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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.


Discipleship

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

Sunday, March 6, 2016

End of School Coming to a Close

God's beauty in Thailand, the River Kwai
It is amazing how fast time flies. The school term between Christmas and the end of February went so fast! Thai schools end in February because March and April are the hottest months of the year and many schools doing have air conditioning.
Students after school in our home


We continue to lead conversation in our home with a core group of about eight students. We feel like they have grown in their ability and confidence to speak not only with us but others. One example, we were having class one day and a visitor came to our door. I (Todd) went to the door and the gentleman was telling me someone was trying to get in contact with me but I could figure out the rest of what he was saying and I didn't recognize the name of the person. I turned around to ask one of the students for help and they were all right there and began telling me what he had said. In fact one of the quietest students was in front translating. They seem to be comfortable around us and know we care for them.  We also feel that some of them are getting closer to being ready to hear some of God's word. They are inquisitive about our Bibles and books on our bookshelves. We pray for them consistently and for the Holy Spirit to lead them to him.


 For Valentine's Day we used conversation hearts that were provided by one of our good friends as a way to make speaking English fun. We also played a modified version of Truth or Dare. They all had a great time, but the candy was a bit sweet for them.

Valentines Day games and conversation

The Wednesday night and Sunday worship and study has been going very well. We did lessons on being a new creation in Christ since we had the first Sunday after New Year's. We discussed ways we are all similar and they ways we are different. We showed them pictures of snowflakes and that each one is different. We passed out coffee filters and had them make a snowflake from it. They decorated it with watercolor markers and  and made beautiful butterflies out of them to illustrate we are all new creations in Christ.


Butterflies made out of coffee filters by students~ In Christ we are New Creations

Another week, we talked about sin. We illustrated this by putting glow gel on the students hands, then putting their hands under a black light to fluoress the gel. We had them only rinse their hands with water then repeat putting them under the black light. Finally, we had them wash their hands with soap and repeat putting them under the blacklight. We were actually teaching them about hygiene as well as sin. The more important discussion came when we asked how do you clean the inside from sin? We gave them Bible verses to show them what the bible has to say. They opened Bibles, read, asked questions, had us repeat scripture as they followed along and drew pictures. We are encouraged by many of the responses by students. We continue to ask God for discernment and guidance as we journey along with these students. We thank you for your prayers for them and us as well as the entire ministry team here.
Students from Palanchi School

Leading a song
In talking about time passing quickly, it is hard to believe in only about two months Noah will be heading back to the US to spend the summer working at Asbury Hills and then heading to Anderson University in the Fall.  We ask that you keep him and the transition he will face in your prayers.  Pray for us too since it will be much different serving on the field without Noah here.

Our family in Kanchanabui,  the Bride over River Kwai

We love all so much and pray for you.  Thank you for your ongoing love, prayers and support.

The Attaway Family

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Christmas In Roi Et

Merry Christmas to each of you.  We wish you God's richest blessing this Christmas as we celebrate Christ's birth and the hope he brings to each of us.

We know many of you participate in the Samaritan's Purse Shoebox ministry.


We had the privilege of being part of the distributing of the Samaritan's Shoe Boxes in Roi Et this year. Around 250 boxes were given out at the Banon Christmas Event. It is a blessing being able to witness and take part in the receiving side, so we wanted to share some pictures and 
reflections with you.


Students from Banon Receiving Shoeboxes



Hannah Grace handing out the gifts
Students attended the Christmas event where they sang songs, watched a drama written by Thai Team member Patdy and performed by the students.  The drama portrayed the miracles of Jesus, the crucifixion of Jesus and then his birth.  It was all in Essan which is the heart language of the people in Roi Et.  The play was moving and was contextualized to the Thai worldview.  It was the first time some of them had heard about Jesus' life and story.






 Following the play Dr. Ubolwan    Mejudhon, one of the founders of the  ministry, came and spoke to the students about how Jesus is here ready to enter into their lives if they ask him.  Many students stood up that night and wanted to pray to Jesus.




Reflections from Hannah Grace~

"I was glad that I was able to help hand out presents to the Thai students.  Just to see the look on their faces was enough.  Even though the gifts were small they brought a lot of joy.  I kept thinking this is the only Christmas they will have and they have such happiness. "








The children waited patiently as they lined up for a gift.  Over 100 were handed out the first night and around 150 on Sunday.







Some of the favorite items received by the Thai students were stuffed animals, jewelry, socks, games, make-up, and small toys. They also really seemed to like any notes or pictures that came with the boxes.












 The boxes designated for boys ran out so many of the boys had to receive girl's gifts, but as you can tell from this picture they did not seem to mind.  They were gracious and happy to have anything.










One of the observations we have is the sharing that takes place after the boxes are open.  The Thai students share things with one another so that each one will have something they like or can use.



 







Merry Christmas to each of you.  Remember the Thai people in your thoughts and prayers this season.  Thank you all for your support so that we can serve here, helping bring his name as Lord and Savior and offer the love and peace that Christ brings.