Oct. 30th – Nov. 5th. While we ate breakfast each morning at the hotel, lunch was always served at the training center. We purposely kept the evenings open after Wednesday so we could spend the time talking over the last four weeks, praying together, and letting the Lord speak to us. It was Thursday evening when Tim and I were walking the streets in search of a place to eat dinner, we felt the Lord clearly saying that He wants to significantly increase our passion for the unreached people groups of the world (see Mt. 24:14, understanding that “nations” means “ethos or ethnic groups”). I am sure people on the street wondered what these two strangers were saying as we animatedly discussed such a strong conviction. This must be the central driving force along with God’s purpose and plan for His church being and doing all for His glory. While our aim must be that those we train so that God’s people capture the same vision by the Holy Spirit, could it also be that God would allow these two old men to facilitate reaching an unreached people group before our life here is ended? Our fervent prayer is that this would happen.
Tim showed the list of 52 unreached people groups in Myanmar on the screen and asked if any were seeking to reach these. To our surprise, five or six hands went up. Tim then asked what the names were and one brother shared that he had reached the Ake. At the break we spoke to him through Moses and discovered that he had started twelve years ago. At that time there were no believers and no churches. Now there are three churches. That leaves 51 unreached groups. We wanted to interview him later, but the opportunity slipped through our figures.
Our seriousness and determination in our ministry is never so stilted and boring that we can’t enjoy a Swenson’s Ice Cream when it is available. So after a fried chicken dinner, we headed up another street to the new building I had seen a few days before. This Swenson’s had only been open two weeks and the steps up to the door were still unfinished, but that didn’t hinder us from achieving our goal. Friday evening was Tim’s last night in Yangon, so we repeated the habit as a farewell to my brother. He took the same flight Saturday morning that I would take on Thursday of the following week. We ate breakfast (omelet, toast and orange juice) and then a taxi was hailed and he was gone. I will not see him again until we are both home in NC.
By this stage of the training, we are assigning lessons for each person to work through in the evenings so they can get a true flavor of what is ahead of them in doing all the lessons. We made a change this time, considering we had a couple of extra days with this group, and had them divide into six groups so that one group (instead of one person) could do the six parts of the Book of Acts and they would assign one leader to represent their answers to the whole group. This worked well. We often have to skip over Paul’s thirteen letters (Early, Middle, and Later) because of the extensive reading and writing. This time we assigned Galatians, 1st and 2nd Thessalonians to two groups; Ephesians and Colossians to two more groups; and Titus and 2nd Timothy to the last two groups. This was extremely beneficial as it gave them a much clearer understanding of why Paul wrote his letters in a certain order and how they are tools to address specific issues. Saturday was used to hear their findings and help fill in a few holes in their observations. To be at one of these events and see the Holy Spirit bring understanding and vision is something to experience.
As we concluded Saturday, I assigned the first lessons on the Roles in the Family for Monday morning. Even though I planned to use Sunday as a down day to rest, Mang asked me to preach. When I told him that I really wanted to rest, his face gave me a pleading look that I couldn’t turn down. Since my talk with the group in Michael’s office, the Lord had added some insights that thrilled my heart and pushed me to share the message again, but with added insight. It was evident that God was really working in most hearts. A couple who are close friends with Mang said they came back Sunday morning because of how the teaching had really touched them. I looked forward to being with them Monday morning when I would share the message from Lesson 33, “Your Life in Christ”.
After a traditional Burmese lunch, I went back to hotel for some rest. I had one last chance to go to Scot’s Market and pick up some gifts that I usually get for Rosemary and others. After a good sleep for about an hour, I got a taxi to the market. It did not take me long to find what I wanted. The shop owner recognized me immediately and gave me a very good deal. From the market I walked to the Shangri La Hotel where I could get very strong internet with a cup of coffee (a Tim Bunn trick!). I had been there about an hour when I felt the Burmese lunch was working some serious damage. After using their restroom, I quickly got a taxi back to the Bliss Hotel where diarrhea set in for the next day and a half. I phoned Mang Monday morning after a very rough night and told him what was happening. My worry was not that I couldn’t teach, because Moses knew the material well and didn’t need me to carry on. My worry was how soon would this condition turn around? During the night I dug into the pharmacy that Rosemary always sends with me and found the anti-diarrhea medication and began the routine. Between Mang, Ciin and the hotel, many provided lemon tea and whatever they thought was helpful. By Tuesday morning, I was getting a little worried how long this was going to last. Rosemary contacted our PA and got instructions which I followed to a “T” and the condition began turning for the better. Tuesday afternoon I walked to the training center just to be with them for a couple hours. They all came around me and prayed. There was a feeling of oneness and deep concern on their part which was very touching.
