Joining God in His Great Work of Reaching and Discipling Thai People – Oct 03, 2017
As you hear me say quite often, I genuinely love Thai people and especially Thai young people. Yes, I love Thai children and older Thai people as well but I am wired to connect with Thai young people, both high schoolers and university students. God has allowed me and our family to be a part of His work of seeing hundreds of young Thai people give their hearts to Jesus and most of them are truly first generation followers of Jesus, meaning they are the first or second person in their entire family to choose to follow Jesus as their Savior and Lord. Let me tell you a little about what has been going on.
“Love Seeds Youth Camp-Sept 1-3, 2017”
As I write this update, I am reflecting on the leadership development of our university students and our Thai Staff. They organized and basically ran an awesome youth camp a couple of weeks ago we called “Love Seeds 2” as a part of our ministry discipleship and outreach of Baan Athitaan Church.
Our Thai staff and our Thai church family at Baan Athitaan Church reflect the reality that God almighty is at work in amazing ways drawing people to Himself from some of the least reached people groups on the face of the planet. Our church represents over 23 different people groups, some of which are the some of the least reached in the entire world today. Our church also has several “missionary” families that are committed to reaching the Thai people as well.
We are thankful to God to be able to serve and provide a church home to every person in our community. We are also thankful for the opportunity to serve as a church home for several Christian children’s homes that were a part of this awesome Youth Camp. We are thankful for the opportunity the leadership at these children’s homes gives us as a church family to pour into and to disciple these young people. A special thank you to CFPM, Baan Eden, Happy Home, and Baan Zion for letting us be a part of your Spiritual life and family. Please pray for all who attended our youth camp as we taught them the importance of “Being Brave and Courageous” to live out their lives for Jesus and to be the salt and light of Jesus when they are with family, with friends, with neighbors, and at school. Here is a link to a short video clip from the camp.
Facilitating a Possible New Church Plant and Prayer for Healing from Truck Accident on August 26, 2017.
We believe that God has put it in on our hearts to begin plowing the ground for the beginnings of a new church plant in the province of Phayao which is just South of Chiang Rai. It is a province that does not have even one “Baptist” church in the whole province of over 500,000 people yet it has a very rapidly growing university student population at the University of Phayao. This year there are a few of the young ladies from our church that are a part of Baan Eden that have recently started their freshman year there so several of our Thai Staff went down to the University of Phayao to visit and follow up with these young ladies Saturday Aug 26th. As they were headed back to Chiang Rai in the middle of the afternoon, the truck left the road and went into the median and missed hitting a couple of trees and came to an abrupt stop after hitting the embankment.
Boom, who was driving at the time, walked away with no injuries but pretty shaken up. Pii Phet, who was sitting in the front as well, was pretty shaken up and was in the hospital for several days and received a fractured neck but is now recovering well. Nong Bee, who recently came on staff got the biggest brunt of the accident and actually received a fractured neck and several cuts although she has been out of the hospital over a week, she was still wearing a neck brace up until last week and needs your prayers for healing. Please join us in praying for God’s continued healing for these precious partners of ours as well as our vehicle situation. The truck is now at the garage and they are evaluating how much the cost of repairs will be. Here is what our truck looks like.
“Celebrating Land Provision” -
Please bear with me and let me “tell the story” especially for those of you who are new to our work and have not heard about our vision for the days ahead. I am “wordy” but I like to paint the picture with words.
As we have shared many times before, we are seeing God’s hand at work in the heart of South East Asia changing peoples’ lives like never before. God is giving us great access through our English language platform to some of the least reached peoples in all of Asia and your donations and partnership with us are truly making an impact for the Kingdom of God.
Many of you have been praying about our land situation and we announced the good news that on June 20, 2016, we signed a contract to purchase a piece of land that we believe is right for us. We made a deposit on the land and the owner started the process of getting all the paperwork in order to transfer ownership to our foundation so that we can complete Phase I of our Beach Head Vision. Then we entered into a time of “WAITING.” Not just sitting by and waiting, but very actively following up and doing all that we were asked to do. Then on July 26, 2017, one year and one month and six days after we signed our contract to buy, I am pleased to announce that PHASE 1 of Project “Lighting up the Darkness” is officially complete.
God provided us with enough money through your generous donations to purchase an appropriate piece of land in very close proximity of the University of Rajabhat. I am very happy to announce that this land is now officially owned by NTIM’s sister foundation in Thailand called Channel of Blessing Foundation. YEA!!! GOD IS GOOD!!!! GOD IS GREAT!!! THERE IS NOONE LIKE OUR GOD!!!!! I am reminded of Psalm 86:10-12 that says, “For You are great and do wondrous deeds; You alone are God. Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name. I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And will glorify Your name forever.…" Psalm 86:10-12
I want to take a moment and thank all of you who gave to NTIM so that we could purchase this land without any debt. I also want to say thank you to all who prayed for us! Thank you. Thank you for joining God in what He is doing here in Northern Thailand. Phase 1 of this project is officially completed with the transfer of ownership of the land into the name of our foundation. Now begins Phase 2. Phase two is the planning for the building, raising support for the cost of construction, coordinating volunteers to come and help with the construction, and beginning construction. There are many things that will need to be decided soon.
