It has been an exciting week here in Thailand. The training has gone super well, even with the few bumps. The first day we worked through Psalms 42-43 and the pastors were clueless as to the structure which centered around clearly repeated verses. I have to admit I was worried a bit as it took a lot of explanation for them to finally understand what we were looking for. The concept of structure is something they struggle with culturally and it was clear they did not understand it here in Psalms. But, with the Lord’s help we finally got the point across, I hoped. They made their first presentations the next day on Psalm 73 and they did very well, all of the 4 presenters. I was so excited that they had figured out the structure and message of the Psalm really well.
During the course of the week I learned some very helpful ways to help them preach the Psalms better and how to include Christ in the gospel in a helpful way, not just inserting Jesus into the text artificially. I am so thankful that the Lord continues to teach me step by step, just like I am trying to teach them. This whole trip has been a great learning experience for me, for which I am so thankful.
Today the pastors preached on Psalms 107 and did an outstanding job, every one of them getting the structure almost perfect and preaching right through the text. all my fears about their failure to grasp the structure of Psalms 42-43 were unfounded. They demonstrated that they had really learned well. The progress they have made in the last year and a half is simply amazing. It was hard for me to keep my composure at times as I saw them do so well. Thank you Lord. I can just imagine the benefits their churches are receiving with this new biblical preaching. One student said he had revised his sermon every day as he learned new concepts and had done so again this morning. His sermon was very good.
I am usually fully ready to head for home by this time, and I admit it looks good right now, but this time I am sorry the week is over. I have so enjoyed the men and have been so happy with their progress. It is fun to see them realize that they are growing as well. Mentally, I am keeping home at bay since we leave tomorrow not for home but for Tokyo, where we will work with one of our ReachGlobal teams and some nationals introducing Pathways to them. We do not know exactly what is in store for us there, do we ever? But we know God is with us and it will be interesting, come what may.
Although it is hot and humid here and I am training alone I have managed quite well. My feet, which were a major concern as little as a month ago, have stood up well standing barefoot on tile floors all day. It is almost miraculous, well really not almost, it is miraculous. God is so gracious, my feet feel much better today, Thursday, at the end of the training than they did when I began the trip 3 weeks ago. I think I am finally fully adjusted to Asian time. It shows in the fact that I am now having trouble going to sleep at night just like I do at home. That is the one blessing of jet lag, I can fall asleep easily. Pray that I can manage for one more week.