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.

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.