Sunday, June 23, 2013

Wheels Provision

All glory, honour, power is Yours, amen
All glory, honour, power is Yours, amen.
All glory, honour, power is Yours forever, amen.
From the song “Cannons” by Paul Wickham

Richie, our new 1996 Honda City
Last week, I drove home our newest car, a Honda City. =) It was offered to us, to buy, by a missionary friend that used to work here. She had gone back to her home country so she had to sell and get rid of all her stuff. She’d always been a blessing to us. She’d given us generous monetary gifts before but it’s nowhere as big as what she’d given us for our newest car. She is just one of a kind. She’s also an amazing prayer warrior. She’d interceded and prayed for us many, many times already. I know she’ll probably keep doing so in the future. We are amazed by her and praise and thank God for her.

Our 1990 New Wagon Nissan, Black Beauty
A few months ago, I started to pray for Eng to have another car to drive. We’d had Black Beauty since we arrived here in 2004. She’s a two-door Nissan 1990 model. Like her name, her color absorbs all the heat of the sometimes scorching Thai sun. Because of her 23 years of age, her air conditioning no longer works. That would be all right if the windows are open as you drive her but the passenger’s window no longer open. One door can’t be opened from inside, there is no power steering, and the hatch back won’t stay open. She runs so well but bit by bit, her body parts are declaring their resignation. Sometimes, in the middle of the day, you may have showered before getting into her, but when you get to your destination, you’d feel like you’d showered again, in your own sweat!

Eng's snazzy Honda until September
I’d been feeling badly for Eng driving our old car so I prayed for another car for him. (All this time, he’d been letting me drive our other car, Tiger. I wrote about our cars in “The Old and the New” posted on May 21, 2008) The Lord answered my prayer when our friends left for their Home Assignment. Eng asked them if he could look after their car and they agreed for him to use it. It’s a real beauty! When Eng drives that car, he looks like a manager (which he is!) of some important place! It’s the complete opposite of Black Beauty. Only thing is, our friends will be back in September so I knew the snazzy Honda Civic wasn’t the long-term answer.

Tiger is a 2006 Toyota Hilux
And then our amazing friend mentioned above took her car to the mechanic to get it tuned up. She asked them how much they’d buy her car and they said 140,000 baht (about $4,500 US). She then turned around and offered to sell it to us for 40,000 baht (about $1,280 US). Realizing the blessing that we were offered, Eng borrowed the money (we are slowly paying that loan) to pay her and that is why we have several cars parked outside. For the first time in our lives, we are in possession of 3 cars (Black Beauty, Tiger, and our newest: Richie – named in honour of our benefactor) and looking after one! We immediately loaned Black Beauty to new missionaries who just arrived. We are on the lookout to see who to give her to. Awed by our generous God, we hope we can be as generous with our wheels.

Thank you, Papa God, for the wonderful ways you’d provided. Praise You!!!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

How Great He Is

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art.
“How Great Thou Art” based on a Swedish poem written by Carl Gustav Boberg
Translated to English by British Stuart K. Hine (who also added two verses)
Popularized by George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows in Billy Graham crusades

At houseboats of Mae Ngat Dam in Mae Taeng.
Last week, I was the chaperone to our 17 year old son Eli’s overnight houseboat trip with 8 of his friends. Three of them were just back here to attend our school’s high school graduation and to visit with friends. Their families lived here as missionaries but left as their parents were called back to the US. It was good to see them again. After being with them in the same community for a few years, they just naturally began to feel like extended family. I’m glad we were able to do that together. Eli asked me to chaperone the trip as a few of them weren’t allowed to go without one. It didn’t take much to convince me to go. I wasn’t ready to let (our) 17 and 18 year old young adults to go on their own.  More importantly, I like going to the houseboats. It’s very peaceful there, so conducive to being quiet. I knew if I went, I’d enjoy myself. I truly did! The six young men all acted very gentlemanly. I didn’t have to carry my baggage at all! =) The three young women were also enjoyable to be with. As a group, I gave them the space they needed so they could fully enjoy their time together but I listened and watched them. They’re a hilarious and a very fun loving bunch. It was a privilege for me to be with them.

The adventurous teens devouring their communal food.
The Lord blessed our time together. It’s been really hot here but the day we went, it became unseasonably cold. We even slept overnight with blankets; it was that cold! The teens were also amazed that they found a hidden water trampoline and life-sized ball when they swam across the water and went behind a cove. Like little kids, they rejoiced when they were allowed to play there. One of them said it was a “God thing”. They knew finding the play area was a blessing plus the permission to play there. They stayed there for the most part of the afternoon. But, the highlight of our time was after breakfast. I asked them to take turns sharing about our time and that’s when Michael (Chris Tom’s son) asked to speak last. He said he wanted to pray a prayer of impartation over everyone. He explained that having lost his Dad, he believed there was a special blessing that he could give. I was so touched to hear that. Last year, I was so grieved for him, his mom, and two brothers because on the eve of their departure to leave Chiang Mai for good, Chris was fatally hurt in an explosion. I wrote 3 posts about them last year (from June 24-July 8, 2012). I requested that they be prayed for because I knew they were thrust to mature and face the challenges of life without Chris.

Peace, beauty, and quiet.
Now a year later, I can see the wonder of God’s work in answering that prayer. There I was, witnessing a 17 year old pray an earnest and sincere prayer for all of us. In his loss, Michael (with God’s help) had chosen to purposely bless us, impart to us what he had been given. I saw someone who was sure of his calling, a desire to touch people, just like his Dad did. When Michael left last year, he was a young man trying to understand who he was made to be. He came back with an understanding of who he is.