What started out with a small group of 8 believers in the Johnson home implementing a “dream” and “vision” of an English language school as a platform to bless the community and to facilitate the planting of a strong purpose driven community church some 16 years ago, has blossomed into a growing, thriving, community focused church called Baan Athitaan Church. Our church today is made up of people from over 23 identifiable people groups and involved in outreach/evangelistic ministries related to teaching English through Grace Language School (GLS), reaching out to university students, caring for those affected by HIV/AIDS, caring and ministering to various children’s homes, reaching out to the community and neighboring countries, reaching out through a growing soccer ministry, serving as a first responder church to natural disasters, and most importantly, making disciples of all the peoples and nations God brings across our path.
NEED FOR MORE PERMANENCY AND LOWER OVERHEAD COSTS
We have been very intentional these past 16 years after we finished language school in Bangkok and moved up North to Chiang Rai to focus upon evangelism, discipleship and building the people of God into a family. This is our first time to purchase a piece of property and begin the process of putting up a physical structure of our own. We have spent the last 16 years investing our people and resources into making disciples, building a flock and creating various outreach platforms and ministries to impact this part of God’s world for Jesus. As I have shared with you before, we sense that it is God’s timing to now say to the darkness that ‘we are here to stay’ through the purchase of land and then by building a multi-purpose facility that will facilitate a greater ability to reach the nations for Jesus and that will strengthen the integrity of our outreach platforms.
All of you who know me well know that I am committed to doing what God wants to be done and will do it with all of my strength. I am very careful to be a good steward of the finances that you have entrusted to us to manage.
We are grateful to God for allowing us to join Him in making disciples here in Northern Thailand these last 18 years, but we are also at a time where we must not falter and must move toward advancing the kingdom of God in Thailand. We cannot do that without you (through your prayers, your donations, and your volunteer trips) and we cannot do that without the blessing and leadership of God. This work has never been about us but has always been about joining God in His desire to reach some of the least reached people groups in the world and make disciples from these people groups to advance the Kingdom of God on earth.
Please pray for us as we seek to follow the leadership of our Lord in moving this process toward what we believe is God’s Beachhead Vision for NTIM’s future through beginning of Phase 2 –the process of raising money for construction and planning volunteer construction teams coming to help us build. Our architect estimates that it will cost us somewhere in the neighborhood of $300,000 dollars to build our multi-purpose facility and we are now open to receiving donations for this last and final Phase II of the project.
KING OF THAILAND
I love Thailand and I have the greatest respect for the Great King Bhumibol whom I had the privilege of living here in Thailand during His reign and even had the opportunity to join Him on Father's Day at the King's Palace as he gave his speech to the nation shortly after coming to Thailand on December 5, 1999.
October 2017 is a month of “mourning,” here in Thailand. One year ago, on October 13, 2016, King Bhumibol - The Great, passed away. He had served the Thai people for more than 70 years. He was the longest reigning King in modern history and in my opinion one of the very few truly servant leaders of a nation.He humbly served the people of Thailand by striving to better the lives of ALL of the Thai people, no matter their perceived place in society.
He created countless ‘Royal’ projects, ranging from infrastructure improvements, to agricultural, to manufacturing, that have impacted every aspect of daily life in Thailand. His legacy and impact will live on in the lives and hearts of Thai people and in the lives and hearts of those of us who may have Western roots but who have come to deeply love and respect this great kingdom we call Thailand. At the end of October, Thailand will hold ceremonies for the funeral and cremation for King Bhumibol - The Great.
Please take this opportunity this month to pray for the Thai people as they say good bye to their beloved King and bring closure to a very important chapter in their lives. May their experience of living under such a humble and benevolent man provide an opportunity for them to come to know the ultimate King of Heaven, Jesus Christ.
Your Servants to the Nations in and around Northern Thailand,
Michael for the team
Financial support can be given through NTIM....
Northern Thailand Impact Ministry (NTIM), P.O. Box 26115, Birmingham, AL 35260 USA Main Website: www.gontim.org
NTIM is a non-profit 501(c)(3)charitable organization based in the USA. We are committed to connecting people in need with people who care and are focused in the heart of Southeast Asia where poverty is high, education is low, needs are great, darkness is everywhere, and the love and message of Jesus is needed to transform lives.
Reaching, Teaching, Discipling, Equipping, Training, and Serving People in God’s World through acts of love and compassionate is what NTIM and our ministry team is all about.