January 31, 2007

English in Chiang Dao

On Monday, we went to Chiang Dao to hold an English camp at a government school there. Tawm's dad is the principal and Tawm's mom is a teacher at the school. Each year, they ask us to come there to teach English. Normally, we go when we have a team and as a result, the English camp lasts a couple of days. This year we don't have any teams coming so Tawm, Susan, Tex, Tim (our church secretary) and I taught 150 grade 7-9 students English for one day. When we finished teaching, we were able to pass out tracts to all the students present. In previous years, we have been able to share the gospel more clearly but with limited people, it wasn't possible this year. We praise God for open doors, even in the public system to do evangelism. We thank God for this opportunity and hope that we can continue to build relationships with people there for a possible future ministry. We also pray that our work there would lead Tawm's parents to a deeper interest in spiritual things. Please pray for Tawm's parents that they would come to know Christ personally.

January 27, 2007

Attack of the Killer Exchange Rates

Over the past 7 months or so since we have come back to Thailand, both the Canadian and American dollars have been hit hard with the exchange rate. I don't understand the way figure out the value of a country's currency, that's why i barely made it through economics. From what I understand, Thailand keeps increasing the worth of the Thailand Baht to keep up with the Chinese currency. As a result, the American dollar has gone down about from about 38 to 33.5 baht on every dollar and the Canadian has gone down from 33 to 28 on every dollar. That translates into a loss of about 150 dollars on every $1000 dollars we get from overseas. At least the price of gas has gone down a little, with the new exchange rate is only about $1.10 Canadian per litre. Yippee!!!!

January 26, 2007

The Beginnings of Multiplication

A few posts ago, I introduced M to you, the student who is studying Bible with me four days a week. Besides studying Bible, M also works a full-time job at a restaurant here in Chiang Mai. Last week, M had the privilege of leading Joe (standing in the middle) to Christ. Joe came to church on Sunday for the first time and told M that he had a good time and wants to come back but he also said he didn't understand everything. Joe is Shan, and cannot read Thai, so M is going to start discipling him. Please pray for both of them. After Joe left church on Sunday, he went to work and M said that he was humming a song we had sung in church all day long. Other co-workers kept asking Joe why he was so happy and why he was humming because he normally didn't do that. As a result, M had an opportunity to talk with another co-worker and M said that he or she is now interested in Christianity too. We praise God that the multiplication of believers is beginning to happen here in Chiang Mai.
For the past week or so, we have also had the privilege of having Tex (standing on the right) helping us in Chiang Mai. Tex came to Thailand 2 years ago with the medical team that came from the US and he also stayed an extra couple weeks after the team left to help us here. Tex has been helping us teach English, has helped with Sunday School, has had opportunities to share his testimony in different small groups here and has had opportunities to hang out with our English students too. We are glad that he came but sad that he can only be with us for 2 weeks. Maybe next time he will stay later.

January 23, 2007

Yeah!! You are a Winner

Lots of times as I surf the net, different sites have little flashing advertisements that say I am the 1 millionth person to see the ad and if I click there, I will win some sort of prize. It doesn't take long to see that it is just a scam. However, by reading this post you are a winner!! This is my 100th post! Unfortunately I don't have anything to offer the people that read this post other than the prize of saying thank you for thinking about us, wanting to know what happens in our life and reading our blog! God bless!


Takraw Anyone???

