Friday, July 06, 2007

God is Blessing Bangkok

Revelation 5:9 "And now they sing a new song, saying, You are worthy…for You were slain, and with Your blood You purchased men unto God from every tribe and language and people and nation."

Thank you all for your prayers. More than ever, we sense the Hand of God, His direction and movement, in our assembly and in our personal lives. God is pouring out a blessing here that we can hardly contain.

A Pastor Scibbelli Look-Alike and a Divine Appointment
Last month during graduation, Ramkhumheang University was bursting with thousands of family members and friends of graduates who had traveled to Bangkok from the countryside. A group of us were soul winning among the throng when we saw a Thai man who looked just like Pastor Scibbelli. Ryan got so excited at seeing his hero he knows only through ABD and internet services, he said, "I have never seen Pastor Scibbelli but when I do I am going to run up to him and touch him and say, you are real!"

A little later, we introduced ourselves to two middle aged women sitting at an outdoor table. One of the women mentioned that her daughter lives in Hungary and works at a massage parlor. When we asked her if she knows Ildi (our much-loved Hungarian sister who has served with us for many years) she said, "Oh Yes, Ildi is the one who found my daughter her job in Hungary." When we asked if they were interested in having a personal relationship with Christ, they both said, "Yes, we would, how we do that?" After they prayed to receive Christ, we discovered that they are the sister and sister-in-law of Pastor Scibbelli's look-a-like.

Linh grew up in Communist Vietnam in a family of atheists. She had never heard about God until a Christian witnessed to her here while attending university. She finally accepted Christ with Ryan three years ago and has been a part of our body and Bible School ever since. Last month, Linh graduated from ABAC University and her family came to Bangkok, not knowing that Linh had become a Christian. She brought them to Sunday service and they were overwhelmed with the love of Christ and to be surrounded by people who so obviously care about their daughter. They left service beaming and remarked how we all have such a "happy spirit."

Linh returned with her family to Vietnam a few weeks ago, but watches services from Baltimore over the internet at her home. Services are her lifeline. She emailed us this week and said, "I miss the fellowship in Christ, the truth of the Word of God, the joy, the challenge, and the spirit of God with us in evangelism so much…The truth, the Word of God is so important and precious to me now. It is the only thing that helps me fight against Satanic projections."

Katie's English Class
My sister Katie is visiting for four months and is a great source of encouragement and life for us. She has started English classes for the Thai speakers in our church who desire to communicate their new life, their thoughts about God, and His Word.

Aek is a former monk who used to be so high up in the monkhood, he had a license to preach. Now, he is one of our most diligent Thai Bible School students. We see him constantly poring over his Bible, comparing his English Bible to his Thai translation. He did not want to learn English until he realized that his Thai Bible has quite a few translation errors and that there are no Bible study tools in Thai. Now, Katie is having a hard time fulfilling his hunger for English Bible vocabulary words!

Boom and Tong
Katie's English class is also an answer to Boom's prayers. She wanted very badly to take English classes at her work, but it conflicted with her decision to attend Bible School at night. She chose Bible School over English and now takes Katie's English class on the weekends.

Boom's friend, Tong, became a Christian eight months ago and Aek has been teaching him the fundamentals of Christianity through our New Believer's Discovery Program. After their first lesson a few months ago, Tong, told Aek through tears, "I used to think that believing in God was foolish, now I see that I have been the foolish one." Tong has been drawn to the life in the body and is also a full time Bible College student now.

Tong and Boom both work at World Vision, a Christian organization here in Thailand, and share everything they learn in Bible School with their co-workers. They are learning to speak and live with conviction, backing up what they believe with Scripture. Boom recently told us that she does not care about how she feels anymore, right now she just want to know the truth. Last week, a Christian co-worker said to them, "If truth offends people, it is better not to speak it. Christians need to unite together with Muslims for there to be peace in Thailand. The only way to witness to a Muslim is to go around the issue; you cannot tell them that Jesus is the Son of God. They will kill you." Boom said, "Then let them kill me, I want to speak the truth."

It's Worth It
Today, it hit me again how deceptive Buddhism is as we spoke with a young man at Ramhkhumheang University. He, with great conviction, described Buddhism as an endless cycle of birth and rebirth. "I am either suffering for my own sins, or trying to be good enough to come back to earth in another, better form." But when he finished, we sensed the presence of God, and with that presence, a boldness, and power to speak the truth. "Jesus Christ paid for your sins; you do not have to suffer for them anymore. Jesus died to make you free."

After soul winning, Jar, Ryan, Sandon, Katie and I found ourselves talking about the past five years here, about how often our labor has been by faith with no visible results, but how the hand of God ministers and moves, and how God can use a word spoken to somebody today, even years later. And we walked home thinking of this reality, that one day we will see that it has been worth it, because there will be people from every tribe and nation in heaven, and we will be singing a new song together, to Him who sits on throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever.