We had intended to send half the team to Northern Sudan but again with the political situation in that nation and the divisions following the secession of the south from the north many south Sudanese have been forcible relocated from homes in the North and the North is not issuing any visas to South Sudanese or Americans which has forced us to pray and ask what is next. So the team has made contact with ministry in the South and are now planning on flying into Juba, South Sudan in about a week. Because of the forced re locations from the North to the South it has caused a new refugee crisis. Our team will be going into the new IDP camps to minister to the poor and needy and bring the love of Christ. In the south there are Muslims, animists, and Christians and everything in between. This will give our team a unique opportunity to share with many people.
Please be praying for both teams, for protection, safety and health. Malaria among other diseases are rampant in Sudan. Please be praying a covering over the teams as well as Ellen and I as the Training Directors as we come under attack as the covering over the teams on outreach.
Spring Fling Update!
This is a recent update from our Turkey team.
" Our team spend the week in Edirne, on the border of Greece and Bulgaria. We took park in a Cultural Exchange program organized by two awesome long term workers there. Edirne has 140,000 people with about 40,000 of those people college students. The week long program was so tiring, but so amazing! From 5 pm-11 am we spent time with our Turkish hosts and from 1pm-5pm we toured the city. We found ourselves completely immersed in Turkish culture. It was such an special privelege to make friends like that. We all gained new perspective on Islam and the emerging adult age group. We are finding more and more that Turkey is as Islamic as we America is Christian. College is a time to seek freedom and "happiness" away from the confines of religion. So interesting to think about the similarities.
Our Turkish hosts really became our friends. Some of the group even got to share their faith. We were the first Americans let alone Christians these students had ever met. We are confident that many seeds were planted and God will continue to grow them even after we have left.
We are now in Antalya getting ready for some physical labor in an olive grove and support at a men's conference at one of the largest churches in Turkey. We're excited to be in one place for a month."
Ellen and I have always had a heart for the Middle East and one of the reasons we came to Oregon was to begin to develop a greater focus on one of the most unreached parts of the world. We are excited to see God begin to lay the foundations for this.
Team Thailand is in Chiang Mai now and has just survived Songkran, the buddist water festival where water and then flour are thrown at people randomly. They are working with a ministry our team worked with called Lighthouse in action. They minister to university students at a cafe called Wongen Cafe which also retrains girls who have gotten out of the sex trade in Thailand. They have also been going into the bars and ministering to the girls giving them a hope that there is life outside of working in the bars.
Our Engage DTS which is a justice focus school Ellen and I pioneered two years ago and is in week 6 now. This year it has a reconcilliation focus on North Africa.We are sending teams to two muslem countries in North Africa and are very excited to see what God is going to do. This is continuing to develop our focus on the Muslem world. Stephen and Candice Wani are leading the school this year. Stephen grew up in Sudan and lived through so much injustice in his life including the death of his father by the military. Stephen has worked extensivly in the Middle East and speaks arablic fluently, it has been great to see his influence in the school and our campus.
We wanted to also thank you all for praying for us this past December. We felt a strong sense that we needed a prayer covering over our family and we where stoked at the response we saw and felt.
Our winter Discipleship Training School started the first week of January with 11 students from the US and Australia. We are looking to sending two teams out one to Turkey and one to Myanmar/Thailand.
We are also preparing for our third Engage DTS which is a school Ellen and I pioneered that has a focus on issues of justice. This year we have a young married couple, Stephen and Candice Wani, leading the school. Stephen is from Sudan and Candice is from Portland and are planning on returning to Sudan longterm. This years school will have a reconciliation focus and teams will be going to Africa.
We also are praying into taking a scouting trip into Libya to look into the possibility of sending teams there in the future.
Pray for Kauai
We are asking for Prayer while I am gone not only for our family but also for this trip. Kauai is the most unreached of all the islands and though it has the most natural beauty it is also the most dark spiritually. For all the years we where in Honolulu we prayed and worked toward seeing a campus established on Kauai.