Wednesday morning was truly a new day. The prayers of God’s people were being answer. The antibiotics, change in diet, and a good sleep certainly worked together for my good. When I arrived at the training center, they were already in worship and prayer; preparing themselves for the day. There were four more lessons that they had not shared yet, so I gave them that opportunity.
Since Tim and I emphasized the unreached people groups of Myanmar (51), we kept this before them throughout the training. I asked if someone would come up to the white board and draw out the six chapters of the manual. No one wanted to venture such a task until a pastor who had been very studious and good in his responses offered. It was amazing to watch him, without notes or book, go through each chapter, even adding some things we do not normally expect. We applauded his success. As I looked at the board and reflected back to what happened in Jerusalem as the Holy Spirit filled believers then and soon forced them out into unreached parts of the world, I felt inspired to write just above Jerusalem, Yangon. I then asked the group to come up one-by-one and write the name of an unreached people group or an area that the Lord placed on their heart. One sister almost jumped out of her chair as she responded and came to the board to write a name down. This was followed one-by-one as they came forward until everyone had written on the board a people group or area they would reach. We then gathered closely around the board and had an extended time in prayer asking God to seal these commitments on our hearts and then put our feet in motion to accomplish His purpose. I felt this was a very significant moment for Myanmar and these people.
I gave a closing message and instructions on finishing the lessons in preparation for meeting again and doing the projects. Brother Mang felt that we should end the time in prayer again and then asked me to go to each person and pray for them individually. In my mind, I felt a little overwhelmed considering the size of the group, but as I obeyed, the Lord gave me specific things to pray for with the limited knowledge I had of each one. This was followed by them praying for me – a very moving experience! The goodbyes were endless and many were with tears. I truly felt that God had done a work in them that was going to last and have a major impact on Myanmar and bring great eternal glory to God. Mang and Ciin came to me over and over saying that they had never experienced anything like it before. Now I ask you who have read all this to the end; will you commit to praying for these people? Will you hold them up with us so that God will do a mighty work in Myanmar for His glory and fulfill the promise in Rev. 5:9-10 that there will be those out of every tribe and language and people and nation who sing a new song of praise to our Lord Jesus?
Though they begged me to stay for dinner, I was physically spent and needed to pack for my flight in the morning to Bangkok. Mang asked what time I was leaving for the airport. I said 8 a.m. Packing went well and I had a good sleep which was facilitated by the sound of rain that continued for over a day and a half. I was downstairs by 7:15 for my standard egg on toast and orange juice. By 7:40, Mang, Ciin, and Joe Lim arrived to see me off. It seemed like the whole hotel staff escorted me out to the taxi for their final goodbyes. I know when I am loved and appreciated, not for what I am or do for others, but for what God has done in them that will never be removed by distance or time in this world. After forging through flooded streets to the airport, I was in the final lift-off from this country of Myanmar. Two days of rest in Bangkok and I’m on my way home! May the Lord be forever praised for His abounding love and faithfulness to us who are so unworthy of such a privilege!
“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I have received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” Acts 20:24
Oct. 24, 2014: The next few days will be in summary with much less detail. The flight to Yangon was very good and time passed quickly as I got back into reading a book by Reg Reimer entitled “Vietnam’s Christians”. A weird thing happened at RGN as I was expecting Brother Mang or a young man to meet me at the airport since I had never stayed at the Bliss Hotel. After waiting a half hour, exchanging some money and being asked many times by one taxi drive in particular to take me where I wanted to go, I asked the taxi driver to call Mang’s cell number. We discovered it was no longer in service. After praying and asking the Lord he would be there, I gave another brother’s number and he answered. He gave the driver the location of the hotel and how much he should charge me (important if they think you are new to the country), I was off to another place for my two weeks temporary home.
