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December 22, 2014

Behold: A Christmas Play

RMM is excited to present a Christmas play by Esta Felder* from her new book of “plays and readings from a biblical perspective.” These plays have been performed at many special events in the Middle East as part of a Christian theater ministry. The book is available through Amazon but due to security reasons we cannot provide a link or title of the book. But we do welcome you to contact us at info@rmmweb.org and we can share that information with you. The book is perfect for a church library or as a resource for creative presentations of many kinds. More information on the book will also be included in the January Mosaic.

BEHOLD


Characters: Rich Man, Poor Man, Mary

Running time: 3-4 minutes

Setting: The Rich Man (dressed in very rich clothes) and the Poor Man (in very poor clothes) stand upstage left and upstage right. They do not acknowledge each other until the end.


Rich Man: All my life I've been successful at everything I've tried. It helped that I was born into a good family and was able to get the best education. Eventually I earned an excellent reputation as an astrologer and scientist. As far as my personal life, I married a woman I adored and we had a beautiful son. So you see, I was doing as well as anyone can in this life.

Poor Man: From the moment I was born, my fate was sealed. My father was a shepherd and his father before him. I started working in the fields as far back as I can remember. Out in the fields there's not much to do but think. Sometimes I would wonder about God. He obviously set all this up but, beyond that...well he certainly wasn't thinking about me. That's the only thing I was sure of.

Rich Man: I was very sure of myself. I didn't think about God much. The existence of God didn't affect my day to day life so it just wasn't important. I was a rational, thinking person who managed my life perfectly well. What was there to think about? I was in control and everything was fine.

Poor Man: I knew what I had to do and I just did it. But to tell the truth, I was pretty miserable. I used to dream about being somebody—traveling, succeeding, doing great things. It was just a way to escape. Then I had to stop. I knew none of it would happen. It all became too painful.

Rich Man: Then my wife suddenly became ill and died. After that my relationship with my son became very painful. He was making decisions that would ruin his life, but the more guidance I gave him the more he found ways to resist me. He made it clear that he just wanted me to leave him alone. But my heart will always be bound up with his, so how could I?

Poor Man: All my life I loved one girl and I always assumed we'd be married. But it turned out that was impossible. I wasn't good enough for her family. They knew me, they knew I was a good person, but that didn't matter. That's when I understood my place in this world. Why are some people born with everything and others with nothing?

Rich Man: I began to realize that in the things that really matter in life, I was not in control.

Poor Man: In the things that mattered most, I was helpless.

Rich Man: If I wasn't in control, was there a God who was?

Poor Man: What kind of a God would make life so miserable?

Rich Man: Does he have a plan?

Poor Man: Does he care about us at all?

Rich Man: I needed peace in my life. Could an impersonal God give me that?

Poor Man: If God is in control then I have a problem. I'm not at peace with this God.

Rich Man: When the opportunity came to go on a pilgrimage, I was anxious to get away from home for a while.

Mary slowly crosses to center stage carrying her baby and sits between them.

Poor Man: One night we were in the fields looking after the sheep. It was a night like any other. The sky was full of stars.

Rich Man: We'd been studying in the ancient scriptures about a star that would come signifying the birth of God in human form—and that star had appeared!

Poor Man: Suddenly there was a bright light, it was blinding and pure, it was... holy. I'd never seen anything like it! Then we heard a very clear voice telling us not to be afraid.

Rich Man: As we followed the star I started to think that God did have a plan and that we were part of it! It was frightening to think about.

Poor Man: We were terrified. Then the angel said that he was bringing good news that would be the cause of great joy for all people. Great joy? What does God have to do with joy?

Rich Man: In the ancient scriptures it was written: "A Savior will be born who is the Messiah, Christ, the Lord. His name is Emmanuel, which means, 'God with us.‘”
(On this line they move closer to Mary.)

Poor Man: He told us, "A Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, Christ the Lord." So we ran to the place the angel told us about, and it was just as he said it would be.

Rich Man: There was the baby and his mother, right in front of our eyes.

Poor Man: I couldn't stop staring at him. (They move in even closer to Mary.)

