Missions Update By Eric, Lina, 4js
Sawasdee Pimay (Happy New Year) from us !
We had a great year in 2015, serving His people in North Thailand, working in education and agriculture.
Our family is doing well. My oldest child, Jacob, is now a teenager (13), John is a pre-teen in middle school (12), Job is 9, and my youngest, Judah, started Grade One (7). There is always a thought in my mind that as my boys grow older, I would have more free time. But somehow that is not happening to me. I am as busy as before, teaching, coaching and engaging each child as he expands his knowledge and gains wider experiences. Instead of complaining, I would like to think of it as receiving a handful of "busy blessings" :) It seems that parenting doesn't end at the playground, or at kindergarten or when a child turns 18.
Our journey in 2015 has its hills and valleys.
In August, we almost lost our school premise after an unpleasant incident with the landlord but God's favor and grace rested on us and we were allowed to stay for another year. In September, we received news that someone offered a piece of land for our school and the building process will take about a year. We are amazed at God's providence and timing. Please pray with us for Wisdom.
In October, we found out that we may have to move out of the house that we have lived in since we came to CM 7 years ago. The reason is because the owner is getting divorced and wants to sell his house. Please pray that we can stay for another year or find another house in a good neighbourhood. Rent prices have moved up and if we move, we will have to pay more for a home which means a cut in our family budget.
In November, God knows that we needed to rent out our SG home in Punggol and He sent a lovely Christian couple to take care of our home, right on time.
Throughout the year, we are learning that God moves in His time and God's purposes are always on time. So, whether in moments on mountain tops or moments in deep valleys, we praise God that He is always present! Jeremiah 23:23 assures us that God is ruling over all kingdoms, filling all place with His character and light.
We also praise God that He is omnipotent. He has all power. Many times, my expectation of God's power is misdirected. We are always looking for God to bring healing to bodies, in bringing a new baby into the world, and giving us jobs and things we prayed for. These are wonderful things. But the Bible declares that the greatest things God does are internal, not external.
Ephesians 3:20 speaks of God, "who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine (we like that part), according to His power that is at work within us."
I confess that I used to be bothered since I became a Christian by testimonies that neglect the internal to focus only on outside things. While it is good to give thanks for blessings (good boss, good health, passing exams), God's grace goes deeper than that. God alone can give us what we really need: a pure heart, a steadfast and willing spirit to do His will.
As we seek His grace in 2016, may we all be blessed by God's deeper work within us.
Lina & Eric & 4Js
Amazing Grace Academy
For the past few years, we have seen an urgent need to provide good, affordable education for families who live in Thailand. We knew many families who were displaced from society (asylum seekers) and missionary families who lacked financial support.
God’s Word states that Christians should not only be different from the world (Romans 12:1-2) but should also set a standard of excellence.
In 2014, Amazing Grace Academy was set up to help children receive the gift of quality and affordable Christian education. We believe that from a young age, children need to embrace a biblical worldview in schools that is consistent with the way the Bible describes God, people and the world.
“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
We started with 4 children (our own), and we have now grown to 14, supported by a team of teaching staff, volunteers, donors. The students’ nationalities range from Burma to Singapore to South Korea to Pakistan to Hong Kong.
Every child is instructed with God’s Word with an emphasis of scripture memorization. Some passages memorized this year were John 3:1-17, 2 Timothy 1:22, Psalms 91, Psalms 119: 1-20, Philippians 2:1-16. When students face problems, they are encouraged to exhibit biblical responses to their problems.
The older students performed “As the Deer pants for the water” on recorder instruments, and recited Luke 2:1-20 for bible speaking while the younger students did a handbell rendition of “Silent Night”. It was a memorable afternoon as we give thanks and remember who Christmas is really about.
Prayer & Thanksgiving
Praise God for:
- He is never in a hurry but He is always on time
- An anonymous donor who donated new Paces (workbooks) for Burmese children in Immanuel Learning Center.
- Family & friends who continued to support children’s school fees and donate bibles and storybooks to school library
- New Christian staff joining us in January
- Hearing your prayers. Our teacher Supervisor, Mr Ayub’s severe back pain has been healed. He even has a new ministry as he pastors a new congregation on Sundays.
Pray to God for:
- Volunteer teachers to conduct Bible studies, Art & Craft lessons, Computer Literacy, etc.
- New School Campus. The current room can only take in a maximum of 14 students. We believe that God will increase our resources so that we can take in more families and more children can be empowered with godly wisdom and we can reach out to a new generation of Asian missionary children. Pray with us!
Agriculture in North Thailand
Pastor Somsak has been working as a farmer all his life. The Church he used to pastor in Pai is left with only a handful people, mostly elderly. The youths have moved to the city to find jobs so because of the "city life" migration, many farmlands are laid to waste. This trend is happening to most developing nations.
Farms are really important, especially for believers. It is a way how God provides for us all.
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
What will happen if Ps Somsak sold his land away? There won't be enough farms to grow food in the next exodus!
So that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.
One day in the future, we could be rejected by the city that we've been building all our life. When the second exodus happens, will there be enough food for believers?
We need kingdom farms!
Farming is hard work. The lack of manpower makes it even harder.
There are 2 kinds of farmers, one who farm for money and one who farm to feed his household(for food). Commercial farms that uses bad seeds and cheap harmful fertilizers are able to reduce their costs and make more money. This makes it hard for honest small scale farmers to compete.
Commercial farmers do not consume crops that they grow for money. Driving around farms in North Thailand, you can see that most commercial farmers have a separate plot of land where vegetables are grown for their own consumption.
Which farmer will you buy from? Farmers who farm for food or farmers who farm for money.
In these last days, what is God preparing us to do?
Please pray along with us as we work alongside with Christian farmers to improve on their farming methods and to expand their market. We need to help Christian farmers to survive and thrive for the sake of us all.
Eric and Lina are Singapore missionaries/tentmakers based in Chiang Mai, North Thailand since 2009. We serve with CWM (China World Missions) and homeschool our 4 boys.