Sunday, November 12, 2017

A New Season

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.  Ecclesiastes 3:1

Sawasdee (Hello) from the Attaways,

Blessing to each of you.  There have been many praises over the past few months in ministry in Thailand.   God is good and he is faithful.  We were able to continue to have students come to our home on Tuesdays for English Club.  There were 6 new students who came regularly and joined our regular group  We enjoyed being able to spend time with them.  Our days included snacks, cooking, music, games, lots of laughter and sharing.  This gave the students a chance to speak English in a comfortable, loving environment.  "Teaching" English in this conversational/relational method produced fruit and deep relationships which we believe is a great model for others to follow.  Pam's brother Tommy was able to come for a short visit and was able to meet and share life with our students.


Several years ago God have us a vision of opening a coffee shop where students could come to practice English and have a safe, comfortable environment where we could build relationships with them.  Doors never opened for us to pursue this in Roi Et, but we continued to believe it was something the Lord had put on our hearts.  When the Greenlight gateway students 2 years ago came to Thailand our Thai teammate Kat asked if we could go to the community Nong Phok where a Christian couple had left their comfortable life in Bangkok to move to the small rural community to build a coffee shop in front of an existing church.  The church has struggled for years and only had 5 members.  The couple hoped to build the shop for sustainability and to grow the church.  We took the American group to the shop, unfinished at that time, to pray over the space and ministry.  God laid on our hearts that this is the area we were to invest in.  We asked if we could come one day a week to teach English classes and hopefully grow business and the opportunity for people to hear the Good News.  The community was 1 hour and 20 minutes from our home, but we knew it was something the Lord was calling us to.  We took some of the Roi Et students for a "mission" day and cleaned the church so the doors could be reopened.  Last December we took the Roi Et team and drama team to the Nong Phok church for Christmas, over 150 community members were present.  For the next year we, our family, went weekly to teach students, encourage the Thai couple living there and to share our lives with the people in the community.   Todd and Hannah Grace taught the younger students with as many as 40 kids showing up.  Pam spent time with high schoolers, teaching them and encouraging them.

The Lord has blessed these efforts and the church membership is slowly growing.  Kids come to the shop each week to learn English and be loved on.  The Thai couple offers food, love and encouragement to the students and their families.  They recently told us when they started the shop they had prayed for the Lord to help them start ministry, they weren't sure how to do it.  That was around the time the Lord put on our hearts to go and help there.  God is faithful.   A missionary couple who recently went to Thailand to serve in the Northern area has now felt the Lord speak to them to move to this community Nong Phok and work there in full time ministry, pouring into the Thai people and sharing the Good News.

Ministry at Banon English Learning Center also has been fruitful.  The people in the village live with little resources, but they seem to live contently.  The community takes care of each other and share rice with one another.  We have been so blessed to be part of this community and pray for the light and love of Jesus to pour over it.  In the village many of the children come to the English Learning center to learn english and also study the word of God and experience the love of Jesus in a caring faith community.

Praise to God for the baptism of three Thai girls.  One was Patdy, our Thai teammate who we have worked alongside for 4 years.  She has loved Jesus for three years and has been following him, but she had been worried about talking to her parents about her faith.  Patdy asked for prayer for her mom's heart when she shared the news.  God had softened her parent's hearts.  Although they are Buddhist they affirmed Patdy and said they already knew she had been following a different faith.  They supported her decision to be baptized and follow Jesus.  This was a great blessing and relief for Patdy.  Please continue to pray for Patdy and her family as she bears witness to them about the freedom of life in Christ.


For the past year we have been in prayer and discernment about how we can best serve him.  He put on both of our hearts, at different times, we were needed to return to the US for a season.  Although we have adjusted to living in Thailand and are involved in fruitful ministry we could not ignore the nudges we were feeling from the Lord. 

 Several months later we learned that both of our dads faced serious health problems.  We have learned a great deal from the Thai people, one thing being honoring our parents.  We decided that we needed to return home at least for now.  We will spend this time in the US, helping with our family and their needs.  TMS-Global has asked us to work with them in the area of mobilization, helping in the discernment process as people are being called to serve Jesus.  We have already been involved in this work during our term in Thailand so we visualize this as a continuation and opportunity to help more laborers who are called to bring the name of Jesus to the world.   Our work in mobilization with TMS-Global will give us the chance to continue serve in ministry and mission, but we will continue to have to raise our own support to do this work.  We are so grateful for God using you to provide for our needs while on the field and we are praying we will continue to get what we need to do his work in the US.

We have had a season of goodbyes for now that has been beautiful, but also very hard. We have developed close relationships with our Thai teammates and friends so leaving is never easy.  We are grateful for the seeds that have been planted and are expecting the Lord to continue to tend to their hearts.  We are blessed to share that in each of the ministries we have been involved with, there is now new missionaries coming or already there to fill in the gaps.  We continue to support them and walk alongside them in their serving Jesus in Thailand.