Rich Man: She couldn't take her eyes off him. I recognized the look of love in her face, the love of a mother for her child. From now on they would never be separate. Her heart was bound up with his. That's how I feel about my son. Could it be? Is that how God sees us? Watching our every move with the obsessive love of a parent? Do we love deeply because the Creator God loves deeply? It was at that moment I truly started to believe this was "God with us." How could he keep away?

Poor Man: Shepherds aren't allowed to testify in a court of law. But God chose us to testify about his birth! Here he was, not in a palace but in a filthy barn. Not rich, but one of us. Looking at his pure, innocent face made me aware of my own bitterness and frustration. Of course he came as a Savior, because that's what we need. My life has been miserable and I didn't choose any of it. But now I know that he knows all about it and he's come to save me. I never dreamed of a God like this.

Mary slowly exits center aisle, while the Rich Man and the Poor Man watch her leave.

Rich Man: I continued to follow Jesus' life right up until his death and beyond. Everything the scriptures wrote about him came true. He was the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world.

Poor Man: He was God reaching out and making a way back for all of us.

Rich Man: A way back, a spiritual re-birth that happened the moment I asked him into my heart. Now I'm one with my Father God, never to be separate again.

Poor Man: It changed everything.

Rich Man: Nothing is the same.

Poor Man: The night of his birth, I sat right next to him in that barn.

Rich Man: I was so close I could reach out and touch him.

Poor Man: But now he's even closer than that. He's born in me!

Rich Man: Why would God come to earth for anything less than this?

Poor Man: The angels were right. God is about joy, he's all about joy!

The two men look at each other for the first time.

Rich Man: Praise the Lord, my brother!

Poor Man: Yes, brother. Praise his holy name!

They exit together.


*Name changed for security reasons.


December 19, 2014

Fellow-Traveler Kind of People: Getting to Know John and Cecelia

John and Cecelia* have been RMM workers in the Middle East for the past eight years. They are both working in English language instruction—Cecelia teaches English in a local language school and John teaches Environmental Law and International Energy and Environment Issues courses. Their ethos: “We feel we shine best as we work well, immerse ourselves in the lives of our students and build relationships with co-workers.”

Where are you from in the U.S.? How do you stay connected with your family, friends, and supporting church after being gone so long?

We hail from Wayne County Ohio, where we met in high school, married, and began raising our family until God moved us to pursue graduate school. At that point we began sharing our lives in a city setting and then moved in 2000 to Central Asia, where we lived for six years. It is a challenge to stay connected from a distance over so many years, but the internet has been a huge asset, allowing us to stay connected via Skype, Hangout, Facebook, Pinterest, and e-mail. We also make relationships a priority on our summer visits, connecting with friends and supporters and hanging out with our family as much as possible.

Previously, you were workers in another country. How long did it take you to feel like your current country became “home?”

It was different for the two of us. For Cecelia it didn’t take long. People here are friendly, and we soon met neighbors and others, many of whom are still close friends. I also think we had already learned a lot about the culture and knew how to give honor and live uprightly in Asian culture. We try to be teachable and curious and present ourselves as students of the culture by asking lots of questions, learning about their cultural values and saying ‘yes’ as much as possible. For John, it was much harder to adapt to the new country because of not having a clear identity or role in society here at first. It seems now as if we have three “homes:” our former host country, our current host country, and Ohio.

What’s your favorite thing about your job?

We both really love the interaction with students. We have opportunity to relate to a lot of students and such relationships are a great fit with our personalities and values.

What is the most different aspect of the culture you live in versus your home culture?

It seems people have more time for each other here. Compared to the U.S., there is a distinct lack of programs, events, and free time options, so people are more apt to invite others to their homes, stop over without calling, and so forth. In the USA, it seems everything must be scheduled weeks in advance and the option of spontaneous and wholehearted friendship is harder to find.

What are some of the things you have internalized and value deeply about your host culture?

The value of relationships being more important than accomplishment or efficiency is something we deeply value and hope that we are internalizing.

What is the typical way you get around?

