December 30, 2008

More Christmas Festivities

(kids in their costumes)

Since Christmas isn't a holiday here in Thailand, it is difficult to do things on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day because everyone works. So we celebrated Christmas at our church on the 28th instead. We gathered for worship in the morning and after church we loaded up and headed out to Jom Tong to have a special Christmas outreach. For me, the greatest part of the day was that 42 people from Antioch travelled in 5 trucks in order to participate in the outreach. Like always we played games, the children from Antioch had a special Christmas performance and afterwards I was able to talk for a few minutes about Christmas. The past 2 Sundays, we have had about 80 kids come to our English club. Last Sunday there were a number of adults too.

I am so thankful for Tawm who worked especially hard before the outreach preparing costumes. Tawm and 3 women from church spent a number of long days sewing the costumes (Tawm didn't even know how to sew but learned in order to make the costumes). The costumes looked great, the kids did a great job of acting too. Everyone from Antioch and the people that came really enjoyed their time. We also handed out a lot of tracts and pray that our Christmas outreach will begin to bear fruit that way too.

(our church gang and others)

December 29, 2008

Christmas Serenading

This year Tawm got some of the kids from Antioch Baptist Church together in order to do some Christmas Caroling or as they call it here in Thailand, Christmas Serenading. Tawm, a few adults and about 15 kids loaded into 2 vehicles and drove to different church member's houses to do some caroling. At each house, the hosts had different foods prepared for the kids, including a main meal at one house, to snacks and fruit at other houses. I stayed home to look after Owen. Caroling started about 7 o'clock but Tawm didn't get home until after midnight! I think everyone really enjoyed it.

December 25, 2008

A Great Christmas Sports Story

Thanks to Wayne Drehs and for writing this story about Kurt Warner (just click on the red print to access). This is a story that we don't see or hear about often in today's media, but one that needs to be told.

Merry Christmas Blog Readers!

 We wanted to start off by wishing all our blog readers a Merry Christmas and thanking all those who take the time to keep up on what is happening in our lives here in Thailand.
Last night we were able to spend Christmas Eve with another missionary couple who has been a huge help  to us since I arrived here in Thailand. Although we didn't have any turkey or ham, we had a great fondu dinner. They had their house nicely decorated too. Since we don't even own a Christmas tree, we figured it would be a good time to take some Christmasy pictures. Hope you enjoy!

December 16, 2008

New Work in Jom Tong

Over the past several weeks, we've been doing evangelism in Jom Tong or having special prayer meetings on Sunday afternoons for the city of Jom Tong. This past Sunday, we started a children's club at one of the schools there. The school has given us permission to use their facility free of charge and the school's English teacher has been promoting the club to other schools in the area. This Thursday, I will go out to Jom Tong to teach English in the school and promote the children's club.

We've been eagerly anticipating the new work in Jom Tong but had no idea what to expect. We were excited to see over 40 kids from grade 3-9 show up. The teacher told us that she was unable to promote it at all the schools that she wanted to and this week she will promote it some more. We had kids from about 5 different schools in Jom Tong.

On December 28th, many of the people of Antioch Baptist Church will be journeying out there to do a special Christmas program. We will encourage the kids to bring their parents and we will present the gospel that day. I've included some pics of the day of Jom Tong and a pic of Owen too.





December 11, 2008

Materialistic Christianity and Me

This coming February, I have to teach a class about Christian Financial Principles at the seminary. As a result, I am currently reading some books on financial principles. When I first started thinking about the class, I figured I'd talk about budgeting, saving and tithing (which I will do to some degree) but I have started reading a book by Randy Alcorn called "Money, Possessions and Eternity". From the get go, this book has been hard hitting and has made me really think about my ideas of money and prosperity. I've never highlighted a book up as much as this one. Although I'm only a few chapters in, I highly recommend this book.

I just finished a chapter talking about the lies of the health and wealth teaching which teaches that God wants to bless us financially and make us rich. Although, the teaching is clearly contrary to Scripture, it's still amazing how much my materialistic, western world view shapes my Christianity. At the end of the chapter, the author shares 2 stories, one of an American and another of a Chinese man living in mainland China. The stories really struck me and helped me to see how much of my worldview is shaped by materialism rather than Christ. I hope they stir your heart like they did mine.

Here's the 2 stories and the author's commentary:

In America, a sharp-looking businessman stands up at a luncheon to give his testimony: "Before I knew Christ, I had nothing. My business was in bankruptcy, my health was ruined, I'd lost the respect of the community, and I'd almost lost my family. Then I accepted Christ. He took me out of bankruptcy and now my business has tripled its profits. My blood pressure has dropped to normal and I feel better than I've felt in years. Best of all, my wife and children have come back, and we're a family again. God is good - praise the Lord!"

In China, a disheveled former university professor gives his testimony: "Before i met Christ, I had everything. I made a large salary, lived in a nice house, enjoyed good health, was highly respected for my credentials and profession, and had a good marriage and a beautiful son. Then I accepted Christ as my Savior and Lord. As a result, I lost my post at the university, lost my beautiful house and car, and spent five years in prison. Now I work for a subsistence wage at a factory. I live with pain in my neck, which was broken in prison. My wife rejected me because of my conversion. She took my son away and I haven't seen him for 10 years. But God is good, and I praise him for his faithfulness."

