This is the second installment of the newsletter for this time. It is now Sunday, August 21, 2011; starting at about 7:00 am when we are up and starting to get ready for service at 9:00 am. Our interns are gone this Sunday, so Maeo and I have it all :-). At 7:30 am we leave to start picking up kids. Our children living here start getting up, have breakfast and begin to clean things up. We received word yesterday that we will have visitors from another church this morning so we are looking forward to that. Laobada is a small village church with about 7 members, located about 30 km from us here and far enough out in the woods that they have no electricity and no running water. They arrive shortly after 9:00 am – time is not as important as it seems to be to westerners, so we wait and start when all are ready. We also had unexpected visitors from Laos this morning. Three people working with a group to help save children from prostitution in Laos and Thailand. I was blessed to hear that when they asked about a Christian teaching church in the village, many people said “Ajarn John in ban Naratchakwai” . So, it seems as though even though people are not coming, they know who we are and what we are about, so I praise God for that.
Our typical Sunday service begins with praise and worship singing, elementary and youth singers – we have no adult singers. – and witnessing from 9 am to 10 am. From 10-11 am the elementary students watch a video while we have a sermon. You didn’t read wrong – a sermon is at least one hour; folks don’t think anything less than one hour is worthwhile. 🙂 From 11 to 12 am is Bible study. Presently we have three classes and are praying for teachers to break it down more. We have two groups: elementary and high school on up. At noon we end and take children home. There is a short break from about 1 pm to 3 pm and then I teach college English from 3 pm to 5 pm. There is a half hour break and I have an English/Math/Science class for the students living in. All in all it is a fun filled Sunday.
Again, we thank all of you for your prayers and ask that you continue and even pray more. Satan has a very firm hold here and it is a battle every single day. Children are afraid and their parents are even more afraid. Children are taught from birth and forced to accept the local religion, whatever it may be – spirit worship, ancestor worship, or whatever else may be around. For the most part, it is the only religion taught in schools so we need lots of prayers and the power of God if we are to make any headway. Many of our students are starting to think, but still don’t have the courage to challenge their peers, their parents, the schools and their government. Currently we do not have a single child that attends Christian Mission along with their parent. We have two couples who are believers and have children. One couple is Maeo and John and the other couple is Bpao and Mon – Bpao is our intern and his wife just recently accepted Christ and will be baptized on September 4. We have two teens who have accepted Christ; one has been baptized and the other will be baptized on September 4. Pray that God will keep them and their witness strong.
Attached are pictures of our Sunday service. Again, thank for your continued prayers, for both the Christian Mission and those who attend. God Bless, John and Maeo.