Probably many know we enjoy biking. We have chosen not to have a car and use our bikes for transportation as much as possible (we also have the option of public transportation). Our choice surprises people because blue collar workers are typically the only ones whose bicycles for transportation. We both care about the environment (John teaches on environmental issues) and try to live a sustainable lifestyle and we seek to be examples of this here, just as we tried to do in the US. We also find biking to be a lot of fun because it allows us to get to places we normally wouldn’t see, experience tastes and sounds we wouldn’t normally experience, and hang out with people who share a similar love of biking. Riding together with people helps to break down barriers because we are striving together in a common experience.

How can we pray for your country?

There is a lot of political polarization here, just as in our home country. While we don’t subscribe to fear, there are aspects of current developments that could affect us and our friends here, and maybe already have. The active civil war going on in a neighboring country affects other countries in the whole region (and by the time you read this, there could be even more jolting changes). We yearn to be peacemakers; to allow our words and actions be cause for reflection and even change. We want to speak of a better way, and to live as Kingdom citizens, pouring ourselves out as sacrifices to a way of grace, truth and light.

We ran across a quote, from Philip Yancey that reflects what we try to be about and challenges us as well and we in turn present that challenge to you. Yancey wrote: “A pilgrim is a fellow-traveler on the spiritual journey, not a professional guide.” We want to be fellow-traveler kinds of people as we relate to people here and not act as though we have it all together and expect others to listen to us or insist on our way (‘professional guides’). Let us all try to live humbly, vulnerably, and with integrity as fellow pilgrims, and be available to carry loads, lighten burdens, lend a listening ear, or sooth the aching feet of those who journey with us. Pray for us and our churches and communities, that we would be people of hope, giving grace and love and learning along the way.

*Names changed and country name omitted for security.


December 16, 2014

A Christmas Commission

By Larissa Swartz

“Don’t be afraid! Listen! I bring good news, news of great joy, news that will affect all people everywhere. Today, in the city of David, a Liberator has been born for you! He is the promised Anointed One, the Supreme Authority! You will know you have found Him when you see a baby, wrapped in a blanket, lying in a feeding trough.”
(Luke 2:10-12, The Voice)

This passage has become familiar to us over the years through readings, dramas, songs, and movies where this scene is reenacted. But taking a look at it again this year, I realized something: the angels never told the shepherds to actually DO anything. They come, they deliver their proclamation, sing ”Glory to God in the highest,” and leave; after which the shepherds themselves search out the baby Jesus and spread the news of his birth, becoming the first evangelists. From the natural overflow of their amazement and joy at the birth of Christ, they glorify God and proclaim his awesomeness to the world.

Baby Jesus, the literal “little bundle of joy” around which this time of year revolves and through which salvation comes to the entire world, is precisely that: a tremendous gift of love, joy, hope, and peace for all the people of the world. It’s easy to focus on the individual aspect of Christ’s coming and how he came for ME, but the communal and commissional aspect is equally important. Because it’s this same baby, who later as a grown man, commands this exact same thing of his followers, that they “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20 NIV)

It’s easy to allocate cross-cultural missions to those who are ”called” to go overseas and excuse ourselves from the difficulties and barriers that come with navigating cross-cultural communications and relationships. Anything new or different can be intimidating and scary to us. If you’ve traveled to or lived in another country for a period of time, you know the fear and loneliness that can come from adjusting to a new culture, language, food, and people. "You don’t have to travel to spread the Gospel to the nations. God is bringing the nations to us...and all we have to do is faithfully share the amazing inheritance of joy and hope that we have in Jesus, just like the shepherds did."The beautiful thing about living in the United States today is that you don’t have to travel to spread the Gospel to the nations. God is bringing the nations to us—to our schools, businesses, universities, and neighborhoods—and all we have to do is faithfully share the amazing inheritance of joy and hope that we have in Jesus, just like the shepherds did.