Material blessings and restored families are definitely worth being thankful for. The brother in China would be grateful to have them again; indeed he gives heartfelt thanks each day for the little he does have. And while the American brother is certainly right to give thanks, he and the rest of us must be careful to sort out how much of what he has experienced is part of the gospel and how much is not. For any gospel that is more true in America than in China is not the true gospel.

November 30, 2008

Thailand and Her King

I can't take credit for this post, it was written by Jonathon Head of the BBC news. The author does a good job of describing the relationship between the people of Thailand and the king of Thailand. If you are interested in the mindset of Thai people, this arcticle does a good job of describing one aspect of a Thai person's mindset. The article says:

Not much can bring the life of the noisy, traffic-clogged heart of Bangkok to a halt.

But on Wednesday the streets were hushed, the cars and buses banished.

All you could hear were speakers playing the royal anthem, and thousands of flags fluttering in the breeze, held by people of all ages.

Most were dressed in yellow and had waited for hours for a glimpse of a stiff and stern-faced old man passing in a motorcade, on his way to the gilded halls and temples of Bangkok's Grand Palace.

And as it passed they shouted "Song Phra Charoen", "Long Live Your Majesty". Some had tears in their eyes.

What explains this extraordinary bond between people and monarch?

King Bhumibol Adulyadej is accorded an almost divine reverence, with titles like Phra Chao Yu Hua (Lord Upon our Heads) or Chao Chiwit (Lord of Life).

People prostrate themselves on the ground in his presence. Yet there is genuine affection too, and it goes both ways.

Thais talk of their love for him as though he were a cherished member of the family.

In his speeches to the nation he likes to joke and tease them.

Public relations

Pink clothing sales rocketed when the king left hospital in a pink suit

Earlier in his reign when he was younger and travelled a lot, he clearly enjoyed meeting and mixing with people from the poorest rural communities.

People often refer to his long life of service to the nation, to his experiments with agriculture and irrigation, many of them carried out on the grounds of his palace in Bangkok.

The formidable public relations machine which manages the monarchy's image makes much of these experiments, as it does of the king's other talents as a jazz musician and sailor.

But the real measure of these achievements is impossible to know in a country where all criticism of the monarchy is curtailed by the draconian lese majeste law (offence against the dignity of the monarch), and only lavish praise for the royal family can be published.

The reverence for the king seems rooted in something less worldly.

Time after time when Thais are asked about the virtues of King Bhumibol they refer to his proper adherence to the principles of "Dhamma", Buddhist teachings and the Buddhist concept of righteousness.

Our political system has been unstable all the time. So whenever there is a political crisis people expect the King to solve the problem

Prof Suchit Bunbongkarn

It is not just his practical deeds they are looking at, but his manner, his modesty, his reserve, his gentleness, and his apparent detachment from the world - qualities he has worked hard to perfect and project.

He is as much a spiritual leader as a worldly one.

During his six decades on the throne Thailand has undergone changes as wrenching as in any other country.

Per capita income has gone up 40-fold. An almost entirely agrarian society has become a substantially urban one. The economy has been swept along by the forces of globalisation.

Political upheaval

There have been other changes as well.

The king's endorsement of the coup was essential to its success

This king has reigned through 17 military coups and 26 prime ministers. The gap between rich and poor has widened, with conspicuous consumption and conspicuous corruption accepted as part of everyday life.

There has been a corresponding decline in traditional community and family values.

Amid this whirlwind, the king has remained a reassuring anchor, a man who embodies Thailand's history but who has also come to embody integrity and detachment from the squalid realities of day-to-day politics and business.

He has lived the myth of the virtuous monarch so well that almost the entire population believes in it and takes comfort from it.

And it gives him a unique moral authority. When he speaks, people listen.

They may, and often do, fail to act on his advice. But he has been able to use that authority to settle a number of political crises.

I want to be making suits for him when he is 90 years old, when he is 100 - longer even."

Sompop Louilarpprasert
King Bhumibol's tailor

"If the country were in good shape politically, then the role of the constitutional monarch is not very difficult," explains Suchit Bunbongkarn, professor of political science at Chulalongkorn University.

"But in the case of Thailand it is not easy because our political system has been unstable all the time. So whenever there is a political crisis people expect the king to solve the problem."

Former Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun describes King Bhumibol's authority as "reserve power" that, because it has been used judiciously and sparingly, has been decisive in maintaining the country's stability.

This power, he says, has been accumulated through a life of dedication to his job. It cannot, he points out, be inherited or passed on.

Fears and superstition

There is quiet concern about the abilities of the heir to the throne

That explains the acute anxiety now over the king's fragile health. Few imagine that any future monarch can match this one.

There are many reservations about the capabilities of his presumed heir, Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, although these cannot be expressed publicly because of the lese majeste laws.

The succession itself is not completely clear, with the constitution leaving considerable powers to designate an heir to the 19-member Privy Council of senior advisors to the king.

The opacity that has preserved the mystique of monarchy in Thailand makes it impossible to discuss, let alone plan for the succession.

