We have had four good days of training here in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The students are all pastors and all seem quite bright. They love to discuss and interact, sometimes together without translations, so we do not know what is going on. In most things they catch on quite quickly. But they also struggle in some ways. They are used to finding a principle in the scripture and preaching about that rather that trying to preach what the text is saying. In parts of Jonah they pick a main idea and preach that without trying to consider what else the passage has to say or the overall purpose. But that is not untypical and they are making progress and seem to be enjoying it. We all seemed tired today, myself included, and that made for a harder day. And the 4th chapter which we covered today is more challenging. We always remind ourselves that we are looking for long term improvement not short term success.
Unfortunately, the only translation they have is from the Good News for Modern Man translation. Sometimes it is not too good. Also, we found that they are studying in Black Lahu, but most of them are Yellow Lahu, a somewhat different language group. In addition their language has no tenses, everything is in present tense. They use context to distinguish what time they are talking about. That makes understanding context quite easy but makes understanding the text hard at times. Our translators are quite good and are godly men which makes them a joy to work with.
We are facing the same issues we face most places in the area of finances. The Lahu are used to Americans paying for everything and we cannot and do not feel it is good for us to do that. We can help them only with a small portion of the total cost. It is always a learning curve for all of us as we seek to help them multiply the training and they wrestle with financing it. Pray for us for wisdom in these areas.
We did hear a sad story about one of the bright young students here at the school. We remember meeting Amiee Boi last year and she was a bright happy young girl. We were told that she bubbled over with the joy of the Lord. Earlier this year she returned from a trip to her home quite sad and different. It was later learned that her parents, who are unbelievers and in the drug trade, had been forced to promise her as a bride to another drug smuggler. She had no choice but to marry him when she returned home. I do not understand all the cultural and family issues that made this necessary but I am assured she had no options. We do not have a current report on her but believe her to be the only Christian in her village and now married to a much older man. Would you pray with us that the Lord would undertake for her and encourage her and use her according to His will?
Thank you for your faithful prayers,