Bliss Hotel indeed had my name and put me in a room on the third floor at the front overlooking the street. One of the first things I always do in a new location is check-out their Wi-Fi so I can get/send email and talk to Rosemary on Skype. It was so bad I went downstairs and told them how important this was to me that I get connected. Thankfully, they had the same room on the second floor and it was better; but only a little better. At least I could get email. Unfortunately, this proved to be a struggle for both Tim (after he arrived) and myself for the rest of our stay. While this is a modern crutch, it is vital to stay in touch with home as much as possible for many reasons.
Worried that Mang had gone to the airport and not found me, I walked four short blocks to their place on the top floor (eighth) of a corner business and residence building overlooking the Yangon River, to let them know I had arrived. It was a thrill to see them again. We discovered that the young man they sent to the airport arrived too early and left before I got to the lobby. We enjoyed dinner together with Mang, Ciin and Andrew from Australia who was there to teach the following week on Cell Church Ministry during the day, and Tim and I would train using God’s Plan for His Church in the evening. The schedule was not completely clear, but I usually figure the details as we go along.
After dinner, I walked back to the hotel to settle in for the night. Friday was largely a day of rest except that Michael wanted to have lunch with me. He arrived around 12:30 p.m. with a brother (Sun) and we walked up the street to a Mini-Mart which had a pastry shop on the third floor. Getting to know Sun’s story was fascinating. He is a truck driver (big rig) and for many years lived as an alcoholic which brought trouble to his marriage and family. After complaining to a friend about how bad things were, his friend gave him a Bible. Not knowing where to begin reading, he opened to the book of Proverbs and was drawn to the wisdom he had never heard of that answered so many of the problems he faced. After a time, he went back to his friend and asked where this wisdom came from? This was the open door of his heart that received the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ that delivered him from Buddhism and drinking. Because his wife is very ill, he has left his job and is now caring for her full time. What a marvelous story of grace! We cannot limit God and the ways He will use to bring a soul out of darkness into His light.
Saturday was the 25th Anniversary Celebration of God’s Trio Partners at the training center, beginning at 10 a.m. Arriving about 9:45, I found myself among two hundred or more and began to see a couple familiar faces, including Andrew from Melbourne, Australia, the three from England, and Moses who Tim and I trained in Chiang Mai. Trying to take a back seat didn’t work. So, along with others, we were asked to sit in the front with Mang and Ciin. Many church planters and pastors from all over Myanmar were there who had been trained by them over the years. The next three plus hours were filled with worship, testimonies, slide shows and singing by different ethnic groups. After the service there was a meal provided for all who had come. It was quite an event.
Mang asked me to attend their service the next day (Sunday) and serve Communion. This is usually a risky thing to do because there are so many denominational and cultural traditions and specific ways of doing this, but knowing Mang, I felt at home to help as the Lord led. They placed Communion in the middle of the service after worship and many testimonies, but before the sermon which was being given by Andrew. I took the liberty to explain how and why Jesus used the Passover as a transition element to introduce the Lord’s Supper and why it now holds such importance for the church. Many came up to me after to express appreciation for the way I had done this and what greater meaning it gave them every time it would be celebrated in the future until the Lord comes.
Tim was arriving from Chiang Mai in the afternoon, so I double checked with Mang to be sure that if someone was going to meet him, they had the correct time of arrival, and if necessary, I would go as well. Oh how I wanted to see him again. I was assured that Joe Lim would be the one to fetch Tim and bring him to the hotel. About 3:30 p.m., he arrived at the Bliss Hotel and we both had a moment of blissJ Now we were up to our old habits of walking the town to find a place for food and, yes, ice cream! Finding places to eat was no problem. Good ice cream took a back seat for one day.
Oct. 27-29. Since Andrew was continuing his teaching on the “Cell Church” until noon on Thursday, Mang asked Tim and me to take two hours in the evening (Monday through Wednesday) to begin the introduction of God’s Plan for His Church. This gave Tim and me the next three days to get into mischief during the day! Don’t ask for details!!