I am excited about the chance to teach and bring discipleship to the students and staff of this new base. I will then be spending about 5 days in Honolulu, where we staffed and led for 11 years, doing staff training and development.
Into a new year The Summer: We had a very busy summer this year. It seems like our schedules are begining to revolve around our teenage son. We started the summer with sending off two outreach teams, one to Nepal/India and another to Romania/Moldova. This summer we also saw our second School of Communications Foundations start, this school is a core course for the University of the Nations. The School of Communication Foundations aims to strengthen students’ communication skills and provide a platform for a deeper relationship with God as the Author of communication. We also ran our second Environment and Resource Stewardship School. The EARS School lays the foundation for a Christian approach to creation care, and develops some fundamental areas of understanding as to how the planet works and how to care for it. This is one of the most hands on practical schools in YWAM training missionary's how to develop sustainable agriculture, clean water, and resource management among other topics which when applied on the field help develop communities. Along with these two secondary schools our Crossroads Dischipleship Training School which runs every summer kicked off, we just sent them off to the Northern Philippines just last week!
On the home front Camden made the Juniors All Star team for our local Little League, this was a huge privilege for him to play and for me to be able to coach him but it also changed our whole summer schedule;) Camden also attended his third year at Corban University's Theater Camp, Camden has developed into quite the actor on the stage as well as at home. Our girls continued to develop into great swimmers with lessons this summer and Kayla continues to be our horse lover taking lessons.
We also made a fund raising trip to California, thanks to all those who came to our fund raising party's. We are hoping to get down south again this December to host a some more. We are looking to raise about another $1000 per month of committed monthly support, we have fallen way short the past year. If you are interested in supporting us we included information below on how to do that.
The Fall: For us a whole new year starts in the fall. Though as missions trainers, disciplers, and as a family year round it seems like we are busy now for us a new year starts in the fall not January 1st.This Fall quarter starts September 22 this year with our Discipleship Training School and our Korean Discipleship Training School but first our Basic Leadership School starts this weekend with eight students who are looking to develop into future leaders. Outside of overseeing and leading out training department here at YWAM Salem I am also staffing the BLS this year. Ellen will also be discipling our girl staff leading small groups and doing one on ones with them.
I also have the privilege of teaching in our new YWAM Kauai DTS this September. This work was pioneered over a year ago on the island of Kauai. For many years we prayed for a team to be formed and sent over to Kauai to reach the island for Jesus and raise up the church to send missionaries. While I am there I will also be doing staff training with them. I will then head over the Honolulu to do staff training with their staff and to visit our friends. It has been two years since I was last in Hawaii for Kevin Darroughs memorial service and miss it dearly, I would love to connect with as many of our friends while I am there for the four days, for our Hawaii Ohana let me know if you will be around. the first week of October.
Ellen is also busy with homeschooling with Camden now in 8th grade, Kayal 5th, and Cassia in 3rd there is never a dull moment. Camden is also doing theater this fall and is trying out for a part in "A Christmas Story" which will keep him very busy this year.
Fall 2010 DTS-Thailand team
We want to introduce you to our Fall 2010 Thailand team. We will be leaving December 9th and will be serving in Thailand for almost three months. We are really excited to be part of Gods plan for reaching Thailand and to play a part in raising up the next generation of missionaries.
Check out our Thai Team blog
So we are leaving today for the largest refugee camp in Thailand housing 75,000 refugees from the conflict in Burma. Please be praying for our team as we are staying overnight with them. Some of our team are sick with various things.
We are now into our second week of outreach and are in Mae Sot, Thailand. We
hit the ground running after an 8 hr bus ride we went out that evening
Christmas caroling. Since then we have been serving through open air
evangelism, ministering at local pubic schools, we also helped with the
first ever Christmas parade here in Mae Sot which was followed up by an
evangelistic crusade at the largest sporting grounds in the city. It was
attended by the Mayor of Mae Sot as well as most of the local churches.
