Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Celebrating God's Faithfulness

God as been faithful to us indeed! We recently finished the annual Academic camp where we hosted 21 students primarily from Roi Et in Bangkok at the Muang Thai Church.  Students come to Bangkok for a month where they live in community, receive tutoring in academic subjects and English and also have opportunities to attend devotions and worship.  Many of you are aware of this as you saw the names and in our last blog and prayed for these students individually. We appreciate the prayers for the the students as well as the staff and speakers that interacted and shared life experiences and testimonies.

Twenty-one students at "You are what you Believe" 2017 Camp

Most of the students at camp live in a boarding school operated by the government for low income families nine months of the year. Many do not have the opportunity to go home but 1-2 times per year to see family members. Those that have family in Roi Et are generally grandparents or other extended family members, with females begin the primary caregivers. This year the majority of the speakers were males which we believe was a good witness for the all of the students. Devotion speakers shared their faith and life experience including successes and failures. Their witness to how God has moved in their lives and to see them today still trusting that God is with them, loves them and cares about their lives was touching to the students.  In a Buddhist nation the opportunity for students to hear firsthand about Thai believer's faith in Jesus and how he has impacted lives can have eternal value to these precious youth.

Clay work from a student

During debriefs of the talks students were given the opportunity to express what they heard through different avenues. One method was they were given clay and had to create what made an impression on them. They are so creative! Here are a few examples of what resonated within them.

Impressions of one of the speaker's testimony

A church

Most of all camp is a time to be in community with students. The environment is relaxed and the opportunity to interact with them in a different settings allows you to get to know them better and to build a bond of trust in a short span of time. There were times of joy and times of tears by the end of our camp time together. 

Roof top dining
Pam and Mos, she is now in college

Some of the girls

Todd and Boom

Roi Et Choir-Hannah Grace in the middle!

Hannah Grace and her Thai friends

Todd and his team "Light Blue Team" for Sports Day

Again this year nearly all the students stood when the pastor asked if they wanted to know Jesus more. It is exciting knowing the Jesus is allowing the hearts and minds of these students to be opened. To God be the glory.

GreenLight students with Thai students 2016

We are excited to be hosting the Greenlight Gateway students again this year.  There are three college students, one male and 2 females and one leader coming this year.  They plan to arrive in Thailand in early June and stay for 4 weeks.  These are student who are discerning God's call in their lives and are coming to see how the Lord speaks into their hearts and lives about serving him on the mission field. Please join us in prayer as we host this group.

Ministry Team

We also ask you to be in prayer for our ministry team.  We serve along with the Barbees and Thai teammates Patdy and Kat.  Pam the one of the far left is a Thai missionary serving in the South. Please pray the Lord continues to use the team and also grows those who serve in SouthEast Asia.

Pray for our family as we discern how we can best serve him.

We love you and thank you again for being on this journey with us.

The Attaways

Friday, March 10, 2017

End of the School Year and Camp

Students at Nong Phok

 Blessings to each of you from the Attaways.  We thank you for following and being part of what the Lord is doing in Thailand.  We appreciate you and your prayers for the Thai people and for us as we serve him here.

Hannah Grace shining his Light

Where in the world would you like to go?

The Thai students are finishing up their current school year.   Since March to May are the hottest months of the year this is the time for summer break for the students.  Our family recently had the last gathering until after camp at Nong Phok, the church in the community about 1 hour and 20 minutes from where we live, where we go weekly to teach English and love the kids there.  We served them pizza, pepperoni or seafood flavors.   The favorite was seafood, with ketchup on it.  It was a blessing watching them enjoy it.  
Loving students
 Most times there are between 30 to 45 students who show up to learn and be in community.  God has blessed this time together.  One of the Thai men who owns the coffee shop connected to the church has been coming up to read Bible stories to the children in Thai.  We also pray with them.  Please join us in prayer for this ministry and for more workers to come serve in this community.

 A Spirit house on the property behind the church

Preparing to read the Bible to the Children

Ice Cream is universal for smiles

Reading the Thai Bible to students

We have been trying to model affirmation for the students and to show them how building up each other in community is important.  We had the students who come to our home each week take turns sitting in the "special" seat, where others took time giving them affirmations.  There were many smiles and tears during this time.  God is good.

Smiles and warm hearts

Pee Nong having affirmations

Students at our home

The camp in Bangkok is about to start. We are planning on taking a group of 23 to Bangkok for March and April for a four week camp. Students arrive in Bangkok March 11 and will stay at the Muang Thai Church.  The team has been preparing for the camp and the theme this year is "You are what you believe".  Each week has a different focus- You are able, You are special, You have choices and You are a Child of God.  We have asked Believers to come lead devotions each morning for the students.  We have asked them to weave in their testimonies and stories to share with the students.  Please join us in prayer that these times will be fruitful in sharing the hope and love of Jesus for these Buddhist students.  

We would like to share the nicknames of each student attending camp and would ask you to put them on your daily prayer list.  God hears prayers and we covet your prayers more than anything else.  It doesn't matter if you can pronounce the names :).  God knows them because they are already his.

1. Pairwa 2. Giffy 3. Oat 4. Am 5. Ball 6. Pepsi 7. Noonim 8. Muay 9. Bow 10. Moo-ton 11.Yeens 12.Praew 13.Aimmy 14. Natty 15. Jaja 16.Aiy 17. Numcha 18. Tangkwa 19.Peenong 20.Boom 21.Bowjung 22. Noei 23. Focus

The Thai teammates who we would ask you to lift up along with us and the Barbees are named Kat, Patdy and Pam.

Prayer Requests

-Prayers for camp, the students, and staff

-We ask for prayers for our family members and current health issues

-For the new ministry in Nong Phok and growing of the kingdom there

-For the GreenLight project we will again host this year-college aged students who are discerning a call to missions will spend 1 month with us in Thailand in June/July

For our family as we are in discernment for God's call on our lives.

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