Sunday, November 30, 2014

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving Day

This past Thursday we enjoyed a sweet time of giving thanks with our family in Christ here in Chiang Mai.  We had Thanksgiving lunch with the seminary staff, and then Thanksgiving dinner with three Thai sisters in Christ and two single American missionaries serving here.  We had fun introducing our Thai friends to their first taste of turkey.

Our Thai friends were excited to take home leftovers!
Each of us made a list of things for which we were thankful and shared the list with one another, giving thanks to God together.  It was a rich, joyful time of remembering God's faithfulness.

Here are a few examples from our lists:
1)  From Elijah, "I'm thankful for God."
2)  From Isaiah, "I'm thankful for my brother."
3)  From Evan, "I'm thankful for all the churches and supporters who partner with us."
4)  From Kristie, "I'm thankful for the privilege of living and serving in Thailand."
5)  From one of our Thai sisters in Christ, "I'm thankful I was able share the gospel with my friend this past year and see her trust in Christ."
6)  From another Thai sister in Christ, "I'm thankful for Christian brothers and sisters in Christ since my biological family does not follow Christ."

November Highlight

Prior to Thanksgiving week, we traveled to Bangkok for the Southeast Asia Reformed Conference.  Evan taught a seminar on Biblical Spirituality and delivered the final plenary message on the topic "Proclaiming Christ from the Epistles."  We were blessed to fellowship with missionaries from 7 different Southeast Asia countries, to join with them in opening the Scriptures and applying sound teaching to our personal lives and to our ministries.

Friday, October 31, 2014

TLI Staff Visit

This past week we had the privilege of hosting three TLI staff members: Darren, the TLI President; Bruce, the member care director; and Jim, a TLI International Trainer who is looking to serve overseas long-term with his family.  It was a joy to invite them into our daily life here in Thailand.

Some highlights include:
Fellowshipping together while overlooking
beautiful Thai countryside
-A great meeting at a ministry training center to talk about the possibilities for training Burmese pastors north of Thailand.
-A visit to the Doi Suthep Temple to get a glimpse of Buddhism and to pray for the gospel to triumph amidst the darkness.
-A close enouncter with a scoprion the size of a small lobster while on a night walk together in our neighborhood.
-A sweet time of prayer together, praying for each other, for TLI, for the growth of the church in Southeast Asia, and for the advance of the gospel amongst the unreached people groups in Thailand and the region.
-Elijah and Isaiah loved getting to know these three godly men, and they enjoyed playing with them.

We are so grateful to be a part of TLI, and we are especially thankful for the many brothers and sisters in Christ who are part of the TLI family!

Friday, September 26, 2014

A Day at the Seminary & September Celebration

ABTS is a humble three story building, but its impact and influence among Asian chruch leaders is expansive.

A Quick Glance at ABTS

L- entrance to ABTS; R Upper- Evan in his office
R Upper- Evan's books
The layout of the ABTS building:  The ground level entrance brings you into the main office and library.  The second floor has a large classroom and the Dean's office.  Finally, the top floor has the offices of the three professors (including Evan's office).

The ABTS staff:  On Thursday mornings, the seminary staff meets together for prayer and to discuss academic affairs.  The staff includes two Thai women who serve as admin assistants; a Filipino gentleman who serves as Director of Academic Affairs; an American gentleman who serves as the Dean of the seminary; and three American gentleman including Evan who serve as professors.  Evan's official title is Professor of Spiritualilty and Missiology as well as Director of Online Education.

Celebrating Elijah & Isaiah's 5th birthday;
some beautiful Thai scenery pics

September Celebration

On September 23rd we celebrated Elijah and Isaiah's fifth birthday.  We enjoyed Skype celebrations with grandparents and hosted a small party with special friends here in Chiang Mai.  We are so grateful that God has granted us five years with our boys, that they have been healthy, and most of all, that we continually witness a growing love in their hearts for God, the gospel, the Bible, and people.    

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Proclaiming Christ in Yangon

Recently our family spent two weeks in Yangon, Myanmar (Burma) where Evan taught an M.A. level course on biblical spirituality to Burmese pastors.

A few pictures & some trip highlights:

1)  We were privileged to visit some of the historical sites of the life and ministry of Adoniram Judson (the first American missionary). Yet the most impacting legacy of Judson’s work was not a site but a book—the Bible that Judson translated into Burmese, which is still used and loved by Burmese believers to this day.
the Judson Bible; Burmese church service;
Evan and his students

2)  Evan so enjoyed teaching biblical spirituality to the Burmese brothers, most of whom are pastors in different parts of Myanmar.  They have emailed us already to tell us how the Lord used the class and how they are now passing on the teaching to their churches in areas of Myanmar that reach tribal people groups like the Karen, Kechin, and the Shan.

3)  We celebrated the graduation of some of the Burmese students, where Evan delivered the commencement address, urging the brothers to pursue a life-long study of the greatest of all studies—the study of the love of Christ.

4)  Kristie and the boys ventured out into busy and rainy Yangon to ride the train, visit the local market, and check out a third-world zoo.
We encouraged the boys to pray about giving a Burmese gospel tract to someone.  At the end of the trip, they made drawings and gave a tract to the Burmese man who cleaned our hotel room each day.  He was delighted.  Another house keeping man saw the gospel tract and asked for a copy as well.

The boys prepare drawings to give
to the hotel workers
5)  We attended a Burmese church where Evan preached on Hebrews 11 and taught how the honor and shame paradigm that is deeply ingrained in the Asian mindset can be understood through honoring God through faith and bringing shame to God through unbelief.

