Monday, March 30, 2009

March 30 Update

Hey everyone it has been a while it feels like. A lot has happened since I last messaged you. We had our team retreat. It was a great time to rest and have fun. Luke Haidle our TREK leader and his wife Joanne came to visit us and follow up for a week. It was a great time to just draw near to God and have almost no schedule. Snorkeling was amazing. A beautiful place called Koh Samet. Nice beaches and we went rented motor bikes and rid them in a thunderstorm which was fun. Luke is an awesome guy, very intelligent and really funny. As well the MEI team came for 2 weeks. They are a school from Abbotsford. That was fun having them here. Although we didn't get to spend to much time with them as our retreat and going to Chachengsao interfered. The MEI team did a VBS in Bangsaen where TLC is and in the north where the Kumu are. Now our team is living in Chachengsao. We moved here last saturday. God has really put something on my heart to share with all of you. I am not sure exactly how it is going to come out because I do not make rough drafts for this thing as I am sure a lot of you can tell with my terrible spelling. Last week we lived in a camp site in the boonies of Chachengsao. It is a poor area but it was a beautiful place. Watching lightning storms in the distance everyday got me. Wow unreal since I am from the city of Vancouver we don’t see lightning storms to much. We had two VBS’s. One at the camp site where we were living. Now this place is a dark place I would almost call it. There is a lot of spiritual stuff that goes on there. In fact we talked to one guy one time who tried to intimidate us with his evil spirits. We wouldn’t have any of that because our God has authority over all spirits,  
Colossians 2:13-15 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.  
Therefore instead of running away afraid we shared the gospel with this man. Every year they have a big spiritual ceremony where they cast evil spirits in to people and it gives them power. Some of you after hearing that may go, “Hear we go with the spirits, freak.” Well just so you all know they do exist, infact I have witnessed them, not to mention we are told in the bible. So this place is a very hard place to come into. There was once a cell group of “believers” but a lot of them fell away accept Pi gai and Pi Gal. They have two sons and they have been believers for 7 years. I have tons of respect for this family. They work hard. They wake up every morning at 1 am to work. Pi gai is a very good husband from what I have seen, praise God because you don’t see that a lot here. You can tell with interactions with other people in this place as well they are not as happy as most Thai people and don’t welcome us in to warmly. There are a few stories that I won’t go into about rumours made up about the christians here. Pretty much were supposedly here here to kidnap there children. Anyways, we had this VBS and it was awesome to see kids come out. We had maybe 20 kids at this VBS. As well we did prayer walks for this place. We are not giving up in this area, Bob and Chris who are the missionaries here go into the school every week, so the gospel is still being layed out there. Another VBS was at Pi Nats neighborhood. Pi’ Nat has just recently moved out to Chachengsao because God has called her there. She is now devoting her whole self to the church in Cachengsao. Pi’Nat is new so she does not know many of the neighbors so through this VBS the parents can get to know her and trust her more. We had about 50 kids come out. We had tons of fun with the kids and some of the parents came out as well. I thought in my mind after this was over, ok we did the VBS’s there over what did this accomplish. Obviously we gave the kids entertainment, told them about Jesus and had fun. But something else I realized is we are reaching out to the neighborhood. We are helping Pi’Nat reach out to her neighborhood. Through this we bring in people get to know them and then we trap them and tell them the gospel. NO, totally joking. In a way I am joking. I am serious about telling them the gospel but please don’t trap them and try to shove it down there throats it doesn’t usually work that way. We are told to love our neighbors and it is good to be in good relationships with them. But we are missionaries in our neighborhoods right? That means you guys reading this as well. Luke 9:6 “And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.” 1 Corinthians 9:16 For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel. 
