Greetings once again from the amazing land Thailand. To God be the glory! God is indeed working in Bangkok.
Who knew what God would do or had in mind when He called us to join His ongoing work in Bangkok? We arrived in August, 2008 with hopes, dreams and goals, but you never know exactly what God has in mind. However, we faithfully came to Thailand hoping for the best and only time will tell what God will unfold.
EVENING MEN’S CLASS:This was a TEST
After 17 months in Thailand, the men’s pilot class began in January, 2010. How amazing is God to draw these men from all over Bangkok to study his word. The men’s class has the feel of an international gathering of nations. The majority of the men in the class are Asian (Thai, Chinese, Singaporean, Japanese) along with Philippines, Africans and Westerners.
Conducting a series of short PILOT classes is away to gauge if there is enough interest to maintain an established class. This was a TEST for the men of Bangkok. Will the men embrace a disciplined study such as BSF? Will they persevere or just fall away? Will they overcome the obstacles in attending class or will they succumb to the many barriers that get in the way?
We give God the glory for allowing us to conduct all three of the 5 week pilot classes (Philippians, Ruth & Colossians). While the class started with 86 men in attendance for the 1st class and ended with 46 men in the 15th week, we have much to be encouraged about. We are reminded that this was a TEST for each man as to his commitment. However, some will fall away and while some will continue and grow deep roots. Even those who just came for a week or 2, perhaps the taste of God’s word will draw them back in the future. Success is never measured in numbers but in how God is changing the hearts and minds of one man at a time.
One of our discussion groups: During this time men share their answers to their weekly questions
Changed hearts & minds
As I reflect on the past 3 studies, I am reminded of how God has indeed changed the hearts of men who faithfully attended. I am reminded of the retired teacher from North America, who came to Thailand seeking an adventure & found Christ. Then, still searching and seeking for more, came to BSF for 15 weeks. His life is being transformed and is now enthusiastically telling others about BSF! He also commented that had he known what he knows now (through the Bible), it would have saved his marriage.
I think of the Philippine doctor, whose wife is a very enthusiastic class member of the BSF women's class, and how she persuaded (or should I say, "nagged & dragged") her husband to attend the first class despite his lack of Bible knowledge and reluctance. At the end of the first class night, he did not want to leave! He faithfully, joyfully & enthusiastically attended ALL 15 weeks!
I am reminded of the many Thais who struggle with English yet who persevered through the study. Or, I think of a man, who is currently going through personal marital troubles, faithfully came seeking answers to his troubles and trials.
And, I think of the Thai Buddhist, whose wife is a Christian, who attended the class. At first he indicated he was “just auditing the class” with detachment to his discussion group. Later, Mike Wellings, our Substitute teaching leader, showed him where and how he could use his Bible to find the answers to the questions. He then became more engaged in the discussion group. He faithfully attended all 3 pilot classes with very few absences. I pray God’s word will continue to open is eyes that he may see…all to the glory of the Lord.
These are just a few of many stories of God changing lives & hearts. And, so we give Praise to God!
Passing the TEST: NOW an established class
The men of Bangkok have passed the TEST & the city of Bangkok will have an established men’s class beginning September 13, 2010. Currently, we have 65 men registered for the Isaiah study plus 7 potential students for the school program. And so we give God the glory for all he has done.
I will send more later regarding the BSF women's day time prayer group. There is some exciting news coming!