We arrived in Chiang Mai, Thailand on Friday afternoon, October 30, after a 30-hour trip to Bangkok and an overnight in a hotel. We planned to arrive an extra day early because of all the business and stress of the previous 6 weeks with our move to Colorado and my heart attack. We had good rest with our dear friends the Callahans, and feel much better as a result. We started training on Monday and the men were not well prepared. They obviously did not understand what they were supposed to do so it threw off our schedule by quite a bit. We spent the last two days working through what they should have done, and now they are preparing their sermons to begin preaching tomorrow. This was not my plan but the Lord’s, and I can see how it has turned out for the best for these dear pastors. It is not that they are lazy or irresponsible; they just have a huge learning curve culturally to get over in order to know how to plan ahead and prepare a whole series of sermons on Habakkuk.
I am reminded how patient God is with me, and what a huge learning curve I have to overcome to be more like him. Only by his grace will I make progress. I am happy to extend that same grace to these dear brothers. Once again, I am learning from Habakkuk that God is not obligated to make my life pleasant. I am to live by faith in him no matter what may come. That is ultimately the best way to glorify him. It is the way to life. I thought about this on the way over, being really tired near the end of the 30 hour first day, and feeling poorly as usual after such a trip. I realized that God did not have to help us with a myriad of small complications, although he did help us, but that this was my service to him to endure for a greater purpose. That purpose is that his people would know his Word. On this trip, we have the potential to set up training for thousands of pastors over the next several years that will impact literally hundreds of thousands of believer’s lives. I came to believe that such a mission was worth some small discomforts and it helped me endure with a better attitude. May we all have such a perspective in every part of our lives.