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May 2016 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends & Family,

Greetings from the largest sauna in the world!  April temperatures in Thailand reached a 65 year high, with the “feels like” temperature reaching into the 110s ºF.  We have air conditioning in our bedrooms, but last month was still fairly miserable.  This month we are praising God for slightly “cooler” temperatures.

Introducing the new Thai Christian Catechism

คำสอนเพื่อชีวิต Thai Christian CatechismFor the past couple of years, I have been working together with Dr. Natee (pastor, Grace City Bangkok church) and Mr. Chaiyasit (elder, New City Fellowship Church in eastern Bangkok) to write a new catechism in Thai for Thai Christians.  I believe that the question and answer format of catechisms can be a very useful teaching tool to help people grasp the Christian faith, but translations of Western catechisms like Westminster and Heidelberg end up sounding clunky and unnatural in Thai.  For that reason, the three of us have written a new Thai Christian Catechism from the ground up, borrowing from Westminster at times, but organizing the catechism differently and covering slightly different ground in terms of what is included or not included, and how it is expressed, seeing as 17th century Britain is different from 21st century Thailand.  We wanted a biblically faithful and accurate catechism, that is readable and accessible for modern Thai Christians.  I hope we have accomplished that.  The catechism has been privately published with assistance from Kanok Bannasan, and our church will be teaching through the new catechism over the next several months.  It will also be available for purchase through Kanok Bannasan, and we hope that other churches will find it useful in giving their church members a solid foundation in the Christian faith.  Pray that this new Thai Christian Catechism will be a blessing to many people. 

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March 2016 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends & Family,

Thanks for continuing to pray for us.  I want to update you briefly on Grace City Bangkok church and Kanok Bannasan, and then share a bit of what is ahead for us.

Growth for New Believers and Church Re-Planting

In the past 6 months or so, we have had 3-4 people profess faith in Christ at Grace City but it seems that 2 or 3 of them are rather shaky in their faith, wavering between Christ and the world.  Please pray for them to become firmly grounded in Christ, and for wisdom for church leadership and members in following up with them, encouraging them in the right way.

Our church plant has also undertaken a bit of an experiment in church planting.  Another church in the city, Covenant Church, has been struggling for quite some time, unsure of how to go forward as it has been dealing with multiple issues and challenges.  After consultation between our 2 churches, Covenant Church has come to worship with Grace City church for year as a “sabbatical year” when they can rest, and learn how to grow into a Gospel-centered congregation, with better structures in place for membership and leadership.  In a year’s time, we hope to spin this group from Covenant Church out again into a church re-plant. Pray that the group from Covenant Church will be firmed up in their faith and learn more about what it means to be a church during this year.

 

 

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December 2015 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends & Family,

As another year wraps up, we are thankful for what God is doing in our midst - in the life of our church, in the lives of seminary students, and the life of our family.

Grace City Bangkok church camp

At the end of October, our church plant had an evangelistic camp that was well attended, including a few families of non-believers.  Dr. Natee, our pastor, gave 3 talks during the weekend and good fun was had by all as games were played and relationships built.  Within a few weeks after the camp, two young adults professed faith in Christ!   We are praising God for their new life in Christ and hope to see them baptized and become church members in the new year.  Sometimes Christians put a big emphasis on big events, and big events like camps and conferences can be important in birthing and developing people’s faith.  But the Holy Spirit, in His sovereign and mysterious power, is pleased to give people new life at many different times and circumstances, big and small, public and private, loud and quiet.  Please continue to pray for the growth of these new believers and for our whole church.

Grace City Bangkok church camp, October 2015

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October 2015 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends & Family,

Some missionaries feel the pressure to perform, but one of the things that I appreciate most about all of you who pray for and support us is this: You value the regular faithfulness of a long-term ministry over exciting reports of short-term successes. In the book “Ordinary”, Michael Horton asserts that the essence of the Christian life does not consist of high-energy extreme or radical experiences that promise a higher plane of Christian life.  Rather, it is in the regular, ordinary, everyday seeking after God in ordinary ways, and the daily obedience in small, normal things that results in sustained growth in the Christian life over the long run.  As applied to the missionary context, that means that the most productive thing I can do is to be faithful in the regular tasks and responsibilities that I have, rather than continually running after some new method or teaching that will result in amazing breakthrough or some kind of rapid, unprecedented church planting or people movement (as if the "secret key" or "silver bullet" that other generations missed is somewhere just around the corner).  In reality, some things take time, and genuine spiritual growth depends upon the moving of the Spirit, not upon human striving to get things done by a deadline.  In this vein, I want to give 3 brief updates on the ministries that we are involved in here in Bangkok.

Grace City Church, Bangkok

This new church plant in downtown Bangkok has been holding weekly worship since April 2014, and currently has about 20 members, of which 2 are adult converts who received baptism at Grace City Church.  Attendance varies from 20-50 each week, with a healthy stream of visitors.  We are steadily plugging along with preaching, visitation, evangelism, etc. but are in need of more Thai men, especially those who can become elders eventually.  Our church session consists of 3 missionaries (including myself) and 1 Thai.

adult Sunday school at Grace City Church, Bangkok