So Thais prefer not to think about it.

When I saw his tailor, Sompop Louilarpprasert, and asked him about the king's recent spell in hospital, he brushed it aside.

"I want to be making suits for him when he is 90 years old, when he is 100 - longer even."

It was Sompop who made the dazzling pink blazer the king wore when he came out of hospital.

Within hours, pink shirts were being sold in their thousands across the country, and there are days when some streets are a sea of pink.

In this superstitious country they now associate pink with the king's recovery. It will bring him good fortune, they say.

By wearing it they are literally willing him to stay alive for them.

November 12, 2008

Owen's First Big Trip

Last month, Tawm Owen and I, along with my parents and Tawm's parents were able to make a trip to Phuket, one of the most popular beaches in the world and also the place where the tsunami hit. We were able to travel to a few different places and got to spend time with some of Tawm's relatives that live there too. Here are a couple pictures of our time there along with a pic of Owen enjoying his grandma.



October 14, 2008

Grandpa and Grandma arrive from Canada!

Last Wednesday my parents arrived from Canada after many months of anticipation. They were able to meet Owen for the first time and have been enjoying there time with him, us and the rest of the clan here in Thailand.

I am so thankful that they were able to come and also very thankful for all the sacrifices they have made in allowing me and my family to minister here in Thailand. I know it isn't always easy.

-> Exciting Times Ahead ->

Things are going to get extremely busy around here, but we are really excited. For the past while, we've been praying about starting a new ministry in a new location (not that the one where we currently are isn't keeping us busy).

A few months ago when the basketball team was here, God opened doors for us to go to Jom Tong (a city about 1 hour from Chiang Mai) to teach English in 3 different schools. Since then we haven't done any ministry there, but our church and us have been praying for an opportunity to start a work there for the past few months.

This coming Sunday, God has opened a door for us to go there and share the gospel. The thing that has me really excited is that over half our church here in Chiang Mai (including a number of kids) will be heading to Jom Tong with us after services to do evangelism there and I pray that this will be the first big step in establishing a new ministry there.

My hope is that this isn't a stepping stone for a ministry in Jom Tong but that it will be a life changing experience for the members of Antioch as well.

October 02, 2008

You Know Who's Back

It's been awhile since I've posted anything of any kind and even longer since the last Owen post. He's getting bigger all the time and getting a mind of his own more and more. Next week, my parents from Canada will be visiting and they'll get to see Owen for the first time. All of us are getting pretty excited about that.



September 09, 2008

Keeping a Journal (any advice?)

I've tried before and I am going to try again. Every time I try to keep a journal, it goes good for a week or two and after that I lose my desire. I don't want my journal to just be a diary of what I did but more about what God is teaching me and speaking to me about.

I'm sure some of you that frequent my blog keep a spiritual journal. If so, how do you do it? What do you do to keep yourself interested in it? I really think that journaling will help me process my thoughts and will be very beneficial to me. If you have any ideas or suggestions of what to do or what not to do, I'd love to hear them.

September 08, 2008

Praying Dangerously

Last week I started and finished the book, "In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day" by Mark Batterson. I couldn't put it down. The book had some awesome quotes and many of them pierced my heart and he really helped me to think about things in a new perspective. I definitely have to read this book again and would highly recommend it to anyone reading this blog but expect to be changed!

Over the past few months, God has been dealing with me in the area of prayer because it is one of weakest areas. I'd rather do than pray but I know that that is the wrong way of doing things. Although Batterson's book is more about taking risks, God kept using the book to deal with me in the area of my prayer life, especially about praying dangerously.

Yesterday I preached on praying dangerously (had intended to even before I started reading the book but the book helped confirm a lot of things). During the response song after I finished preaching, the thought hit me, if we pray for God to help our church grow and one person is saved, baptized and becomes a member, God has answered our prayer. God did exactly what we asked but in the end, we're disappointed (especially pastors and missionaries) because we want to grow our churches and we want God to do big things, but sometimes we forget to ask. As a result I have been challenged to begin praying bigger, more dangerous prayers. Asking for things that I can't do on my own strength. Asking God to do the things that I think can't be done knowing that nothing is impossible for God. God doesn't want us to limit him in our prayer lives and I have a problem of limiting God to what I think I can manage but why not pray ask God to do what only He can manage, not me?

So I've decided to pray more dangerously. I'm excited and a little scared because I don't know what to expect, I have a feeling I'm going to be pulled out of my comfort zone but if that is what God wants, that's is what needs to happen.

September 02, 2008

Dengue Fever

Dengue Fever, an illness that comes from a mosquito bite has been really bad this year in Chiang Mai. The husband of one of our church's members already spent one week in the hospital and had to get a blood transfusion as a result. Now Tim, our church secretary and one of our most faithful church members and Dee, her husband both have Dengue Fever. Dengue Fever is similar to malaria (I guess) and is supposed to be excruciatingling painful, even fatal. Please pray for these two.

