Monthly Archives: August 2014

Mentoring ACU Interns & Discipleship

Much of our time over the past two months has been focused on mentoring four young women from Abilene Christian University. Shelly, Laura, Amy and Marina came to Thailand through ACU’s Worldwide Witness program. We originally thought that the ACU students would only be in Thailand for a few weeks to help with our English Camp and the Service Learning Project. We believe strongly in programs like AIM, Worldwide Witness, and similar programs from the other universities apart of our church of Christ heritage. And feel that there are few programs that do as well of a job equipping young people today. Knowing that one day we wanted to host interns and apprentice missionaries, we prayerfully accepted the responsibility and saw this as God way of saying the time to start is apparently now. Ten weeks later, with our summer together now over, we feel so blessed by the whole experience.

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“On to our next adventure!”

“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

-Matthew 28:19-20

The girls arrived in pairs on two different days. The first pair came the day that martial law was declared. The second pair came the day the military coup was declared! Welcome to Thailand girls! They really hit the ground running when they first arrived. Only two days after coming we headed off to Cha Am for our English Camp weekend. We were also joined by a team from the Aggies for Christ Student ministries. We spent a long weekend on the beach with about 30 students from the Suan Dusit University’s Nursing faculty. The English camp was a great opportunity to have fun and build relationships with our students while at the same time giving them greater opportunity to practice their conversational English skills. After English camp we only had a few short days to spend in Bangkok where the girls could get settled in (a little) while we and the Soi 4 ministry team finished up final preparations for the Service Learning Project. Somewhere in the middle of that we made a border run to Cambodia and took the ACU team along with us to see the famous “Monkey Mountain”.

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Having fun at “monkey mountain”! Click on the image to see more pictures.

“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”

-1 Corinthians 11:1

After the Service Learning Project we were able to spend more time with the students showing them various ministries in Bangkok that we know of and are a part of. We wanted to expose them to different types of ministries, so that they could see the different ways they themselves could do ministry in the future. One of our major goals with our interns was to teach them about discipleship. Discipleship happens best living on mission in community together. Because of this we did a lot as a group to provide opportunity for us to grow while serving together. Our weekly outreaches were key times for such learning. Like teaching them about Bangkok’s urban refugee situation and taking them with us to visit some of our refugee friends from Pakistan in their homes. And rather than just talking about helping the forgotten and feeding the homeless, we took our interns alongside us to show simple acts of love to the homeless and beggars together. This is what discipleship is. Taking others along side you as you personally strive to follow the example of Christ.

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The girls loved spending time with this sweet Pakistani family!

“If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”

-Luke 9:23

Throughout the summer, once a week, we would have a team devotional with the girls where we went through the BASIC series by Francis Chan. This seven part series is a great discipleship tool that goes over the basics of what it means to be a disciple and how as a community of disciples we make up the church. We always loved these times with the team where we could get real with one another about where we are in our own personal walks with Christ. In these times we would ask the group how they’re doing. How is life? What’s been hard? How much are you missing home? It was really neat seeing the four of them, really the six of us, grow together over the 8-10 weeks that they were here.  

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We can hardly believe that our summer together has already come to an end! We had a long and busy summer but will always treasure our time hosting this ACU team. We’re so proud of them and all of the ways that they stretched themselves and allowed God to work through them here in Thailand. They were a blessing to many and to us most of all. We definitely believe that it was by the Spirit’s leading that the Worldwide Witness team was sent here. We continue to pray for them as they’re now returning to school in Abilene. We pray that their adventures continues as they live out the Good Life of Christ among their friends, classmates and community.

 

Summer Ministry in Bangkok

One of the ongoing ministries of Soi 4 that the ACU interns were a part of this summer was teaching English using the Bible. Most of the students came from Suan Dusit University, the school that we volunteer with and that was also a part of the Service Learning Project that we helped lead earlier in the summer. Before their first session, the four ACU girls were able to sit in on the studies that we do with our students to be able to see what it was like. Since we only offered the English studies for 3 weeks, the interns helped us write our own small curriculum that went through the full life of Christ. Each one of the interns had 2 to 3 students that they would study with. The ACU girls did a great job teaching English in these small groups. Not only making English fun and practical to learn, but they also did a great job sharing the story of Christ in a real and simple way. On the last day of their English studies we had the whole group over to our place for a pizza party to celebrate! While there, the students were presented with bilingual Bibles so that they can continue practicing their English and studying the Bible on their own.

The ACU girl's and their students with their new Bibles!

The ACU girl’s and their students with their new Bibles!

Our studies have continued to go well with our students Bee and Pen. Gary’s student Pen invited us and a large group from church to go visit a durian farm that she has connections with. So we went and made a day trip out of it! On our drive to the orchard, we stopped to visit an elderly shut in named Eei that is a member of the church. We spent time singing and encouraging her. We’re glad our students were able to be a part of this so they could see a little of what we do as a church. They both said that they really enjoyed that time. The day was a great time to deepening our relationship with our students by just going out and having fun together.

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Throughout the summer we’ve been able to get involved with a ministry in Bangkok that reaches out to women in one of Bangkok’s red light districts. We had several opportunities to lead groups to visit the ministry and tell them about the issues of sex-trafficking and prostitution here in Thailand. When going to visit this part of town we took small lunches and water with us to give to the street beggars that we would see as we made our way through the neighborhood. There are so many hurting and marginalized people living here in this city. We’re thankful for the time that we’ve been able to have learning more about the social issues that these overlooked people face on a day to day basis.

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One of the things that this ministry does is outreach to the bars and clubs in the red light district where girls dance. Michelle and the interns were able to be a part of the outreach a couple of times. When they go to visit the bars they offer to buy the girls a coke and to sit and talk with them. They try and just make a positive connection with the girls by showing them as much of Christ’s love as they can in their conversations. This time offers the girls a moment of refuge where they don’t have to worry about all their life stresses and pleasing others but can be free to be themselves and know that they’re loved for who they are. When going out to do outreaches at these bars the volunteers never share the name of the ministry they come from. If the girls seem interested to find another line of work, this ministry will let them know about a “job opportunity with a friend”. Girls are simply given a phone number with a name on it to call if they really want out. When they call the number they’re set up with an interview and hopefully later get integrated into one of the many job opportunities that are available. The times that Michelle and the ACU girls were a part of the outreach they were received really well and good connections were made. We hope to become more involved in this ministry in the future since it directly works with issues that are strong on our hearts.

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One of Bangkok’s many red light districts.