Michael had asked me through email and on Friday if I would speak to a group of church planters and pastors who gather regularly at his office for prayer and encouragement. When I made this arrangement with Michael, I did not tell him that Tim might be with us, so it was a joyous moment when He came around 10:30 a.m. with Sun and we headed to his office which is about ten minutes away. It was only a couple blocks away from our hotel that I noticed a new building that was near completion which had on the first floor a Swenson’s Ice Cream and it appeared open. I tucked that in my memory for later reference.
We arrived at Michael’s and were greeted by his wife Gulu. It was good to see her and Dal No who was the interpreter for Randy and me the last time we were here. Sitting at a long row of narrow tables were about fifteen men and women who were giving testimonies of what God was doing in their ministries and asking for specific prayer. About 11:30, Michael asked me to speak a word of encouragement to them before lunch was served. The Lord put on my heart to trace through Scripture those who had learned to live in a close relationship to God so they could hear Him speak to them. Beginning with Enoch, Noah and Moses, and then ending with those in the seven churches of Revelation 2 and3 who have an ear to hear what the Spirit says to the church. Michael then asked Tim if he wanted to say anything. He concluded our time with how the importance of this truth affects our marriage, family, the church, and our testimony to the world. We then enjoyed a time of fellowship over lunch, learning what the Lord is doing with some of those present. I have not mentioned it each time it comes, but this is the rainy season and it is common once a day to have a heavy downpour. I was beginning to wonder if we would even be able to get into the car parked outside. It is also common that these storms do not last long and within a half hour it had almost stopped. Michael took us back to the hotel where we rested and prepared for the evening session.
Since Tim was leaving Saturday morning for Phnom Penh, Cambodia, I deferred to him teaching as much as possible and prayed that this would set the stage for the ten days ahead. There is one thing in our favor and that is our dear Brother Mang who is truly like-minded with us in GPHC. Tim took extra time in Chapter One hoping to lay a firm foundation in the sixty or so present. On Tuesday, Tim and I decided to sit in on the Cell Church training just to see what it was like and how close the teaching was to what we were presenting. We both agreed that it was supportive of an Acts model and did not detract from our training. For this we are thankful!
Please Pray: (October 3 – November 10)
1) Teaching Church Leaders using the Burmese God’s Plan for His Church in Yangon – October 27- November 7
2) Launch the new Karen God’s Plan for His Church in Maw Day Musekee – October 17-19
3) Teaching Bethany College students God’s Plan for His Church in Chiang ai - October 13-24
4) Synergy Meeting with Vietnamese Leaders in Bangkok - October 6-10
5) Strategic Planning for the Khmer God’s Plan for His Church in training Cambodian Leaders – November 1-3
6) Launch the new Vietnamese God’s Plan for His Church in Saigon – October 13 – 24
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving, pray also for us, (Tim and Sherman):
1) That God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ Col 4:2-3
2) That words may be given to us in opening our mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel Eph 6:19
3) That the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored 2 Thess 3:1 (ESV)
4) That we may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding Col 1:9
5) That we be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might Col 1:11
During this season in the USA we celebrate Thanksgiving with an amazing spread of food and special time with family and close friends. We want to take this opportunity to especially thank you for standing with us in so many ways. The best way we can do this is by giving you some ‘clips’ of events that have taken place recently and exciting opportunities ahead of us:
Brother Henry met in Mabonga with “more than 100 people eager for the Word of God”. He taught from God’s Plan for His Church which brought transformation in the church. “Church chairmen” resigned and became biblical “deacons and deaconesses”. After preaching from Luke 15:11 “about the lost son, 57 people believed in the Lord Jesus”. 13 were set free from demonic oppression, and 3 were healed from different diseases. “We really felt the presence of God and the Holy Spirit moved mightily.” There was further teaching for GPHC on New Testament principles of order in the church.
Persons are asking how to plant churches like Paul did. Henry is being used by the Lord to teach these principles from Scripture.
We have helped Henry purchase two new tires for his vehicle because of the amount of travel he is doing and since the tires he has now are very smooth. There are 22 other repairs that need to be done, so if the Lord moves you to help, please let us know. Remember that Henry has also launched a ministry to the Pygmies which is already bearing fruit.
The Burmese translation of GPHC is complete and in the proof-reading stage. Pray for printing to take place soon in view of Tim’s visit in January.