Protests are Escalating

It's been about a week since the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) started protesting, hoping to oust the current government (which has only been in power for about 7 months). Until last night, things had remained peaceful, aside from the fact that the PAD protesters have broken many laws. Earlier in the week, the highest court in Thailand gave the police the authority to arrest the leaders of the PAD group but that still hasn't happened. Last night, pro-government supporters clashed with the PAD protesters and as a result, there was one fatality and many others were injured. As a result, the government declared a state of emergency in Bangkok and the military has stepped in in order to try and control the situation.

Although the group of protesters are called the People's Alliance for Democracy, they really don't want democracy. They have openly said that most of Thailand's population is too uneducated to support a democracy. It sounds to me that they think only the rich elite have the right to vote, but unfortunately much of Thailand's population is still fairly uneducated and poor. There are thousands of protesters protesting in Bangkok and getting paid to do it, often times getting paid more than what they could make at their normal jobs. If they weren't being paid to protest, these protests would have fizzled out already. I think it is funny, the uneducated shouldn't be able to vote, but it is fine to allow them to help with the protests.

In regards to us and what is happening here in Chiang Mai. Other than people being offered money to protest, I haven't seen anything out of the ordinary. The train station is closed down but I haven't seen any protests happening in or around Chiang Mai because the north where we live is pretty pro-government and a major part of the reason that this government is in power. With that said, please continue to pray for the country and the safety for everyone.

August 31, 2008

Another Big Step Taken!

Earlier this year, Antioch sent Samson, a former student at our village Bible school to Sukothai, another province located about 5 hours away from Chiang Mai. Samson had a burden to go there and plant a church. He decided to go to a village that didn't have any Christians and begin laboring there. Unlike many hilltribe villages, this village is Buddhist but like most Thais, they mix some Animism with Buddhism.

When Samson went there, he told me that the people were nice but not real friendly, but Samson continued laboring there, helping them with their crops and planting Spiritual seeds too. This past week, one villager came to Samson and asked Samson to pray for him. Samson explained the gospel to him and the man accepted Christ. Samson said he didn't think this man would become a Christian, let alone be the first convert there because he had amulets around his neck and waist protecting him from evil spirits but after he turned to Christ, he removed all the amulets and burned them as a sign that he was turning his back to his old lifestyle.

This is so exciting because my primary goal here in Thailand is to see churches plant churches. Antioch Baptist Church sending out missionaries was step one in seeing this happen. Now we are seeing fruit from the missionary's labor. So Cool!

August 29, 2008

Unique Opportunity

During my blogging hiatus, I had the opportunity to do something that I've never done in Thailand before. I had the opportunity to preach at a house warming party. Normally when Thai people buy a house, the have monks come and bless the house however relatives of one of our church members bought a house here in town and asked if I could come and preach. I'd been to a house warming party before but never a Christian one, so I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. Tawm and a couple people from our worship team led the people in singing and then I had the opportunity to speak. It went well and I preached from the verse in Joshua that says "as for me and my house we will serve the Lord."

The next day was Sunday and a number of people from this family came to church. As a result, Antioch had its biggest attendance to date: 54 people

August 26, 2008

More Trouble a Brewing??

This morning, protestors stormed one of Thailand's nation TV stations and forced it off the air. They have also closed some major roads leading into Bangkok in hopes that their actions will force the new Prime Minister and his cabinet to step down. Many people, especially in Bangkok are not happy with the new Prime Minister because of his ties to the former Prime Minister that was ousted in coup-d-etat a couple years ago. Plus they accuse this prime minister of buying votes in the poor but heavily populated Northeastern region of Thailand.
Despite all this, the military leader has already said that there will not be a coup this time.

Two Souls Saved!

Last week Tawm had the opportunity to lead to people to the Lord at church. A couple family members of our one of our church members were staying at the church in order to bring their kid to the hospital the next morning. Tawm was at church that evening and started talking to the mother about salvation. The mother was very interested. She went to church her whole life, called herself a Christian but didn't know anything about being saved. As they talked, the lady's husband came and joined in. At first Tawm was worried that he'd stop the conversation but he proved to be just as interested as the mother. After a couple hours of talking, they both decided to trust Christ as Savior. Praise God!
The only sad part of the story is that they don't live in Chiang Mai and so it will be difficult to disciple them. Plus neither can read so they will have trouble reading their Bible. Please pray for them.

Two Thought Provoking Quotes

With the long lapse between blogs, it has given me enough time to do my fair share of reading. I wanted to share with you two quotes that have hit me hard over that time. The first comes from a book that Tawm and I are reading together called "Faith Begins at Home" by Mark Holmen. Although Owen is only 9 months old, it is definitely something that struck my heart. Holmen said:

"While it is good that everyone desires that our teenagers have a stronger faith, the truth is that what we see in our teenagers' faith is a mirror image of our own faith. So the issue isn't their faith, but your faith."
Our children model what they see their parents doing. Are we as parents modelling what we want them to do? Or is it just all talk?

The second quote comes from a book called "True Spirituality" by Francis Shaeffer. God is really dealing with me in the area of my prayer life at this time and so Shaeffer's really hit home. He wrote:

"If I woke up tomorrow morning and found that all that the Bible teaches concerning prayer and the Holy Spirit were removed (not as a liberal would remove it, by misinterpretation but really removed) what difference would it make in practice from the way we are functioning today? The simple tragic fact is that [in most Christians lives] there would be no difference whatsoever. We function as though the supernatural were not there."
How much does our prayer life affect the way we live our day to day lives? Do we really bring everything to God in prayer? For most of us probably not.

