Dear Friends and Family,
We’ve been home for 3 months now, and it’s definitely been a whirlwind. We originally planned to return to Thailand in January, but decided to come a month earlier (the beginning of December). Because we were coming home early, we thought (naively) that we’d have some time to ‘chill out’ and get life and house in order before the torrent of work and expectations hit us. HA! It seems that we are just too popular to be able to ‘take it easy’. As soon as we landed, we discovered that everyone had a plan for our lives and we have been running ever since, still trying to get certain ‘household’ matters settled even after 3 months of being back.
Anne’s Mum was here for the month of December, and was a real blessing in helping out around the house as Anne was still getting over the tale of end of morning sickness. Sean was expected to visit various villages over the Christmas period, but thankfully ended up only having to visit one, Huay da Top, for the 3 day annual Christmas celebrations.
Youth Push Truck up a Hill to Huay De Top
January saw the arrival of Sean’s Parents, brother and cousins. Corbett and Grace visited for 3 weeks, and Sean had the privilege of arranging village and orphanage trips for them. Unfortunately, while in one village (Musakee), Sean came down with pneumonia, and so he was completely sick in bed for one week, and had to take it easy for the following week. It was hard to get him to rest, as he wanted to take good care of his cousins, and also continue to uphold his other ministry responsibilities. Anne and Ellen had a hard time making sure he rested enough to get well.
Dinner with Family
Corbett and Grace Visited us
Meetings, Networking and MK’s
February was ‘meetings month’ in Chiang Mai. It seemed that we spent the entire month in strategic planning meetings, church planting conferences and networking. We made a lot of new friends, people who we hope to be able to work with in the future, people we were able to learn from, many of them like minded and with similar vision and philosophy of ministry. And of course, Sean managed to find his way into the hearts of the MKs (Missionary Kids) by taking them on various adventures in his ‘spare time’ – like hiking to waterfalls and swimming in freezing mountain streams, biking, paintball shooting and riding 4 wheel ATVs. He remembers what it’s like to be an MK at these conferences (boring!!), and so he’s always seeking ways to invest in the next generation, and ensure that they are having as much fun as possible.
Waterfall with MK's
Preaching in Thai
This last weekend, Sean had the privilege of visiting one of 6 of City Gate Church’s daughter churches, Pratu Din, where he preached and ministered alongside one of the CGC church staff, Pastor Prayoon. They had a great time together. Pastor Prayoon oversees the work in 5 of the churches, mainly Karen, Akha and Lahu villages, and so he travels to a different church each week to preach and to mentor the local pastor and the members. Sean loves ministering in villages and he and Pastor Prayoon make a great team.
On Thursday Sean was invited to attend a wedding at Huay da Top. When he got there, he discovered that he wasn't a mere guest, but he was 'guest speaker'. He had about 3 hours to come up with a sermon on marriage for the bride and groom - oh yeah, and he had to do it in Thai, too, because there were no English speakers there... Sean is becoming quite the preacher lately.
Sean Preached at a Karen Wedding
The Bride and Groom
Wedding Feast Preparations
Spirit Doctor accepts Jesus
We have been working with Huay De Top for 7+ years. Most of the villagers are Christian, but the Spirit Doctor named Boo Ngeun has been hesitant until all of his children agreed to his decision. He decided he couldn't wait anymore. He invited Sean, Sombaht, Prayoon and Tongkham to come and pray with him to accept Christ.
Boo Ngeun Healed of pain in his knee
The next day Boo Ngeun told Sean that the horrible pain in his knee was finally gone and that he had just just slept peacefully for the first time in ages. He said the demon had called to him in the night but he said that he told him to go away. Sean and the others got permission to burn the alters and fetishes, and so the next day many of the villagers went up the hill at the top of the village to gather for worship as they burned the demon 'house' to the ground.
Before Burning down the Demon Altars
Demon Altars Down in Flames
Sean got some really good video and it really was a great celebration. The rest of the village rejected animism 7 years ago, and have been praying for Boo Ngeun to accept Christ since then, so that the village can be completely free of the oppressive spirits. Even the four non-Christians of the village are excited about this turn of events. The fact that Sean was able to get any video was a miracle, because upon arriving at the village, he discovered that his batteries for his camera were dead. Sean got the camera out on the off chance it might work, and it just kept going and going. Praise God!
Yeah, it was a lot of Fun
Soldier accepts Jesus
In January, Sean met a soldier named Khun Haan on his trip to the villages with his cousins. They stayed in contact, and recently we found out Haan is sick. Sean visited him in his home and prayed for him. Khun Haan knows the gospel and told Sean he wasn't really interested, and that he just wanted a friend. Because of his illness, Sean invited him to a special healing service on Tuesday Night. Sean was very busy with technical/computer stuff, and also translation and so Haan had to sit by himself. I was worried he'd feel neglected and just leave. But at the end of the service, Haan accepted Christ. I ran to grab Sean from the office, so he could be with him. Haan wasn't healed outright that night, but he said he just knew that he could no longer reject the Gospel. He said that the night after Sean had prayed for him he had experienced some strange supernatural things and felt that Sean’s prayers had been the cause.
Haan Explains why AK-47 Assult rifles are better than M-16's
Anne is now 33 weeks pregnant, and we are excited that our Little Thai Kick Boxer will be here in less than 2 months. She likes to move a lot and sometimes even wakes Anne up at night with a good kick or a hiccup. We completed our pre-natal classes this week, and Sean was surprised how informative and interesting they are. I think it partly had to do with the person who is giving them…
Anne just had her regular check up and we discovered that the Little Kick Boxer is breech. So now we have to start considering the possibility of having it all turned upside down and having a cesarean. This would be very disapointing, but the end goal is a healthy baby and healthy mummy.
New Vehicle Needed
Since returning to Thailand, we very much realized why we need a new vehicle. Upon arriving, Anne and her Mum found the car at the mechanic. It stayed there for more than 2 weeks, as there were a lot of problems. Most of them were resolved, but at great expense (and for how long, who knows?). And now, yet again, the car is in the shop. This time we were hoping to get the Air Con fixed for the hot season, but it turns out the compressor needs to be completely replaced, at great expense. We are hoping to be able to purchase a 2nd hand, 4WD, 4 door pickup truck before our Little Kick Boxer is born. Note the time limit we have to realize this dream (7 weeks). We need to raise approximately US$10,000 for a 2nd hand vehicle. We are thankful for the use of our current 23 year old truck over the last 6 years, and have been quite happy to just keep chugging along with it. But more and more we realize that it doesn’t meet our needs, especially since we must rent a vehicle to go to a village or to the border. Please keep us in prayer – we believe that God will provide all that we need. Also, a donor has offered to match donations of up to US$2,500 towards the purchase of a new vehicle.
This is the 4WD rental that got us to the Village.
It is our Dream Vehicle.
In October we are planning on being a part of a School of Frontier Missions (SOFM). This school for training up missionaries has been one of our long term goals and we expect this to be a big part of our future Church Planting ministry here. Please pray that we will have wisdom to know how to balance our family life with ministry.
Thanks for your love, prayers and support.
Sean & Anne
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