Thursday, July 6, 2017

Building Bridges With The Next Generation - Thailand Update - July 6, 2017

I genuinely love young people. Yes, I love children and older people as well but I am wired to connect with young people, especially young people in Thailand both high schoolers and university students. God has allowed me and our family to be a part of His work of seeing hundreds of young Thai people give their hearts to Jesus and most of them are truly first generation followers of Jesus, meaning they are the first or second person in their entire family to choose to follow Jesus as their Savior and Lord. Our Thai staff and our Thai church family at Baan Athitaan Church reflect the reality that God almighty is at work in amazing ways drawing people to Himself from some of the least reached people groups on the face of the planet. Our church represents over 23 different people groups, some of which are the some of the least reached in the entire world today.

Over the 18 years we have served here in Thailand, we have seen God use many people and many things to help this new generation of Thai young people have a chance to hear the greatest story of love and redemption that could ever be told. But how can they hear unless someone goes and tells them? How can they understand unless someone goes and lives among them and invests their lives to making disciples from these people? And how can those people go and God’s work be sustained unless partners like you pray and give for the advancement of the great commission?

“ENGLISH FUN DAY” for Young People
As I wrote this update yesterday, I was sitting in the auditorium of a school in the MaeJan district in the province of Chiangrai just about 20 minutes North of where we live. We were about 30 minutes South of the border of Myanmar, and about 30 minutes West of the border of Laos.

We are there at the invitation of this very large school that asked Grace Language School to come and teach English in the format of what we call an “English Fun Day” for about 120 8th grade students. The teacher that initiated the request is a former graduate of Rajaphat University and is one of my former students at Grace Language School and a good friend of one of our awesome staff whom you all may know as Boom.

We are here with our NTIM/GLS/Baan Athitaan Church team, along with several university students that we are discipling, and with a key partner church team that is here with us from Mississippi. Leading this team is Beverly Bridges, one of our awesome Board Members of NTIM. This is her 10th consecutive year of coming and serving and joining God in His work among the Thai people of Northern Thailand. We are so thankful for volunteers and partners that come out and help us expand the kingdom of our Lord Jesus.

You have heard me say many times that God is using English in mighty ways to reach the hearts of young people and build His church in one of the most needy, yet fascinating places in the world – Northern Thailand.

“ENGLISH CAMP” for University Students
Several weeks ago, Rajabhat University contacted Grace Language School and asked us to lead and design an English Camp for about 26 university students that are 1st and 2nd year students majoring in Public Administration.

That camp took place just last week off campus at a nice resort North of town that was completely funded by Rajabhat University!!! The camp was all day Friday, overnight Friday night, and Saturday morning. It was one of the best camps we have ever experienced and are already seeing fruit from that camp in terms of good friendships and relationships with both the students and the faculty at the university.  Here is a short video clip from that camp.

Make no mistake about it, it takes a lots of time, lots of love, lots of energy, and lots of resources to build relationships of genuine trust with people but oh what a joy it is when we join God in obedience and see Him working in the lives of others. We are deeply thankful to God for allowing us to be a small part of His plans to draw people from this part of God’s World to the cross and to a personal relationship with Jesus.

Thank you for praying for us as we seek to lead others to Jesus and disciple them. Thank you for coming on mission trips to help with God’s work. Thank you for giving through NTIM so that we can serve here and insure that the gospel reaches into some of the least reached people groups in the world today.

Thank you for sharing with others about our work and being an advocate for us and for the unreached people groups that we are targeting.

Short update on land situation.
Many of you have been praying with us these past two years as we have been seeking the Lord regarding Phase I of our Building Project. Phase 1 is buying land for building and Phase 2 is the building process. We are in the final stages of Phase 1. We have now had a contract on a piece of land for 1 year. God has provided us enough money to buy a piece of land and we are in the final stages of getting that land transferred into the name of our foundation. It is quite a long process. We could put it into the name of a Thai person that we trust but we have always tried to do things with integrity, according to the laws of the land, and doing things above board so it has taken us much longer to do things but we are confident that God is pleased with us being patient and doing everything according to the laws of the land. 