August 25, 2008

Owen's Back too!



With the long blogging hiatus, people that aren't on Facebook have been wanting to see some more pics of Owen. Owen is getting big. He says mummum which means eat, ba which means let's go and taa which means grandpa. He doesn't always use them at the right time, but he is forming the words.

Bloggin' Woes

Been trying to update the blog for the past little while but been having a cookie problem. Finally, I had to restore my whole system and now I have access to my blog again. The only problem, I still can't upload pictures like I used to... Still have some kinks to work out. If I can't get them worked out, I may have to switch over to another blog... Stay tuned to find out.

July 28, 2008

Bangkok Bookstores

Last week, Rusty and I made a trip to Bangkok in order to go to different Christian bookstores there. We were looking for books that we could use as textbooks for our seminary classes here in Chiang Mai. We'd been to the bookstores here in Chiang Mai but they didn't have much selection, so we figured we'd be able to find more in Bangkok, especially since there is a Baptist Seminary there and several other bookstores.

Neither of us have any experience travelling around Bangkok, a city of over 10 million people, so it was a bit of a daunting task having to try to find our way to these bookstores. We were blessed by the help of a Independent missionary who showed us the ropes and showed us around his printing ministry in Bangkok. After hitting a couple bookstores, we soon discovered, that 80-90% books they had, we had here in Chiang Mai. When we began our second day of travelling, I was excited because we were going to hit the Baptist Seminary, surely they'd have some good textbooks there. But to our dismay, they had the same books as everywhere else, including the book "The Hidden Power of Speaking in Tongues" (which made me wonder if it was really a Baptist Seminary).

We came back to Chiang Mai, disappointed in one aspect and seeing the need for some solid literature in Thai. We were thankful that we got to meet the Baptist missionary in Bangkok who is just beginning to translate some good material into Thai. This gives us a glimmer of hope for the future.

I'm Still Here

I know its been awhile since I last posted. It's been busy around but part of the reason for not posting has been laziness.

Tawm and I are doing good. Owen is now 8 months old (I will post some pics soon). He is crawling, standing, going up stairs and has two teeth now. He is still a very good boy and the center of attention whereever he goes [reminds me a little of me :)]

The work is going good. We have had really good attendance the last month or so and have been really pushing for a stronger commitment from our members. We are busy praying that God would lead us to a new building. The rent of the one we are in will be going up next year and so we looking into different options. Bible School is going good too.

Well, I will post some more later, just wanting to let you know that we're still here.
Thanks to all those who check our blog.

June 30, 2008

Why are you guys different??

At the beginning of the month, we had a team come from America. The first weekend they were here, we had an English Camp outside Chiang Mai and we invited every person who has ever applied to study English at our foundation. In total about 20 students came and it was the highlight of the trip for me. After the weekend, a couple students decided to help on the next portion of the trip, even though they were Buddhist. One of those people was Tong, a young man about 30 years old. After helping us at the basketball camp, he talked to Tawm and said that he was interested in knowing more about Christianity. As a Buddhist, he lacked purpose in life and he noticed something different in our lives.
Since the team left, he has been to church every Sunday, he attended seminary classes a couple times and he is even inviting his friends to come to church and he doesn't understand why they don't want to come. Tong hasn't made a commitment to Christ yet (that we know of) but please pray for him that he would come to a saving knowledge of Christ. Last week we had an opportunity to hang out together for 5-6 hours and plan to hang out again this week.

New Look Pacers got my approval!

Although the trade isn't official until later this week, I am happy with the changes that the Pacers have made. Although I like Jermaine O'Neal a lot (happy he is going to the Raptors, another team I like), I am glad that he is moving on because I don't think he was a great fit to the new uptempo Pacers. Getting Ford in exchange along with a couple players and a draft pick was a great move by the Legend, Larry Bird. On top of that, they drafted 2 quality players. Since the brawl in Detroit, things haven't looked good for the Pacers but I think the past week was a good step in the right direction. Now if we can only get some team to take Jamaal Tinsley.

June 17, 2008

What is Canada/the World coming to?

"Canadian government to pastor: Renounce your faith! The Canadian government has ordered a Christian pastor to renounce his faith and never again express moral opposition to homosexuality, according to a new report.In a decision handed down just days ago in the penalty phase of the quasi-judicial proceedings run by the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal, evangelical pastor Stephen Boisson was banned from expressing his biblical perspective of homosexuality and ordered to pay $5,000 for "damages for pain and suffering" as well as apologize to the activist who complained of being hurt."

Rusty sent me this email. Being Canadian, it is hard to believe that my nation is coming to this. Even more surprising was that this happened in Alberta, which tends to be the most conservative province in Canada. The whole thing just makes you wonder, what is our world coming to? Governments in the West promote freedom of speech and tolerance but they are very intolerant to Christianity. Most people will tolerate almost anything, including other religions, just not Christianity. The Bible talks a lot about suffering and I believe that we as westerners will begin to understand this more and more clearly in the coming years.

