Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Christmas Season in Roi Et

All together at Christmas at John Wesley's Chapel in London
Happy New Year from the Attaways! Blessings and Greetings to you from Thailand.  We hope you all were very blessed and felt the deep presence of our Lord and Savior this season.

Sidney and Hannah Grace

We were able to meet our whole family in England for a few days at Christmas so that was our biggest gift.  It was a treasure having all of the children with us and our time was full of joy and gratitude.  We are so thankful for this opportunity.  One highlight was being able to take communion together as a family at John Wesley's chapel.  This was the first time our children had ever used a common communion cup, so that in itself was quite a different and memorable experience!

Todd and Noah
Ministry Updates

For the past few months we have been able to continue to work in the lives of the students who come to our home as well as students and families we know and meet.  For the advent season the team focused on Luke 1:78-79 which is Zechariah's prophecy that Jesus is to give light to those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.  The teachings we focused on for Advent dealt with issues the student's selected as problems in Issan culture and how Jesus and the Word of God speaks to these areas.  Problems they listed were financial issues, (especially with the fall in the price of rice), debt, problems in their family, alcoholism,  corruption and not feeling loved and nurtured by family.  Each week we talked about one of these issues and went to what the Bible said and how to deal with these problems.  Our Thai teammate Patdy wrote an Issan drama that interweaved all of the issues with the hope found in the coming of Jesus.  It was a powerful testimony and we believe the Lord used it to speak to hearts.

Issan Christmas Drama

Ashley and Noah were able to come and spend some time with us in Roi Et during the holidays.  It was a joy having them participate in ministry and life with us.  Hannah Grace choreographed a dance for the Christmas program for eight 6-7 year old girls from Banon.  She worked with them weekly for six weeks and it was indeed a blessing to get to witness her use her gifts and talents with the Thai students.  It brought her great joy to teach these girls.

The Christmas Dancers with Ashley and Hannah Grace

Ashley and Hannah Grace with the Dancers at Banon

Christmas at Nong Phok

Since this past July The Lord had put on our hearts the need to visit a new community, Nong Phok, about one hour and 20 minutes from Roi Et. This is a poor community with a church that was started as an outreach from the Muang Thai Church years ago.   The church only has 5 members and has not been active or thriving for some time.  A Christian Thai couple felt the calling to go to this area and build a coffee shop outside the church. The coffee shop provides a place where people can come and have an opportunity to learn about Christ in a relaxed environment. The goal is to invite them to church to experience the power of the Holy Spirit and the Kingdom of God.  

Nong Phok Students

 Christmas at Nong Phok

We felt the Lord calling us to go to Nong Phok and start investing in student's lives there, so we began going to offer free English classes at the coffee shop.  From the beginning we have had 30-45 students almost every week.  It has been a tremendous blessing and the Lord even opened a door so that Kat, our Thai teammate, suggested we bring the Christmas drama to the church.  There were over 150 people there on December 18 to hear the good news in drama and by a Thai Pastor.  God is so faithful and we are excited to see what fruit this might bring to the people of Nong Phok.

Noah with students at Nong Phok
Pam, Ashley and Noah with older students at the Coffee shop

There have been an average of 10 students who are seniors in high school.  They are so appreciative of the opportunity to improve their English and it has been our joy loving and pouring into them.

Feeling "snow"

Hannah Grace making "snow"

We brought some artificial snow from America for the students to be able to experience what real snow feels like. Hannah Grace has enjoyed helping Todd with the younger students who are in 4th grade. Some days they have had up to 35 students attending the English class after school,  each of them appear to be eager to learn and extremely grateful of the opportunity.

The people of Thailand continue to mourn the loss of their King, most of the people here continue to wear black.  The Prince has assumed the position of the next King, but the ceremony won't take place for months.  Please continue to pray for Thailand during this time of transition and new leadership.

We want to again thank each of you for your continued prayer and support of God's work in Thailand.  We could not be here without you.  We hope you realize that you are part of bringing the name of love of Jesus to the unreached in Thailand.

Prayer Requests

Please continue to pray for our family, that we will continue to follow the Lord's will in bringing his love and hope to the people of Thailand.

Pray for Sidney, Ashley and Noah in the US.  Sidney in his work as a  youth director, Ashley as she transitions to life in Los Angeles and Noah as he enters his second semester at Anderson University.

Pray for our parents, for their health and well being.

Pray for open hearts among the Thai people and that the Spirit of God will move in this country to bring his Kingdom here.

For mobilization efforts we are involved with in conjunction with TMS and the Muang Thai Church.  We have some important meetings to introduce the Discovery Bible Study, which we have been using in Roi Et, as a discipleship tool as well as conversations about how to best mobilize the body of Christ across the world.

