Dear friends and family,
For quite a while now, we have been praying for the people in Nakhon Sawan who are leaders in the religious circles. If they turn to God, what an influence that would be! And thinking along those lines, I (Jonathan) had the thought it might be a good idea to just go to a temple and visit with some monks. I could practice Thai and who knows what opportunities God might open up!
One Friday, I had the thought that I could go to the temple on Sabbath afternoon, and so I kind of planned to go that Sabbath. Then after lunch when I was planning to go, I started to feel like not going, but the Holy Spirit brought conviction on my heart that I needed to go, and so I knew I had to go.
As I arrived at the temple I didn’t see any monks out who looked free, and so I went up on the platform that overlooks the city to pray for the city. Pretty soon I noticed a couple monks coming out of their little monk houses so I went down and started to visit with them. Well turns out they had to go down to the other temple for a worship service or something and so I figured I might as well leave too.
But as we turned to head down the hill a man who was working on a sculpture of a dragon nearby looked at us and said something about the foreigner. I wasn’t sure what he’d said, but I thought maybe I should go talk to him. And so for the next 10 seconds or so I was going back and forth in my mind about whether I go ahead and leave, or should I go back and talk to him.
Then I heard a loud continuous sound so I looked up and to my right, and there was a rainstorm approaching like a wall of water. Within seconds the big raindrops started, and that was my signal! I went sprinting back to where the sculptor was working because it was covered from the rain.
I introduced myself to him, and we visited for awhile. Then out of the blue I just asked him if he’d heard of Jesus before. He said, “Yes," and then we talked a little bit about religion. He has been making these dragon sculptures at temples for 19 years so he has spent a lot of time at temples. As it turns out the man was actually from a province in northern Thailand, and he was only here to work on this one sculpture, and then he would be going back home. Right then I knew that God sent that rainstorm at exactly the right time to send me running back to meet Toong. After the rainstorm passed, and I had to leave, I told him that I wanted to come back and see him again before he went back home.
So a couple days later, we went back with a book to share with him. He told us that he doesn’t really like to read, but he’d take it anyway. We then chatted for quite a while about religion. He did most of the talking, and we did our best to understand. What he did make very clear was that it’s not easy to get a person his age to change religions. He also expressed the thought that all religions are good. Just before we parted ways though, he said that even though he doesn’t like to read, maybe someday he’ll get a tap on the shoulder that he needs to read that book. (We pray he does!)
This was the first conversation that we’ve had like this with a Buddhist, and while we know that what a person says may not fully reflect what’s in their heart, it left me (Hannah) with a couple of very clear lessons: 1) the greater part of this work is prayer, and 2) this work is totally beyond our capabilities and that’s okay. There’s a peace in realizing that God hasn’t called us to do what we can’t do, and that He will most definitely do it.
Another thing we’re thankful for is how God blessed and expedited an interview that Jonathan needed to have in Chiangmai before we renew our visas in October. Usually they would have scheduled the interview a couple weeks out, but this time they did it the same day and it seemed to go smoothly.
Those are just a couple of snippets from our life. Our lives are still filled mostly with mundane and little things just like yours.
Thank you, friends and family for taking the time to pray for us and the people here. We invite you to pray specifically for Joe and Molly, Boot, Judy, our next door neighbors, and the many other people we’re getting to know. You can also pray for the people we haven’t met yet that God wants us to meet.
May God bless you each in doing the work He had given you to do in your corner of the globe.
Until next time . . .
God bless each of you!
Jonathan and Hannah