We are enjoying our stay in Thailand. We had a very restful and refreshing weekend with no responsibilities, simply enjoying the company of good friends. It is quite hot and muggy, but not unbearable. We went to church in an English church on Sunday that is attended mostly by missionaries. Unfortunately an associate was preaching and gave one of the worst expositions I have ever heard. Mike said afterward, “That is why we need Pathways, isn’t it?”
Today, Monday, was really quite pleasant, although we do get a bit damp teaching with only fans on us. But the day went beautifully. Our teammates Mike and his wife Cathy have been a great blessing. We began our teaching late this morning because most of the students were an hour late, which we had expected, so it was no problem. It is difficult for them to get here earlier since they are pastors and can’t leave on Sunday, and Mondays often bring surprises for them.
We began asking for a report about how they have passed on the training to others. I was especially concerned because this has been a problem in the past with some having not passed it on at all for various reasons. But this time they had all been training, and most of the groups are now only one workshop behind (this is their fourth) and they plan to all be through #3 by August. I was thrilled and they were happy to have accomplished what seemed impossible to them last year. Some of the trainings have gone three layers deep and all the pastors are training in their own villages. The director of the Lahu denomination is our translator, and he is teaching the 2nd and 3rd year students in the school here the same curriculum. He is also requiring all the Lahu pastors to attend the training at one level or another. We believe all this is going to have a great impact on the Lahu people.
We learned once again how complicated it is to translate our teaching into the Lahu language which is a simple agrarian language. We were teaching the different kinds of literature in the Bible and included stories, law and prophecy. We did an exercise on Exodus 17:8-13 about Moses lifting his arms in the battle with Amalek. Mike asked them what type of literature this was and they answered prophecy. We had noticed the translator had a difficult time translating the word prophecy. We found out that they do not have a word for prophecy in their language so they say it is “what a prophet speaks”. So because Exodus is written by Moses a prophet, the passage surely must be prophecy. It took awhile to explain that this was a story and why, but it was a good learning experience for us all.
We did an exercise this afternoon where we asked them to list the most important problems or difficulties in the Lahu church. Some of the answers were about the loss of culture, but the first one was the most important. It is a problem that is common all over the world. They said Lahu Christians live no differently than the people around them and often rely on cultural solutions rather than going to God or the Bible in times of need. Doesn’t that sound familiar? We will study some passages of scripture tomorrow and hope to help them find answers to this need in the text.
Tonight we had dinner with the Callahan's and their neighbors at a new little restaurant. We noticed that the owner had a Christian fish on his car and finally asked him about it. He said he is investigating becoming a Christian. It seemed a bit odd that he had the fish before he actually became a Christian. He had a dream about a white church with a white cross and asked some Christian friends about it. They are sharing the gospel with him. Mike had a chance to briefly share with him, and he was so open and thankful. Without the fish on the car we would never have asked or known about his search.
The students seem very happy to be here and we expect to have a great week training. Edie and I are both enjoying good health so are thankful for that. I am struggling a little bit with planter fasciitis in one foot and it is a bit difficult to be on my bare feet all day on the tile floor. But it is manageable so I am content, but would appreciate your prayers for my one foot. Thanks.