If you asked anyone what Canada's national sport was, people would be quick to say hockey. If you asked anyone what America's national sport was, most would probably say baseball (at least that is what I would answer). If you asked most people what Thailand's national sport was, most people would say Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing) although the only sport most people care about it football. No not the CFL or the NFL, Thais don't even know what that is, but English Premeir League. Since coming to Thailand, not being able to follow other sports has been one of the hardest adjustments to make. I have always been a huge sports fan, especially basketball and football but since coming to Thailand, the only sport that gets any coverage is soccer.
Last month, the Asian Games were on TV (a competition similar to the Olypmics except only Asian countries can attend). As I watched the games, I fell in love with takraw. These athletes were amazing watching them fly across the court. Thailand is the best in the world at this game and if it was up to me, it would be an Olypmic event. Takraw is a sport where soccer meets volleyball. The rules are similar to volleyball, each team is seperated by a net and each side has 3 hits to get the ball made of bamboo over the net. Takraw is played on a court the same size as badminton and the net is the same height as a badminton net. The only difference between takraw and volleyball is that in takraw, you can use any part of your body except your hands and arms. Just like volleyball, someone on the team is the designated spiker and they do backflips to spike the ball over the net. It was totally awesome.
Last time we were in the village, some of the students were playing and Rusty got a picture of them. Anyone want to bring a takraw team over here to compete against the nationals???

January 19, 2007

Bathroom Adventures, the continuing saga

The last time Rusty and I went out to Mae Hoy to teach at the Bible School in the village, I was faced with another bathroom episode. I don't remember when exactly it happened, but sometime during the day I had to use the "facilities" (I use the term loosely as it more like a hut than a facility). I decided rather than walking 30 seconds to the "nicer" bathroom [this bathroom has a squatty potty (those who have been overseas know what I am talking about) but it is enclosed nicely so the whole world cannot see what is going on], I would go to the closer bathroom only a hop, skip and a jump or two from the classroom. This bathroom has a western toilet but if you are taller that about 4 feet, you have a nice view of the world around and vice versa too. I sat down on the toilet and learned a new lesson, check out the facilities before committing yourself to use!! As I sat down, the toilet sunk further into the ground at the same rate my weight was coming down onto the toilet, making this western turn into a squatty potty similar to the other in the other bathroom. Although I didn't check the toilet before sitting, I am positive that it was broken before I sat down! As you can see in this picture, the toilet has tilted so far over, that it is now leaning against the wall and the lid has busted off. I know as a matter of fact, that I wasn't the one that did that, someone else also had a bathroom adventure but no one has come forward admitting that it was them. Well, next time we go to the village, we will see what new bathroom adventure unfolds, that is, if they even have a bathroom to use!

January 18, 2007

What is goin' on??

Last week I posted a post saying that I thought my Indaina Pacers were heading in the right direction... Then they pull of this trade. I don't understand it. I know they had to get rid of Jackson who was a liability but if they wanted to get rid of Al, they could have got more in return. In return they get a bunch of mediocre players with high salarys, one of which is highly overrated (Dunleavy). To make matters worse, look at this headline from one newspaper, "Whoa! and Hallelujah: Warriors dump Murphy, Dunleavy and Dioju to Indiana." Makes me wonder what is store in for Indy's future. Maybe I will have to pay more attention to my 2nd favorite team, the Phoneix Suns and their soon to be 3 time MVP from CANADA!!!! And as the sports guy said on ESPN.com, this suns team may be the best team since the lakers and celtics dynasties. We will have to wait and see (or in my case read).

January 17, 2007

Answers to Prayer

For the past few months, we have asked people to pray for opportunities for us to be able to do ministry at Mae Jo. At the end of last year, we were given the go ahead by the Christian club there on campus. Being approved by them allows us to be able to go on campus to do evangelism. Last week the teacher who overlooks the Christian club phoned and told us that she had some students that wanted to study English. I thought they would all be Christians already, but when Tawm met them, she found out that none of them were Christians. Tawm met with 6 students about coming to the church to study English. All the students were excited about it and said that they would bring a couple more friends. Today, they began studying at the church and I think I counted 15 students. We praise God. They will only be studying for one month because they will be graduating from university next month, but are thankful for the open doors on campus.

January 16, 2007

Exciting Times

Last night we had our first small group Bible study in one of our members home. Including kids and Rusty, Susan, Tawm and I, we had 14 people in attendance. Rusty will be leading this small group and Tawm will be helping him with translation. We had a great time and the children also attended the Bible study and were asking questions. We are really excited about this small group because about 1/2 the people in attendance, including kids, don't know Christ.

