Japan – Youth Camps to Bullet Trains

We had a great team to Japan in August as we hosted a youth English camp.  We were able to take a homebuilding company that uses their company and profits to invest in the Kingdom and their employees.  They have invested in the camp in Japan and it was great to take them to work with the kids there and experience the impact of their generosity.

We started the trip by doing some work on a church in the Tokyo metro area with some great missionary friends who also organized the English camp. We replaced flooring, installed some trim, painted, cleaned, and did some gardening. But, the most amazing impact of the day happened after we left.  A girl had been watching us from across the street the entire day. Unbeknownst to us, the missionary and his family had talked to her on multiple occasions and she had even gone to a youth camp with the church.  After watching us work all day, she came over to the church and gave her life to Christ!  You never know who is watching and what impact your service is making.

The next day we went to church, and then headed to the campgrounds with the missionary and his family.  We prepared the camp for the kids to arrive.  We got to work with them on their English, play games with them and spend time in Bible studies and preaching.  We even played a giant game of Scrabble to help with English words, and they loved it!  The kids there are now able to speak Texan. LOL!  After the camp was over, we did some more work on the camp and then took the team back into Tokyo via the bullet train, and let them tour the city before they flew home.

Thailand – Water Wells to Refugees

After we sent our Mongolia team home, our family stopped in Cambodia for a day and I was able to preach in a church on Sunday.  As soon as church was out, we continued on to Bangkok and picked up our next team. We had so many things going on simultaneously with this next team it was hard to believe.  We worked in Southern Thailand for the first part of the trip.  Some team members taught the children at the project, others put on a medical clinic that saw 200 patients, others did construction work to install a fence, and we drilled a water well.

The water well was a great blessing to the project and the community. For several months each year the community runs out of water.  Now they will not!  The medical team was able to love on the kids and do check-ups and hand out much needed vitamins. Meanwhile, the teaching team was able to work with the kids all day and help take them home in the afternoons.  The rest of us got soaking wet as we installed fence posts in a downpour.  It wouldn’t stop raining, so we had to do the work in the rain, for days.  At the end of the week, all of us were able to go work at a Thai public school and share about our Thanksgiving Holiday and that allowed us to share the Gospel with the kids.

Once our time in Southern Thailand was finished, we flew back to Bangkok and got to work with missionaries there.  We were part of an English outreach on Saturday, then on Sunday we got to be a part of the church’s 25th Anniversary!  It was a great honor for us to be there and see what the Lord has done the past 25 years in Bangkok with this church.  The next morning, we went and visited the homes of Pakistani refugees and got to hear their stories and fellowship with them before flying home.

We tend to focus on what happens on a trip, but I need to share what happened a week after the trip too. The pastor of the church that came on the trip with us contacted me.  He was sharing that next Sunday with his congregation an overview of the trip. He shared the stories of the Pakistanis we met with. As the Lord would have it, a Pakistani woman happened to visit his church that Sunday, heard the stories from our trip, and got saved that morning in Tulsa, OK!  Amazing!  You never know how the Lord will use a trip, even after it is “complete.”

 

Ends of the Earth

We finished our most challenging trip of the summer from a transportation standpoint.  We had an amazing team join us in Mongolia.  The church that supports our feeding centers in the Gobi Desert knitted blankets for the children and were able to send them with this team.  We drove 8 hours into the desert and had an amazing time.  We were able to feed the kids, do a craft with them, hand them blankets and go to church with the community.  We even found ourselves in multiple volleyball matches with the villagers.

We then traveled back to Ulaanbaatar and were able to spend time at our orphanage and an anti-abortion clinic.  We then flew to up north and spent time with one of the missionaries we partner with in Hatgal.  We were able to go to church and see the ministry he has in that part of Mongolia.  I even got to run into some friends that graduated high school with my father and uncle.  You never know whom you will see on a mission trip.

There were a lot adventures on the trip.  As we drove through the Gobi, we stopped by a family that was herding goats.  We gave them a Mongolian Bible on an MP3 player and got to spend time with them.  We slept in yurts (they call them gers), and came in contact with camels, yaks, and reindeer.  In some places we had to take showers using a washcloth and a sink, in others we had no running water.  Our restroom was an outhouse sometimes and the desert in other times. Regardless, I can’t wait to go back to Mongolia again.

Thailand!

Happy 4th of July from Hong Kong!!  I hope you are doing well.  It has been an amazing journey in Asia this summer. It would take a novel to explain all that the Lord has done.  Our trip started off crazy.  Due to weather, the airlines routed us through Shanghai to Thailand, but our luggage went to Los Angeles. So, we got to do the first 6 days of the trip with no luggage!  It made travelling easier.  Praise the Lord for deodorant. LOL!

We got to have an extended trip to Thailand with a great church from South Carolina. The first half of the trip was spent in southern Thailand where the tsunami hit. We taught the kids, made concrete stepping stones, built a walkway, dug for clams for dinner one night, and got to do a cultural exchange with a Thai public school where we taught them about our Thanksgiving holiday.  They loved it so much, they asked us to come back next month with our second Thailand team. We got to work with over 300 kids and saw the Lord move in amazing ways.