Love in Christ,
The Attaways

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Transitions for Thailand

We arrived safely back to Thailand early October and immediately heard the reports that the king of Thailand's heath was declining.  Within two weeks, the king passed away.  We are sad for the people of Thailand because they loved him dearly.  This is something that has been anticipated for some time, but the passing of the king has been a significant and overwhelming experience for the Thai people.  In the days leading up to his passing many Thai's had taken to the streets near the hospital where the king was being treated wearing pink to signify their hope that his health would improve. They were also visiting the temples to pray for the king's health. Hospital staff were shown on TV lifting up the king in song from the hospital lobby. Unfortunately, on Thursday night at 7 pm, the Prime Minister addressed the nation to inform them of the sad and dreaded news of the king's passing.

We were in the company of some Thai friends when the news was announced of the death of the king, and it was difficult for them to hear. There were tears and hugs,  but few words spoken. For 70 years King Bhumibol Adulyadej has been a strong stable leader for their country. For most of the country, he is the only leader they have ever known. There will be a one year period of mourning and 30 days of no celebrations, concerts and other activities. During the 30 days people are asked to wear black to show respect for the king.

On Friday, thousands of Thai people lined the streets as the motorcade moved from the hospital to the Grand Palace carrying the king's body. Flags were lowered to half staff, schools were cancelled, and many places of business were closed as well. Around the area where we are staying, the streets are quieter and the mood is somber. There has been an attitude of respect and honor by all we have observed.  We are trying to love the Thai people and show our respect for them and their king, we are grieving alongside them and for them.  We too are wearing black or white.

We pray for the Thai people and their leaders as they move through this very difficult process. We ask that you join us in prayer for Thailand and it's people.  Please pray for the new leadership and for the new era in Thai history.  Pray that they will come to know the King of Peace.

Thank you all for your support for us and for your love and prayers for the Thai people.

We had to cancel our October moral camp in Bangkok because it was scheduled the day after the passing of the king.  Because of the mourning period and out of respect for the families the decision was made to not have camp.  Students from Roi Et were very disappointed and we too were grieved they did not have the chance to come and study the scripture and learn more about Jesus. Please continue to lift them up and our Thai teammates Kat and Patdy who had spent a lot of time preparing for the students.  Pray for the Lord to provide more opportunities for the Thai to hear about and experience the peace and hope that Christ offers.

Much love to you.  We will keep you posted.

In His service,

The Attaways

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Discipleship in Roi Et

Blessings to you all.  We pray you are walking closely with Jesus and that he is working in your life everyday.

Students discipling students

Following our time with students at the March camp and recognizing their desire to know more about Jesus, we prayed for the Lord to lead us in what that could look like.  After prayer and conversation with others who have discipled well, we felt led to consider a way for the Thai students to get into the Word of God.  We spent the first 2 weeks of the last term introducing and modeling the Discovery Bible Study with our teammates and students.  Our Thai teammate Kat was excited about the tool to help disciple students and bring them into God's word.

Into the Gospel of Mark

 During this past school term God has produced 2 new Bible studies with students in the village areas.  These  increasing older students are now helping disciple the younger students on Sunday mornings.  We have around 20 Thai students who are eager to come and get into God's word and to share with the younger students.  Each older students is taking a group of 2-5 younger Thai students and doing small group time with them.  The last time we were there close to 100 Thai students were present and in the word. We have been studying the Gospel of Mark.


Students are also now leading worship each week at Banon.   God is so good and we are blessed to be witnessing how God is moving through this process.  Please continue to pray for Roi Et, for the team leaders, for the students and for God to use the study and time in his word to produce fruit.

Student let worship

We were also blessed  this past month to be able to host a group of 6 college students and 2 leaders from the US for a Greenlight project from TMS.  These are students from various parts of the US who wanted to come to discern a call to missions.  They spent 3 weeks with us in Bangkok and Roi Et learning about the culture, seeing the needs and getting to know the Thai people.  They spent time in a variety of settings meeting and spending time with our Thai friends.

Learning from the Mejudhons

Thai and American Student Selfies
God is amazing how he worked through the group and opened their minds and hearts to him.  We could see the Lord growing the team in their expansion of the comfort zones as well as their willingness to love and serve him.  We were able to pour out love for each of them and they all felt the love of God through us.  Now the team is in India where they will continue their learning and cultural awareness and return home in 1 week.  Please continue to pray for the Greenlight students and leaders as the Lord is growing them.

At Banon

Time to teach at a Thai School
Jennie- Greenlight leader and a Thai student

  It has been our joy and honor to walk alongside the     students from America and the students from Thailand, seeing their willingness and desire to learn  about and learn from one another.

A full room

The US students were able to be involved with the small groups to share and pray with the students at the English Learning Center.

The Greenlight Team prepared games, songs and other activities for the children in the daycare. The daycare provides a safe loving place for the children of working mothers so they can continue to work and hopefully one day be able to provide a better living environment for their family.