It's been a long time...

Whooh, it has been a busy few weeks here. The team has come and gone. Our pastor from the states has also been here and now that the dust has settled, I thought it would be good to post some pics of Owen. 

May 29, 2008

Hoop Dreams

The NBA playoffs are almost finished (thankfully because 3 of my 4 most hated teams still remain) but the real hoop dreams will be happening here in Thailand. Tomorrow a team of 6 from the States will be coming to do some basketball camps. Although Thailand is near to China, I am not expecting any Yao Ming's to emerge. We will be having a camp in Chiang Dao (Friday 30-Sunday 1) with many of the students we've been teaching English to. Then we will head to Jom Tong, where we will start doing ministry for the first time (Tuesday 3-Friday 6). On Saturday 7, we will have a banquet at the church and every one that attended the camp is invited. Sunday is church and Monday the team leaves. We are excited and nervous as we are doing something we've never tried before. Pray that contacts would be made, friendships strengthened and most importantly, people would come to know Christ as Savior.

May 26, 2008

A Trip to the Hospital

Thai people make me laugh... In some areas, they are so cautious, as they don't want to offend anyone. You can't be direct, instead, you have to beat around the bush. But in other areas, areas we as North Americans are not so direct, Thais are very direct. Thais love to ask you about your weight, your salary and how much you paid for that latest thing you bought (even if they don't even know you). Thais will come up to us and pick up Owen too.

Owen, along with the rest of us, hasn't been feeling too good. Last week when we went to the doctor. After Owen was finished with his check-up, Tawm and I went to get one too. The nurses in the children's clinic took Owen and said, we will return him when you guys are done. It is just so typical of Thai culture.

Yesterday we went to the doctor again as the doctor made an appointment to check Owen again. When he was finished, Tawm and the doctor started talking. Here was the gist of the conversation.
Doctor (talking about Owen): Oh, you have such a sweet face. Who do you look like more?
Tawm: Everyone says that Owen looks like his father.
Doctor: No! His father doesn't have a sweet face.
Tawm: Well I think he has a mixture of both of us.
Doctor: No.
I just smiled as the whole conversation happened... It is so typical of the things we hear here all the time.

May 22, 2008

Another Weird Sunday

I'm not sure what's been happening the last 2 Sundays (you can read about what happened last Sunday in the previous post). A few days before Sunday, Owen, Tawm and I were all feeling pretty crummy. On Friday evening, I started to lose my voice and on Saturday it was pretty much gone. I emailed Rusty (since I couldn't really talk) to preach for me and Tawm would translate. Even though it was really short notice, he agreed to do it. When Sunday morning arrived, my voice was coming back some but Tawm's was pretty much gone. Tawm tried to find a translator but its hard to find a translator for Sunday services when it is Sunday morning. In the end we got Kaimook, the daughter of one of our members who studies at an international school to translate. She has done it a few times for Rusty at cell group, but this was her first time in front of a bigger group of people. Although she struggled at times, she did a good job. We're just glad that we are feeling under the weather before the team comes, not when they arrive!

May 14, 2008

Some Daddy Firsts

Over the past week, I've had some new experiences as a dad. Last week Owen got sick for the first time. He had an eye and ear infection but after we saw the doctor and got some medicine, Owen was better the next day. Owen sure didn't like the feeling of being sick, he was not the normal, happy Owen at all. After Owen got better, both mommy and daddy got sick. I've always heard of that happening, but this is my first experience.

The other first happened Sunday morning at church. During worship, I was holding Owen as Tawm was working the powerpoint. As I was holding him, there was a rumbling in Owen's diaper and I knew he had just done his deed. Mimi, one of the girls at church, just happened to be watching us at the time when her jaw dropped and she pointed at me. Owen's diaper didn't catch all the poop. It had started running down his leg, on to me and on to the floor. All this happened during the second to last song before I had to preach. Well, I got us both cleaned up just as they were praying before the sermon. Usually when that prayer is finished, I am standing at the front ready to preach. Last Sunday I wasn't and everyone started looking for me. That's when they discovered the poopy incident. Needless to say, we had a few minutes between prayer and preaching and when I started to preach, I was pretty flustered and as a result my introduction didn't go too smoothly. Oh well, it will be a Sunday that I never forget.

May 01, 2008

Some More Owen Pictures

A lot has happened since the last Owen post. Owen has turned 5 months and along with that, he has started eating bananas (which he likes) and eggs and rice (which he doesn't care for). He has started to push his whole body off the floor and he can sit if you prop him in the right position (although he still likes to tip). No matter where he goes, he is still a hit. The question we always get asked is if we want to give him away. Thais would love to raise their own "farang (foreign)" [even though he is mixed] baby for themselves! 

April 27, 2008

Changing Preaching Style.

The last two Sundays I have changed the way I preach in church. For the past year and a half, I have typed out my sermon in English, translated as much as i could. Then Tawm editted it or helped me to finish translating the sermon. Then Saturdays were spent memorizing the sermon. With all the translating and memorizing, it really cut down on time I had in really preparing the sermon. On top of that, I could only memorize so much and as a result, my sermons were pretty short. On Sundays when I preached, I was pretty rigid and I couldn't really go off on tangents because I didn't want to lose my place in the sermon.

