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

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