Today is not a normal newsletter update but more of a life story of how God is mightily at work changing lives and I just felt led from God to challenge each of you to learn to listen more intently to God’s invitations to where He invites you to join Him in other people’s lives.
I am convinced that God often invites us to join Him in His great work of redemption in the lives of others but for a number of reasons, including just being overly busy, most of us do not respond by joining God but just keep doing what we have always been doing. The result is that because we did not join God, we will not experience that absolute joy and happiness that comes into our hearts when we are obedient to God’s invitation and when we realize that God has allowed us the honor of using our life to count for Jesus for all eternity.
Most of us believe with our heads that “God has a wonderful plan for our lives,” but living out that wonderful plan for our life involves choices that we make about how we spend our time and whether we respond appropriately to God’s invitations to “interrupt” our normal schedule.
As Henry Blackaby once pointed out, “We don’t choose what we will do for God; He invites us to join Him where He wants to involve us.”
Anyone who knows me, knows that I am normally a very busy person. I enjoy doing what God has called me to do here in Northern Thailand and I want to do it with excellence and to the best of my ability so that it brings honor to Christ. I am involved in lots and lots of things and I really do have lots of things on my plate. However, I am also one of those followers of Jesus that understands that sometimes God wants to “interrupt” my schedule for something significant that He wants me to be involved in.
A little over a year ago, I sensed God inviting me to begin meeting every Saturday morning for about two hours with a Thai man who had lots of questions about God and about the Bible. Quite frankly some of the questions were very good questions that I tried to answer as best I could. It became very clear to me that God was moving in the heart of this man and so I asked all three of my previous Thai Staff that knew him to begin praying for him. This man’s wife had recently become a believer through the witness of several people in our church and the whole family, including their precious little boy, began coming to church quite regularly and I sensed God saying to my heart that God was at work in this family in a special way and wanted me to spend time with this family.
After I began meeting with this man and getting to know him better, it became very clear that this man was deeply connected with several of my previous Thai staff members (Gae, Lek, and Phet). He had seen the huge transformation in the lives of two of them who had become followers of Jesus over the last 15 or so years and this sparked a deep desire in His heart to know more about this person named Jesus who was transforming peoples’ lives at this place called Baan Athitaan Church. Sometimes we believers do not realize how powerful our lives impact others when they see how God has radically changed our lives.
What a great joy it was for me when the day finally came, where his heart was ready to become the first person in his entire family to be a follower of Jesus. God had been preparing this man’s heart and shortly after that, God gave me the opportunity to lead this young man into the arms of our Savior through faith in Jesus Christ. On September 24 of last year, God gave us the opportunity to baptize his wife. Here is the link to the day that the “wife” was baptized:
Since the baptisms, I have been enjoying spending about 2 hours every Saturday morning with this husband and wife while one of our awesome Staff, Pii Ja, normally spends time with their son teaching him the Bible and the ways of God as well.
We are pouring our lives into these new believers helping them to grow in the grace and knowledge of our great Savior. Please pray for this family. This husband and wife are the first persons in their entire families on both sides to become followers of Jesus. Without giving out too many personal details, they are also both Professors at Mae Fah Luang University here in Chiangrai and have great influence in the lives of thousands of university students from several countries in this area including the big “C” country.
Please pray for all of us here in the heart of South East Asia where God is moving in mighty ways. Pray that we would continue to join God in helping others come to faith in Jesus Christ and then to help them grow into becoming authentic followers of Jesus Christ by learning how love God more and more each day, learning how to love our neighbors more and more each day, and learning how to walk humbly with our God in this broken and confused world.
We are now going through an excellent discipleship book that encourages us to memorize and reflect upon God's Word. This week's memory verse is John 1:12 which says, "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name."
Here is another picture that I wanted to share with you that was taken last Saturday morning, May 20, as this new follower of Christ worked with me in preparation for translating my message to our Church the following day. He also did a great job of translating for the first time in his life.
I deeply thank God for the relationships God has given me and the opportunity God has given me to use this life to count for Him in one of the places where 99% of the people around me are living in darkness and in need of our Savior Jesus Christ.
The fields truly are ripe for the harvest and let me affirm that the workers are few, just as Jesus said. Jesus also turned to His disciples and He said, “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.”
God has allowed us to establish and incredible legal platform of Teaching English in Chiangrai that has been instrumental if seeing hundreds of Thai people surrender their hearts to the Lordship of Jesus. But let me be clear. We are in great need of teachers. Several teachers had to go home during the covid season and we are very short handed.
I interview new students almost every day who want to study English at our school. We have government schools who call us all the time wanting us to come and put on English camps. We are asking you to pray that God would send us 3 or 4 more Americans who would be willing to give God at least 1 or 2 years of their life and come to serve Him here in Northern Thailand with us and join God in His great work of redemption. The minimum requirement for an English teacher in our school is a Bachelor’s degree in any subject. Would you please take a moment and pray and ask for God to send some laborers for Grace Language School to Chiangrai, Thailand?
Who will Go? Please take 4 minutes and listen to this wonderful music video we call “Who Will Go?”
Today we wanted to update you on God’s work here and we wanted to thank you for your prayers and for your financial support as we together join God in His great work of Redemption of the Nations, especially here in the heart of lostness in Southeast Asia.
May God richly bless you. Thank you for your generosity and for sending us to Thailand. Any gift you would like to make to our normal, everyday ministry, no matter how small or how large, helps us reach and disciple people whom many are the first persons in their entire families to know Jesus Christ.
Until the People in and around Northern Thailand know Him,
Michael for the team
“For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake.” 2 Corinthians 4:5
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, unreached people groups (UPGs) are all around us, and the love and message of Jesus is needed to transform lives.