Saturday, July 7, 2012

Trip to East Asia shows signs of harvest

Unreached People Group of the Catamount

The location and isolation of the Catamount* people create nearly insurmountable barriers for them to be reached with the transforming power of the gospel.   They are classified as an Unreached People Group(UPG) because there are fewer than 100 believers in the whole people.  Most Catamount live in log homes built on sunny mountain slopes in the foothills of the Himalayas.  They are farmers who raise crops and animals to survive in the harsh region.  They remain some of the poorest minorities in East Asia** and often lack proper education, health care, nutrition and clothes.  It is with great excitement that we have watched God raise a team of Americans to join me on a semi-extreme expedition to take the Good News to villages where most have never heard of the One True God.  The team will daily visit homes doing evangelism and discipleship with prayer of laying a foundation of a new church.  We will also use reading glasses, building greenhouses and other community projects as tools to open the doors to the villages.  Would you like be a part of this work from the safety of your own home?  As we hike through mountain villages where the name Jesus hasn’t been spoken, we need you to fight for the awakening of these people in prayer?  Do you want to do something that not only makes a difference in someone’s daily life, but could make a difference in eternity?  Then join us in prayer and see how God uses those prayers to glorify Himself.

Pray for:

-          The e3 leaders as we do final training of the team and logistic arrangements
-          For the team to obtain necessary visas, as the embassy for this country has gotten very strict
-          For the team as they prepare and make arrangements to leave family and work

-          For the health and safety of the family members left behind in the States so that the team is not distracted from the work God has for them to accomplish. 

-          For safe and speedy travel from June 3 – 13th
-          For open hearts and homes as we carry the light of Christ into new territory

-          For energetic and healthy bodies

-          For protection from the enemy and government officials

*The name of the people group has been changed to “Catamount” for the protection of the local believers. 
**We use East Asia as a broad regional name when talking about this specific closed country.  Email us in you need more clues about the actual country.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

From equip, to evangelize, to establish in Bangkok

A voice woke her in the darkness. “You must share the gospel.”  He commanded. 
“But Lord, I don’t know how to share the gospel!  I am afraid." she argued.
“Then you must learn how to share it. Today.

Although the woman couldn't discern whether the command came in a dream or whether she was awake, there was no denying that God had spoken clearly and unequivocally. The 78 year old woman set out to obey, immediately.  Walking to the only church that she could find in her area of Bangkok she waited patiently for the Sunday morning service to begin.  The gentle, old woman-of-faith was not surprised to hear from the pulpit that morning, that a free class would be held following lunch to teach people how to share the gospel.  She, along with 61 other believers gathered that afternoon while Jenni taught a 3 hour workshop.  She used e3 materials to teach on evangelism, sharing a personal testimony to your circle of influence and how to use the evangecube within a Thai Buddhist culture.  At the conclusion of the session, each person was equipped with an evangecube on the condition that they would use it a minimum of 3 times the following week.  Strict accountability was set up as the newly trained signed out their cubes.

In all, we saw 62 trained believers challenged to reach their own community, one church equipped with church planting materials and 75 cubes left behind. Nothing to it… an afternoon class, simple training, equipping materials.  Within a few weeks we were back in America.

During our time in Thailand we were well aware of the resistance to the Good News among the Thai people. Within the missions community this was a constant prayer focus.  Last week we received an email from Nitiaya, our Compass 31 administrator in Thailand, asking for more materials and Evangecubes on behalf of that church in Bangkok.  My initial thoughts were excitement but then, frankly, a bit of skepticism.  Many times we train leaders and church members and they love the Evangcubes with all the colorful pictures.  Everyone wants one!  So I responded by asking how many they were requesting along with a reminder that everyone who receives one needs to be trained and held accountable for using it.  Nitiaya responded immediately with some incredible news.  The church that Jenni was able to train had developed a schedule for continued training, discipleship and accountability.  The initial group had been using their evangecubes faithfully, successfully doing evangelism over the past several months and introduced many of their friends and relatives to Jesus.  Nitaya reported that the Thai loved the story told using the cube and that there were many were coming to faith.  The new believers are now meeting in a cell group and the mother church was looking into helping them formalize into a new church!!!

e3 Partners focus has always been to pray for and equip our national brothers and sisters to be obedient to the Great Commission, so they can join God in His work of reaching the lost.  God, in His mercy and perfect timing, seems to be empowering and inviting His people in this church in Thailand to be a part of His plan and He is doing that by saying, “You must evangelize.” 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Back on the left side of the road.

