Whether you’re rich or poor, young or old, man or woman, Asian or Caucasian, you can’t live without this. No smart phone app or scientific breakthrough can ever replace this. Try as you may, you cannot live without it for many days. What is it? Continue reading “One Thing You Can’t Live Without”→
On September 26, I was able to address our church family on what I sense should be our perspective on the human trafficking situation in Thailand based on our vision trip there. I thank Pastor Cory for the opportunity to share what the Lord has been putting on my heart for the past year. You can download the message here or listen below.
Here is the video I linked to at the end of the message:
*Be sure to hear Pastor Kenny Wada share on his impressions of Thailand on October 17.
A week has gone by since we were in Thailand and the times I wasn’t fighting jet lag, I’ve been able to reflect on what God showed us in Thailand. I found myself reading through my blog posts and recalling specific situations in which God revealed Himself to us, what I call “God moments”. This is important because it’s the reason why the four of us went to Thailand as opposed to just finding out what’s happening there through websites, videos or pictures. We wanted God to pave the way for our future ministry in Thailand.
Today marked another early day taking off on the road at 6:45am. We headed up to a Karen village that is actually the village where Starbucks primarily takes coffee from for their Muan Jai blend. The nickname for the village is “Starbucks village” since Starbucks helps the villagers a lot with machinery and repairs among with other things. Starbucks CEO’s and employees have made the trek to see the village and the farmers.
The trek was a windy one up a mountain and it took ~4.5 hours to get there. Given that we had 6 people, Becky volunteered to sit in the back cab (they have a shell with bench seats in the cab). I thought I’d keep her company and it was fine until we headed up the windy road. That along with the diesel fumes and occasional rain made me queasy. I thought for sure I was going to hurl at the next stop but seven-up and some snacks did the trick. That and going back inside the truck. Poor Becky had to sit outside all by herself. What a trooper! She didn’t mind at all but I still had to apologize for being a weak American.
Early morning today, we read Numbers 14 and prayed that we would know the right timing for our ministry in Thailand because if God is not with us, we’ll fall flat on our face. That may mean waiting until God calls us or acting quickly if God is prompting us. In praying, we felt that we should be seeking spiritual fruit in the ministries we observe and also that we should see spiritually clean waters conducive to spiritual growth in these ministries rather than murky waters. Also, I felt we should look into the eyes of the people, especially the children and see if there is hope in their eyes and also if God was there.
Becky Mann picked us up and brought us to the Integrated Tribal Development Program (ITDP) office. Becky is a strong woman, supportive of her husband’s ministry and displays a strong mother’s love to her children and my sense, is to the teams that come through. Mike and Becky have a neat story with Mike waiting seven years before being able to go to the missions field. His heart was for Thailand. Becky’s for Hong Kong. They got on their knees and surrendered their desires and asked for God’s will. The next day, they got a call telling them that they were able to go to Thailand. They had to make a difficult decision staying in Thailand despite raising a special needs child. Their story is a great testimony of faith.
The Mann’s have been in Thailand as missionaries for 21 years now. It was amazing seeing how their ministry has really exploded. Their vision is to bring people to Christ through development. Their target are the hill tribe people and their work is to bring clean water, toilets, schools, clinics, evangelism and micro-credit enterprises to these people so that they would break out of the cycle of poverty that leads to drug addiction and being exploited for human trafficking. Their ministry is holistic, what Mike calls a ministry of “presence”, meaning that they are there with the villagers for the long haul. The have done projects with multiple villages and with various hill tribe people. There is not really another ministry that does what they do.
They create schools with Christian teachers and send evangelists to these villages to evangelize to the parents and families. They also have a sponsorship program to sponsor the kids to go to these schools. Their clinics are staffed by Christians. Their staff is comprised of hill tribe people who are Christian with many living in the villages to be with the people. Continue reading “Thailand Vision Trip Day 3”→
After a long flight into Bangkok and then connecting into Chiang Mai, we finally made it into Thailand. We were greeted by Rob Tang and the Tang girls and taken back to our hotel by Becky Mann. After situating ourselves we proceeded to have lunch with Rob Tang, Mike and Becky Mann.
It was neat hearing everybody’s story and how God brought each of us into Thailand. We are very fortunate to have friends in Thailand like the Mann’s and the Tang’s. Regardless of whether we are to partner with either of them and their ministries, we are still blessed to have friends like them who share a similar passion to help combat human trafficking and raise others in the Lord.
Mike Mann of Integrated Tribal Development takes a very preventative approach, getting to the source of the problem as he sees it. This involves identifying hill tribe villages, bringing clean water, proper sanitation, schools, health clinics and ultimately the gospel throughout it all.
Rob Tang of ZOE international is involved in a preventative approach as well, only they are rescuing children as they are put on the market. So in a sense, they are saving them before they are put into human trafficking.
We look forward to viewing both ministries close at hand. Later, we visited a snake camp, monkey exhibition and the night bazaar, although I’ll let Pastor Kenny talk more about it :) Tomorrow we worship with Eiji Osato at a Karen village church I believe.
We appreciate all your prayers and support! Please pray for rest for all of us as we are getting adjusted to the new time zone. Pray that we remain united as one team. Pray that we are be in tune with the Holy Spirit.