funny skit but it got across the meaning of christmas. Me and Caleb got to teach a bunch of Thai kids "We wish you a Merry Christmas". That was a lot of fun. At first we were doing Rudolph but we quickly realized that was way to hard for them, so quick good change.
The third one happened on Sunday. This was the TLC christmas event. This went again really well. We had about 350 people around there. We had awesome skits. We did our christmas story one again. Me and others did the Everything skit. We had the bboys break dance, and also with some other people including Kenzi they did an awesome dancing skit about Jesus. We sang christmas songs, we gave out prized and shared the gospel. A really fun night. 
Being in Thailand for Christmas has been harder than I expected. Two weeks ago I actually found it quite hard. I saw that it was snowing at home plus all the stuff that comes with christmas is happening. Also recently I have been thinking a lot about my future, what am I going to do when I go back. Some of my friends told me Josh just focus on Thailand. Don't worry about your future, God is going to take care of it. My pride got in the way and I kind of shrugged it off. Than in a sermon I was listening to, it was talking about being where you are. I really felt God telling me. Josh be where you are, if your mind is somewhere else you are going to miss all the blessings that I have laid in front of you. Than it dawned on me, for that week I was so focussed on home that I missed the things God has been blessing me with. 
This has been good for me, to be away for christmas. If you listen to people talk, including me, just listen, to most people christmas is about family and friends. I am not saying it is a bad thing, I love getting together with my family at christmas, but its not christmas. This is what the Angel said to the shepherds.
Luke 2:10
And the angel said to them "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[a] the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
A savior has been born. A savior that saves us from our junk. Christmas is about Jesus being born into this world, so he can eventually pay the ultimate price of being crucified on the cross.

Hebrews 4:14-16
14Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens,[e] Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Jesus had to come in human form. He suffered even more than us. He knows. He understands. He sympathizes. He was tempted in every way. Jesus, of course being born in a manger, the most humblest of places, was born into the world, as God in flesh, to suffer like us and to be put on a roman cross and crucified. So that we may approach his throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need. Jesus is inviting us into something great. The invitation is for all. It is up to you weather or not you want to take that invitation. 
Hebrews 4:1
1Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.

We are invited in the Gods rest. Life is to hard. There is so much crap in this life and God is sitting there with his hand out say, haven't you had enough of this crap, come to me, let me take off your burden, how long will you wait to enter my rest. There is a plea for everyone to enter Gods rest. Do not mistake me saying, if you accept christ, life will be easier. That is a lie, trust me I can proclaim to that. But I will tell you there is more joy, fulfillment and it less lonely. God bless you all in this time. As christmas comes I ask that, for christians out there, as you wake up in the morning and gather around the tree that you first pray. Praise and thank God for this wonderful gift he has given us. 
Keep praying. I am learning the power of prayer. Your prayers are being herd. It is amazing to be able to see these prayers being answered. Keep praying for Bethel, TLC and you can also pray for some of the orphans. Few and Peh. They aren't feeling well, they are sick. And when you have HIV it is a battle when you are sick. So pray for them. Gem, the girl I told you about who accepted christ a month ago. Her mother passed away last week. She is feeling lonely and scared at her home. So pray for her that God will comfort her as she sleeps and just for what she is going through rite now. And you can always pray for our team. The last two week have been busy, so these next two weeks should be good. O one last thing. Our Visas. We have a little problem. We can only get 15 day visas in Cambodia. This was recently changed. A couple months ago you could get 1 month visas but now they shortened it to 2 weeks. So, we need a lot of prayer. It is not really in our budget for us to go to cambodia 2 times a month. Our other option is fly to malaysia which is not in our budget either. We trust that God and know God is in control and he will handle this in the way he wants to but please pray.
Thanks everyone, Love you all
Have a good Christmas where ever you are.

Joshua Olsen

Bethel Church

You know, our God is mighty to save I can tell you that. I have tons I could write about rite now but I just want to focus on the Bethel Church. On wednesday we did our cell group there just like normal. And let me first say in the 3 weeks before this one every week 3 new people have come to christ. First we did kids club. God really broke my heart during that time. It was unexpected. There were these 3 girls that really got me thinking. This one girl just jumping on me, wanting a piggy back, go on my shoulders and cuddle. Always trying to get my attention. And I thought, this girl is looking for a daddy. These kids either have parents that don't want them or they don't have a father. They have rough, rough circumstances. And this girl was looking for a dad. So I gave her the attention because God put this deeply on my heart. It really breaks my heart. You know what though, we have a father. He is the father to the fatherless. He is God. One that will never leave us. One that we can count on. 
After the kids club we had the cell group, Which for the first time was at new building that you can see pictures of on my profile. Crazy thing happened. This Burmese woman has connections to this factory. 30 Burmese people came to the cell group! They came to hear the Gospel. Man to see this was unreal. We usually have about 15 adults at the most. This time we had about 40 adults and 40 kids. Pi Nad preached the gospel. At the end when she asked if anyone wants to receive christ, this guy jumps up and says, Yes I do, with a big smile on his face, jumping up and down. Another man comes up and then 1 woman. Again 3 people coming to christ. We prayed, then we ate together. And you know what was amazing, The Old believers and when I say old I mean 3 months. They came together and served these people. It was amazing to see. I pray that when these people receive christ it will be true in there lives. I saw that in there lives on wednesday. Praise God. Keep Praying. Also pray for this sunday. We will be having a christmas outreach event in Chachaensaow. We are expecting around 300-400 people to come, to here the gospel. Pray for the souls of the unbelievers there. They they will be opened and will receive the truth. Every Soul needs a savior. You know, when people become christians here, it is no easy thing. There are huge sacrifices and persecution. I know this 14 year old girl who accepted christ 2 weeks ago, and her grandma beat her for it. People get persecuted in some way all the time here. Whether its getting beaten, rejected, thrown out of the house, put in prison or even the worse being killed in some countries. My prayer for the christians back home, is that they will start taking there salvation more seriously. 