GPHC training will take place at the Siloam Bible Institute, January 13 to 17, 2014. Pray for students to have completed the lessons in preparation for a week of review and writing their projects and strategy.
The GPHC Karen translation is nearly finished. It will need type-setting and proofing before it can be printed. The opportunities with the Karen in Thailand and Myanmar are many. Please pray for the completion of this translation and for God to open effective doors to train and promote a focus on the unreached of these countries.
The translation work in Urdu is complete and we have sent partial funds for printing. Our Brother in Christ has a vision to train key men who will impact this country and beyond. Pray that this amazing opportunity will result in a spiritual awakening throughout this part of the world.
Tim has had amazing opportunities to attend the Campus Crusade Conference in October and present GPHS which received wide acceptance by many, including a representative from Global Alliance for Church Multiplication. He also will attend the Finishing the Task Conference in CA the first week in December. The purpose of this conference is to identify current unreached people groups and to connect churches, missions and missionaries to them. Paul’s “ambition was to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named” (Ro. 15:20) Pray for God to use these occasions as divine appointments for spreading biblical principles for accelerating God’s work among the unreached of the world.
Through a chain of contacts from the US and England, a brother in Liberia heard about our ministry and asked for our material. We sent two copies of GPHC along with instruction on working through the lessons. Here is a brief quote from his last email: “Our churches and some of our sister churches in Liberia are facing serious problems that this training manual gave an answer to. Therefore, I decided not to delay but to start studying the materials and to organize some men who are willing and also can be used to train others, as we see in 2 Timothy 2:1-2." Pray for God to use this brother in reestablishing the church in Liberia on a biblical foundation in preparation for God’s expansion throughout Africa.
Changes: We are in the process of upgrading the Seminary Course to be used anywhere in the world. We are convinced the time is right for this to be used in equipping students before they launch out into the Lord’s work. Along with this, we have decided to change our ministry name to NEW FOUNDATIONS, dba Go and Reconcile
We believe this new name more accurately represents our goal; to follow Paul’s example in Romans 15:20.
Ministries: We have so many reasons to thank you for standing with us in prayer and support for God’s work through unworthy and unlikely servants. We are humbled by His grace, yet inspired by the continual renewal of the Holy Spirit. It is a joy to also report that Sherman’s health is much better--thank you so much for the prayers, emails, cards, phone calls and visits. There is another three weeks of physical therapy, but he is beginning to get back into the work.
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Cor. 13:14).
This week (July 29th to August 3) there is a conference in Yangon, Myanmar. The initial report for the first two days is that there are "about 50 - 60 hungry souls" at the meeting and we are seeing "a real work of the Spirit".
These two things will always go together; hunger for God's Word and a work of the Spirit. Notice the example in the Book of Acts:
Acts 10:33, "Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord." There was a readiness to hear what God would say, which we receive primarily through His Word. This is followed a few verses later with Luke's record; "While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word" (verse 44).
If you want to see God's Spirit work in our day, promote a hunger for His Word, not yourself.
In all things, "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30).
As Tim prepares for his next trip to Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand, we want to give you a few details so you can be praying for each event. We feel very dependent on the Lord that He would go before us and provide a "wide open door for effective work" (1 Cor. 16:9).
July 24th - Leave Raleigh for Yangon, Myanmar (via Bangkok, Thailand). Pray for safe travel and rest in preparation for the conference in Yangon.
July 29th to Aug. 2nd - Through a Chin Brother originally from Myanmar (now living in Australia), there will be a week long conference teaching the manual, God's Plan for His Church. Those attending will be given GPHC on the 15th of July so they can prepare for the training. Please pray they will complete the preparation and that those called to be church planters and apostles like Paul will follow Paul as he followed Christ. This instruction and application helps to prepare "unstoppable church planters" in any culture, anytime, and under any circumstances.
August 3rd to August 17 - Training with leaders from Africa. Part of their learning process will take place as they help Tim do training with the Karen and Lahu people groups of Thailand (see below). Pray for the work and power of the Holy Spirit in these leaders.
