Payao is a town about 2hrs drive from Chiang Mai. Our trip up there last week was awesome but it also felt like a whole other world of mission opportunity where i felt like i had lost about 8 months worth of language. Payao is where Png (a good thai friend and fellow worker in the gospel) is from - well, it's actually a muu baan (like a housing estate with a LOT of people is probably the easiest way to describe it) that's about 25mins from the main town of Payao. Png became a Christian a few years ago, and since has had a huge passion to see her family and friends from Payao also come to know God too. So over the past few years, whenever she's gone home to visit, she's never been shy to talk to them about God. Over the past few months, God has been doing some amazing things in the hearts of many of her family members up there, and recently several of them have decided to become christians! Huge Praise point!! However, unfortunately there isn't really a good church up there that Png feels confident to send them to. Being a 'smallish' town, many of the people there very rarely venture out of the Muu Baan, let alone allow others in. So it was actually really difficult for Png to work out what to do for them to help them to grow as Christians and give them an opportunity to meet and learn from the Bible. Png tries to get up there each week now, but feels unequipped to teach them the Bible. So that's why she was keen for us to go up and take a look and run a type of house group for them up there. It was really exciting to have an opportunity as outsiders of the Muu Baan to go in and have them allow us to teach them. It was a real privilege to be able to go there and be part of the first ever 'christian meeting' that any of these guys had ever gone to. There were 13 of us all up there that night, we sang some songs, John did a bible study with them, showed a short video, prayed a bit, and then dropped everyone back home (all of us in the one car of course). It proved a really interesting night though, as all of them up there speak northern Thai (which is actually quite different from central thai - which is what i'm learning). most of them can understand central, but can only speak northern, which proves interesting when you ask them a question but can't understand the answer, or the prayer requests they asking for. So obviously it was vital that Png was there too. All that aside, it was a great night, and even though it was hard to read the people there or gauge what they were thinking, Png told us that they are all wondering if we will be back this week, so i guess that's good :)
here are a few pics of the group as we met in someones one room wooden house :)
John & Png
Most of the group that i could fit into the shot
for those praying:
- pray for wisdom in how we can be involved with this ministry in the future - how often we will go up, what we will do with them etc
- pray for language so we can communicate with them better
- pray for all the new christians up there to build a solid foundation in the Gospel, and for all those who are interested in Christianity but not yet there, that God will open up their hearts to know Him
We ended up staying up there overnight, so spent the next day checking out a bit of Payao before heading back. It really is a pretty town with a huge lake and a few parks with various exercise equipment of which some i can't for the life of me work out what you're meant to do with it?!? :) haha
had to include a self shot (haven't had one for a while)
rather weird 'rowing machine'??????
the heavier you are, the harder it is (not really)
ok, dodgy airwalker thing
a what the...?