1 Corinthians 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. 
1 Peter 4:6 For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does. Through those scriptures we are told to preach the gospel and why we are to preach the gospel. We cannot keep this thing to our self, in fact I would say it is a crime to do so. Reach out to your neighborhoods. God has called you to be where you are. I don’t know how that may look like. It may not be VBS’s ok, maybe you have a bunch of grumpy old men who never come out of there caves. You may have to be creative. You are missionaries in your work place. Be a regular in your community. Go to the same coffee shop to get your coffee. Become friends with the workers there. Be a regular at a gym if your into that. Be a regular at whatever because that is where you can start relationships with people and then share the love of Christ with them. Do not be ashamed of the gospel.
Romans 1:16 “ I am not be ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of Christ for the salvation of those who believe.”  
God’s waiting for you to act. It may be difficult but the gospel needs to be lived out in our actions and speech. That only works if the gospel has truly transformed you through the Holy Spirit. I have seen this thing almost from scratch. I am seeing God transform lives here; I am seeing God create a church here. All of it is Jesus, this is not any mans doing here. People just obeyed the call showed up here, made relationships in the community, told people the gospel and then the gospel leaked out from there. God has provided greatly. Bethel Church. We now meet every Sunday for fellowship, prayer and hear the word preached. Wednesday we have kids club there and then a prayer meeting following. Every Thursday we have believers in the city come out to study the bible and we have a kids club. We are seeing the gospel transform communities here. Now there is a lot of prayer into what is going to happen next. There is a vision to get a church in the city of Chachengsao. Pray for this, pray that God will give the leaders, Bob, Chris, Pi Nat and Louise wisdom into what to do next. Church’s generally don’t go to far in this city. People have found it very hard. This is a very strong Buddhist city. I am excited to see the future for Chachengsao because the gospel is making a break through. Unfortunately I wont be here to witness it but I am thankful that God has chosen me to be apart of this thing in a small way. God wants to use you as well know that. But do you want to be used by him, you need to step out in faith and just go for it and let the spirit lead you. I am currently living in Chachengsao for another two weeks and I am really excited to see what is to come. This week we will be going on a boat from 8 am to 9 am and going through the canals of chachengsao, praying and worshiping our creator. We will be praying for words of knowledge and wisdom to see what God has next for this city. Praying for the communities and observing and getting acquainted with the city. Next Sunday 10 more people will be baptized here in Chachengsao! Very exciting, I am really excited. We had 7 people baptized in the summer and now we have 10 more! Praise Jesus for this work he is doing. I will take pictures and put them on facebook if you want to check them out. Then we are back in Bangsaen in time for easter and please be in prayer for that because it is a great time for outreach to celebrate together the life of Jesus and his death and resurrection on the cross. After that is Son Kran! So excited for that. Just so you all know it is about 40 degrees now in Thailand. Very hot. Every year on April 13 for a whole week we have a huge water fight. It is the worlds biggest water fight. Two more months for our team here in Thailand, continually to be in prayer for our team. Pray for me as I consider what is next in my life. I feel confident in where God is calling me I am just not clear on how it is going to look for next year. God bless you all, lets keep are heads focused on Jesus Christ and be constantly pursuing him. Josh