The nations are hungry for the Gospel and we should be as eager as the shepherds to share it with them. Here in the United States, opportunities abound to share Christ’s love and hope with fearful and lonely immigrants and internationals through hospitality and service. Something as simple as helping someone learn English, teaching someone how to drive or how to buy groceries, or providing second-hand clothes or furniture can open doors to building relationships of love and trust through which the Gospel can be shared. All that remains is for us to identify those opportunities and approach them with the same humility and love with which Christ came to earth. Some general rules when it comes to cross-cultural relationships are to always avoid assumptions and defensiveness, ask questions, and be prepared to apologize for any cultural blunders. Basically, be humble and loving and think before you act or speak.

Along with widows and orphans, immigrants are a third category of people that are especially near to God’s heart,and the theme of immigration is referenced throughout the Bible, particularly through the lives of well-known immigrants such as Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Ruth, Daniel, and Paul, who had to leave their homelands for various reasons. However, we tend to forget that Jesus himself was a “foreigner” as he grew up in Egypt and then later moved back to Israel. Not only did he experience earthly immigration, but he experienced the ultimate immigration when he left his home and his Father in heaven to come to earth in human form. An InterVarsity article I read pointed out that, “No cultural divide is greater than that between heaven and earth” and that “no immigrant was more unwanted than God the Immigrant.” At Christmas, we come together to celebrate the most amazing story of all: that God himself voluntarily immigrated to earth to give his life as a ransom for ours in order that people from every nation, tribe and tongue, might know him and one day gather around his throne, praising him and saying, “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits upon the throne, and from the Lamb.” (Rev. 7:10, NIV)

The shepherds weren’t any particularly special people with distinct talents, except for maybe tending sheep, if you consider that a talent. And when they heard God’s proclamation of salvation from the angels, they didn’t question it; they accepted it and ran to find Jesus. After encountering Jesus, they couldn’t help but tell everyone they met about him. Now those shepherds didn’t do any globe-trotting I’m sure, but I doubt they selectively shared the good news of Jesus’ birth. After all, the angels didn’t say that the good news of Jesus’ birth would bring joy for some people, but for all people. The shepherds had their time and now it’s ours. It’s our turn to “Go tell it on the mountains that Jesus Christ is born,” whether that’s in the deserts of the Middle East, in the cities of Asia, or here in the cornfields of Ohio.


Larissa Swartz, from London Christian Fellowship, will be graduating with her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and her TESOL Certificate from Wright State University in spring 2015. She has been actively involved in International Friendships Inc. since the formation of the Dayton branch in fall of 2012 as the student president, and now as an associate staff member. Besides studying languages and hanging out with international students, she enjoys making music on various instruments, eating ethnic foods (butter chicken is the best!), and relaxing with a good book.


December 15, 2014

Come and Stand Amazed: A Christmas Greeting from RMM

As Christmas approaches and 2014 comes to a close, we “stand amazed” at the beautiful, life-changing work God has done this year...

Come and Stand Amazed

Come and stand amazed, you people,
See how God is reconciled!
See his plans of love accomplished,
See his gift, this newborn child.
See the Mighty, weak and tender,
See the Word who now is mute.
See the Sovereign without splendor,
See the Fullness destitute.

O Lord Jesus, God incarnate,
Who assumed this humble form,
Counsel me and let my wishes
To your perfect will conform.
Light of life, dispel my darkness,
Let your frailty strengthen me;
Let your meekness give me boldness,
Let your burden set me free;

O Emmanuel, my savior
Let your death be life for me


Medieval Dutch Carol translated by Klaas Hart
Music and Additional Lyrics by Dustin Kensrue
Arrangement by Citizens


December 12, 2014

Willing and Ready to Go: An Opportunity to Give

Over the past months we’ve introduced you to Nixson and Rhonda, (Preparing Workers to Join the Thailand Team and Shining the Light of Jesus on a University Campus) a young couple (Rhonda from Ohio and Nixson from Nicaragua) who met in Thailand, got married, and are preparing to return to Thailand long term in January. We are ready to send them and they are more than ready to go, but more financial partners are needed!

Nixson and Rhonda have spent the past four months in Nicaragua diligently working at missions mobilization. They have traveled extensively, meeting with churches, pastors, and prospective missions candidates. We’re excited about the growing vision for missions within Nicaragua. More than 30 people are actively pursuing the possibility of being sent. One of them, Jonatan, is a young man who has been preparing for the past three years. Within the past month he has been approved by the local council and with a combination of funding from his home country and from churches in North America, he is ready to go.