One of the highlights so far has been visiting the Mae Sot dump. Yes the
On the dump there are over 20 Karen refugee family's living off of the
refuse from the city of Mae Sot. We first visited the dump last week and
performed an open air evangelistic outreach, as a team we where so struck by
the living conditions and the feeling we had of hopelessness that we had to
take some action. We went back this week with food, candy for the kids, and
school supplies. One of the boys who lives and works on the dump took us
around to all the shacks some of which are literally built on the dump.
Despite what we see as appalling living conditions what these refugees have
fled in Burma is worse than where they are living now.
I kept being struck by the thought that it isn't supposed to be like this.
Children shouldn't be growing up surrounded by swarms of flies where their
parents and siblings rush to every dump truck full of garbage. We are struck
by the disparity of world view that allows this.
It is in stark contrast that we celebrate the birth of Jesus this year along
side Thai and Burmese who in many ways far more embody the life of Jesus
than our commercialized version we see in the west today.
As a team we have had the opportunity to minister to the Burmese living here in Mae Sot. The Burmese who live here are the marginalized of society many are here illegally without any rights, their children cannot go to school, they work long hours for far less than a Thai worker would for the same work, if they are caught without papers many are sent back to Burma. Others end up in the largest refugee camp in Thailand with approximately 75,000 living there. They are made up of Karen and other Burmese Hill tribe people groups. We have been able to reach out to them on a garbage dump, at local factory's where they work, in schools, and in remote villages.
We could also use your prayers. Almost our entire team has come down with a nasty stomach flu including our whole family except Kayla. Cassia is still sick with diarrhea which seems to be persisting. Despite this we have had an amazing first three weeks of outreach so far as a family. Our team is doing well and jumps in head first into everything we ask them. Serving in Asia requires flexibility. Often things change, schedules are different, or we show up at a location and find out we are the main attraction.
On a humorous note, at many of the local middle and high schools we have ministered at Camden has been mistaken for a Justin Bieber look alike. So far he has broken many hearts and has adoring fans all over Mae Sot.
We arrived in Chiang Mai on Sunday and are well into seeing what God has for us here. Our ministry focus while in Chiang Mai will be engaging with University students through teaching English. There are around 65,000 University students enrolled in collages here in Chiang Mai. We are also focusing on human trafficking by ministering in the red light district here. Human trafficking is a global epidemic which is visibly evident here in the many open bars which cater to western men. Many of the girls working in the bars are trafficked and many are working because they have no other way to support themselves or their family's. Each one has a story and we are seeking to connect with the bar girls to show them the love of Christ and a better way. We also seek to engage with the many customers who are just as hurting.
While we are here we are also looking to serve weekly in a local orphanage as well as connecting with Burmese in a local clinic which cares for some of the most sick patients from a Burmese clinic in Mae Sot we visited.
Please be praying for real fruit from our time here in Chiang Mai. We will be here over one month and want to see Gods hand move in this city.
Chiang Mai update-week 5 1-29-11
Monday starts our final week of teaching English at the Centre as well as our ministry into the red light district. Both of these ministries have been extremely fruitful in building relationship and sharing Jesus. All our students have had opportunities to share their lives with the students they have been teaching English to. they have spent time outside of the classes having meals, being taken to see cultural sights, shopping, and having coffee. These are the times where conversation often turns to why we are here and who Jesus is. We are really looking for open doors this final week to really share with them as well as get them connected to the Centre for ongoing discipleship and relationship.
The ministry into the red light as been just as fruitfull. Three of our girls have has opportunity to spend time with one of the bartenders who works in the bar as well as the bar owner who is gay and his boyfriend. They have been over to Mina's house for a traditional Thai meal as well as being invited to a graduation party for Mina's nephew where they hung out with the owner of the bar they have been ministering in.
Ellen has been ministering to Mia who works at a coffee shop near our guest house. She has also been teaching English to a Muslim girl whose family runs a small street shop selling food which is across the street from our guest house as well.
