Sunday, February 6, 2011

Run with perseverance the race marked out for you

The finish line is in sight. At this point it is impossible to avoid saying or hearing something about "sprinting to the finish" or "keeping your eyes fixed on the prize" or "finishing well" every day. It's about as cliched as you can get but that's actually what we're striving to do in our last several days here in Thailand.
My last update was from Ko Pha Ngan. Since then we made a quick visa run to Malaysia and then spent about eight days on Ton Sai beach, in the Railay area. This was our final week of ministry and it really came to a climax quite well. Our school leader, Denver, dropped by for four nights on his scheduled "pastoral visit". He joined right in with us for team meetings, intercession, worship and ministry times. He also made a point of chatting with each of us 1-on-1 and making sure we're all doing all right. (Apparently we are! Hurray!) His visit was a breath of fresh air and just one of the many things that made this a great week. I also got a chance to hang out with my friend Kaison, from last year's DTS, one evening. He has spent the last seven months or so trying to begin a long-term ministry to backpackers and climbers in this area of Thailand. It was a real joy to reconnect with him and pray blessing over his ministry. (It's not easy to get started from scratch but God has been giving him some really cool opportunities.)
I think I can safely say that this was our most fruitful week of ministry. (Or at least, the most visibly so.) Ton Sai is an amazing community (I wish I had more time to tell you all about it) and it's almost impossible to avoid having meaningful conversations with people each day. At one meal we shared a table with 16 people that we had met over the last several days. That is NOT normal in a traveling community. The amount of people that were drawn to us, and in some ways became part of our family, was nothing short of remarkable.
I'll try to share a couple of highlights.... One of my favourite days was when we took David, Amie and Emily kayaking. It was a great way to get one person engaged in conversation for two hours at a time with no option of escape! (There aren't too many places to go on the open ocean.) Another method that worked well here was having "Jesus meditation" on the beach in the evenings. We invited a few people to join us in reading a passage of scripture and then waiting in silence for God to bring revelation of it's meaning. This turned into a great conversation starter with David, a fledgling Buddhist, and turned into an opportunity to pray for healing over Daniel, a Malaysian guy who's a bit of a "mystical" Muslim.
Our time in Ton Sai was very unique. Even now as I think back over the week there are at least a dozen people who immediately spring to mind as significant and break my heart with the desire to see them come to know Jesus as Lord. To have one or two people a week that you connect with deeply is incredible... to have so many is almost unbearable. This goodbye was the first one that was actually a little bit difficult for me. Perhaps this won't be the last time I visit Ton Sai's shores.
We are now on the island of Ko Phi Phi. Today we are taking a much needed Sabbath day. For the next two days we will be having our team outreach debrief time. The purpose of this time is to aid the students in processing through everything that has happened on outreach. We will focus mainly on what God has taught us, how we've drawn nearer to Him, how we've experienced Him working through us and then giving Him thanks for all these things. This is also a chance to come to grips with any disappointments and resolve any conflicts. It's important to seal off this time well so that we can really move into the next stage that God has for us. I appreciate your prayers.
On Feb 9 we begin traveling back to Bangkok where we will meet up with the other two Thailand teams for a final day of worship, intercession and blessing Thailand before boarding our plane back to New Zealand.
Give thanks to the LORD, our God and King. His steadfast love endures forever.

1 comment:

  1. Praise God for sending your team to sustain the unbearable for the sake of His name. Father will uphold you with His righteous right hand, and Jesus will give you rest as you take His burden upon you.