Despite feeling completely brain dead after just the first day, church camp was awesome! I never went to the camp expecting to learn lots from the Bible, mainly cos my lack of language was always going to restrict me, especially in relation to 'Biblical language'. But despite lack of language, God still taught and encouraged me way beyond what i thought was possible. I actually chose not to get interpretation during the talks/workshop/seminars etc cos i really wanted to try and push myself in my language. I knew if i had an interpreter, i'd get lazy and probably not bother listening or trying to work out what was being said in Thai. So after the fullest timetable i've ever sat through ie
Day 1 = 3 x 1hr bible talks, 1 x 2hr workshop, 1hr worth of testimonies and sharing, 1hr of small groups totaling 7hrs of formal heavy 'brain work' - all in Thai
Day 2 = starting at 7am with 'group quiet times' (still not sure how that works), 2x1hr session talks, 2hr workshop, 1hr of testimonies/sharing, small groups - plus preparing for the saturday night activity our cell group was organising, then 'homework' in prep for the following day's 'group quiet time'
Day 3 = 7am start group quiet times, then a church service - but lasting 3hrs, followed by baptisms in the resort pool (very cool!)
baptisms at the church camp
pretty nice really!!
In all that, i pretty much managed no rest except at night to sleep. I honestly think that if i had to sit through a program like that in english, i would've been struggling too, but in another language....OH MY!!!!
But tiredness aside, it was a really encouraging weekend, where the speaker (Ajarn Chaiyan) kind of ran 'workshop' type talks rather then typical 'bible talks' that i'm usually used to in a camp setting. (On talking to some of my friends here, they said it was the first time they've had it in that style before too). Ajarn Chaiyan was really passionate in wanting to equip people to not only be thinking about evangelism and 'making disciples', but to be training disciples to be making disciples as well - in growing christians to maturity. So in doing so, he obviously presented the gospel to help people think about what they would say if they had an opportunity to help someone understand what it meant to be a christian. I had some friends who had never even thought about the idea that as christians, we should also be helping others to grow and become christians so they too can be helping others understand the gospel. It was really exciting to see people being challenged in ways they've never been challenged before.
Denise also had heaps of friends that went along. Despite Noy's husband not coming in the end (see my last post), there were others who came along and decided to accept christ at the camp! Praise God!! Please pray for one lady Jaa who decided to become a christian. Pray that she will have the opportunity to build on her new faith and build a solid foundation in Christ.
During the camp, all 15 of those who got baptised there got to give there testimony. Lack of language really is frustrating when you can't get the full story, but from those i could understand, i was so encouraged to hear how God worked in their lives, how they have been able to completely change and become 'new' people since becoming christian, to see how they just fully want to serve God in whatever capacity they can. It's just amazing. We had teenagers through to an 78 yr old grandmother get baptised! It's so amazing to see how God can change lives of all sorts of people of all ages!!
It was also great to get to know more people at church and meet new friends too amongst all the fun, games, silliness and food.
For those who are praying:
- please pray for all that went to the church camp, to keep on thinking about the things they learnt and put them into action
- pray for Jaa and other that wanted to become christians
- thank God for the teaching and wisdom of Ajarn Chaiyan
- give thanks for those who were baptised, for their lives to be a great testimony and witness for God
Here are a couple happy snaps of the weekend (sorry there aren't too many more, i actually ended up doing more video this time around for a change)
me and daa
our cell group dressed up as kids in our version of 'are you smarter then a 5th grader
some of our cell group
my new friend Preuk