We had a fantastic buffet lunch treat at the Empress hotel from Auntie Lilian as they are going back to Singapore on the 28th.

After dinner we had swensen’s ice cream. 59 baht for 3 scoops!

swensensโ€™ 59 baht!
swensens’ 59 baht ice-cream!

Bro Nat said we were “suffering for Jesus”. ๐Ÿ˜› Okay, so mission trips aren’t all work and no play. Does this entice anyone to come the next time too? Or should we say, “seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…” ๐Ÿ˜›

Finally when we came home, we released some lanterns. The thai people make their wishes on these lanterns and release them into the night sky. We can frequently see lanterns like this dotting the night skies. We prayed instead of wish before we release the lanterns.

Lantern
Lanterns.

Up and Away!
Up and Away!

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On Christmas eve, we had a nice candle-light Christmas dinner with Bro Nat, Sis Pat’s Sister’s(Auntie Lilian’s) family and with P’Gade, Koi and Ying. That was followed by some gift exchanges for everyone ๐Ÿ™‚ We later headed for walking street. where we had this neat idea upon seeing so many baskers around that perhaps we should have carollers go down next year to invite people to come to church and bring some real Christmas truth out in the crowd.

Christmas Eve Candle Light Dinner
Christmas Eve Candle Light Dinner

John and Geoffery unwrapping Christmas Presents
John and Geoffery unwrapping Christmas Presents

Bro Nat, Christy and Sis Pat
Bro Nat, Christy and Sis Pat

Christmas day morning was spent at Doi Saket as we went to visit Koi’s grandmother and her extended family of uncles and aunties all living in the mountain with a coffee plantation. Life there is generally poorer and very different from what Singaporeans will experience. They virtually make everything on their own, from building their houses to even making gunpowder! They don’t even buy the materials needed for building houses they just take rocks and sand from the river to build them. When we arrived they were burning coffee plants to make way for new crops. They were really friendly and showed us the coffee plants even tried speaking to us when we did not understand a word. Nelson later had opportunity to drive us back to the temple to attend the cremation of Apple’s dad.

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Coffee Plant

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Koi’s Grandmother’s house.

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The River that runs through the village.

Apple is quite a strong girl. Being close to her father, she was really sad on the first 2 days, but was considerably better thereafter. Please continue to keep her in prayer. We believe that the Lord will use this sad experience and turn it for good.

After we left the temple, we headed to Doi Suthep, a mountain just near Brother Nat’s house. We arrived at the Doi Suthep temple near the top of the mountain. It was interesting to see how so many caucasians subscribe to the notion of all this oriental mysticism. We saw parents telling their children to ring all the bells to bring them good luck. And even the caucasion older man with his thai wife asking the monks to sprinkle blessings on them before they drop 20 baht into the donation box. The concept of being able to buy a blessing, perhaps appeals to the human psyche that requires to bring “perfection” or “godliness” down to level that we can control and manipulate. In retrospect after recieving the priceless gift of salvation from Christ and all the blessings that go with being a child of God, it is a notion that seems so ludicrious now. Interestingly enough, we saw a Singaporean by the name of Tan Ah Ngoh from Ang Mo Kio (yes his complete address and amount of contribution in baht is written) who contributed 2 bell pavillions(a picture of one of them is below).

Doi Suthep temple

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Mr Tan Ah Ngoh. Talk about singaporeans going global…

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Buddha and baht?!
Buddha and baht?

Tourists at Doi Suthep
Tourists at Doi Suthep

We were invited by one of Bro Nat’s student Nee to attend her church’s christmas outreach about 15mins drive out of Chiang Mai city. We went with Koi. There was about 200 people who were there and we met Beer also, Nee’s Thai Chinese friend who isn’t a believer. It turns out that Nee is the student of a missionary couple from Hong Kong that Bro Nat and Sis Pat knows. Praise God they are reaching out to the rural areas out of Chiang Mai city.

The night was really cold and we did not have dinner when we arrived. We left at about 9pm to have Mu Jum(basically it’s like hot pot) and gave Apple a call, she was feeling better. Thank God. Continue to uphold her in prayer.

Yesterday as we went out shopping for chairs, tables and cushions for the new church, Bro Nat recieved a phone call, during lunch-time, from Apple with news that her father had died from a heart attack on thursday night while fetching some students from school.

We immediately left for the temple where the funeral was held to comfort Apple and her family. When we arrived, she was sitting at the roadside pavement sobbing. It has been very difficult for her, as she said her father had not recieved Christ yet. We’re not sure if her father ever recieved Christ, but thank God that Apple has told him the Gospel more then once. It was a sad afternoon. Please pray for Apple and family that the Lord will turn it all to His good and that He will be a Father to Apple to give her the strength and consolation she needs during this time of grief.

So many things have happened in this short span of less then 2 weeks. Testing what we see of our God who is soveriegn over all things. What is His purposes in all these things? To God be the glory, we praise Him for how He worketh all things to the good of those who love Him.

Also, praying for the Puppet Musical this evening. May God bless the people who come and those involve mightily.

