Thank you for your prayers as we traveled to Phayao Bible College. As we prepared to leave Chon Buri to travel north, we learned that Dr. Somsak's father had died, and that funeral arrangements were in process. We were a bit uncertain as to whether we should continue with plans, but plans were confirmed when Pradumri UMC took up a special offering to be delivered with their love to Dr. Somsak's family. At Phayao we saw the Body of Christ in action. Students were doing preparations to assist with funeral arrangements, special music, a power point presentation which shares the gospel, and assigning people to seat people or serve food. Funeral observations last for several days in Thailand. Christian funerals are no exception. The difference is that each night there is an evangelistic presentation of the Gospel -- sharing the message of salvation through Jesus. At Monday night's service Hebrews 9:27 was mentioned: "Everyone must die once, and after that be judged by God." This truth of God, like the Gospel, is new to many Thai people.
While at Phayao we met with 6 Laotian UM's who are training for pastoral work in Laos. One of the students came with his wife and two of their children. A third child, their youngest, had recently died. In the midst of their grief, they were being obedient to God by coming to study God's Word. Our hearts went out to this family. Please remember this family and the other students in your prayers. They have many challenges with their visas, and their funds are less than minimal.
One of the most humbling aspects of our trip was meeting Dr. Ursuala, the Dean of Education. Dr. Ursula can only be described as "a saint of saints!" At the age of 84, Dr. Ursula, a British physician - turned - educational missionary, continues to teach a full class load, serves as the school's treasurer, and basically "knows everything & everyone's situation" on campus. Dr. Ursula made it a point of making fried egg & PBJ sandwiches for us when she knew we were on the way to an evening funeral service, saying "You need to have sustainance!" Dr. Ursula was able to explain the class system at Phayao, guide us to check out their library (which is meager), and give us a lot of insight into the lives of students who are preparing for various ministries. Each of us left thinking, "That's the kind of Christian I want to be when I'm 84 (if I reach that age)!"
Well, enough for now. Be encouraged! God is at work in mighty ways -- and in small ways....