6)  Evan has been working with a Christian Burmese lady to translate one of Judson’s books (called A Digest of Scripture) on basic Bible doctrine for discipleship.  She just finished the translation of the first-ever English copy.

7)  Another highlight was Evan’s opportunity to share the gospel at length with a Muslim, though most Burmese are Buddhists.  One of the benefits of being in Yangon was that most people spoke English, so it made sharing the gospel quite easy.

8)  Here are short portions of some emails written by a few if Evan’s students after the class:
Yangon's Shwe Dagon pagoda, Buddhist monks,
and the busy streets of Myanmar
          “You did leave an impression of desiring Jesus more and the impact of the gospel on my heart. Your passion inspired me and the rest of the class for sure. Now I have been practicing praying through the scripture and the tips of meditation in my personal devotion. Surely, it brings a lot of excitement and freshness to my devotional life. Thank God for that. I just passed some lessons from your teachings to my church and they were truly blessed. The fire is spreading. I am excited about to translate your work on Judson's spirituality. That will be a great benefits for our Myanmar Christians.”
          “I will never regret about that as God used this course, Professor Burns and my fellow brothers to change my spiritual life. To tell you the truth, It was burning in my heart during the class as we study God's word.  Praise God, now, God is leading me to another step of my spiritual life as I humbly come to the Cross again. May the Lord bless  all of you according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

Friday, May 2, 2014

A Day in the Life of a Missionary Wife

While Evan typically spends the day at the seminary, I stay home with our boys.  This past year we started homeschool and have made our way through part of kindergarten. 

The morning is often spent doing various homeschool activities, reading books to the boys, and feeding lunch to the boys.  When the boys play together, I try to squeeze in some admin work.  The rest of my day is often spent reading books to the boys some more, dinner prep, and family time after Evan gets home.  A highlight of each day is taking a night walk/run with Evan while we push the boys in the double stroller.  If the boys don't talk the whole time, then Evan and I have a chance to chat!

Some of the perks of being a missionary wife in Thailand include:

A field trip to a famous temple
overlooking Chiang Mai
1)  Cool homeschool field trips--a visit to a mountainous Hmong village or to the Chiang Mai Zoo, just to name a few.

The boys decide
to do the dishes
2)  Taking the boys to the seminary for the day and doing homeschool while dad works.  I love that they get to see what he does up close.

3)  That the boys and I can travel with Evan to ABTS satellite locations in other countries and do ministry together as a family.  

4)  Abundant opportunities to proclaim our great gospel to Thai people.


Friday, March 7, 2014

You Know You're An MK in Thailand When...

1. You eat mac & cheese from the import grocery store as a special treat.
2. Your favorite "play place" is a song teaw parked in a local mall.  (a song-taew is a red pick-up truck with seats and a canopy in the back to haul people around--it's a common source of public transport here in Thailand)
3. You dig holes during play time in your front yard for scorpions to fall into.  
4. Your legs always have a number of swollen mosquito bites.
5. You complain that it's cold when it's in the low 80's.
6. You go on a walk in the neighborhood to find tropical flowers for your mom.
7. You have names for the countless stray dogs and kittys roaming your neighborhood.
8. You eat KFC on the go instead of McDonalds because it's 200 baht (app. $6) cheaper.
9. You get excited that some neighbor kids speak a little English.
10. You're flying into Bangkok, gazing at the huge city out the window, and you ask your mom, "Who's going to preach the gospel in Thailand?"

As our boys near 4.5 year olds old, we are thankful for the unique experiences life in Thailand brings for them.  The blessings far outweigh the challenges...

Some challenges...

Constant attention anytime we go anywhere.  The Thais are fascinated by twin boys with fair skin and bright, big eyes.  It's not just the staring but often people reach out to touch them or take their picture.

Missing friends and family.

No library to freshen up our book selection.  And these boys LOVE books!

Overwhelming heat and limited play areas due to snakes, scorpions, etc.

Some blessings...

Seeing our boys grow in compassion for people and an understanding of the gospel.  Just last night, Elijah wanted to pray for an elderly Thai lady they often see while playing outside.  He prayed, "Dear Father, thank You that Jesus died on the cross to save sinners.  We pray for the Thai lady, please send someone to teach her the gospel and help her to know Your great love."

Enjoying the family God provides through the Body of Christ.  Our next door Christian neighbor Khruu Gang has Thai play time with them 2-4 hours per week.  And they just love her!

Plentiful examples of visible idols and temples to give the boys a concrete image of the lostness of serving false gods.

Two-hour Skype sessions with grandparents.  The boys love having the grandparents read them books via Skype!

Hearing our boys "play pastor" on a regular basis, worshipping the Lord in song, and "preaching" the gospel and "teaching" the Bible.  They especially love to proclaim John 3:16.

Friday, January 3, 2014

A Beautiful Savior

Living in Thailand provides the daily opportunity to marvel at the beauty around us. The tropical scenery of Northern Thailand is breathtaking. The vegetation comes in every shade of green imaginable, dotted with colorful, exotic flowers. The Thai and tribal handiwork crafts display a true taste of the rainbow. The hundreds of thousands of temples across this Buddhist Kingdom cast a spectacular golden gleam in the afternoon sun.

And yet amidst all this beauty, we are regularly reminded that the majority of people in this nation are blinded to the glories of the gospel.  They are in bondage to Buddhism, without the hope of our beautiful Savior.

In this new year, we are eager to see how God will cause the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ to blaze brilliantly in this country and among the unreached peoples of Asia. 



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