Today we rested mainly. Thank God for answer to prayer, Nelson is up and alls well.

We watched “The End of the Spear” with Ying, a 2006 film based on the story of the 5 missionaries, Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Ed McCully, Pete Fleming and Roger Youderian who went to preach the gospel to the waodani tribe but were speared to death. They did not use their guns against them as they knew they were going to heaven, but if they shot the waodani, they weren’t ready for heaven yet. It was a movie worth watching and thinking about.

tomorrow we will shop more for the new church. Pray for the Lord to protect us and keep us safe from all evil.

Nelson was generally down with a tummy ache the whole day. In the morning, the motocycle lady called, then Bro Nat, P’ Gade, Ying and David went down to meet her and the mechanic and settled the bill for repairs of the bike at the Honda dealer. Thank God for His mercies as the lady had initially asked for 1000baht for repairs but the dealer charged Bro Nat significantly lower then what the woman wanted. Hope and pray and the matter will now be considered over and done with.

Later in the afternoon, we continued to discuss about church plans. After the prayer walk, it seems that the new church will really have to be a lighthouse in this area. Therefore the english name for the church now seems to be Lighthouse BP Church, while the Thai name is Sang Sowan. The church building will likely be called “The Beacon” courtesy also of Michel and Ruth who helped give the name “The Beacon” that eventually led to Lighthouse. The lighthouse analogy is such a powerful one. A lighthouse isn’t just simply that which guides ships in the night, but also to prevent them from wrecking themselves. At the same time, the man who operates the lighthouse braves storms and cold weather to make sure the light goes out. The man who operates the lighthouse has to be always alert and ready.

Later we went for a 2nd prayer walk to the more affluent areas of the neighbourhood, where people mostly live in rather large houses than some of those we saw during our 1st prayer walk. Nelson had to go back home at the 2/3 stage of the prayer walk because he was feeling rather ill and tired while David continued on with Bro Nat, Ying, Koi and P’Gade.

After the prayer walk, Ying, Koi and P’Gade left. Bro Nat, John and David went out to buy food back for dinner. It was a very interesting and sumptuous dinner (unfortunately not for Nelson because he was ordered by Mrs Heng to only eat plain porridge and nothing else) as we had a mix of Western and Thai cuisine. (Nelson: “Sometimes you need to make sacrifices to achieve greater goals ๐Ÿ˜› hahaha…” )

Today after eating breakfast, we went out with Bro Nat, Ying, Koi and P’Gade to get the church hymn books, offering bag, communion cups, etc. Went to 3 Christian bookstores from Bible Society, CLC to Kingdom Bookstore (Basically we almost covered all of the Christian bookstores in Chiangmai). It was rather tiring especially after lunch when i think the fatigue and full tummy began to all set in. On top of that, David and I still were experiencing periodic tummy aches. Most likely from the water or the food that our bodies are still trying to adapt to. Yet we are blessed to be involved in the setting up of the Lord’s church. I don’t think there are many people out there who can say that they’ve been involved in such a work even in a lifetime. It is truly a privilege.

Well, we’ve been here for a week now and God has blessed us mightily to do His work here. If you’ve been reading our blog you’ll understand what we mean. As we went for prayer walk in the evening we saw the neighbourhood in a rather different light. Prior, we only knew the glitzy side of it, but today we saw all assortments of people and places there. Pubs, Clubs, Clubs next to a church, poverty, people living in makeshift zinc sheet or wooden houses, bathing in open-air toilets with just some cloth to cover, red light district, wealthy enterprises, idol altars, etc. Pubs and bars are growing rampantly here, even just right behind our house, we hear pub music streaming in even right now. It does seem that the Church will be like a lighthouse in this area, prayerfully to lead the lost out of darkness and into the light of our Lord Jesus Christ. Lighthouse is one of the names that we’ve picked for the new church.

When we got back, P’ Gade and Koi were really kind to give us some motorbike lessons. It was an interesting lesson. ๐Ÿ™‚

Thereafter we had a sumptuous dinner spread which included oven-baked pork(
marinated in some really nice herbs), a spicy chicken dish and oyster sauce cai xin! All thanks to Sis Pat again. She’s been dishing out good dishes after another and I really don’t know where she finds the strength to be a mother, wife and host all at the same time!

Finally the night ended off with an interesting twist of somesort. One of Bro Nat’s male students chatted with us on msn and even requested to meet us. We were elated that God finally answered our prayers for more response from the men. It wasn’t much later that we realise that he was gay when he asked if Nelson was gay.

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Now that was interesting, not out of ridicule but out of the reality of homosexuality here in Chiang Mai. Nothing hits home the truth about the spirituality of this land than that short conversation. Thailand is suppose to mean the land of freedom, but the tragic irony that a large proportion of its’ populace is under the bondage of homosexuality, all manner of sexual perversion and the consequences of disease, guilt and hopelessness. How free is Thailand indeed without the love of Christ nor the truth that sets us free?

Well, we invited him to church and thank God, he said yes. We really weren’t expecting him to say yes. The love of Christ must be preached and Christ did not die for saints or the righteous, but for sinners. Pray for him.