Monthly Archives: May 2013

The Year 2556?

I found out earlier that today is one of the most important Buddhist holidays, known in Thailand as Visakha Bucha (วิสาขบูชา). Celebrated all across Asia as a major holiday, Visakha Bucha marks the birth, enlightenment and passing of Buddha. Making it the Buddhist equivalent to our Christmas and Easter rolled up into one. It’s crazy to think how fundamentally different much of the world is from what we are used to in the West. For example; Christians often proudly boast how all of the world marks time by the birth and death of Jesus with B.C.(Before Christ) and A.D.(Anno Domini which is Latin for “year of our Lord”) making this the year 2013. But did you know that in Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries like Cambodia and Laos this is the year 2556?! They consider this the Buddhist Era (B.E.) and mark their dating system by the complete Nirvana of Buddha. Even though it could be said that the US is now a post-Christian nation, the influences of Christianity still run deep within the history of our country and much of the Western world.

Prayer incense used in worship. (Photo by Thibaud Saintin)

Prayer incense used in worship. (Photo by Thibaud Saintin)

It makes you realize how different of a “world” others still live in today, despite the fact that it is actually the very same world technically. It’s also a reminder of how great a need there is for the gospel of Christ to be proclaimed. When I lived in Thailand as an apprentice missionary before, many of the people I talked to had never even heard of Jesus! Paul said in Ephesians 2:17, “When [Christ] came, He proclaimed the good news of peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.” No matter how “far away” some in this world may seem, Christ’s message of peace is for all and no one is beyond His reach (Acts 17:27, Isaiah 59:1). What a privilege it is as disciples to continue to spread this good news both near and far as we live out our lives for Him!

Click here to see more pictures of Visakha Bucha. 

 

By Gary 

 

On the Move

It’s happening! As I write this post Michelle is busy packing things in our apartment. We started packing two weeks ago and have already moved our first trailer load down to Scottsville, KY with Michelle’s family. We’re going through everything and deciding what to keep and store and what to give away and what to sell. We were able to borrow a truck and trailer to move things down to Kentucky. We will continue to pack up over the next two weeks and will spend our last Sunday with our church here in Mt. Carmel on June 2nd. After that we’ll be spending time with family before we head off to the field. It’s exciting getting geared up to go! But at the same time leaving dear friends is never an easy thing, not to mention the general stress of all that we have to do! We will definitely miss our life here in Mt. Carmel. Please keep us and our church family in your prayers as we transition out of our work here. 

Packing up! We're going to miss our awesome apartment!

Packing up! We’re going to miss our awesome apartment!

While we were in Kentucky, Michelle went to a bridal shower for a life long friend Jennifer Hines that Michelle’s mom hosted. Jennifer’s family were missionaries in Ukraine while Michelle’s family were in Russia. Many of those at the shower are very dear friends. The girls had a fun time together! 

Michelle with her 2 sisters, Mom, Grandmother, niece, Marcia (far left) and Jennifer Hines (center).

Michelle with her 2 sisters, Mom, Grandmother, niece, Marcia (far left) and Jennifer Hines (center).

The next day (Saturday) we drove to Murray, KY to visit the University Church of Christ for their Missions Sunday. This was the first time that we were able to be back in Murray since we left 4 years ago. When we lived in Murray we worked alongside the University Church of Christ reaching out to the international students at MSU. On Saturday night we were able to go eat some great Thai food with a really neat couple that works with their campus ministry. It was great to spend time with them, talking about life, missions, and ministry!

Sunday morning was entirely centered around the mission works that University is a part of around the world. In Bible class they had a special presentation for their work in Indonesia to honor a missionary they supported there that recently passed away. During worship service five of the works they are involved with were briefly presented, one of which being us! The children there were even involved and did a flag presentation while singing, “This Little Light of Mine” and “Jesus Loves the Little Children”! It was neat Sunday to be a part of!  

The University kids singing during their flag presentation.

The University kids singing during their flag presentation.

Following services they had a missions luncheon where Gary gave a 10 minute presentation about the the work we’ll be doing in Thailand. There were two other presentation given as well. It was really neat to hear about all the different and amazing things happening in God’s Kingdom that University is a part of! Being with them again and seeing so many old friends that are passionate about Kingdom work was really encouraging. 

Gary teaching everyone how to "wai" (the Thai greeting) to start off his presentation.

Gary teaching everyone how to “wai” (the Thai greeting) to start off his presentation.

It's always a blessing to reconnect with old friends! The Bazzells (top left), the Claibornes (top right) and the Davis' (bottom left).

It’s always a blessing to reconnect with old friends! The Bazzells (top left), the Claibornes (top right) and the Davis’ (bottom left).

Click here to see more pictures from our weekend on our Facebook page.