Working with a Day care near the slum

Time with our Neighor and Thai Grandmom

Time with the kids from the slum

Out to dinner and pictures with the staff
Students from a village school in Nong Pok

Fun with Elephants in Surin

Loving the elephants

We went with the group to India for a few days before returning to the US for our time at home so it was a blessing getting to see the new culture for us, and meeting some incredible Indian people.

We are now home in the US until September.  We are spending time with our family and also will be speaking about our time in Thailand and what the Lord is doing there.  Greenville will be our home base during our stay.  We would love to see you and share more of our life with you as well as getting to hear about your lives.

Thank you all for your love and support.

The Attaways

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Praise Report from Camp!

Easter this year

Hello everyone.  We hope you are all doing well.  Thanks for taking a moment to read about what has been happening in our part of the world.  It is summer for the Thai schools and believe me we are feeling it :).  The temperatures have been over 100 degrees F most days and with the humidity and heat index it feels like 117 F.  This is the primary reason for a different school schedule in Thailand since many of the schools do not have air conditioning.  The heat has been a challenge, but God is good and we are surviving it.

Sports Day

Sports Day

Thirty-seven students from Roi Et came to Bangkok mid-March to mid-April for the 4 week long annual academic camp.  This is the 23rd camp that has been held so it is a long tradition with the Roi Et ministry.  This year although the students had academic and English classes the Lord provided many opportunities for them to hear about and experience the love of Christ.  Each morning we had worship, where Noah helped with the praise band, and devotions with speakers.  The theme of the camp was goals, focusing on education, family, finance, and jobs.  We prayed about who would lead devotions and as it turned out all the speakers were believers who were able to share about the goals from a Christian perspective.  Over and over the students heard about how God had worked in their personal lives and heard testimonies of his faithfulness.  We had teachers, doctors, business owners, youth leaders, couples just married, single Thai men etc..people came from all walks of life to share with the students.  

The whole gang

Noah sharing his testimony
Noah led the last devotion of camp, he asked to share with the students.  It was a powerful testimony to the Thai students because he is their peer and they respect and love him.

Students listening to Noah

Good Friday at Muang Thai Church

Easter was during camp so the students were able to attend Good Friday and Easter celebrations at the church.  Several of them volunteered to perform in a skit written by our Thai teammate Patdy about the resurrection of Christ.  We were able to take the students to see the movie "Risen"; it was in English with Thai subtitles.  The movie seemed to touch the hearts of many of them.  Also we just had a lot of time for fellowship and deepening relationships with students.  So many of them are starving for love and affirmation.  In two particular students, a brother and sister who live at the boarding school and whose mom is now in jail, we sensed their need for affirmation and love.  Most of the time, for four weeks, the younger girl was right by our side. We also tried to affirm them in that they have a hope and a future in Christ.  Despite the cultural and language barriers we feel certain the students know we love them and that the love we share is the love we receive from Christ.  We started getting the question from the students,  why did you come to Thailand?  It was our chance to again share about God and his call on our lives.

Students on Sports Day
Through all of these events we could sense God was moving in the student's hearts.  Two of them who had been coming to our home each week for the past year, came to camp with us.  This was the first time they were able to hear the good news of the gospel in depth.  Toward the end of camp one of them, one of the very strongest Buddhist people we know, said, " I think with God and Buddha the impossible can be possible in my life".  For us, this was confirmation of God's grace and movement.  Her heart is opening.
Time with students

The final Sunday at worship, the day before the students were to head back, Pastor Life gave an invitation for those who were interested in opening their hearts to Jesus to stand up.  Two people from the congregation stood, but almost all of the Roi Et students stood up, claiming their desire to know Jesus. It was an incredible moment for us to see the Lord at work.  We have been praying for months that God would bring hundreds of people in Roi Et to come to know him.  Quite honestly, in the Buddhist nation we live in where faith is so often tied to being Thai and tradition, that prayer seems very bold.  It wasn't until camp, when we saw so many students opening their heart did we see that God is answering this prayer.  We considered if these students are discipled and each bring one to Christ that is 70+.  If each of those are discipled and bring one to Christ, that is 140+.  Multiplication of the gospel.  It might seem like a ambitious goal, but we serve a big God who is at work here.  We will continue to offer students a time to come to our home, our English teaching opportunities, and our lives in fellowship with Thai students, but we believe our greatest calling will be discipleship and spreading the good news of Jesus to those we are relationship with.  We are already in conversations and prayer about what that looks like and how God wants to use us.

Todd with the Boys
Please join us in prayer for hundreds of believers in Roi Et, for these particular students to hear more about the gospel and good news of Jesus Christ.  Pray that we will have opportunities for discipleship especially with the older students so that they in turn can disciple their peers and the younger students.

Last night of Reflection

God is good and he deserves all the glory. Thank you to each of you for the part you play in this.  Without you we could not be here.

May God bless each of you abundantly.

We love each of you.

The Attaways

Sports  Day- Green Team

Camp Bucks made by Todd for a Camp store talking about Money Management