Sunday, March 15, 2009

March Update

o a lot has happened this past month. First of all my family and Kevin my friend came to visit. It was awesome seeing them and being able to show them a bit of thai culture. Plus me, Caleb, kevin and Josiah had some fun times. Time flew by though and they are now back in Canada. And then we had Kevin stay with us for 3 weeks, he was pretty much another member of the team for a bit. He got to help us out, plus it was good for me and Caleb to have some more guys around. 
I just want to talk about what has happened in the last week. This team of 2 men called DMI came to Thailand. There goal is to teach people like us how to share the gospel with people. This whole week was dedicated to going out and telling people the gospel of Christ. What we did was we went out in teams and shared the gospel with people after being trained. Did God ever do miraculous things. Last week sunday, I got to share my testimony with some of the bboys ( break dancers). After I shared my testimony Bank who is the leader for the break dancing ministry that goes on at TLC shared the gospel with 5 of the kids. Bank has a sweet thing going for him. He is the best break dancer in Chon Buri, he is fricken good. It's kinda crazy. Anyways he has brought in a lot of kids to the church and a lot of them have become christians. Including these 5 kids who Bank unpacked the gospel to. 
Monday morning we went out into Angsila. We had about 6 people come to christ there. But, one in particular who I want to talk about. I told you all about this married couple named Oi and Go. They have a daughter who is a christian. We shared the gospel with Pi Go and after and awkward 2 minutes of silents he answer, "Ok, lets do it". Man, this brings so much joy to my heart. We have been praying for this man for so long. We hang out with him all the time and he is an amazing man and I just praise God for saving this man. He also said that now he has to go and get his wife and get her to come to christ. Pray for Pi Oi, I think it is a matter of time before she accepts Christ. Already Pi Go has been reading his bible. He has the desire to want to know more. I love that. If you are a christian you need to be in the word. You can't have real faith if your don't even know what you believe. You need to know who God is, God is revealed to us through his word. Pi Go, want's to know more about what he believes. He want's to know the mystery which is revealed in the scriptures. Praise God. Thank you for your prayers. 
Tuesday we went out into the University and invited people to come back to Pi Ghays coffee shop. We ate together and then split up into groups and shared the gospel. We had around 10 people I think come to christ that day. 
Wednesday was a huge thrill for me. Me, Aschleigh, Bob and Pi uh oh went to a Burmese factory. We got there Bob said who want's to share the Gospel. When will I ever get the chance to share the gospel to 15 people from Burma, in a factory. I said I wanted to then I shared the gospel. We had me speaking then Uh Oh translating into thai. Then if they didn't understand a word in thai one of the believers from Bethel church translated it into Burmese. It was great we had 2 new people come to christ there.
Altogether God saved about 20 people this last week. Now we have the task to desciple them. The easy part is done, now the hard part is getting them connected to a church and get them growing in there faith. So far we have had some of them come out to church and are already growing closer. Please pray for these people, even if you don't know there names it is ok. 
I learned that we need to share the gospel more. I heard a scary statistic the other day. That Vancouver is only 2 % christian. That is scary. I am not 100% if that is true but I heard it from a pastor who said he did research on it. We need to share the gospel a lot more than we do. Learn how to share the gospel as well. Your close friends who aren't christians, explain to them the gospel. Romans 1:16 tells us not to be ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God for the salvation to those who believe. God is just waiting for us to share with people. Don't think you will offend people because there is nothing more loving you can do than tell someone about what Jesus did and why he did it. If you believe the bible than you believe the unbelievers go to hell. I know some unbelievers are reading this and to you that may be offensive for me to say that. Our sin needs to be punished which is why Jesus died in our place so if we believe we receive that free gift of salvation. People need to hear the gospel. Jesus has saved you, now he want's to use you to share his gospel with others. I would even say it is a crime to keep your faith to yourself. By God's grace you have received to be in relationship with him,We need to go out and bring more people into the kingdom. We must tell others about it. Don't keep this to yourself. If you are a christian when people meet you they should know, yah that is a follower of Jesus. The thing that intrigued Pi Go and Pi Oi was they said, I see a difference in how christians live. It is true as christians we should be living differently. Knowing we didn't do anything but God is the one who is transforming our hearts. If you are a unbeliever and you are reading this I encourage you to go talk to someone who you know is a strong christian and ask them to explain the gospel to you. Remember, to come to God, we don't need to be cleaned up. I know a lot of people who say, well I don't want to change my life, I am not clean enough to come to christ. No one is clean ENOUGH. We are all dirty. Come as you are, let God change and transform your hearts. To the believers who are reading this, tell your friends about Jesus. If you go to school tell them there. In your work places tell them. I promise you, if you step out in faith and share this with them you will see things happen. God is just waiting for you to do it.