Year in Review
As we look back on 2016, we see many ways God has blessed Under the Son Ministries. The year started with a January visit that saw several people from the States witnessing firsthand the impact of the ministry in Thailand. The wall around Gethsemane home was completed, and later in the year additional property was purchased which will impact evangelism with the hill tribe people. Titus has had the children from Gethsemane active in village evangelism for several years. But 2016 brought the opportunity for the children to witness to their classmates through a Friday morning worship service at school. During this past year Titus also let us know about multiple baptisms which included seven young people from Gethsemane who gave their lives to Christ. God also used Under the Son Ministries as a financial answer to the hospital stays of both Daniel and Bundit.
We’re excited to see what God has in store for the ministry as we begin 2017!
New Thai IDs
We are excited to announce that Casalyn and Nothai now have their Thai IDs. This is something we have been praying about for a long time. God is so good!
The purpose of the card is to give them Thai citizenship and entitles them to government services. It is also used for verifying identity when applying for jobs or even opening a bank account.
We have a few other children at the home who still need Thai IDs and know God will provide.
Completed Church Renovations
In our June newsletter we told you about the renovations being made at the church in Huai Pong village. Even though the tile floors and ceiling tiles were much needed improvements, there was still more to be done. During a school break Titus, Moses, and Daniel took several of the children from Gethsemane to Huai Pong to paint the inside and outside of the church. The children also helped Daniel mix and pour concrete to build steps up the steep incline that leads to the church. Thank you to the churches who helped us complete these renovations.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand died October 13, 2016. In looking back to when we lived in Thailand, there are several things we remember about the patriotism of the Thai people and the deep respect they had for their king. At the school where Donella taught, every day began with standing for the playing of the national anthem. Many times when we were in a store or at a market at 8 am or 6 pm, the anthem would play and everyone would stop whatever they were doing and stand still.
There is also a picture of the king in every home in Thailand, If we went to a movie, we would stand during the playing of the royal anthem before the movie started while watching a video showing all that the king had done for the Thai people. They truly loved their king.
After the king’s death, Thailand went into a state of mourning. People wore black ribbons, celebrations were postponed, and several Thailand based websites we use removed the color from their homepage. The postponing of celebrations meant that the harvest celebrations our Christian brothers use to share the gospel were rescheduled for later dates. Titus and some of the other men had to go to the headsman of the village of Patang MuSur to get permission to hold the Christmas celebration planned for that village. The headsmen told them that the worship service and other activities, including the use of loud speakers, needed to be held inside the church.
The people of Thailand will certainly miss their king. As they transition to a new king, we ask that you pray for this country.
New Land Dedication
In our last newsletter we were excited to announce that land across the road from Gethsemane Home had been purchased. After the fence around the property was built, the focus was turned to seeing what improvements could be made while waiting for funds to be raised to build permanent buildings. The first thing the men wanted to do was hold a ceremony to dedicate the land to the Lord. A group from the church at Nong Kheo village came and built a temporary structure to hold the ceremony. On October 22 about forty people gathered on the land to seek the Lord’s blessing for its future use. Titus opened the ceremony by reading Scripture and then gave an account of the events that brought them to this point. There was also special singing and a message from Joni Morse. Andrew read Solomon’s prayer found in II Chronicles 6:12-42 which led into Joni’s message dedicating the land to God’s service. The ceremony was closed with everyone joining together in prayer seeking God’s provision for the land and its use in ministry. As we join in this new venture, we pray for God’s guidance.
While we have a day set aside for Thanksgiving, in Thailand each individual village sets the time for its harvest celebration. This means that Titus and some of the other Christian leaders can attend several of these celebrations. They are able to help organize and lead the villagers in their worship and thanking God for the blessings He has given the Christians in each village.
Two of the harvest celebrations that Under the Son Ministries participated in were held in the Omkoi district. On November 26 and 27 about 40 people gathered together to thank God for their blessings at the church at Nang Krai. This also included Christians from the villages of LaMu Nai and Patang MuSur. The next weekend a Christmas celebration was held in the village of Patang MuSur as a way to evangelize to them. Before it started the Christians from the village gathered at the church on Saturday morning and held a Thanksgiving service. On Sunday morning a worship service was held at the church before heading home. Over 100 people gathered for this weekend of celebrations.
Everyone Needs Encouragement
While Steve was still in Thailand, a group of eleven people left Gethsemane home for PaTang MuSuer to encourage the Christians there. At this time there is only one Christian family in this village. Over five hours later, and in the dark, they arrived in the village, and were greeted by Simeon and the Christian family. It was windy and cool, so the fire the hosts were sitting around in their home was made bigger. Even though all the conversation was in Lahu, Titus translated that they were telling stories about the jungle and asking questions about living the Christian life.
On Sunday morning they all walked to the church for worship. Simeon led the singing and Bundit and Andrew sang a special; Natalie Grant’s “You Are My All in All” in Lahu. Titus brought those who attended words of encouragement and commitment with a message from Luke 9:57-62. With Bundit translating, Steve gave the communion meditation.
After church they went back to the home of the Christian family. While waiting for lunch to be prepared, Titus and the Christian man showed Steve where they want to build a mission house. This house will be where Judah and Leah will live. They have joined Under the Son Ministries and are being sent there to encourage the new Christians in this village. The house will also be used as a place to learn the Bible, to teach how to read and write the Lahu language, and a place for other teachers and guests to stay. After lunch goodbyes were said and appreciation given for our host’s hospitality before we headed back home.
There are now eight people on staff with Under the Son Ministries. We continue to marvel at what God has done in just a few years.