Our family quickly went to work when we arrived back in our village over two weeks ago. Austin was quickly asked to preach the first Sunday in or village church and then he and Rakchat took off on a week trip to Hskay Village.
The trip was a memorable one for Rakchat and Austin. They took what was to be a supposed short cut that the villager guides assured would get them to their destination faster. Unfortunately, this “short cut” got the villagers who were guiding them lost and added an extra night to their traveling. Fortunately, the group chased up a monkey which was then shot by a nearby hunter. The hunter was thankful for their assistance with his dinner and he then helped guide the group back to where they needed to be. Sadly, they didn’t have enough time to eat any of the monkey but they did eat some great watermelon and jungle mango along the way, so the walk wasn’t a complete loss. The group then got to Hskay village the next day by catching a ride on a beat up mining truck. Oh the joys of mission work!
The team arrived in Hskay Village and were thrilled to find Hsi Htoo and his family have been doing some tremendous ministry work. Hsi Htoo continues to build his home and is discipling the new believers in Hskay while also inviting Buddhists and Animists alike to come to worship. He spends a lot of his time helping villagers with their farm work which also allows him an opportunity to share the gospel as he works alongside them. He also goes to visit those whom are sick to offer prayer and love. He’s obviously welcomed in the village and many non Christians are attending the Christian worship services.
At the end of one of these services, Rakchat and I spoke with a Thai man who has been coming to worship a great deal. He shared his understanding of God with us and after a time of questioning and answering he came to a point where he wanted to receive Christ as his Lord and Savior. Praise God! God’s Kingdom continues to grow and we’re so thankful to be witnesses of the Holy Spirit’s movement in our area.
I was also able to meet with the previous village leader who I had met about this time last year. He brought along his son who is currently studying at a Thai University. He shared with me about how his son had recently became a Christian while studying at college through another church’s ministry. The previous village leader has also shared with me about his own tweening faith, and how he was proud of his son’s faith and courage, although this has brought some conflict within their large family. Our visit together was a good one and we were able to pray with one another. Please do pray for this family that God continues to work on their hearts.
During our stay we were also able to hold communion for thirteen people which was my first time I had ever led such a service. While in the US, I was blessed to be given the authority to perform the sacraments while I continue through the ordination process. It was one of the many blessings our family received when we were back in the states to use here in the mission field. Praise God for Rakchat’s guidance as he helped me to prepare how to do the service in Thai and then he translated it into Karen. The next day we headed back to our village, and this time we didn’t take the short cut.
I arrived back in our village for two nights and then met with Allan Eubank who asked if I would go with him to Ley Tah Kuh village. Allan has been doing mission work in this area for over 50 years, so of course I went along to learn from him and to serve our brothers and sisters in Ley Tah Kuh as well. There has been a great deal of division in Ley Tah Kuh with another internal murder happening last December. This has led to fifty families of one of the factions within the village to leave and live on the Burma side of the border. We were able to go and visit this group to encourage them and to share the gospel. As always we were welcomed warmly. It was a blessing to share but also sad to see how evil always seems to divide and destroy.
During our time in Ley Tah Kuh, two local medics who are new to the faith requested to receive baptism. I was thankful to be able to offer the prayer for these young women and I couldn’t help but think I knew one of them while I prayed. Then I remembered her! She was a young woman I had met last year in Burma. She along with two other medic students after a worship service had prayed to receive Christ as her Lord and Savior. Here God was allowing me the blessing to not only help lead her in prayer to receive Christ, but now a year later I was praying for her baptism. Praise God!
Meanwhile, back in our village Sinte has already jumped back into hosting friends and tutoring children who stop by our house in the evening time. As we shared in our previous e-mail, we’re still unsure how long we will live in our current village but we’re just trying to serve how we can now and trust that God will open the right doors when He wills us to serve in new ways. Our Lord continues to amaze us with his bountiful grace and we’re so thankful for your faithful prayers and support. To our Lord Jesus be all the glory!