We have a great God. His ways are not like ours and we sometimes don’t necessarily agree with what He allows to happen. Still, He is always up to something good in our lives. We can trust Him. He is so good. His ways may be incomprehensible and even painful to us but it is always for our benefit. Thank you, Lord. You are GREAT.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Divine Appointments

…and he determined the times set for them 
(and the exact places where they should live).
Acts 17:26b

I wish I could give justice to the beauty of the
grounds in Suan Bua, the resort we were in.
Sometimes, we meet up with people and we can’t help but marvel that we’re together, that we’re talking, and then later, praying. At times like that, you just can’t help but get the sense that everything happened according to plan. The Lord set it up and somehow He chose us to amazingly be a part of it. This last week was one like that. Our whole family was at our mission’s conference. Typically, we start with lunch on a Tuesday and we get to stay in a resort atop a mountain until lunchtime on Sunday. We go there to worship together, receive teaching, hear about God's work in our places of ministry, relax, visit with friends, and play. We get to eat delicious buffet meals. Interspersed between our times of sharing/fellowshipping and meetings, we also enjoy snacks over coffee or cold drinks. Different prayer times (in the morning and afternoon) are set, along with games and a talent show. Each year is slightly different as the committee determines the combination of activities to include in the schedule.
The schedule is tailored after survey comments from the attendees of the year before. We’d just finished attending our 8th conference since we arrived here in 2004. Each one was a blessing in various ways. We started with a much bigger group including those working in several restricted access nations. As our numbers grew, our group was split into 3 smaller groups two years ago. We miss the people we used to spend the week with but each year had been a blessing nonetheless. Now, our “extended family” is just smaller in number. Since our get-together only happens once a year, we all look forward to it. It is six days of pampering, resting, receiving, learning, giving, and getting touched by God. He is so good for all of us (for a mere $250 US each) to get refreshed physically and mentally, (sometimes) refreshed emotionally, and (definitely) refreshed spiritually. By the time we go home, we feel strengthened to carry on our work for another year. For workers in restricted countries where they can’t worship as believers, it is the only time they get to openly fellowship and receive teaching. Like dried plants, they come to rest and drink deeply from God’s well. We are blessed to get to attend this conference every year.

On the way there last week, Eng and I prayed to know what to do with our time and who we should meet with. Typically, I would purposely individually connect with people and join them for meals. By the time our meal is done, we would have visited and shared our prayer concerns. We’d often end our time with prayers for one another.

In answer to our prayers, Eng and I only shared our first and last day’s meals together. In between, it was amazing to witness how God orchestrated the meetings with the ladies that I spent my time with. My visiting times got coordinated while I walked, when I got tea, when I stood in line-ups, and as I happened to see people. Even Eng prayed for a lady that was beset by nightmares and the presence of evil spirits. As he prayed, he literally felt a “spirit” pass them (he prayed with others) as it left her room. Miraculously, in 4 days, I prayed at least 15 times with different people and it included long prayers to do a deliverance, prayer counselling, and Theophostic prayer. What a privilege to be able to specifically pray for women who came from as far as the Philippines, Taiwan, and China. As one child worker remarked, “I’m just so awed that the Lord brought me all the way here just so I could deal with my issues.” Most child workers come here just for that time of caring and looking after the children. They often don't get a chance to return.

We have such a remarkable God. He stops at nothing so we could find peace, joy, contentment, answers to our prayers, and an awareness of Him and His goodness. Praise Him. =)

Monday, June 3, 2013

New Challenges

Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion 
looking for someone to devour.
I Peter 5:8

Close up photo of the flowers on a Fire Tree.
It’s been an exceptionally busy last week of school. I normally have enough to do with my job, being a wife and mom, and my online course work load. Since there was a countdown to the last few days in school, the week presented other challenges in time use. I had to pack up my office since I wouldn’t be returning to it. There were closure gatherings to end the year for staff not returning, graduation of seniors, Ethan’s band presentation, and year-end award ceremonies. I also separately met with students that I wanted to say a special “goodbye” to. In addition, there was a meal planned to welcome new workers to OMF as they joined our field, and the once a year 4-5 days of Prayer Counselling happened.  Why it all had to happen in the same week, I cannot explain. Different people organized their events without realizing what the others were doing. =) All I can say is, I’m glad it’s over. Emotionally, it was exhausting. Physically, it was hot and daunting. Mentally, I spaced out several times and dozed off as it was all I could take!

One day, I woke up and started my day on the go. I didn’t pray as I usually did and ask for protection. Later on that day, Eng, Eli, Ethan, and I, all argued with one another. We even took turns with our pairing! I was so upset. I slept with a pounding headache and wondered what happened.

It was the next day when I realised that I didn’t pray and ask for the Lord’s covering for the day before. Aware of the verse above, I understood even more that we become easy targets when we are unsuspecting, and unprotected. May we have the wisdom to always pray for protection before we get up no matter how busy we get!

Fire Trees beside roads or on the mountainsides
of Chiang Mai provide gorgeous views
in April and May.
Another challenge is determining what to be involved in. Since there was Prayer Counselling and it was on  for 4 days, how could I possibly do that and all the other activities and events I wanted (and for some, had) to be a part of? I was also asked to pray for a couple who wanted to receive Deliverance Prayer. I haven’t done that prayer in a long time so it would require needing to go back on notes, etc. Even with good activities like prayers that I am passionate about, I obviously can’t do it all. May the Lord also grant the wisdom that we need so that we pray that we only do what we’re called and meant to do. Thankfully, if we ask, we will receive. =)

And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, 
after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you 
strong, firm and steadfast.

1 Peter 5:10