Because Nixson and Rhonda have been working in support of these other candidates, they have not been able to devote as much time to raising their own personal support as they could have otherwise. They need to raise funds for their first term prior to leaving and they are currently at 63%. Would you consider joining their team of supporters so that they can travel with Jonatan in January? Consider making a one-time contribution this Christmas season, or better yet, commit to partnering with them on a monthly basis throughout their three-year term.

To partner with Rhonda and Nixson, you can make a one-time contribution or set up monthly contributions online at donate.rmmweb.org or you can send a check payable to RMM at 9920 Rosedale Milford Center Road, Irwin, OH, 43029. Designate your contribution as “Nixson & Rhonda Support.”

Thanks on behalf of Nixson & Rhonda and the entire RMM team in Thailand. And Merry Christmas!

Tom,
Asia regional director


December 11, 2014

What I Learned in DTS

As the REACH teams prepared to leave for outreach, we were curious…what were some of the things they learned in DTS (discipleship training school)? We asked a few of them to share their thoughts and searched through their blog entries to share some of their insights with you.

Last names omitted or names changed for security.

Team Canada

Micaela: One of the sessions that really hit home for me was when Galen Burkholder spoke about global realities. One thing that broke my heart was when he said that 49,000 people die daily without ever hearing about the gospel. It really moved me to see how passionate Galen was over this devastating fact, so much so that he was in tears. I think in America it’s so easy to get caught up in our comfortable lives because everything we could ever need or want is so easily accessible, while all across the globe many people are trying to live on less than $1.25 a day.

Lexi: Sometimes I forget that as a family of Christ this is how we encourage and challenge one another. We pray blessings over each other and it is simply because we want to love each other the same way our father loves us. We need to be united and strengthen our brothers and sisters and be willing to do that in any way possible. That is one of the biggest blessing I have been seeing here at DTS. I’m surrounded by family who loves me and wants to see me grow, and through that I can take that love I feel and share it with the world.

Hope: One of the sessions that stuck out to me recently was on the topic of pride. Brian Troyer, our speaker, gave us a list of 34 fruits of pride. One of them was, “You keep from getting involved because of what others might think of you.” I didn’t realize that was a fruit of pride and it has made me re-examine myself and the way I look at life.

Follow along with team Canada here >

Team Himalayas

Jeshua: We have been learning a lot about how to deal with spiritual warfare and also about different religions so as to understand where others are coming from. Coming here, my initial thoughts were that spiritual warfare wouldn’t occur, but I have found that as the enemy loses its ground in certain areas of our lives and Father begins to make whole our brokenness, the enemy will do anything to stop that. To see the work that Father has been doing in every individual here is just beautiful to say the least. Also, to see everyone with their giftings put together for this purpose—to pray and encourage inside of brokenness—has given me a new understanding of what it means to be his unified body.

Regina: These past three months, God has been showing me the reality that I am nothing on my own, but that he has equipped me with everything I need. His power resides in me. His love pours through me. His joy comes out of me. Everything that I am is because of who he is! I am so grateful for my amazing Father who sees my weaknesses and loves me anyway. That is who my Father IS!

For more from Team Himalayas >

Team North Africa

Levi: Tom is a man that we met while handing out lunches and praying for people at the library. He is a homeless man and one of his prayer requests what that his raccoon companion wouldn’t steal the sandwich we gave him. We talked for quite a while and got to hear a lot of his life story. But as we were starting to leave and go our separate ways he said, “one last thing,” collected himself, and with tear-filled eyes he said, “Thank you. People think I’m not important because I’m homeless. But I just really love talking to people.” When I looked into his eyes I saw happiness. He has been overlooked and cast aside by so many people. It really touched my heart. We can pray for the people we meet or give them food, but we also have the opportunity to be Jesus to them just simply by sitting there and listening to their story!

Asher: As we were praying, the Holy Spirit gave me this beautiful picture: there was a hill in the middle of this canvas, there was a cross on top of this hill, there were millions of people all around this hill at a lower level, there was a beautiful sunset in the background, and (most importantly) my Brother was there at the cross and standing right beside him, there was me, and he loved me for just being me.

