1. Testimony before the trip
Hello everyone!!! On July 16th, 2015 a team and I will be going to Chiang Mai, Thailand to share the Love of Jesus!
Here's a little bit of how all of this unfolded and the things the Lord did and still is doing, in order for this trip to happen:
This year the Lord put in my heart to start saving money, in my head I was like yeah... I really need to because lately I've been wasting my money unwisely (Movie theater at least once a week, dining out on weekdays etc.) But in reality the Lord had something else in store for me and I didn't understand yet.
I started saving money with the idea of going to France in the summer since I was going to start my French program this fall and thought it would be good to come back with more knowledge of the language and culture, yet the doors were totally shut! The french courses weren't available for the Spring or Fall, I was told I might not be able to keep my position at work, etc. But through all of this, i just felt the Lord desperately saying: Keep trusting!!! And be faithful!!
So I didn't wanna lean on my own understanding. I had a couple of dreams of me evangelizing on a street but didn't recognize it! There were a lot of trees around me!
I had been praying for a missions trip since 2009, so out of the blue I felt like doing some research for short term mission trips. Just wanted to listen to some testimonies of people that had gone overseas.
So I began contacting people but there were some closed doors, the very first call was with an organization with great intentions, yet a non christian one. It was very hard to get phone numbers and then set up meetings over the phone with people that were missionaries but again, my budget was limited and I was very scared to take a step of faith.
Then I prayed fervently, trying to ignore any fear or doubt and I found 3 mission trips, 1 to Nepal, the other one to Tanzania and the last one was Thailand. So I began to pray for confirmation and clarity.
Never heard back for the Nepal trip after knocking on many doors. Tanzania was a No as well and I didn't think anything about Thailand right away but I had a different feeling for it. When I checked the info, I read that the registration for that trip was closed, I said wow Lord! I guess this wasn't meant to be, plus there is no way! I'm going to be a full time student this fall, I have no funds, I don't get paid over the summer, I might as well just forget all about this...
I was decided to move on and just relax this summer when I heard back from Jeff (The trip organizer for Thailand) 3 days later. Not only that but a lady at my workplace came the same week and offered me a part time job over the summer. My jaw dropped !! Not only that, but a few weeks later 2 other people asked me if I was interested in working for them during the summer. I even had to turn them down because the blessings were so abundant!!!
So I asked the Lord for forgiveness because of my unbelief and the fear of the unknown. I knew from the bottom of my heart Thailand was it!
Right now I am ready to go there and serve the precious people of God! I am ready to serve Him with all I am, regardless of the outcome! There have been lots of spiritual battle in different areas of my life, but I know the Lord is greater than these circumstances!
I will keep updating you all as more things happen, thank you for your prayers which are the most important thing right now! Getting out of your comfort zone is the best because God can actually start doing something through you & reach others with your gifts and talents!
God bless you guys!
- Kelly and Ellie, for the Thailand team:
Today is day three of being in Thailand but day two of the mission. After three longs days of traveling we arrived Friday morning. We can't even begin to explain our excitement as well as our exhaustion. We are staying in a house that the Jessen family has rented for a month, since they have another mission team coming three days after we leave.
- Pray for spiritual strength as well-- that we may not get discouraged in this darkness but remember the truth in who God is and what He has called us to do.
-Amy and Kc:
After arriving in Chiang Mai on Friday, we participated in training and tried to stay awake until night time. On Saturday, we trained a rather large (approx 100 people) church in evangelism and went into the surrounding neighborhoods with them to share the gospel. I worked with a newly married couple that had a heart to reach their neighborhood for Christ. I was challenged by the "zeal for the gospel" and boldness to share with their friends. As we were walking back toward the church, my new friend said he couldn't wait to go back and follow up with those we spoke with that day.
On Sunday, we returned to the same church and trained additional people, 40 in all, and went back into the village for evangelism.
Monday we were able to train a small, young (3 week old) church. They were very excited with the training and had already been sharing Christ with their village. In three weeks, the 6 original members had seen 6 additional people come to Christ. During our evening small group, 2 others met Christ. This church has already more than doubled in new believers. This neighborhood will be changed because of their obedience to Christ. We are also able to go to a juvenile detention center and share with over 60 youth. 17 of them put their faith in Christ that day. There is a team of pastors that go there regularly and will be able to follow up with these young people.
The following two days we worked in different areas of the city with local Thai pastors that had a heart to reach those areas. They have much to do in followup after the two days.
The first 5 days were long and hard as our team was often eating breakfast before 7 and returning to our house after 9 pm. It was difficult and rewarding. Thursday we had a chance to hear about Compass 31 ministries, a restoration ministry for girls rescued from trafficking. They currently have 5 moms and 5 kids in the house that are safe and receiving food, education including learning English. I'd encourage you to check out their website.
Thursday afternoon we got to spend time with Charlie and Deb Shimmin. They told us of their ministry and we enjoyed encouraging them. They have now been faithful missionaries to the Thai people for nearly 35 years. Pray for them as the wrap up their ministry over the next couple of years and prepare to transition back to the States.
Friday we were able to go to a school of at risk kids for human trafficking. We shared the Priceless cube that tells them of the dangers of traffickers and that they are priceless because they are made in the image of God. Friday night was one of the most difficult nights of my life as we prayer walked through the red light district (the "nice" one). The sights will be forever ingrained in my memory. The darkness was palpable. Children younger than mine are for sale and no girls appeared to be more than 18y/o. There were 89 establishments over the 45 min walk. These girls need rescued, they need to know that the God that created them loves them. Over the past couple of years, the Jessens have seen 15 girls rescued from this district as a direct result of their weekly prayer walks.
In all, 155 people heard the gospel and 23 new believers entered the Kingdom. 4 churches were strengthened and trained and the lives of the North American team members will never be the same. God answered prayer in so many ways. He directed our path by using people, weather, fatigue, etc. One person Kelly spoke with had a vision that morning of her conversation with Kelly prior to us showing up in the neighborhood. God is good and He is moving in the hearts of people.
There are too many other stories to tell, but if you are still reading this email and interested in more, please ask me or one of the other team members. You were part of this team and we could sense the prayers of His people. Thank you. Only eternity will tell the whole story. May God help us to be faithful to the "good works" He has appointed for us today (Eph 2:10).