Saturday, June 2, 2007

I'm a Grandmother!

....spiritually that is. =-) This week I had a conversation with a dear friend of mine. She is someone that I led to the Lord several years ago. We have spent precious time together talking and praying and growing. Well, she just told me this past week that she just led a highschooler into a relationship with Jesus! I am overjoyed with this news becuase I long to live out what Jesus described for us as the normal christian life (intense fruitfullness!!).

I have been thinking much about the parable of the 4 soils. The farmer throws the seed. The first soil satan comes and steals the seed. The second, responds in some way but immediatly dies becuase it has no roots. The third responds, grows, but eventually is choked by the worries of this world. Many Christians in America, I believe, fall into this category. We grow in good soil but are also surrounded with weeds and many produce no fruit. In the past few weeks I have seriously looked at my life. I had to ask myself, "Jessie, are you allowing yourself to be choked?" I looked at my life to see what I need to change to bear MUCH fruit. In the forth soil the seed is good and brings a harvest of 30, 60 or 100 fold. To be honest, I want the 100 fold so I am choosing to change my lifestyle so that I can bring as many into the Kingdom as possible. And besides, Jesus told us to make disciples, baptise them, teach them and raise them up to lead others. And I want to take Jesus seriously. So, this news from my friend was an absolute Joy!

I am just back from a retreat with the Pastors and church leaders of Hatyai. It was INCREDIBLE. But I will save that news for my next update. I am preaching in TWO churches tomorrow and need to take some time to prepare. I will write soon. Please PRAY. Pray that the Kingdom of Heaven would come in power in Hatyai, nothing less than an open heaven over the city.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Luuk Kruang, bombs, retreats and tummy aches

Ever since I have arrived in Thailand, taxi drivers, hotel workers, and people we meet at churches have been asking me if I am a "Luuk Kruang" or in other words half Thai/ half American. I feel a bit encouraged by this becuase it must mean that my Thai is getting better (although I think if they talked with me longer than a minute or two they would realize by my grammar and lack of vocabulary that I am no where near fluent!). However, this always makes me chuckle considering I am a full head taller than most Thai's and still as blue-eyed and fair skinned as ever!

On a more serious note, 9 homemade bombs have been set off around this city of Hatyai that I am in (Southern Thailand). There has been a raging muslim insurgency that has killed over 2,000 people in the 3 southern most provices that border Songkla, the province in which we currently reside. Unfortunatly, the violence is slowly spreading upwards. God can even use bombs exploding for good. The tourist industry here in hatyai is suffering increidbly from lack of business which means that many prostitutes in the city have had to look to other professions to make a living (yeah!). And the fear that is resting on the city has created open doors for sharing the gospel. Just yesterday I spent time with the girl at the front desk of our hotel. My dad gave her a book that had testimonies from people who had experienced miracles in thier lives. She said she was reading it and it made her feel better. And then she asked me for some other books that she could read like this. Her heart is so open.

Tomorrow I leave for a three day retreat with my dad and 60 pastors and church leaders from hatyai. The purpose of this time is to encourage pastors to take ownership of a major evangelistic thrust in thier city. Even before I came I had a sense of anticipation for this retreat. I really expect God to show up. Please be praying.

I am finally updating this blog after such a long absence becuase I am up in the middle of the night with an uncomfortable ache in my tummy! And being that I can do nothing about it (except pray incredible tool I must say), writing my thoughts seemed like a perfectly sensible thing to do.

I hope to be more diligent in the future. Adele Booysen continues to inspire me. I love reading about her life and I have a faint hope that you will be encouraged by reading about mine.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

"If you give food to the hungry..."

I was walking to church yesterday through the noisy streets of bangkok. I looked at the 4 lanes of traffic seperating myself and the other side of the road where I needed to be and decided that I needed to walk to the nearest flyover to safely cross. About 200 meters down the road I began climbing the uneven concrete steps of the foot bridge. At the top I met a familiar, heart-wrenching sight. Sitting on the top of the bridge was a woman with a baby in her arms and a little girl no less that 2 years of age next to her. The little girl was squirming and the mother scolded quickly sat her back down and replaced the small plastic cup in her hands. All of them were in thread-bare clothing. "Lord, what can I do??", My heart cried out. I bent down and started talking with the little girl. I realized in a few moments that she didn't understand. After looking more closely at thier faces I saw that these were not actually Thais, they were cambodian refugees who had run from the desperate situtation in thier home country with the hopes of finding something more in Thailand. The mother also did not understand Thai. I lingered for a moment and then reached in my bag to find something to give them. All I had was 100 baht, about $2.50. This would be enough to feed them for a few days. As I walked away my heart was grieved. I am often frustrated feeling that I want to do more. How can I help change their future? What will happen to that little girl? Thier faces are burned into my memory. Oh Lord, protect them. Show me how I can meet the needs of the hurting and hungry in Thailand. I remember Isaiah 58, "Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out? When you see the naked that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh? THEN your light shall break forth like the morning, and your healing chall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you, and the GLORY of the Lord shall be you rear guard."

The above pictures are of refugees in Cambodia in line waiting to enter Thailand with the hope of finding work and food. The mother and child, although not who I described above, are cambodians in similar situation.

New Children in the Kingdom!