The second half of the trip was in western Thailand on the Myanmar border.  We got to work at our orphanage and school there.  We taught the kids, had a field day, played soccer at the community soccer complex, hosted a teen night, and distributed water filters to families from our school. As a bonus, one day we were able to go into Myanmar and give water filters to a Burmese public school with 3,600 students.  We met the principal and leaders of the school.  You never know what doors will open.

We are now at the airport in Hong Kong with our next group, on our way to Mongolia.  I can’t wait to give you an update from Mongolia.  Until then, here are pictures from Thailand. Thank you for your prayers and support, it is because of you we are able to serve these people.

Panama to Thailand thru China

It has been a crazy couple of weeks.  I had the privilege of leading a group to Panama the first week of June.  It was great to see how the Lord used the group.  Over the course of the trip, we were able to be a part of seeing 9 people come to know the Lord as their Savior!  The team took part in distributing nearly 50 water filters and work at multiple feeding centers, where one of the children accepted Christ.  In the evenings we hosted a Marriage Conference that saw over 60 adults come for 3 nights!  Not only did the adults hear preaching on marriage, but they also had breakout sessions to discuss what they had heard.  During this time, part of the team lead the teens, which one teen accepted Christ, another group taught the children, and the rest of the team had nursery duty.  It was great to see everyone come together to be the hands and feet of Christ. We even got to get some painting and electrical work done for the missionary.

I made it home from Panama at 2 in the morning on Sunday, June 9. Got a couple of hours of sleep, went to church, washed my clothes, repacked, and headed to the airport with Kim and the girls that afternoon. That is when the fun began. After sitting at the airport for over 6 hours, our flights were delayed to the point we couldn’t make our connecting flights, so the airlines put us on new flights, through Shanghai.  The only problem, our luggage was sent to Los Angeles.  A long story short, we finally got our luggage in Thailand, 6 days later.  I’m glad I have an adventurous family that can roll with the punches.  I can’t wait to give you updates on this team in Thailand.

Drilling for Water

I have returned from Honduras and it was an amazing trip.  Part of the team helped drill a water well for a community that had no well.  They had to truck the water in to fill a tank.  We were able to drill a well at the local church and they will now be able to provide water to the community and minister to them as well.  We capped off the week by have a special service and praying over the well with the community.  Others in the group were able to visit homes and take food baskets to families.  We also distributed 60 water filters to families in need in another village and were able to share the Gospel in the process.  6 people prayed for salvation throughout the week!  Several in the group had an opportunity to teach in local schools each day and use that as a means to love on the people and share the Gospel. It was wonderful getting to see each person on the team be used by the Lord and how the body fits together to serve in a greater capacity.

Cambodia – More than you know

I always pray about what to share.  You can never share all of the details of a trip.  I also know everyone’s time is valuable.  But, there is too much to share.  The team we took to Cambodia was amazing.  The results of the trip are indescribable, and the events around it all are crazy.  Thank you for your prayers and support, we could not do it without you. First, I will share the main story, then the back-story on how your prayers opened doors.

We had a team of medical professionals in Cambodia. Each person on this trip contributed in amazing ways.  The Lord knew exactly who we needed on the team Over the course of the trip we were able to help close to 900 patients.  We also had the privilege of leading over 150 people to the Lord!  Unbelievable!  We worked in a mission hospital, in remote feeding centers, in a government hospital, and even in a Buddhist Temple. The Buddhist leaders said they knew we were Christians and were willing to allow us to share the Gospel, at their temple, in exchange for a medical clinic.  Talk about a crazy opportunity.  It is the first time I have preached from the steps of a Buddhist Temple.  What was the fruit of that opportunity?  We had a man with severe cancer who only had a few months to live get to hear the Gospel and ask Christ to save his soul!  It was well worth it.

We had the privilege of working with two of the ladies MANNA sponsored to go to nursing school. It was such a joy to be able to work with them and see them use the talents and education. They kept telling us how grateful they were for MANNA and the opportunity.  Kim used her Physical Therapy training to work on several dozen patients. I love watching her in action and getting to use the talents the Lord has given her.  After working at the government hospital, we saw 51 patients receive Christ, and the head of the medical district for the region was so grateful, he offered to help eliminate any red tape for us to bring in equipment for future work!  That is favor!  Lives were truly changed on this trip, both in those we served and the team that came to serve.

Now, for the back-story.  I can always tell how impactful a trip is going to be by how many roadblocks and obstructions that happen.  Several years ago, our youngest daughter ended up in the hospital with a collapsed lung leading up to our trip, she was discharged literally the day before we left.  Last summer, our car died just before the trip, I barely made it home that day.  We had to figure out how to get around for about 10 days before leaving the country for 2 months.  This trip was no different.  The night before the trip our washing machine quit working and the toilet broke.  While we were gone, the internet went out and our vacuum quit working. LOL!  Fortunately, my mom is a trooper and was able to take care of our girls in the middle of it all.  Even our team was affected. 2/3 of our team came down with intestinal issues, and one person had to get IV fluids, on the bus no less.  But, the Lord is good, and through it all, everyone is well and over 150 people now know Him as their Savior.  We don’t often publicize the crazy things that happen, but sometimes it is good to let everyone know how grateful we are for your prayers.  Your prayers for our teams and us have a greater impact than you know. You may not know all of the interesting things happening when you are praying, but they are.  Here are some pictures of the trip and the fruit of your prayers.