Today was the Grace Church Chiang Mai's 10th Anniversary! (that's the church that i'm going to here in Chiang Mai in case you hadn't guessed). In order to celebrate, they had a special afternoon of singing, people sharing about their memories of the church, song items, dance items and lots of food. It was a really fun, encouraging afternoon. Despite people practically begging me to do this Issan dance with them, i somehow managed to avoid being on show dancing, however Denise wasn't so lucky and got herself roped into doing it much to my amusement.
(that's denise at the back in case you couldn't pick her)
However, as a trade off for not dancing i did have to play piano (which is ok) and decorate yet ANOTHER cake (cos i'm just so good at it). Thankfully this one didn't involve the colour pink, but i'm hoping that i did manage to spell correctly.
It's been awesome going along to Grace this year. Even though everything that happens there is in Thai (which means i don't always understand a huge amount), the people there have been so welcoming to me and have helped make me feel right at home.
As many of you would know, one of my ongoing prayer points for Christians in Thailand is that they will have the opportunity to learn how to read and understand the Bible for themselves, so they can grow in their knowledge and understanding of the real God and know how to apply the Bible to their lives correctly. I mentioned in a post a couple weeks back how i found myself at some 'leadership conference' and the teaching there was somewhat 'interesting' and even though random passages were read from the Bible, they were taught completely out of context by the preacher. The thing i found tough and frustrating was the way that people were lapping up all the teaching that was being served up to them, because they really don't know any better or know how to be discerning. One piece of advice i remember being given is never to believe anything that comes out of anyone's mouth (even if it is my most trusted pastor) - but to always look back to the Bible and see if what they says fits in with what the Bible is really saying. Sure it may mean more work, but hey, it's worth it when it comes to God's Word!
After attending that conference, i think i really came to appreciate Grace church much more, because i can see the way that the leaders at the church do have a desire and passion to see God's Word taught correctly and not just a series of stories and experiences of the preacher (even if the teaching that comes out is sometimes a little bit left field). I see that those who have been entrusted with the roles of preaching and teaching do the best they can with the things that they've been taught. For me, it makes me realise how much more they have to learn and how much they really need good resources (both human and written) that we so often take for granted back home. There is such a huge need to help Thai's learn to read and understand the Bible for themselves, so they can be teaching other Thai's how to read and understand it too. it will mean that their ministry will be much more effective and they'll be so much more better equipped to be teaching the Bible. A short term project that can be done in a year? I'm thinking not..... :)
For those praying:
- thank God for Grace church and it's ministry over the past 10 years
- Thank God for all the people it's ministered to and for the people who so eagerly want to serve God there
- Please pray for the Christians there to continue to have an eagerness to want to know God better and desire and opportunity to learn how to read the Bible correctly
- Pray for more like more 'like minded' missionaries to come out onto the field to help train thai's