However, I came to the point now where I figure my Thai is good enough to begin preaching. My Thai still needs lots of improvement, but I could be here 20 years and say the same. As a result, I decided to try to preach for real. I now go into the pulpit with my introduction typed out in Thai, just so I get off on the right foot and after that, my skeleton outline is in English and i preach from that. The past 2 Sundays have gone well, there is still lots of room for improvement. My sermons have now doubled in time (don't know if that is good or bad). The biggest plus is that I am now excited about preaching again and I feel my sermons have more life and passion too. A couple people have told me that they like it when I preach this new way better which has been an encouragement to me.

April 14, 2008

Bible School Seminar

At the current time, I am overseeing two different Bible schools, one located in a remote village, one located in the city of Chiang Mai. Because of these responsibilities I was really excited about Joe Morell and Ed Brown coming to Chiang Mai to give a Bible School Workshop. Joe Morrell (in the green shirt and glasses) is a missionary to Lithuania/Latvia/Finland and God has really used him there and the Bible School that he started in Lithuania has been instrumental in what God has done there. The thing that encouraged me the most was that the churches in that part of the world are self supporting and not relying on money from foreign countries (even though the average income is only a couple hundred dollars a month). Joe said that when he went there, the Lithuanians thought it would be impossible to be self-supporting but Joe always asked, "Are you going to trust God or trust America".
Since then, the work there has grown alot whereas many other ministries that are financed from the "West" are struggling.

I have always believed that indigineous, self supporting, self propogating, self governing churches was God's model and it is great to see that God's model has worked there and I believe it will work here too even though it is so contrary to the way most missions/missionaries do work here in Thailand. ain patient and know that this is the way that God really wants us to do missions. Even though it is slow going and we wonder if we should abandon God's model, I know that this is the most beneficial way for the Thai people for us to do mission work. Foreign funded programs may make our reports look good but they hinder what God wants to do through the Thai people. We hope and pray that we will see these things come into fruition in the coming months and years ahead.

Ed Brown (white shirt on the right) who is an itinerant preacher also encouraged us from God's Word. It was great to hear some good preaching because we don't have that many opportunities to hear it live and in person. Both men were a real blessing to us and the work God is doing here in Thailand.

It's Begun

Songkran or Thai New Year officially started yesterday (although people began throwing water on Thursday) and will continue until tomorrow. Songkran is the closest thing that Thailand has to the Christmas season. Since it is a three day holiday, most people return home for the break. Unlike Christmas where the older generation tends to give gifts to the young ones, here the young ones buy gifts for older people. That means that the older you are the more gifts you get!!! In return for giving a gift, the older generation gives the gift givers a blessing.

It is also the time when people clean up their houses and go to the local temple to help wash the Buddhist idols. The thing most foreigners know about Songkran is the water fight. If you step outside, it means you are willing to get wet. In Chiang Mai, the best place to be during Songkran, there are literally thousands and thousands of people throwing water. However along with the water fun, there is a lot of drinking which can make things get kinda dangerous though. Being new parents, we are staying away from the water but as Owen gets bigger, I'm sure we will be in the middle of it once again.

April 08, 2008


We've been really busy over the past couple of weeks, hence no posts. I will be blogging about the things that have been happening over the past couple weeks over the next couple days but most importantly (and because my mother asked), here are some pics of Owen and us too!

Owen getting ready to try his first burger. (Not really, just a cute pic)

Us at a waterfall near Mae Sa

us at the Mae Sa Elephant camp - if you look closely, you can see Owen checking out the ivory

Owen's growing

March 26, 2008

Gettin' Excited

Earlier this week, Robert Wallace returned to the States. Tomorrow, Joe Morrell and Ed Brown are coming to Thailand. The main reason that they will be here is to give us a seminar in how to start a Bible School. Since I am currently overseeing two of them, this will be very beneficial. The guys from Udon will also be joining us for the seminar.

On top of that, they will be the speakers at Antioch's revival services and Joe Morrell will be accompanying me to Kinetchu, a village about 5 hours away, to visit a church that Nicky Barnett helped start. Haven't been there in over a year so I am looking forward to their visit.


March-April is always a time I miss being in North America, who doesn't love watching March Madness. I filled out a bracket again this year. Since I haven't lived in North America for about 5 years, my college basketball information is 5 years old. So far I'm doing pretty good. I have two whole regionals correct. I have 12 of the final 16 teams correct. The only problem is, the team I picked to make it to the final got ousted... At least I didn't pick them to win it all.
Here's my final four.
North Carolina

Memphis over UCLA
Georgetown over Carolina

Memphis over Georgetown.

March 18, 2008

Awesome Day

Yesterday was a great day. All of us, including Owen and Robert Wallace headed out to Jom Tong, a city located about 50 kilometers away from Chiang Mai. It is a city of 60,000 people. All of us are praying about starting a new ministry there. However before you can start a new ministry, we have to have some contacts and before yesterday we didn't have any.