August 18th to September 28th - Specific dates have not been set, but there will be instruction of ten Thai Karen evangelists who will work among many Karen people who have been displaced from Burma and are living in refugee camps. Our desire is that they will be equipped to eventually reach their own people in Myanmar and the other 55 unreached people groups.
In addition, there will be training with the Lahu people of Thailand with a goal that they evangelize the 82 unreached people groups. Please pray for God to give vision through His method they learned from Scripture.
We are providing 30 GPHC manuals to a Chinese Missions Training Center in Chiang Mai in preparation for instruction in May of next year. Please pray that these students will absorb the Scriptures and principles so they can be effective in ministry in China.
Tim returns by October 1st.
Here is an interesting comparison between Myanmar and Thailand:
Myanmar: Total People Groups = 155 Unreached = 55 Unengaged = 13
Thailand: Total people Groups = 112 Unreached = 82 Unengaged = 41
It is critical that we plant a biblical mindset in leaders so the task of reaching the unreached people groups with the gospel happens rapidly. We hope, Lord willing and through the work of the Holy Spirit, to challenge from the Word of God, that they consider reaching these unreached people groups, especially since the Karen and Lahu are primarily reached people groups, similar to churches in the US. Now that is not to say that we do not work with the existing church to strengthen through renewal, but we see from Acts that it was not either/or but both, working within the traditional establishment while sending and going to those who had never heard. But, it does seem the apostles number one focus in life and teaching was giving priority to those who had NEVER heard. Now I know not everyone is called to "go", but they are called to be "set apart" and be in one accord with the Holy Spirit in the mandate and commission given to His Church.
The advantage of our training center in Chiang Mai is that these leaders learn in a setting free from distractions and where fellowship strengthens their learning. It has proven cost effective and the effectiveness of this one-on-one mentoring, as Paul did with Timothy and others, is undeniable. Please pray for God's continual direction as we use this facility.
We continually thank the Lord for "your partnership in the Gospel" (Phil. 1:5) through faithful praying and support. Our only desire is "that we should go and bear fruit and that our fruit should abide (remain) for the Father's glory! (John 15:8, 16).
Here is the testimony of someone from Myanmar who recently went through God’s Plan for His Church training. “By taking GPHC training in Chiang Mai, I learned your heart for His kingdom, your teaching style one by one, your desire for the family of Christian leaders, your perspective on the life of Paul and the methods of Paul for imparting to present day church planters.”
Tim and I are home and very thankful to see our wives and families. Picking up from our last letter, on May 14, we spent four days in Phnom Penh, Cambodia training a church planter among the Khmer people. He is unique as he seeks to following Paul's example of working to provide for his own needs. To accomplish this, several helped purchase a Tuk Tuk which he will use for income and transportation. His vision is to train other "Timothy's" with GPHC and help them start a business that will provide their income. He clearly has a heart for living and duplicating the Early Church model.
Tim and I left on the 19th; Tim to Laos to deliver Bibles which had been provided by Wake Christian Academy, Raleigh, NC and others here at home. I proceeded to Chiang Mai to start training a pastor from Pakistan. Tim arrived a few days later and we focused on one-on-one training him and then two other men from Myanmar for the next three weeks using God's Plan for His Church manual. We are convinced of the effectiveness of this method! The personal interaction, valuable discussion and fellowship over how the biblical principles work out in each culture brought inspiration and a fresh appreciation of Scripture in their setting. With a few, time was taken to complete the "pre-assigned" work, but these brothers were diligent and hard-working so that each one completed the final project, developing their own strategy for ministry in their setting with the principles they learned. These men represent the Karen, Chin, Katchin, Burmese, and Naga people groups of Myanmar and the Karen in Thailand. Translation work is already in progress for these languages.
Let me summarize how the Lord has led us to this point in our ministry. Having taught the manual in conferences for many years and seen little multiplication from this venue, we felt that Paul's method of mentoring Timothy was more effective and would multiply much faster. After much prayer and searching for about a year, Tim found a Christian couple in Chiang Mai who would rent us a four bedroom house with a kitchen and sitting area for a very reasonable price.
Paul said in I Corinthians 16:8 that he would “stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door for effective work has opened for me.” God has opened many doors for us, but like Paul, we desired to enter this “effective” opened door. It allows us to train one-on-one, face-to-face, where persons are away from the responsibilities of ministry, culture and family in a quite neighborhood, yet within walking distance of village stores for food and necessities. The owners are convinced this is the purpose God has for this place and are fully behind us.