Hebrews 4:16 "Let us then draw near to the thrown of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thailand Update after 1 month

 Wow this month flew by. A little run down for you guys on Thailand. Please be in prayer for this country. As I am sure many of you know from watching the news there have been protestors you have been occupying two of Thailand's biggest airports. They have been shut down for a week now and by the time the protestors leave, when ever that is, it will still take them a week to open the airports again because they have to repair things and check everything. There are two groups. One anti government and one pro government. Thailand has been facing a big economic crisis and there is huge fear that this shutting down of the airports is going to devastate Thailand. The anti-government protestors will not leave the airport until the prime minister steps down. This is called a coup where they try to over run the government. It has been happening for the last 6 months but this is the worst it has gotten. There has been grenades I believe it is something like 6 people killed and over 50 injured some sevearly. Be in prayer for this country because there is a lot more going on as well not just what is happening with the air ports. That is just a little bit of what is happening, if you want to know more just look it up on google.
  It has been two weeks since I have written and man a lot of things have happened. A cool little story that you can praise God for is, me and Caleb have been praying that we will meet some guys. There are a lot of girls here and a strong lack of girls especially in the church. Well God answered that prayer. I want to tell you about this little coffee shop that is in the middle of these dormitorys for the University. This women from the church here opened this coffee shop. It is a long story on how she got it but it was truly from God. Anyways she rents this building and it has a spirit house rite by it as well. The owner of the building has kept it there. It is a pretty famous idol because someone won 10 million baht by praying to this idol. So a lot of people come to this idol to pray and there this woman named Pi Ghay is there with her bible, praying. It is just a total light in a dark place kind of thing, it is awesome what she has going on there. Anyways we went there for coffee and she told us about these 6 people who want to hear about Jesus, who he is, what he is about. Nothing to big but just want to know a bit about the gospel. Which is amazing. And we asked her, well are any of them guys, she said yah they all are. So praise God for that, nothing wrong with girls but I need a few more guys around me. I believe the spirit will move in there hearts when they hear it and please pray for there souls that there hearts will be open and that something will trigger in the soul. We have just developed relationship with them. It is sweet, for instance today we played soccer with him and a bunch of his friends and we are going to try to make it a routine thing to just go and play soccer with them and even through that simple thing, developing relationships with them, we will get the chance to tell them about Jesus. Every thursday we are going to have a cell group at this coffee shop, so please be in prayer for that. A cell group is just where we do some worship and talk about Jesus and fellowship together. 
 Now to Bethel. There are always tons for me to talk about here. I am sorry if this is to long for you as I know you guys are very busy with your lives. But God is doing unreal things there! Let me try to summerize it shortly. 5 people have come to christ there in the last 2 weeks. The first week we went to the cell group there, there was about 10 older people and about 15 kids. Last wednesday there must of been 20 adults and 25 kids. It is unreal how the spirit is moving in that area. This sunday we had the first sunday church service in Bethel. That was amazing. We just all came together to praise the name of Jesus together. Praise God for what he is doing there. Keep praying, I just imagine how many people are praying for Bethel, and they are definitely being answered. A big thing you can pray as well is not necessarily for more people but for growth. Lots of people is great but its nothing if there not growing. I pray that these people coming to Christ will be real and authentic. As they grow closer to God and the spirit changes there hearts more and more people are going to be impacted. 
 I am going to finish with this. On friday we learnt a bit more about Budhism. We also went to this budhist temple where I saw some freaky stuff. Just a little back ground on Budhism. The Budhism in North America, well they do not really follow it like the people here. It is deffinetly a lot more serious here. The thing that breaks my heart about it is there is so little hope for them. We went to this temple and we went through this place called Hell where we saw all these statues of punishments that Buddhist people believe they will get when they commit a certain sin. You can see these pictures on my facebook page, but I worn you they are quite disturbing I tried to save you from the really bad ones. They hope that if they pay money to these spirits that there merit will be recognized and therefore won't be punished for this certain sin. Let me tell you all that if this were real we would all be screwed. They do not know for sure if there merit is ever enough. It is so opposite to the christianity and the gospel. They believe that they have to do good things, good works and then the spirits will see that. There are spirit houses everywhere. It is tough stuff. They are stuck in this bondage of never knowing if they are good enough. We are told that no one is good enough to enter the kingdom of heaven. We are also told that our good works are filthy rags. There is NOTHING we can do we are essentially screwed. Here is the gospel, Jesus abolished that. That who ever will come and accept him, will inherit eternal life. The only way is through Jesus Christ. There it is, people want truth, people are always looking for self help, there it is Jesus. No he won't make your life easier, not at all. Life will start to make scence. I mean everything in this life is meaningless, the only thing that has meaning is God. He is the only thing that will fulfill your heart. Everything else is just temporary. You know, Praise Jesus that he died for us. We do not have to worry if we are going to hell or heaven. We know through Jesus we are forgiven. Jesus knows we cannot do it on our own. He knows and I am pretty sure every one knows that. It is just weather or not we want to accept it. My heart breaks for the people here, they never know if they are good enough. And the answer is no they aren't, no one is ever good enough. It is only through Jesus and through Jesus I guarantee you your heart will be transformed. Every soul needs a saviour. Remember that as you walk down your hallway at school or when your at work. What ever you do remember, there soul needs a saviour. That saviour is Jesus.

Thank you for your contiunal prayers. Keep praying for Bethel, for TLC, for the 6 guys, and for me and my team. Praise God, glorify his name in everything you do.


Listen to this song, it is a powerful song and remember is as you go about your day.