The End of the World!!!

Before Christmas, we made a trip out to a new hilltribe village to help a former Bible School student. This village, like the one the Bible School is in, is Karen. If you were to read some mission statistics, it would say that many of the Karen are Christian. Before we went to this village I asked Lemuu, the former student what his village believed. He told me, everyone says they were Christian. I had the opportunity to talk to one young man, about 25 years old and ask him if he was a Christian. He responded yes and I prodded a little more by asking, how do you know? He said, in the year 1999, a man (don't know if he was Thai or a foreigner) came to the village telling people that the end of the world was at hand. If you wanted to go to heaven, you needed to baptized. He said lots of people were afraid of the end of the world and so they all received baptism and as a result, I am a Christian. As he told me that, I thought to myself, what other lies have people fed these village people. We thank God that Lemuu is working in that village helping people to understand what true salvation is.

January 12, 2007

New Opportunities

As we begin the new year, we are excited about some new steps that we are taking. Starting this month we will be beginning two small group Bible studies in Chiang Mai. About half our members live on one side of Chiang Mai and the other half on the other, so we will have small group meetings in each place during the week. We hope that this will encourage people to invite their friends to come and study the Bible in a less threatening environment. Also beginning this Sunday, after we finish our lunch fellowship, we will begin a weekly prayer meeting open to anyone who wants to come and pray for the ministries that are taking place in here in Thailand. Finally, M (the guy in the picture) has committed himself to come and study the Bible daily with me here in Chiang Mai. M came to town last week and by Monday he had already found a full time job. Praise God for providing as jobs are not always easy to come by. M will study for 2 hours in the mornings with me and then works from 3:30 in the afternoon until 12:30 in the morning. M had been studying at CRBS Bible School but wanted to live in the city so that he would have more opporutnities to be involved in ministry here at Antioch and chances to do evangelism. We are very excited about this opportunity.

January 11, 2007

Congratulations to my Team

For anyone that knows me, I am a big basketball fan (used to be college basketball but has changed to the NBA since coming to Thailand because college basketball is hard to follow) and my team is the Indiana Pacers. In my opinion they were robbed of a championship a couple years ago when the brawl happened and since then they have gone through some hard times although in my opinion, they signed some good players in the offseason but have been hovering at about 500 all season. Today, for the first time this season, they have won 3 games in a row. All season that hadn't lost or won more than 2 in a row and I am glad they won three in a row before losing three. Hopefully, this will be the beginning of a run to the top of the Eastern conference (which shouldn't be too hard really) where they should belong. Go Indy! (Colts too)

Never too late for Christmas!

For anyone who reads our blog but doesn't receive our monthly newsletter, wanted to give you a report on our Christmas outreach. We had a special Christmas program here on Saturday December 23rd. Our children's Sunday School class put on a special performance and we played games, sang Chritmas carols, had food to eat and I preached a short sermon on why Christ came to earth. When the event started, Tawm and I and along with the children were a little disappointed because we had our core group of people only. Everyone had done a good job of inviting friends and family, but we still didn't have any guests. The program started at 6 and by 7 o'clock we had more that 55 people. We were so excited. Our previous record for any service or event was 38. Praise God. Since then, the husband of one of our members has been attending each week. Please pray for Chai (standing on the far right in the picture) who has been asking many questions.

Plug for RimDoi

Well it is hard to believe that January is almost half way over and I have posted a single blog. Many different things have come up which has caused this problem but enough with excuses. This past Sunday after church, Tawm and I took off for a couple of days of rest and relaxation. The break wasn't long as we returned to work on Tuesday morning but it was nice to get away. We went to the Rimdoi resort which is pictured above, located about an hour outside of Chiang Mai. I enjoy staying there because it is quiet and surrounded by mountains. Some guests that we have had from America have stayed there too and they have enjoyed it too. If you are looking for a good getaway and would like to help with ministry here in Thailand, I recommend the place as it only costs about 15 dollars a night for 2 people. Can't beat that!!
You want to come stay?