Follow along with the North Africa outreach here >

Team South Asia

Eric: I learned a lot from classes on spiritual warfare. It was encouraging to be reminded that Jesus is inside each one of us and that we don’t have to fear the devil and demons. God will always protect us from them and that is so encouraging to me! We have power in the name of Jesus! And that pumps me up!!

More from Team South Asia >

Team Spain

Joel: I had a conversation this week with an eight-year old (who I’ll call James) at our volunteer location. I had the honor of sharing with this child of God, the love and mercy of our perfect Father. After talking with him about what Jesus says about our enemies (he had been arguing with another kid) and explaining how Jesus takes away our sins, James was brought to tears. I’m not sure if he was crying because of the pain he felt in his life or because of the power of the Good News, but my heart broke for him as we sat on the ground in the middle of the trailer park and mourned together. We then had a conversation together talking to Jesus, inviting him to come and always be with us, and to help us love our enemies. James is definitely good soil (Mt. 13:8), and I have been praising the Father for the opportunity to share my best Friend with him.

Lynette: Do we face suffering with zeal? In Peter’s letters, he provides encouragement on facing suffering. “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit” (1 Peter 3:18). Liberation made possible! What a promise! I was encouraged, reassured, and emboldened. Who is there to harm me if I am zealous for that which is righteousness? In one session, Kevin Mayer gave us this thought to ponder: “If we want to be a world changer, we will suffer. And the only way that suffering makes sense is if we truly understand the big picture and the end result.” Bringing glory to God and living in eternity praising Him is the big picture. Gloria!

Team Spain blogs here >


Praise God with us for all he taught this great group of REACHers during DTS. Pray for them as they begin their outreaches—for a deep relationship with Jesus, unity among teams, healthy cultural bonding, and a love for God’s world and his precious people!


December 04, 2014

Getting to Know Efraín and Sujen

Interview and translation from Spanish by Dan, an RMM worker in Thailand

Efraín and Sujen are based in the city of Bangkok where Efraín is a third year student of English at a university and Sujen relates to Thai people and does hosting. They facilitate a small fellowship of Thai and Chinese people which often meets in their home. Efraín and Sujen are also discipling friends from a neighboring country, both in Bangkok and in their home areas.

Where are you from?
Tell us what your home area is like.

We come from a community called Las Palmas in rural Boaco, Nicaragua, which is 20 kilometers from Las Maderas. It is a quiet community without electricity and there are no roads into the community so we mainly use horses to travel. My wife is from a town in Carazo, Nicaragua called Jinotepe. It is a beautiful and happy place with a very nice climate.

Why did you decide to leave your home and work in Thailand?

We decided to come to Thailand because we saw the need for Jesus that exists here, and there are few people who are sharing the love of God in this region. Also we have felt the strong call of God for us to work in missions and we enjoy working with the team in Thailand. We feel loved by all of our brothers and sisters. We also like Thailand where there are many friendly people.

What is the most different aspect of the culture?

Regarding cultural differences, Nicaraguan Christians don’t worry about the future since we have faith that God will be with us in every situation to fulfill the plans he has for our lives. But Thai people are fearful of the future and feel insecure. It is difficult for them to make important life decisions. So they offer sacrifices to Buddha to get favors in life, work and for the future. Faithful Buddhists will go to the temple frequently to make merit and they also wear amulets around their necks to protect them from evil spirits. They believe in good and evil spirits (animistic thought) and they hope for the blessing of good spirits through the amulets they wear. But we are confident that our lives are in God’s hands.

What is something that the culture has taught you and that you want to internalize?

Something we like about Thai culture is that even though they don’t know Jesus, they like to help other people. They are very kind and gracious, on buses or trains they always offer their seats to women, children, or elderly people. If someone isn’t familiar with a certain place, they help them around. In contrast to our more noisy culture, Thai people are very calm and quiet in public; they like to help others, and when they eat, they like to eat in friendly groups. One of the first things that impressed me in Bangkok was to see a group of people seated at tables on the sidewalk of the city sharing their food together. When we go to the gas station to visit our friends working there, we get in line to board the train and those who arrived first and those arriving later all get aboard calmly without rushing. We like to travel on public transportation as it offers us a chance to get to know Thai people and learn from their polite manners. These are some positive aspects of their culture.

