Sunday, December 8, 2013

Paradoxical Contexts for the Sake of the Gospel

This past week Evan has been attending PhD modular courses at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.  Meanwhile, the boys and I remain at home in Chiang Mai.

Yesterday the SBTS campus was blessed with a fresh blanket of beautiful white snow; meanwhile, in Chiang Mai the sun shone brightly through clear skies as the boys and I visited the famous temple on Doi Suthep mountain.

At the wintry snowland of Southern campus Evan is working towards completion of his PhD so that he will be better equipped to teach bibilcal and theological truth to Asian leaders for the advance of the gospel among the unreached.  At our home in Chiang Mai the boys and I are learning more about the Buddhist country in which we live and work, praying in earnest that the gospel of Christ would run and triumph amidst the bondage of Buddhism.

I couldn't help but notice the paradoxical nature of our family's two different contexts this week--Evan studying at a beacon of conservative evangelical Christianity, and the boys and I visiting a stronghold of Buddhism and a reminder of the Christlessness of this country and the unreached peoples of Asia.  Yet both contexts serve the advance of the Kingdom and remind me of the strategic ways in which our King of Glory often chooses to work.  The church in the West is blessed with a rich theological and bibilcal heritage while Asia remians home to thousands of unreached people groups with no little or no access to Jesus Christ.

May God give us grace to proclaim the gospel and teach the whole counsel of the Word of God for the advance of Christ's kingdom among Asia's least reached!    

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Fall Highlights

As Thanksgiving approaches, we give thanks for 5 months of life here in Chiang Mai.
Here are a few highlights of our fall:
Kristie teaches the gospel
to university students
Evan attends a Chinese m. conference

The boys take their first tuk-tuk ride!
Enjoying beautiful scenary,
just a two hour drive from Chiang Mai
Doi Inthanon, Thailand's highest peak

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Picture Update

 Just a few glimpses of life here these past few months...

A view of the city of Chiang Mai
It is rainy season now, so it is cloudy most days, but when the sun shines, it is beautiful (and hot!)
Saturday morning hike/field trip to a waterfall--
everything is an opportunity to learn now that we are officially doing home school with the boys! 

Boys playing Uno during Thai class with Khruu Gang
A precious moment--Elijah kneels spontaneously to pray for a Thai man and a little boy after greeting them and attempting to talk to them in Thai/English.
The clouds clear after the morning rain to reveal a beautiful view on our drive back from Mae Salong, the Chinese village in Northern Thailand.

We don't have too many pictures of an average day... usually Evan is at his office at the seminary and Kristie is home with the boys doing home school.  We'll have to do a typical day update sometime soon!  To track our homeschooling and keep the grandmas updated, Kristie started a blog:

Monday, July 8, 2013

Settling in to Life in Thailand

Buddhist shrine at nearby park

On Saturday, June 22, we left Spokane at 10am to fly to Chiang Mai, Thailand, our new home. We arrived in Chiang Mai about 22 hours later on Sunday, June 23rd at 11pm. All of our 12 bags made it to the Chiang Mai Airport, where our new co-workers met us.

Our first week was spent setting up our house, getting acquainted with our neighborhood, applying for our Thai drivers license, picking up our car, and trying to drive in Thai traffic on the opposite side of the road! We are so thankful for our Christian Thai landlady who lives next door and has made setting up our house much easier.

Our friend Ong helped us get our Thai license
Last week we began Thai language study one-on-one with our Thai landlady who also teaches Thai to foreigners (and has for many years!). We were introduced to the 5 tones of the Thai language, along with many, many new phrases and vocabulary. Pray for grace and keen intellect to pick up this new language!

Evan also began setting up his office at the Asia Biblical Theological Seminary (ABTS), which is about a 10-15 minute drive from our house. He is currently writing a curriculum for a class on the theology of suffering, which will be used in training pastors from our former country of residence.

Life in the tropics has its perks--beautiful flowers amidst the heat & humidity
We are so grateful for how the boys are adjusting to life here--a new house, a new language, a new climate, new friends, etc. They are very fond of the lizards that can be found crawling around our walls.  The other night they both prayed for the the ice cream man who drives on his motorcycle around our neighborhood each afternoon.

Thank you for your prayers covering this whole transition. We have felt His mighty hand holding us through all the travels and transition.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Recent Trip to Thailand

We return from Thailand with thankful and expectant hearts:

1)  God provided a good home in a Thai neighborhood with a Thai Christian landlady.

Our cute Thai home owned by a Thai Christian landlady

From our back kitchen window:
a lean-to home of some squatters who live in the lot behind us--looking forward to meeting them!

2)  We were blessed to meet our co-workers at the Asia Biblical Theological Seminary (ABTS).  We participated in the ceremony to install Dean Jim Blumenstock.  ABTS has satellite schools all throughout Southeast Asia where Evan will be assigned to teach intensive courses.  

The ABTS Board and Faculty Members (Evan is in the first row, second in from the left)
The Asia Biblical Theological Seminary:  Modest in size but having a tremendous impact in SE Asia

3)  We were overwhelmed with the ministry opportunities and great need:  

  • For biblical/theological education throughout Southeast Asia. 
  • For the proclamation of the gospel to the 90% Buddhist country of Thailand (the other 9% is Muslim or animist, leaving less than 1% Christian).  
  • For the biblical/theological education of leaders from our former country of residence.  
  • For the unreached people from our former country of residence in the northern mountains.  

At the Chiang Mai International Airport:  A room for Buddhism praying, a room for Muslim praying, what's missing?!

A few more pics of our house/neighborhood:

The view from our 2nd floor balcony:  If it weren't cloudy, you could see the mountains of Chiang Mai in the distance

The awesome Thai bathroom tile in our guest bathroom  =)

The view outside our house down the street--we wish we had a picture of the water buffaloes that live on the plot across from our house!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Priceless Treasure

Evan recently returned from a TLI short term trip to Athens, Greece.  While in Athens, he had the privilege of teaching Iranian pastors.  These men live in Athens for one of two reasons: 1) Some are fleeing certain death for being pastors in Iran; 2) Some immigrated to Greece in search of work and became believers through the outreach center where Evan was teaching.  They desire to plant churches among Iranians in Europe or back in Iran.  Some of these Iranian pastors will send the curriculum they were taught back to Iran to circulate among the house church there.  The men have already had the three foundational courses TLI offers--Biblical Theology, Hermeneutics, and Attributes of God--and they had requested to be taught the book of Genesis.  Evan, along with TLI's Vice President, spent the fall writing and editing this Genesis curriculum, so the information was fresh in Evan's mind for teaching.  While on the trip, Evan shared the following encouraging story as part of a trip update on TLI's website:  

On Tuesday an Iranian man was walking around outside in a nearby plaza, praying to Allah for help with all his struggles.  He walked by an Orthodox church and thought he would talk to some Christians.  One of these Christians asked him to the Bible school I have been teaching in.  He met some of my Iranian students, and they led him to the Lord.  Later that night they asked him to give his testimony during our class.  And then on Wednesday night, another young Iranian man became a Christian.  I have been so encouraged by the evangelistic zeal of my students and the deep hunger they have for the Word.  Tonight as I taught them how to preach Christ from Genesis, they were literally on the edge of their seats and taking notes furiously.  They are so hungry for the Word, and they respond to it as though it were of greater value than priceless treasure. 

Evan came back from Greece all the more eager for the work God has called us to in Northern Thailand, training pastors from our former country of residence, as well as many other pastors from SE Asia.

Evan and his Iranian students (below)

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