Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ministry Update

The Lord has blessed our time in ministry abundantly. Before we came to Thailand my prayer was that I would have the opportunity to share the Gospel and build a trusting relationship with at least one Thai girl. God has far exceeded my expectations. Betsy’s ministry has such a strong foundation; it’s been a great privilege to help in some small way and work with her everyday. After this week, I have had the chance to share the Gospel with nine girls! I am so thankful for each of these girls and I hope to build an even deeper trust and help show them more of the truth as these weeks continue.

The freshmen are very busy with lots of activities. The first few weeks were tough finding time with them because they had to attend “Cheers” which is basically like initiation for a sorority/fraternity back in the States. They also have to get signatures from all the upperclassmen. This has given our Thai Christians some great opportunities to meet girls and befriend them. Last week there was an activity where the freshmen have to make a gift for all of the teachers- the gift is called a “Pon”. These beautifully detailed creations are made up of flowers and take several hours of tedious work. We got to come to this event and help them! We had a great night hanging out with them and getting to know more freshmen.  

Some freshmen making the "Pon" for their teachers

then we taught them how to play NINJA!!  So much fun!

Today the freshmen started a weeklong event called “the Freshy Games”. Each freshman has the chance to participate and play a specific sport. They play to represent their particular faculty (major). There is a wide variety of sports: badminton, hockey, cross-words (scrabble), ping pong, shooting, tennis, volleyball, softball, soccer, and fencing. This week we’ve spent our nights visiting some of the freshmen at their practices and cheering them on. I got to play some volleyball on Monday and then got in on some fierce ping-pong Tuesday night. All of the students at KKU are very involved in this campus wide activity- it reminds me of intramurals at Samford. Fun and competitive! I’m excited to cheer on all the sweet freshmen we have built relationships with thus far.

**Below is a verse we have been studying as a ministry team. Please pray that we would continue steadfastly in prayer and be watchful for open doors and opportunities.  

“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that god may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison- that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, season with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”

Colossians 4:2-6

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Night Market

Here's a video of my ministry team making our way through the "night market". We usually go here once a week to meet up with students and eat dinner with them.

The Thai Wat, Phra Mahathat Khaen Nakhon

Two weeks ago we took a trip to visit the largest Buddhist temple in Khon Kaen. Each ministry group invited Thai students throughout the week and we had an encouraging turnout. As we walked throughout the levels and observed the idols, many of our CCP team had the chance to get into spiritual conversation with the students. This was a great gateway to learn more about Buddhism and build trusting relationships.

It was an enlightening experience. The Temple is filled with such incredible beauty and detail but my heart ached seeing people bow down and worship the idols. It was the reality of what I do in America- we bow down to idols everyday but we hide it in our hearts.

Here is some more information about the temple:

The Thai Wat, Phra Mahathat Kaen Nakhon, is a Royal Temple in Khon Kaen. The Phra Mahathat Kaen Nakhon chedi, which contains relics of the Lord Buddha, is located within the grounds of another Thai Wat, Wat Nong Waeng. The Phra Mahathat Kaen Nakhon chedi was built to commemorate His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 50th year on the Throne of Thailand and also to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the city of Khon Kaen. There is a stairway allowing you to ascend all 9 levels affording remarkable views of the city of Khon Kaen. On each level you will find an assortment of Buddha images, Photographs, historical objects and important Buddhist scriptures. The relics of the Lord Buddha are enshrined on the 9th floor.

Inside the 9th Floor

The view from the 9th Floor

We finished the trip with lunch at the food court and had a great time running around the mall with new friends!

Some girls on our way to the mall in a Song-Tauw

The Whole Gang! 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Mailing Address

If you'd like to write me please use the following address:

Campus Outreach
Attn: August Rhea
PO Box 6 KKU
Amphur Muang, Khonkaen 40002

(*it takes 2 weeks for mail to get here)

Half Way & Amazing Grace

This week we hit the half way mark of our summer. I seriously cannot believe how fast time is FLYING by!! Which explains my lack of blog posts- I’m so sorry! I want to make sharing with you a priority because the Lord is doing so many great things! As excited as I am to return home to be with my family & friends, I am not ready to leave this place. Life here is so simple and I am loving every minute of it. Not to mention the people; we are surrounded by an incredibly strong group of believers. They have sacrificed so much to be here serving the Lord and making His name known in Khon Kaen. They are all an amazing encouragement and have really challenged my faith and trust in the Lord. Yes there are hard moments and my cravings for Panera grow stronger each day, but I keep reminding myself that I will be able to have all of those comforts again and I may never be back in Thailand ever again. So I’m embracing each new day and trying to make the most of each moment. Our schedule can be pretty busy at times but there have also been lots of opportunities for rest. I have so enjoyed the intimate times in prayer and studying the Word. At home, and especially at school, there are thousands of things distracting me from pursuing my Father and living each day completely surrendered to His will. I am so thankful for the accountability of our team here and the great resources we’ve been given to learn more about God and deepen that relationship.

Every Wednesday morning we have “Reflection Time” as a team at the church. This is a time of reflection, confession, and repentance. We spread out and take about 40 minutes to evaluate our weeks individually and journal and pray. Here are some of the questions we reflect on:

-       What was your pursuit of the Father like this week? What, if anything, held you back from truly treasuring Christ this week?

-       How was your time in prayer? Describe your prayers for yourself, for others, praise, confession, gratitude.

-       What sins have you been repenting of this most this week and what were the root idols? What problem has consumed your thoughts? (what went wrong?) What are some positive ways our Father has been refining your character?

-       How have you trusted God in prayer for ministry this week? What can you commit to Him next week?

-       Have you budgeted your time wisely between work and rest this summer? How can you steward it more wisely next week?

I love this time and it’s so encouraging to look back and see everything God is teaching me. But it’s easy to get down on yourself and just see all the ways you are falling short.

This week was different: Matt said he knows we are all seeing a lot of our sin and that he knows its hard to deal with and can weigh you down instead of focusing on God's grace. So instead of reflection time we meditated on Romans 8:32 "He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" And then he told us to write down at least 15 reasons why we know this is true and how we have seen God prove this in our lives since our time here. I'll share with you some of the things I wrote down:

- God gave me this incredible opportunity to be involved with Campus Outreach & get to be here in Thailand this summer. 
- He raised all $6,000 of my support! and everyone else's ($200,000)
- He has given me new and deeper friendships.
- God has abundantly blessed our ministry and given me multiple Thai girls to bond with and build trusting relationships.
- God brought Luke here too!! I feel so blessed that we get to share this special experience together and see each other serving. 
- God gave me precious time of worship and singing praises to Him. (We usually end each Wednesday with worship) 
- God opened my eyes to see more of my sin and my deep struggles even though I felt rebellious and prideful. 
- God is piercing my heart with prayer and overwhelming me with His faithfulness. 
- He has blessed me with this group of Thai sophomores that are so kind and welcoming!! They always have a seat for me at lunch J
- God has opened my eyes to more of who He is through "Care Team" (Thai bible study at Betsy's) 

Then we meditated on Phil. 1:6 "being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it out to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." I know that God is using brokenness over my sin to draw me closer to Him. This week I'm focusing on the phrase 
"glance at your sin but GAZE at the cross."
I encourage you to do the same this week and hope you have to chance to see the magnitude of His Grace. Thanks for reading!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow! 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Video Adventures

Here's a quick video of some of my adventures from week one. Traveling, ministry time, & snake stunts are all included. Enjoy!