What we really need prayer for is to have open doors to really share the eternal life found only in Jesus with our friends.
Final outreach update
Ellen developed relationships with two girls. Musina, a Thai Muslim from the south. Ellen was able to help her with learning English for a course she is taking. It has been amazing to see the transformation in her and her dad who thought she was stupid because she couldn't learn, she has been able to improve her courses and her relationship with her father has gotten better. We have been able to show them the love of Christ through serving their felt needs.
Ellen also developed a relationship with Ai who is part owners in a coffee shop near our guest house. Ellen is leaving her with a bible and the hope of Christ.
Our team has taught English the past four weeks to about 30 students from Chiang Mai University. From first year students to PHD candidates we have developed relationship and shared Jesus in a way they have never seen, we are now passing on these relationships to the Centre and Won Gen, two ministries who work long term with university students.
We have also been going into the red light district here in Chiang Mai where many girls serve the western men coming to Thailand, many of them are there not out of choice. Our team worked in two bars and have had a dramatic impact. The last night here the bar owner threw a birthday party for one of our team members, we where able to give out bibles and gifts to the girls who worked there. We are looking to pass on the friends we have made with our next outreach team from our Winter DTS which is going to Mae Sot and Chiang Mai this spring to follow up on what we have done and to water the seeds that we have planted.
Below is a picture from the Burmese clinic we have been going to once a week. This past week we used a resource from Create International, a ministry of YWAM, to present the gospel message in their own language. We have been visiting the clinic, praying for the patients and showing the love of Jesus. One patient we have been praying for has been blind from a tumor in her brain for the past 6 months. This past visit she told us she is now beginning to see shadows! We thanked God for seeing improvement and trust she will be completely healed.
Our team is currently serving in a Shan-Thai village about three hours north of Chiang Mai. This is the village Emmi, one of our local Thai leaders is from.
Visit us at www.thehathways.com
Phitsanalok and beyond We leave for Phitsanalok this week and spend four days there. This is a city that God spoke to our team in the first few weeks of DTS before we even knew there was a city with such a name and in the location that God showed us in a picture. God had given us the first part of the city's name, the location in central Thailand, and a picture of a bridge with with flowers in the foreground. We found out that this indeed is a real city and that there is a lone YWAMer working there and just a few weeks ago while on a tour of another YWAM ministry here in Chiang Mai we saw a photo of Phitsanalok that is almost exactly the picture that one of our students got of a bridge with pink flowers. We are excited about this short trip and feel God is wanting to do something out of the box for us.
From there we travel to Bangkok for debriefing before returning home February 18th.
Please be praying for our final week here that we can finish strong and leave a lasting impact on our relationships and our students who have come on this trip with us. We are praying for long term workers to come out of this school. We already have one of our students who is planning on returning to work in Mae Sot this spring with Pastor Michael who is our local Thai contact there.
We wanted to send out a final summary of the past few months.
It has been an amazing school and an even more amazing outreach. Out of this school we sent teams out to Uganda/Kenya, Myanmar/Thailand, and Thailand (our team). From these three outreach teams we saw over 300 people make a decision to follow Christ! We did food distribution and basic medical attention to Karen refugees living on the Mae Sot garbage dump. Our team was able to share the gospel in an unreached Karen hill tribe village where no missionary or foreigner had ever been. In Uganda the team did relief and development in a village where everyone is infected with HIV/AIDS. In Chiang Mai we shared Jesus in the red light district, one of the bar girls said to our student that this was the first time that she had seen the love of Jesus before. We saw a woman who was blind from a tumor in her head begin to see shadows after our team spent three weeks praying and visiting her. Lives have been transformed.
Many of our students have decided to pursue missions, some are coming back for secondary schools either here or abroad, some are coming back on staff with us, and all have gone home ruined for the ordinary.
None of this could have been possible in part to your prayers and your support. For that we thank you with a big MAHALOS!