What are some of your favorite things to do for fun?

As a couple we like to just relax at home. Sometimes we watch movies together either at home or at the movie theater. We have a favorite Thai restaurant where we eat at least once a week. We also like to go out for walks together. Now that my wife is five months pregnant, she likes to eat special things like ice cream and fruit drinks, and I always like my coffee. At home, we cook Thai and Nicaraguan food. Sujen cooks Thai style chicken soup, noodles, spicy Thai soup and other dishes. She has learned how to cook from our Thai friends, including food from Northeast Thailand (Isaan) which is among our favorite foods.

What’s your favorite local food?

We like the food here very much and it is very different from western food. It has many spicy flavors and lots of variety, and it is also very cheap of course. We can buy a meal for 40 baht (just over a dollar), but in our country food is a lot more expensive.

What is the heart of what you are doing in Thailand?

We are doing many things to share Jesus with Thai people and individuals from neighboring countries. The most important thing we do is build up the leaders (who have come to faith) so they can share the love of Jesus more effectively with many people.

What parts of your life and work do you find the most challenging?

One of the most difficult things is that we miss our families—especially during this time of pregnancy when we feel alone. Also we feel alone since there are only three of us on our team presently—the two of us and Dan. I also feel the heavy responsibility of the ministry.

What are some barriers to Thai people knowing Jesus?

For Thai young people, the most difficult thing is for them to follow Jesus constantly because they have difficulty controlling their emotions and that leads them to distance themselves from God. Then they have difficulty giving their lives fully to God because they are not used to making a full commitment to anyone. Since they feel emptiness in their lives, they try to fill this void with things such as fun events, immorality, liquor, etc., using these things as a way of escaping reality.

How should we be praying for Thais? Do you have particular friends we can pray for?

  • It is important to pray that Thai believers in Jesus will have a stronger commitment to Jesus
  • Pray for Kiat that God will help him share Jesus with his friends
  • Pray for Geat who has been having health problems and is struggling with that
  • Pray for our believer friends living outside of Thailand that God will give them strength and wisdom to live in a situation where there is pressure on Christians from the government and local people. Pray also that God will help them in local outreach to open Bible studies with people in other communities, such as one that just began in Lan’s community and a neighboring community of another believer called Bun. Also pray for Cham who is teaching the Bible to children in her community
  • Pray for us that we can be effective in sharing our faith with people we know such as Sujen’s language teacher named Tam; Mim (a male student); Don (a Muslim), and his Chinese girlfriend Meili; and Jim, a Chinese Christian sharing his faith on campus
  • Pray also for a group of Cambodian workers (Buddhists) who live nearby. We have been sharing with them and are planning a Christmas Eve celebration with them
  • Pray for Taa (a believer from bordering country) in Bang Na who is sharing his faith with the family of his girlfriend since she wants him to share openly with her family

What is the most recent prayer that God has answered in your life?

God has supported us to come back to Thailand after I had to have chemotherapy (in Nicaragua) to treat leukemia for nearly two years. God restored my health and kept my spirit up with a desire to return to Thailand to work with Thai people together with our team. God has answered many prayers. Our families in Nicaragua are well and God has kept them in his care. They are very happy because when we go back to visit Nicaragua after the birth of our daughter—God willing next February—there will be three of us instead of two. We want to thank those of you who support us here and pray that God will bless you in many ways.

What is God teaching you right now?

My wife is five months pregnant and thanks to God, she and the baby girl are both healthy. We miss our team members (presently not in Thailand) and we await their return. God has taught us to wait on him and his plan and will for us, and even more to depend on him. We have had visits from other Christian brothers and sisters who have come to see us during this time, to pray for us and the work we are doing here and that has given us renewed strength.

Anything else you’d like to share?

We are thankful to you who bless us with your friendship and prayers.