The phone rang. It was Justin in Mae Sod, near the Burma border. “Hi Julie, would you come and teach about the Holy Spirit at our conference?" I imagined talking in a room of about twenty five leaders. "Yes!, I would love to!" But when I got there, I found out they were expecting a much larger crowd. During preparation, I had a struggle on just how to present it. The Lord spoke the word "testimony". I knew I should share personal experiences with God. There were Thai people in attendance as well as many from various hill tribes. Many stood to receive prayer expressing a desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit. I count it a great privilege to be able to minister and pray for hungry people.
We stayed on an extra day and joined Justin's team, going out to a brand new village with the Gospel. After sharing several stories and testimonies, one young man was baptized but the rest of the villagers said they wanted to wait to hear more before they decided to follow Jesus. Looks like the door is still open to keep returning. Justin still has a desire to keep going into Burma but sees there are so many unreached Burmese villages right inside Thailand's borders. The hardest part of church planting is the initial stages. It is difficult for Buddhists to repent and believe since they have never heard about Jesus before. We prayed for many sick people so please agree with us that they will be healed as a sign to them that Jesus is real.
From Bill: I was able to go on a second trip to Myanmar with Justin Lovan. He is a missionary with Global Catalytic Network and is working to start a micro church movement among the Northern Shan. We went looking for persons of peace who are open to Jesus.
Possibly, the first one we met was our taxi driver, Loong Be. He is Shan and when we told him we wanted to know about their culture, he was very eager to help us. He shared a lot of insights with us and introduced us to the head man in one village. He offered to take us to other villages when we return. The Shan are very careful not to offend the spirits over the land. Loong Be was careful to honk his horn in respect to all the shrines we passed. He asked if we believe in magic potions and such things. Justin shared the story of Jesus freeing the man with the legion of evil spirits with him and that when we have Jesus, we don't have to fear spirits anymore. Justin said,
"Jesus went across the lake to help one man. Perhaps God sent us all the way to Hsipaw just for you.”
We left a picture Bible with him and plan to use his taxi next time we go.
The second possible person of peace we met was Sai Zaw Tun. He is the head school teacher in the main village we visited. He spoke some English and showed us his school. The village had just started it a few months prior to our visit. The building was a simple bamboo structure with a tin roof and dirt floor. There were 18 students. That night, we went and bought some things for the school and the next day we gave each of the children a bag of school supplies and other treats and gave the teachers some first aid and recreational supplies. Sai Saw Tun said, "I will never forget your kindness." We hope we can do more for this school when we return.
In Khon Kaen, our leaders have been faithful to take the gospel to new places and a new village has invited us to have a regular church meeting there at their house. The father and mother of the household have had dreams from God and have both been healed. They were ready to receive baptism and communion last week and they prepared a nice place for us to worship on the outskirts of the village. Please pray for these new villages and new believers.
Thank you for all your loving support and prayers!