New Land Creates Growth
It finally happened! After over a month of negotiations, that even included changing the location of the road that goes through the property, the Lahu Shehleh leaders finally got the land they wanted. On the day Steve was preparing to leave Thailand, the last of the funds needed were secured and papers were signed.
The purchase of this property offers a central location for leadership training and other education opportunities. These leaders hope that buying this land will also inspire other Christians to buy land next to it, creating a new village. It is the desire of Under the Son Ministries to help them in their efforts to spread the gospel message of Christ to the Lahu Shehleh and the other hill tribe peoples of Northern Thailand.
Within one week after purchasing the land, the brush was cleared and a fence was built around the property. In the picture of the left are the men responsible for making this purchase a reality. We are so proud of these men and the commitment of taking the gospel to their people.
In our last newsletter we had just finished selling over 200 geraniums as a fundraiser. In September we were able to sell 120 mums in two weeks.
We were so thankful for the response of everyone who purchased the flowers we ordered. All the money raised from this project also goes to our education fund which is used to further the education of children at Gethsemane beyond high school.
Geraniums will be arriving in late April next year. We have increased our order to 350 plants. If you have not pre-ordered geraniums, please contact us. These students are so appreciative of your help.
New Village School
When Steve made his first visit to LaMu Nai in 2014, the small, remote village school only had a kindergarten. Within the last year a new school has been built. The new school now has six teachers teaching about sixty students from kindergarten through sixth grade. We are thankful now that these children don’t have to travel the eight miles to PaTang MuSuer for school. Another interesting thing that Steve learned about LaMu Nai village is that it is not in the Chiang Mai province, but in the Tak province. There are no roads from Tak province to LaMu Nai, so this meant that crews from Tak had a long drive to get into the village to build the school. Until a new road can be built, the school will get its supplies by helicopter from Tak. Six thousand bags of concrete mix has been donated by the king’s daughter to build a concrete road into the village. The villagers need to complete this construction project before December because that is when the king’s daughter is planning a visit to the new school.
While in Thailand this summer, we were able to stay at the home which gave us valuable insight into the daily life of the children. Their school year started in May so their first semester is almost finished.
A weekday for the children starts at 5:30 am with devotions. Titus takes the older children, and Newa leads the devotions for the younger ones. After their Bible time is finished, the children eat breakfast and get ready for school. About 6:45 am they start gathering in front of the house for morning prayers. Then it’s into the truck and off to school by 7 am.
They return to Gethsemane around 5 pm, do their chores, eat dinner, and complete their homework. Evening activities might include a game of soccer or badminton. They were recently given a ping pong table which has been very popular with the younger boys.
A significant change that has happened at the government school the children attend is allowing the Christian children to have a worship service each Friday morning. Recently some of our children from Gethsemane led the singing for the service and were able to witness for Christ during this time. We are praying that this will continue and know that God is moving in Thailand.
New Ministry Team Members
We would like to introduce you to Judah and Leah, the newest members of the Under the Son Ministries team. They are both from the Lahu Shehleh tribe and will be living with the only Christian family in Patang MuSuer. Judah is 56 years old, and Leah is 53 years old. They have been serving God as a couple for almost 30 years. Judah did not go to a Bible training school, but he has attended many Bible studies. When he was younger, he served as a youth leader in the church. Judah speaks three languages: Lahu, Lisu, and Thai.
Leah was born in a Christian family and was baptized at the age of 12. She speaks Lahu and Lisu. At the age of 17, Leah married Judah. They have been married over 35 years. They have three children, one son and two daughters, all who are grown. For the last 12 years they have been serving as house parents at another children’s home here in Thailand.
Welcome to our family, Judah and Leah!
On September 10th and 11th a group of us had the opportunity to make a second trip to the Omkoi district. Zaccheus called saying that five people wanted to be immersed into Christ. This meant we would need to pay someone with a four wheel drive truck to get us in and out of LaMu Nai village. It was almost dark when the ten of us arrived at the village. Upon arriving we were told that there were now eight people who wanted to give their lives to Christ. Sunday morning began with Titus talking to these people about what it means to be a Christian. Then we all headed to the river where there was a place deep enough for the baptisms. Following the baptisms, services were held at the church where we all took the Lord’s Supper together. It was a joy to be able to witness this new beginning for these babes in Christ. Please pray for all of them as Under the Son Ministries continues to encourage them as our new brothers and sisters.
Training for the Future
Language training was the main focus for the last week of Steve’s stay in Thailand. The group that traveled to LaMu Nai over the weekend brought back four other people for this week. From September 12-16 a total of 14 people attended a week of Bible study, training in music, and learning to read and write the Lahu language. Andrew and his wife, NaLae, were in charge of teaching Lahu to our team so they could in turn go back to their villages and teach others. They condensed two weeks of instruction into one week. The training included many instructional strategies that will be used when teaching the language to others. The enthusiasm and dedication of everyone was great. Several of Andrew’s students were up after midnight working on their teaching aids. On Monday they even invited a lady from SIL International to come in and lead some of the language sessions. She was originally from Burma, and Steve was thankful to learn that she spoke fluent English. Trainings such as these will eventually be held on the newly purchased property.