In May-June we will have a basketball team here and so we thought it would be a good way to meet some contacts. We've never done anything with an athletic team, so we didn't know what to expect. We went to the government office in Jom Tong and try to find someone to talk to. After talking with one person, he pointed us to a young man who just happened to be the person who oversees athletics for the city of Jom Tong. We talked with him for a while, getting his input. He encouraged us to try to go to some schools, especially one called Sop Tia School. So we went there, he went with us and we met with a couple teachers and then met the principal. The principal of the school just happened to be the superintendent of all 36 schools in the Jom Tong district. They gave us the go to come to his school and he would look for some other schools to do stuff. Tawm told him we were a Christian team and wanted to have an opportunity to talk about God and he said that that wouldn't be a problem. That night they had a meeting and began planning for our trip. They also begged us to come back and teach English. Afterwards we went to look for accomodation for the team and the first hotel we went to, Tawm met one of her friends from high school. He is engaged to the owner's daughter and as a result, they gave us a good discount too.

Thanks to all those who prayed. We asked God to open doors and He threw them wide open! We are really excited.

March 15, 2008

Team Preparations

Robert Wallace (left), one of the teachers from Texas Baptist Institute where Tawm and I spent a year studying is arriving here in Thailand today. At the end of May he will be returning with a team of basketball players. He is arriving in Thailand today to begin preparations for the team. Pray for us as we try to set up this outreach. We have never done anything like this before. We don't want to do stuff for the sake of doing stuff but want it to be a benefit to the work we are doing here.

March 13, 2008

Awesome Family

God has blessed us with two great families, one here in Thailand, the other in Canada. My family has been so supportive of me (and now us) since I came to Thailand. It wasn't easy for them at the beginning, but God has been great.

Over the past couple of months, they have been creative in showing their support for us. Last year when we were in Canada, I purchased a bunch of books that I couldn't buy in Thailand. Unfortunately, most airlines have lowered their baggage weight limits and as a result, I had to leave about half the books in Canada, waiting for someone to bring them or pick them up on my next trip back. However my uncle Rod (pictured) has a friend who knows a friend who is married to a Thai lady. Anyways, he was making a trip to Thailand to meet his wife and he wasn't bringing much luggage. My uncle asked if he'd be willing to bring the books over here and he agreed. Two weeks ago, I received the package in the mail and it only cost us a few dollars to get the books here. It was a huge blessing.

On top of that, my cousin Krista (also pictured) celebrated her 13th birthday last month. (Happy Belated Birthday!) For her birthday party, she told her friends not to get her anything but asked people to bring their loose change (in Canada we have 1 and 2 dollar coins) instead. She could have bought herself a nice gift with the money she got but instead of keeping the money for herself like any typical 13 year old, she decided to give the money to us and our ministry here. How cool is that! It was an awesome surprise for us too. Thanks to Krista for the gift and all those involved in getting the books over here.

Although we don't get to see our Canadian family very much, we want to let you know that we love you and appreciate everything you do for us.

March 10, 2008

More Owen


Here's a couple more pics of Owen. Owen just started using his Jolly Jumper that we got as a gift today. He seems to enjoy it although he still hasn't got the hang of it.


March 04, 2008

Sad Stats

I just started reading the book Planting Churches Cross-Culturally: A Guide to Home and Foreign Missions.
Although I am only a couple chapters in, I can tell that this book will be extremely helpful and is definitely a must read for anyone involved in missions.
One chapter teaches about the priority of teaching churches how to do real mission work. The author (and I agree because of what I have seen in Thailand) says that too many missionaries aren't doing real mission work. He says that only 28% of missionaries are involved in establishing churches, 25% are involved in church support and 47% are assigned to other ministries.
Although the book is over 20 years old, I'm sure the stats haven't changed much or from what I can tell, they have gotten worse. We definitely need more people doing real mission work: establishing churches!

March 03, 2008

Our Little Reader

Over the past couple weeks, Owen's neck has progressively gotten stronger and stronger. At the beginning we had to coax him in order to get him to keep his head up. One day Tawm decided to put a book in front of him and see if it would help him keep his head up. As it turns out, it worked. Now he will keep his head up for long stretches of time looking at the colorful pictures.

February 26, 2008

Funny Marriage Post

I just read this on my friend Bobby Peek's blog and thought I would share it with those who read this blog. It made me chuckle a few times and it made Tawm laugh even more.

A man will pay $20 for a $10 item he needs.
A woman will pay $10 for a $20 item that she doesn't need.

A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband.
A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.
A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend.
A successful woman is one who can find such a man.

To be happy with a man, you must understand him a lot and love him a little.
To be happy with a woman, you must love her a lot and not try to understand her at all.

Married men live longer than single men do, but married men are a lot more willing to die.

A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn't.
A man marries a woman expecting that she won't change, and she does.

A woman has the last word in any argument.
Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.

Old aunts used to come up to me at weddings, poking me in the ribs and cackling, telling me, "You're next." They stopped after I started doing the same thing to them at funerals.

February 20, 2008

Approaching 13

It has been a little while since the last post of Owen. He is growing really fast, and it is hard to believe that he is going to be 3 months old already this coming Friday.