In the past few days I found out that 3 of my Thai friends came to know the Lord while I was in the States. One is an older woman who was actually my student during the time I taught at Santisuk. Her name is Ba Doy (Auntie Daw-y). She was a faithful church and cell group member for months before she became a Christian becuase she was drawn by the Love of the community. Last month she decided that God was real and that she could trust Him with her life. She attended the seminar my Dad and I held and had many questions about the Holy Spirit. At the seminar, two other Thai women encouraged her to read the bible and volunteered to help her understand what she was reading. Please pray for this precious woman that the Lord would protect her, that the seed in her heart would grow into a fruit producing hearty follower of Jesus.

The other two friends are a couple that actually attended APU. Many people were praying for them and now they have given thier lives to the Lord. I have yet to meet with them but am anticipating a joyous reunion. God is so good! He is truly drawing Thais to Himself.

Going into the homes

Today I will go and stay with a precious friend of mine named Art at her home for a few days. She became a Christian last year when I was here. I have already spent some time with her and am amazed and encourage by the growth that is occuring in her life. Right now she is fasting dinner every night (and has been doing so for quite some time) for the people she loves to see victory over sickness, heart issues, and to meet the Lord. She is diligent in reading the word and spending time in prayer. When we arrived at the airport this friend actually met my Dad and I. She aslo had three friends with her. My Dad, the evangelist that he is, gave each of her friends a booklet about Jesus. Her friends took these back and put them on the center table in thier office for others to read. One of Art's other friends came and picked this booklet up. After she read it she began asking Art questions about how to deal with a problem she had in her life. Art explained that God coudl help her if she would pray and read the bible. This friend asked Art for a bible. That night Art called me and told me what happend. I explained that Art should not just give her a bible but also meet with her on a regular basis so that this friend could understand what she was reading. In the next few days, Art and I are planning to study the bible together so that she can teach her friend!

This week I will also go and meet with Art's family. They are precious people who have welcomed me into thier home. I look forward to seeing them again and sharing with them more about the Love of Christ. I believe so strongly that when we go OUT into people's home and lives that the Lord Jesus promises to go with us and manifest Himself through us. There is a bit of fear and trembling as we go. I continue to ask the Lord for wisdom. I want to be bold and yet not push people away. Ultimatly I am seeking to hear the Lord's voice more clearly so that I will no miss an opportunity to share with someone who has not yet had the chance to hear the Lord's sweet voice calling to them.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Atmospheric Shift

Have you ever thought about the day of pentecost? There were only 120 individuals gathered in the upper room in the second chapter of Acts. But when the Holy Spirit came upon them there must have been a major shift in the spiritual atmosphere around them. We know this becuase thousands of people were drawn to the place that they were praying. No just the sound of them praying could have drawn such a crowd. The very atmosphere around them must have been charged with the electricity of the Holy Spirit upon them. Atleast that is how I imagine it.

My Dad and I have been in Thailand for not quite 48 hours. And yet from the time we have spent praying and speaking with Thai's on the streets we sense a major change. Thailand is not the same as when I left. The violence in the southern most provinces has increased in recent months with reverberating effects reaching to Bangkok. There have also been terrorist attacks here in the city. The drastic change in governement in October (a coup), although peaceful, undermined the economy in a major way. During lunch time today we visited a road side open air restuarant. My Dad and I pulled out two tracks in Thai and began to practice reading them...outloud....and loud enough for the people sitting across from us to hear. Naturally they struck up a conversation with us. We began to ask them questions about Thailand. One young man in his late twenties explained, "Thailand has changed so much. The economy is so bad and many people are worried. Crime has also increased. Many Thai's miss our old government. Many people are also afraid." We have heard this time and again. Thai's are restless.

I have also spent time with close Christian friends of mine. They explain to me that they have seen incredible demonstrations of the Lord's spirit in recent months. Two months ago the current government called for a buddhist ceremony to pray for a high leader of the country. In Thai tradition, they wrapped white strings to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits around the area. Christian friends of ours decided to drive around the area that the ceremony was to be held and pray. The day of the ceremony came and in the middle of the night all of the strings fell off the building. It was seen as a bad sign and the meeting was was canceled. God is powerful and at work in this country!!

I sense the urgency as well as the incredible opportunity of this time. We are well positioned, well equipped, and eager. Please pray that the Lord will pour out His Glory on this nation. I sense that the Lord longs to pour out of His spirit on this nation. The atmosphere has already shifted in the country, but now it is time for bold Christians like Peter to stand up and explain what is happening. I volunteer!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Miah overlooking the English Channel

This would have to be one of my favorite pictures that I have ever taken. My dear little brother is a precious confidant, a wonderful travel companion, and a man with a lion-heart for God. I love him deeply. We spent four days together exploring parts of England before he began his semester abroad. I have stashed away those memories in the recesses of my heart so that I may pull them out whenever I miss the smooth voice of the strings of his guitar floating through my bedroom walls from his room next door. He also is on a journey, one that often parallels my own. There are few things sweeter in life than beloved family.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Journey Begins

I was talking with a dear friend of mine today. She challenged me to write my thoughts and use means of communication that will allow people dear to my heart to experience the journey of life with me. I pray that as you read these thoughts you will better understand my heart and that you will be carried into a deeper realm of God's Glory. That is where I long to go.