While we were there, God opened another door through the owners. Here is a comment from them: "A new teaching team from the United States viz., Pastors Tim Bunn and Sherman Driver of Go-Reconcile, will train our evangelists in August; and our regular mentor Rev. Dr. Tan Wai Choon in November." This training will be with the Lahu people group in Thailand.
We praise the Lord as we share this with you. Please continue to pray for us that we remain sensitive to the Holy Spirit for His "effective work", humble in spirit, and physically able to meet the demands. Also pray that God will raise up Timothy's who God will call to this work. Tim will be returning to Burma/Myanmar at the end of July for a conference in Yangon. From there, he will return to Chiang Mai, Thailand to train leaders from Africa and the Thailand Karen and Lahu. Pray that each of these open doors will turn out to be God's "effective work" for His glory!
One of the most fruitful meetings we have ever experienced took place in Turkey a couple of years ago with key leaders from the Middle East, Egypt, Morocco and Algeria. I believe a couple of factors were in play here which greatly enhanced the results. One was isolating the leaders from their busyness, cell phones and ministries. Secondly, was their diligent pre-meeting work in the manual in preparation for the meeting, therefore we are going to try the same method in Asia and see what happens. Also, there are several other benefits: it costs less for the indigenous leaders to travel to a neutral location and for us to travel to a location that is easily accessible and many times less dangerous. It sounds like a win win situation, but we will wait and see. Actually, there is another aspect of this new training. We are training one or two key leaders instead of holding a conference. Many times, we train leaders but the “key” leader is never really on board with the teaching which sometimes can create problems. By training the key leader one on one, he will then be able to go back and do a conference on his own hopefully without our presence, which is also a cost saving factor. We would appreciate your prayers for discernment and wisdom, but most of all, that we be filled with the Spirit and focused on our Head, the Lord Jesus Christ.
It will also be our joy to deliver approximately 2,500 Bible to believers in Laos, a country where the Word of God is only in the hands of a few. Also, through the gifts of many, 1,000 Bibles are being given to the Karen Refugee Camp that burned down on the border between Thailand and Myanmar. Please rejoice with us that God has provided these and pray that they will arrive safely without incident.
For a long time we have encouraged ministers of the gospel to be self-sustaining so they do not need outside support. We have the joy of helping a brother in Christ purchase a Tuk Tuk so he can provide for himself and use the profit to help others do the same. Following this model of Paul will accelerate the spread of the gospel and give a living proof of its life changing message. Please pray that this brother will become a model to many in his country and beyond.
To God be the Glory!
ITINERARY May 5 – 12 Key Karen Leader from Thailand: Will work through the manual, God’s Plan for His Church, completing the projects and developing a church renewal and church planting strategy for Karen Baptist of Thailand. Training will be held in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
May 12 – 19 Key Leader from Cambodia: Will work through the manual, God’s Plan for His Church, completing the projects and developing a church renewal and church planting strategy for the Khmer of Cambodia and purchase Tuk-Tuk to help key leaders become self-sustaining. Training will be held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
May 19 -21 Distributing Bibles in Vientiane, Laos
May 19 – 26 Key leader from Pakistan: Will work through the manual, God’s Plan for His Church, completing the projects and developing a church renewal and church planting strategy for Pakistan. Training will be held in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
May 19 – 26 Distributing Bibles and encouragement to the Karen refugee camp on the Burma/Thailand border which was burned to the ground.
May 26 – June 2 Key Burmese and Karen Leader from Burma: Will work through the manual, God’s Plan for His Church, completing the projects and developing a church renewal and church planting strategy. Training will be held in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
June 2 – June 8 Key Chin Leader from Burma: Will work through the manual, God’s Plan for His Church, completing the projects and developing a church renewal and church planting strategy. Training will be held in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
We bring you a very short newsletter with exciting news and also prayer requests regarding things that are unfolding right now. Before I give you the details, let me thank you for your faithfulness in praying for us. We see the Lord's hand directing us in ways we never imagined. Here is a brief summary:
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