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.”

 

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.

The Gift of the Magi

Since returning from Cambodia we have been sharing our mission work in 6 different churches between Texas, Oklahoma and Washington. This Saturday I head to Honduras with a team to help drill a water well, perform a Vacation Bible School, and deliver water filters to families.  Thank you so much for your support for our family and mission work. You are a tremendous blessing to us.

I wanted to share a neat story with you.  A friend of mine brought me a roll of money that added up to $42.  He then told me the story behind the money.  He was helping at a youth camp and some of the campers saved back their spending money and gave it to him to use for missions.  They wanted to make a difference in the world.  What a testimony from some kids at youth camp!  I can’t wait to see how the Lord blesses that $42 and uses it to feed and love on kids half way around the world.  Oh, the stories that will be told in Heaven. I took a picture of it, still wrapped in one of their youth camp bracelets.

Happy Thanksgiving from Guatemala

I had the privilege of working with a team in Guatemala the week of Thanksgiving.  I even made it home in time to have turkey with my family! It was a great trip and team. We had a Vacation Bible School in two villages with some Mayan kids and took water filters to families in the area.  We poured concrete and built a block wall at the orphanage and took the kids to the zoo for an outing.  They loved it! We also organized a large carnival at a church in San Lucas to invite the community. That evening for church there were over 300 people present and at least 6 people accepted Christ as their Savior in the service!  We finished off the week by having a special Thanksgiving meal with the children at the orphanage.  They said they wanted to have a meal where we all sit together at a table and pass the food like they see American families doing on television.  The things we take for granted!!  Here are some pictures from the week.  Thank you for your prayers.

More to come

Since making it back from Thailand we have been in 5 churches in 3 different states sharing updates on what the Lord is doing in Asia.  We have also had several new churches invite us to come share this spring for the first time!

We will be in another church this weekend, then on Tuesday I head to Guatemala to help with a team.  I will get home the day before Thanksgiving, which is a reason for thanks already.  Of course, the last time I got back from a trip the day before Thanksgiving, I spent the flight throwing up in the bathroom on the plane.  I don’t fit well in the plane bathrooms to begin with, much less trying to throw up.  However, it is the only time I have ever lost weight over Thanksgiving. LOL!  So, there is always a reason to be grateful.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support of our mission work!

Home from Houston

We have made it back from Houston helping with the relief effort there. As with most things in life, it is difficult to describe what we saw.  You have to see it for yourself to grasp it all.  On Sunday, we drove a semi around the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex to different churches picking up supplies that they had donated.  Then, we drove to Houston and arrived around 3 in the morning.  A church in Houston was gracious enough to allow us to sleep in their gym on air mattresses and cook us breakfast and dinner.

We got up early on Monday and took the semi to a relief distribution point. From there we unloaded the supplies, and helped load it into vehicles and trailers that were brought from other points in Houston to retrieve supplies.  We then took loads of supplies to churches and a local middle school for distribution.  While we helped with one delivery a man asked us if we would go with him to visit his daughter’s grave. He had not been to the cemetery since the flood and he wanted to check on it, but he needed someone to go with him for emotional support.  You never know when the Lord will give you the opportunity to minister to someone.  It was very emotional as we prayed with him and visited his daughter’s grave.

The remainder of the trip was spent helping people clean out their homes.  We found a neighborhood where the homeowners were just able to get back into their homes that morning for the first time.  Many of them were overwhelmed, as would I be.  We helped them remove their belongings, then removed the bottom 4 foot of sheetrock,  insulation, and flooring from the homes.  One of the homes we worked in still had some standing water in the house.  Most of the people in the neighborhood did not have flood insurance.  As some of you know, I lost my sense of smell several years ago after a strange infection in the Philippines.  So, while everyone else was gagging over the smell of the raw sewage we were working in, it didn’t bother me at all.  It is times like this that we are reminded to praise the Lord even in the trials because you never know when your disability will become and added ability.

One homeowner we helped was Vietnamese and we developed an instant bond when I said hello to him in Vietnamese and we talked about our trips to Vietnam as a family.  Again, you never know when the Lord will use your experiences for His glory and to open doors.  This man was worn out and distraught over his loss, but we were able to encourage him in the Lord and pray with him.  It is so hard to see so many people hurting.  As we left Houston, we are aware of Irma heading toward Florida and many of my friends there will be affected.  Please continue to pray for those on the Gulf Coast to recover and for safety for our friends and fellow citizens in Florida and the East Coast.

Thank you to all who have donated towards the recovery effort!  Your donations are a great blessing and encouragement to many.  Here are some pictures from my trip.  You may notice a letter C sprayed on houses. They put that on the homes during the evacuation to know which homes had been cleared.