|Dear Friend, |
We just finished a seminar with our "extended family" in Thailand. It was an awesome time of gathering together around the Word, Worship and Fellowship. Graduates from our very first year in Thailand, all the way through to graduates from this years graduating class were in attendance along with our staff.
The Kids Came Home... It was a beautiful family gathering where our "spiritual kids and grand kids" came to visit. This was topped off this morning when I opened Face Book and saw a new born baby of one of our "grand kids" meaning I was looking at a "great grand kid!" So goes the humble realization that we have been around a while!
Tortured For Christ, But Still Preaching... Pairote was one of our graduates from back in 1987. He and his wife have enjoyed 25 years of phenomenal ministry and have become the voice to the Hmong people across China - Vietnam - Laos and Thailand. Mission studies have claimed that over a half million conversions among the Hmong in these nations are a result of this broadcast. Pairote brought some young Hmong students from Vietnam and Laos to our meeting. They looked so young, but we were stunned as they shared their testimonies about being arrested, jailed and beaten for preaching the Gospel. They shared how upon being released, that they rejoiced that they could preach again. I couldn't help but reflect on Acts 5:40-42 where the apostles were released after being beaten for preaching; it says ... "they departed from the presence of the counsel rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name." It was a sobering moment to witness true faith in the hearts of these young believers.
From Terrorist To Preacher... Noparat's story is one fitting for the Book of Acts. He was the personal assistant to a Temple Abbott and a self proclaimed "enemy of the church." He hated Christianity and plotted and planned how to antagonize the work of the church. Noparat plotted a disturbance at a church dedication ceremony in his district, but the only disturbance was to his life. He became deathly ill prior to the service and was rushed to the hospital where he spent several weeks in ICU hanging on for his life. He shared he had an experience where he visited hell when he was on his death bed. I am not sure of the "theology of his experience" but when he came off the death bed he ran into the arms of Jesus and surrendered his life. He and his wife then came to our bible school to get grounded in the Word. He was one of those "wild ones" that rocked the boat quite a bit. The guy was a clean slate as he didn't have a clue about Christianity or the bible.
Noparat Only Graduated Six Months Ago... Upon graduation, Noparat and his wife immediately went to Umphang District. They didn't know a soul there, but were told it was the largest county without a Christian Church. In six months he has pioneered a church and has government officials and military personal among his converts. His family didn't even have a place to stay, but last month someone gave them a house. The guy is still raw faith in action. No gas for his vehicle, he prays and someone fills his tank. He even shared how his truck tires were totally bald last week before coming to seminar...he prayed and someone bought him four new tires so he could get to our seminar. I Love It! "I remember the days," Cathy says.
Celebrating Our 30th Anniversary A Year Late...I am penning this letter a matter of hours before Cathy and I board a flight to Israel to celebrate our 30th year anniversary. Last year was our planned trip which was postponed after the tragedy of losing our daughter Amber Joy.
We have given all to preach the Gospel these last 31 years. We are guilty (especially me) of not making enough personal time to enjoy one another. The responsibilities of ministry have consumed us at times. That is why this trip is so special for my bride of 31 years and I. We are very thankful for this special opportunity to visit the land where Jesus walked.
We are thankful for you too!.. Our partnership has produced the likes of Pairote and Noparat and many others with awesome life transformations and successful ministries. Multitudes have come into the Kingdom of God through our working together. Thanks so much for your part in making it all happen.
God Bless You Richly,
Charlie and Cathy
PS: We got word last week that we have to vacate the properties where our Ban Den Children's Home is located by the end of this year. We need to raise some money quickly to get these children relocated onto the piece of land we have bought. It is a long story, but our permits, etc.. to get this project rolling have been delayed for over one year. We "Finally" have water, electric and a road to the new properties and have been given the green light to begin building. More details next month.