Prayer Requests

Please continue to pray for the people of Thailand, for the ministry there and the new laborers going to the field.
Please pray for our family during this transition and that God will continue to use us to expand his kingdom on earth.
Pray for our hearts and the hearts of our Thai friends.
Pray for our parents and that our time with them is valuable and glorifying to God.
Please pray for our continued financial provision so we can continue to serve in ministry and mobilization.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Joining the East with the West

Kat, Patdy, and Boi with the Greenlight team

Greenlight students have arrived and departed. Where did the month go? We had a great time hosting the three Greenlight Gateway students and their leader. They were able to experience many things about Thai people, language, food, religion, environment and entertainment.  They had one on one time with Thai nationals as well as expats who live and work at various places in Thailand.  They came with open minds and open hearts, so the Lord was able to grow them in his grace and their understanding of bringing the hope and love of Christ to all nations.

At Patdy's home 
At the floating market

At a Christian Thai Daycare in the Slum

 This was the second year of TMS-Global's Greenlight Gateway program where students ages 18-24 who are wanting to explore a call to missions spend a month in another country with those serving cross culturally to experience what life is like and how the Lord is moving in the world.  The aim of the program is for spiritual formation of students as well as personal growth.  It has been our privilege to host the past two years in Thailand and to be able to come alongside these beautiful kids who have hearts for the Lord and for the Kingdom.  Throughout the weeks we were able to see their hearts and minds open even more and their worldview expanded.  They shared with us that their time here was valuable to their personal and spiritual walks and continue to plan to serve in mission in some way.  We will continue to pray for them and support them as their life journeys continue.

Teaching English at Patdy's home

The students were involved daily in learning as well as serving capacities. They shared what they loved the most was the relationships they formed with the students we serve.  They were able to spend almost 2 weeks in Roi Et and see the same students over that period of time so that was helpful in building relationships.  The Thai students here were happy to practice English and make new friends. There were some tears shed as the Americans left, along with lots of Facebook friend requests. :)

Todd with one of the Day Care students
Teaching at the Day Care

Handing out Pencils

Praying over Thai residents of the slum

One of the components of the trip was to join a Christian Day Care operation where we spent the morning working with the kids who come each day.  These are children whose families live in the adjacent slum.  The aim of the program is to get these students ready for first grade.  Many of them have disabilities and are in great poverty, but we left feeling joyful and appreciative of the chance to be with them.  We also were able to walk through the slum and pray with elderly Thai people whom the director of the program has relationships with.  It was a challenging experience; the smells, trash and poor sanitation conditions were overwhelming at times, but again the light of Jesus was present as the Buddhist residents allowed us in their homes and accepted our prayers.

Prayers for the Thai people

It was a joy getting to see the team enjoy time with the Thai students in our home, at our Teammate Patdy's home, at our Teammates Chris and Dora's home and school and at the Banon English Center with Kat where they participated in teaching activities as well leading worship.  

Teaching English Thai style
Worship at Banon
Two different cultures enjoying food and games

Amazing Race in China town with Life's Thai students and the Greenlight Team

 We also made sure they were able to spend time with other cross cultural workers who are serving in different capacities in Thailand.  There were good conversations and questions about how they were called to serve and how they are able to be effective along with facing the challenges of serving on the field.

With Josh and Bekah who serve in Bangkok


 This experience was life-giving for Hannah Grace as she was able to share her life and to be a part of the lives of students that are her brothers and sister's ages.  Her light continues to shine brightly here in Thailand.

Hannah Grace with the students

Fun holding animals...a 2 week old tiger cub

You can't come to Thailand without seeing elephants

Hannah Grace praying with an elderly Thai woman
Hannah Grace getting the team to try crickets

We have been working with our Thai team for ideas of sustain ability in ministry.  With a gift from a church in Georgia we were able to purchase a grill.  Patdy and Kat have been going out one day a week after school to sell mini pork burgers to the students.  They have had some profits and have also used the time they are selling to make relationships with students and invite them to study English in our program.  Please continue to pray for their efforts and that they will be able to continue to find ways to financially sustain their ministry in Roi Et.

We have continued to meet with students in our home as well as in several villages as school is now back in session after the mid March to mid May summer break. We have several new students coming to our home now after being encouraged by some of the regular attending students.  It is always fun to learn about them and to see how quickly the shyness melts when they realize we truly care about them.  We pray that in our relationships and showing love to them they will feel the love of Christ and have a desire to get to know him personally.

We are so grateful to so many of you for your prayers and support to us.  We could not be serving the Lord in Thailand without you.  Thank you for being on this journey with us.

In his love and grace,
The Attaways

Prayer Requests

We would ask for your prayers for the Thai ministry team and for the students that attend the programs.  Pray that the Lord would continue to work on their hearts and that they would be open to His love and grace.

Please pray for this term where we are continuing Discovery Bible Study in the gospel of Mark and our Easter celebration in September.

For more laborers to serve here in Roi Et and for ministry sustainability for the Thai workers.

For our family as we are approaching the end of our first term serving in Thailand we ask for prayers for discernment and wisdom as we follow the Lord's call on our lives.