Arriving after midnight, I only had a few hours of sleep before I pulled onto the road on my motorcycle.  I kept repeating in my mind...left side, left side, LEFT side.  It is amazing how quickly we can forget things as important as which side of the road to drive on.

The past 5 days here in Thailand have been productive yet brought many mixed emotions.  Being here reenergizes me but it is very strange not having my family with me.  The people I see, the places I eat and the even the smells seem incomplete without our full family here.  It will be sweet when we return in God's timing.  In the meantime, it was great to meet other missionaries who are focusing on the unreached people group of the northern Thai.  I had the opportunity to train 20 evangelists to think beyound sharing the Good News to making disciples and starting new groups.  I visited some of the girls from the Compass 31 project, who are doing very well. Finally, I was able to share the vision and get feedback on a new human trafficking educaitonal tool we are working on developing.  This week has been full of great things and I am priviledge to be a part of it all as God allows these works to move forward even in our absence.

Our absence has actually helped to acheive one of our long term goals of making disciples that then go and make disciples.  During my time here, whenever I did training or visited a village I always took Kam Saen with me.  Little by little, I would have him teach portions of our material after I had modeled it for him a few times. All along, I was encouraging him that he could teach this without me.  Since I have returned to the States something has clicked in his mind, if I'm and not here to teach...he that means he will have to do it.  Exactly!  He is now setting up training for pastors and churches where he will take someone with HIM to watch HIM as he teaches.  It is a huge praise and a start.

My time in Thailand is coming to an end tonight as I head north to join my team in East Asia.  Here is a link to a prayer calender for our time in country and it would be a huge blessing if you would join this team in prayer support.

Thanks so much for keeping our family in your prayers.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The work in Thailand is not done...will you go?

It has been a challenging time of transition as God has called us back to the US for a season.  Despite the relocation, God is continuing to do amazing things in Thailand and we are privileged to be able to participate in His work both from a distance and through leading short term teams.

Later this month Kelly will return to Thailand for several days of ministry before meeting up with an E3 team in East Asia.  During his time in Thailand he will participate in strategic planning meetings with other church planters to coordinate efforts to reach the Northern Thai people.  Despite missionary activity in the region for more than 100 years, this people group remains unreached.  Kelly will also be training pastors from the Lahu people group in church planting techniques and challenging them to begin reaching their neighbors, the Northern Thai, in addition to making disciples of their own people.  Finally, he will be meeting with several key players who work to stop slavery in the region.  He will be presenting the first draft of the new evange-cube type tool we are developing to educate people about the dangers and realities of human trafficking.  We will then use their input to make whatever adjustments are necessary for the tool to be understood and effective. 

Part of the E3 strategy is to use short-term teams from America to partner with local churches.  As of part of the training done ahead of time, pastors prayerfully prepare an action plan for how to reach their own communities.  Once our short term teams arrive they partner with the pastor and other local believers to implement the plan.  Working together with the nationals the American team prepares the soil through prayer and plants seeds through evangelism.  They are enabled to communicate and have an impact through a translator.  Do you love the idea of adventure?  Or are you terrified of flying? Are you intrigued by the mystery of other cultures? Or do you have a phobia of speaking to strangers even in your own language?   Great, then you are a perfect fit!   We need you. God can use your strengths and weaknesses for His glory.  Please consider joining us on the field for a short term trip in October.  Click HERE for more information.