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.
At the close of this Book of Moses (Leviticus), God raises the standard of valuation to that of the “shekel of the sanctuary” (27:3, 25). When Paul was dealing with the problems of immorality and pride that existed in Corinth, he did not use the Law to correct the problem, but he raises the standard of our value to the “shekel of the sanctuary”, or in his words; “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God…you are not your own, for you were bought with a price” (1 Cor. 6:19-20). Peter points to the same valuation; “knowing that you were ransomed…with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19).
On what basis we put value on ourselves and others will determine how we conduct ourselves in private and with others!
“Walking and living by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16-26) becomes a higher and higher priority the more I realize the “price or valuation” God has put on me – His Son! All of this leads toward one end; that we see ourselves as God’s church, “the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In Him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (Eph. 2:21-22). To see ourselves in Christ is to understand the value God has placed on us!
What problems would this resolve with you, your marriage, family or church?
As we look ahead to the next event the Lord has put on our calendar to spread the gospel and build the church on a biblical foundation we are amazed at how God plans our path in this endeavor. So we share below the itinerary and prayer requests for the next trip from February 16 to March 18th.
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