We are hoping to complete Phase 1 very soon and begin Phase 2.

Phase 2 is the phase where we begin raising funds for the building and asking God to both send us the funds for the building process as well as person to be a “volunteer Construction Team Coordinator” who will coordinate teams to come out and assist with the construction of our facility. We still cannot decide on the time to begin construction until we have the government has finalized our paperwork but we hope to be able to make that decision very soon. 

Short update on Caleb and Calvin College.
As most of you know, our youngest son Caleb has graduated from high school and is now with Hope in North Carolina visiting with our oldest daughter, Jessica, and her family. They will be going to the Birmingham area soon for a few weeks before returning to North Caroline before Hope then heads back to Thailand the end of this month. Please pray for Caleb as he begins to make the transition of starting University at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI.

Short update on Finances.
Please remember to pray for us and for our support levels. I REALLY DO NOT LIKE TO TALK ABOUT MONEY but we are deeply in need of some additional monthly supporters. Not only does the support go to help our family stay and serve here on the field, but some of it goes to help Liz & Dallas, some of it goes to help our awesome Thai staff, some of it goes to help support of keeping our costs down at Grace Language School, some of it goes to help toward our awesome soccer outreach to university students, some of it goes to help toward our outreach and ministry to about 30 children who are infected and affected by HIV Aids, some of it goes to help toward assisting in all the discipleship work that goes on through Baan Athitaan Church, and some of it goes to help toward assisting teams when they come out to help us with the expansion of God’s work and the focus on reaching several unreached people groups in a strategic way but NONE OF IT GOES FOR ANY EXECUTIVE ADMINSTRATIVE SALARY!!!! O! Nada, Nothing. Zip… but all of our board members of NTIM serve as Volunteers for NTIM and the only board member that receives even 1 penny is our family as field personnel. What an awesome Board NTIM has. Thank you Board Members!

We would be very grateful to see our number of monthly supporters increase from about 13 people (included in this number are 4 churches that support us) to about 25 or 30 people (or churches). No amount is too small and all donations through NTIM are tax deductible and go for a very worthy cause of “making disciples of some of the least reached people groups” in and around Northern Thailand.

Something God is teaching me these days…..
Last but not least I want to share a verse God has been teaching me over the years. It is a verse written by the Apostle Paul to Timothy basically saying…. Everything that I have ever taught you has been aimed at one goal….. teaching you how to love… love with a pure heart…. Love with a good conscience… and love with a genuine faith. Wow. Listen to this verse from 1 Timothy 1:5 “But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” Life and success is not about how much money we have, how much status we have attained in society, how many possessions we have accumulated, how many things we have done,  how many places we have been to, how many things on our bucket list we have been able to check off…no…. when it is all said and done…life and success is not about any of those things… rather it is about love… how well we have learned to love God…. And how well we have learned to express love to others… our family… our church family…. our friends… our coworkers, our neighbors…. our enemies… and even to our missionaries who represent us and God’s love in other parts of the world among people who need to love of Jesus in their lives. One of the key goals of the teaching of the Bible is to love.

Your Servants to the Nations in and around Northern Thailand,

Michael for the team
Financial support can be given through NTIM....

Northern Thailand Impact Ministry (NTIM), P.O. Box 26115, Birmingham, AL 35260 USA Main Website:

NTIM is a non-profit 501(c)(3)charitable organization based in the USA. We are committed to connecting people in need with people who care and are focused in the heart of Southeast Asia where poverty is high, education is low, needs are great, darkness is everywhere, and the love and message of Jesus is needed to transform lives.

Reaching, Teaching, Discipling, Equipping, Training, and Serving People in God’s World through acts of love and compassionate is what NTIM and our ministry team is all about.