Archive for May 24th, 2010
Monday was a rich day for us in Chiang Mai. We are now past the one week mark and beginning our last week here. We all feel a deep sense of urgency for our readers. They are on our hearts and our relationships with them fill nearly every waking minute. When you are given two weeks to get to know people, to listen to their questions, to hear their story about family, to know what they’ve gone through to get where they are, ah, that’s a treasure. But then, … you realize this may be your only time to help them know the love of Jesus and how precious to us they are to you.
Our Monday morning devotional was filled with these thoughts in the air, on our lips, and in our prayers. None of us had dry eyes as we thought about our readers and prayed for them, and for us, to make the most of God’s timing and plan for these precious days. Kent led our devotional and called on us to rely on the power of God to do what we cannot do and do not have time to do. Samuel led us in some old hymns that touched places of deep emotion in us. I broke into tears praying for us to know how to best touch the hearts of our readers, who are now so dear to us. It is hard to explain if you have not been in a similar situation, but tears now form in my eyes as I think about these things.
After we finished our devotional time, we read Robert Reagan’s follow up lessons that will be read with our students by his interns. Not all of our students will continue to read these lessons. But, those who ask will be put into groups of twos or threes. These lessons are more intense and have a specific goal in mind of leading these folks to make a decision to follow Jesus. The reading lessons are done both simply and well. I am already praying that my readers will join a group.
We shared lunch with David Allen and Sean Todd. They are two of Robert’s original team members and they work with another church plant in Chiang Mai that was started after the Nakorn Paeng church was established by the team. The lunch was wonderful. We then reserved space for a mountain retreat with our readers and the Payap Christian Zone members for Friday and Saturday. This will be the culmination of our time here and the finish of our work, followed by a joint worship service by all four churches started by the efforts in Chiang Mai.
We rushed back for our reading sessions and to decorate for the party. Kent and I blew up a bunch of balloons — they figured we were the hot air specialists. We delivered in fine fashion and then I rushed over for my first reading session with Tom.
Tom is extraordinarily bright, a good reader, and has become a new Thai friend. He thinks of great questions, and can read at all three levels — verbal reading, picking up the sense of the passage, and understanding and applying the message. He is the same age as my son Zach, who has a lot of the same qualities.
After Tom, I read with Melody. Her story is gripping and we talked about her story in detail during our session. Moses was one of the subjects mentioned in the reading and I shared with her how his mother hid Moses so he wouldn’t be killed.
There is no doubt that Melody is here because of her parents’ love and God’s grace. She is precious, and while her story is unspeakably hard, I also wanted her to know that God has a plan for her.
My next reading session was with Anna. She is reading better each day and is more confident. She is not sure how I can believe what I believe, but she respects it and asks very interesting questions.
My other reader is the bundle of energy we call Candy. We didn’t get to read tonight because of the party and I didn’t see her all day, so I’m a bit worried about what’s going on with her, but I have heard she is quite busy. These young women and juggling so many things all at once.
We rolled right out of our reading sessions into our Purple and White themed Party. Pizza, games, songs, and fellowship lasted from 7:00-9:00, followed by about 35 minutes of singing “Jesus songs.” We had people from China, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and the USA singing praise at the top of our voices — and only about half of us were followers of Jesus. Never discount the powerful draw of genuine Christian fellowship. Everybody received a purple ACU Homecoming shirt and we posed for pictures together to mark the end of the evening!
Kent, Samuel, and I stayed around till the Zone closed at 11:00. Samuel and Kent played games and I helped the Chinese girls with their Facebook account. This allowed Melody to share more of her story with Robert and me, as she showed us pictures of her some of her family. When we arrived back in the room, we were exhausted, dehydrated, and emotional spent — it couldn’t have been a better day.