Moriel Thailand Missions Report December 2013

Dear believers in grace,

Children’s Class at the Tin Shack Village

Last month we continued teaching at the tin shack village three times a week. Every third day is a test day. Maybe you’ve never seen children who are so eager to take a test! That’s because we give them rewards for each correct answer, such as pens, balloons, and snacks. Each time we pray before class and teach them the Bible also. Our youngest student is 5 years old and the oldest is 12 years old. I’m attaching a video of the 5 year old here saying her ABCs. Her two older siblings are also in our class and she does a pretty good job keeping up with them and with the other older children.

The owner of the site where they live wants to turn the land into a dormitory, so as of last week about a third of the tin shack houses were taken apart. Many people have moved out already. Three of our students moved yesterday. The others said that they live not far from there, so we hope to find them again and see if we can bring them to study together at the old site, or maybe everyone will move to the new location soon.

Franklin Graham

From November 22nd-24th in Chiang Mai, there was a stadium sized event with Christian singers and the preacher, Franklin Graham. I had heard that Franklin Graham is ecumenical in inviting some Catholics to be counselors at his events, but I had also heard that his messages are fairly standard. So, we decided to go and invite some non-Chrisitian friends to hear the gospel. Compared with false teachers such as Joyce Meyers, Cindy Jacobs, and C. Peter Wagner, who have been to Chiang Mai (and false teacher Benny Hinn who was in Bangkok recently), Franklin Graham did at least get the basics of the gospel right, although we could not endorse his ecumenical counselors behind the scenes.

We went all three nights and brought along some non-Christian friends. On the first night we went with our Shan students (four men who are construction workers). The week before that I showed the Jesus movie in the Shan language and they expressed an interest in believing in Jesus and repenting. At the Franklin Graham event they also went forward to pray. In Asian culture, sometimes people will agree to something just out of respect or to make another person happy, so time will tell how much they understand. Our job is to sow the seeds of God’s Word and to water them. God gives the increase.

On the second night we went with our Shan language teacher. On the third night we went with some Shan Christian friends, a Swiss man and his girlfriend, and with Khae’s non-Christian friends. Franklin’s message included such statements as, “Jesus is the only way to God.”, “Mohammed can’t help you, and the Buddha can’t help you.” , “Every word in the Bible is from God.” He also preached against idolatry, about repentance, and about the law, as well as about God’s grace and God’s love. His messages were biblical and generally good, but from hearing some feedback from others, I think his emphasis was a little off for the Thai culture. He did not talk much about what heaven is like as opposed to the Buddhist concept, nor do I think he mentioned hell. And, although he did mention repentance, changing one’s mind, etc., I think he could have spent more time on what that looks like in a person’s life- giving their life to God, not just coming forward one time to pray.

Khae’s friend and her friend’s daughter went forward to pray on the last night of the event. On the morning of the same day, they had already expressed an interest in having a Bible. I was happy that at the event a standard gospel message was at least given. I didn’t have to “unteach” anything our friends heard, and we can work with them on any areas that were lacking.

The Christian response to the messages was somewhat disappointing. It seems through the influx of many false teachers in the book stores here, that there is little fear of the Lord, and much promotion of the “prosperity gospel.” During Franklin’s messages, many people were chatting with each other, and hardly paying attention. But, nonetheless, I believe some people were influenced for good, and came forward at the invitation with a sincere desire to know the Lord.

Part II Finished

In October I attached an excerpt from a recently finished paper. Now I’m attaching the full paper (36 pages). This is part two (last year I sent out part one). The paper is about the similarities between Buddhist and Catholic spiritualities, and the widespread tolerance of these ideas in mainstream Christianity. Prayer is an important part of every Christian’s life, but these strange prayer techniques from the mystics are taking people away from a biblical prayer relationship with God. Prayer is not something that only “gurus” or mystics can do. Any Christian can pour out their heart before the Lord, looking to the Bible for guidance, not “secret” techniques.

Cause for Rejoicing at the Women’s Prison

Last week at the women’s prison one lady expressed an interest in becoming a Christian. Please pray for her that she will really become born-again, coming to God by faith, and repenting of her sins. We heard of this as we were leaving last week, but this lady plans to come to class early next week, so we can talk with her more about this.

Peace in Christ,

Scott and Khae

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