The training for the men in Chiang Mai went very well, despite the usual problems with translation but we were able to navigate that okay. The men have shown such great improvement over the past two years. It really is remarkable. Daniel, a ReachGlobal cohort, trained with me. It was his first time working in a training with nationals and he did well. He commented, “If this is the hardest group you have then this material works really well.” He was quite impressed with the sermons the men presented.
I continue to learn with each training trip. On this trip, I saw that some of the tools we teach early on get lost as we add new tools later. In addition, the men can preach on each section quite well but have trouble seeing the flow of the message through the whole passage. I think that the Lord has given me clarity on how to address both of those issues as we go forward. I also have been struggling to determine how to write our workshop on the Redemptive Story well. I have not been satisfied with what we have. I think I finally have some direction on that as well.
We are now at the ReachGlobal Asia conference in Southern Thailand. It is beautiful here and the hotel is really nice. It is a good break for us after three hard weeks of training and travel. My back is finally clearing up and I have little more than a bit of stiffness, especially if I stand a long time but I can live with that. The massage I got in Chiang Mai was torturous. I had never had a massage before and everyone advised me that a deep tissue massage would help loosen my back. It did but the price was high. Wow! A rather large Thai woman gave me a real workout and it was quite painful. After an hour of working on me, she took me downstairs and asked a muscular Thai man to finish because she didn’t think she was strong enough. I had thought she was too strong! He gave me another half hour of torture, and lo and behold, I was quite loosened up, limp perhaps from all the pain. Anyway, my back has been improving ever since. I went to the only chiropractor in Chiang Mai and I don’t think he helped me at all. All in all, I am thankful to be mostly pain free and able to get around well now.
Our time here at the conference has been wonderful with good opportunities to connect with people interested in our Pathways program. We had good discussions with some Hmong leaders and we are making plans to begin something with them in a year or so. There are approximately one million Hmong Christians in Asia, 400,000 in Vietnam alone, and almost none of them have formal training. Pray with us that we can get all of the issues resolved to begin training trainers for them by 2016.
In our main session, a missionary give a testimony of discipling an Indonesian man. It was an amazing story of humble and effective influence in this man’s life. Then the missionary said he had learned about Pathways and had begun using it with the men in his area and that it was so wonderful. He gave us a great endorsement. I had never met this man and had no idea he was using our material. I was amazed and delighted that the Lord was spreading our training far beyond us. All glory to Him.