Audio Bibles and Tobacco!

During the week of evangelism, a group of us visited NyaLaGwee (NLG) village. Pastor Leonardo and his wife came along with Lisa Sharon and family and Jonathan Hill with his large, ever-present camera.

When we first entered the village we noticed that most of the people were working in their gardens and were not there.  Some, however needed medical help and we were led to the small one-room school house which was not in session.  It was a perfect place to put down a mat and conduct a clinic.  Many more people came from nowhere and so we began with a worship.  First of all BletJhaw introduced to the audio Bible.  I had brought 3 of them with the chargers.  Pastor Leonardo had a lovely worship with them, then BletJhaw gave the Bibles to those interested.

They know  a little bit about the Bible because we have taught them simply about Jesus for many years.  She jumped up and was so excited to receive her very own audio Bible!!  After the 3 Bibles were given, we treated the sick for a very long time.  So many sick people, then a family had cooked and fed our entire group!

This type of work is normal for us to do from village to village, but what happened next certainly was extraordinary!  The next day a group of people came to our clinic from NLG.  The first lady to be treated smokes a pipe all the time.  BletJhaw tries repeatedly with all the people to encourage them to stop smoking, but this lady in particular.  When he asked her if she had stopped smoking yet, she was embarrassed because there in her bag was a large plastic bag filled with tobacco and her pipe.  She pulled it out and handed it all to BletJhaw, saying that she will stop today!  We prayed for her and were overjoyed.  Then we asked the 2 other ladies with her if they too wanted to follow this good example and give up their tobacco.

“No”  they said, “Not yet, maybe next time.”

We encouraged them and talked for a long time.

Finally the other 2 ladies surrendered their pipes and tobacco also.  They wanted to stop smoking!  We prayed there on the porch for them all.  Then they asked for the audio Bibles, because they did not get one the day before.  With joy we gave out the Audio Bibles and explained how to use them.

 

Great exchange!  Tobacco for Audio Bibles!

That day we gave out 9 audio Bibles to that group of people from NLG village

 

 

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Angels and the Drone!

During the Evangelistic meetings we ran out of food and had to make an early morning drive to MaeLaCamp to buy fruits and vegetables.  Jonathan Hill came with us because he was eager to get more pictures and to send the drone up the catch the breathtaking views.

On the way home at the top of one mountain, he walked ahead of our truck and flew the drone over our truck.  He was backing up while doing the navigation.  He did not notice the big tree beside him until the drone flew into the top of that tree and got decidedly stuck into the leaves and branches.  It was a horrible moment for Jonathan because we had just been discussing its value and the plans he had for it.

We stopped underneath that huge tree and peered up into the tippy top branches – there it was – little light flashing!  Jonathan tried to fly it out, but it was hopelessly stuck.  We prayed.  Then BletJhaw began to climb the tree!  I was appalled!

“Don’t do it! Don’t do it!” I yelled out.

“It’s not worth your life. Stop.  Stop. I’ll buy another one. Come back right now!”

But my words were not heeded.  BletJhaw seemed determined to retrieve the prize possession.  I was beside myself because the tree was hanging over a steep cliff.  If he fell, which surely he would amidst those tiny branches so high up – it would be all over, our work, our week of evangelism, his family – everything.

Can you see BletJhaw? He still has to go farther up and out!  (Sorry, I could not rotate this picture clockwise)

I watch as he climbs almost out of sight, doing the splits to reach the next tiny branch which is swaying in the breeze.  He is very strong and flexible, but we have no idea what kind of tree this is and how strong the thin wood underneath his feet.  Finally he tries to throw a rope over that drone unsuccessfully.  He comes down far enough to let his rope down, and we tie a long forked stick to it.  Back up he goes and reaches far beyond the limit of gravity to hook that tiny branch and pull it toward him.  At this point I cannot watch.  It is certainly a gut wrenching moment when the breath cannot move freely in and out of your lungs.

“Oh dear God help.”  is all I could say.

And help was there!  The branch bent down down down and with one free hand (That I could not believe he had), BletJhaw got hold of the drone and pulled it loose.  Such an impossible feet!

Near the very top, and off to the right a little bit

 

Have you ever talked with your angel?  Or with someone else’s angel?  I did that day.  So thankful that angels that excel in strength held up those little tree branches and saved BletJhaw’s life!

 

. . . And I guess saved the drone also, although I had not been worried about that drone!

Drone unharmed

So much more meaning to the verse:  “There shall no evil befall thee…for He shall give His angels charge over thee to keep thee in all thy ways.  They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.”  Psalms 91:11,12

 

 

 

 

 

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Higher Than the Highest Thought

Desire of Ages 311.2  “God’s ideal for His children is higher than the highest thought can reach.”

This last week in BYT has certainly been higher than my finite mind ever could have imagined!  So right here I will try my best to tell – though words cannot describe it!

“Every day will I bless thee, and I will praise Thy name for ever and ever.  Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable!”  Psalms 145:2,3

The devil slammed us the entire week before evangelism.

  1. DuPe committed suicide on Sabbath,

2.  The funeral, the burial, the sadness, all day Sunday,

3.  BeLoo was at the point of death when we took her to the hospital.

4.  Rain persisted just when we needed to go to other places.

5.  BletJhaw’s 2 year old son got sick and came down with a temperature            of 105.9!

6.  Then just before we had to leave to pick up Pastor Jimmy, the Baptist people who had just moved in up the hill from us – moved in on us and put on a “Christian” rock concert just across the river from our compound.  It was loud and wild.  Furthermore it seemed that all the village people were in attendance. What if they kept doing this while we were having our meetings? Nobody would want to come to church, plus you cannot even think straight while all that was going on!

We brought Pastor Jimmy to BYT on Thursday afternoon. He had been in BYT before. He went right to work visiting people and becoming their friend.  He is so enthusiastic, has a winning personality, and knows how to speak to the mountain people.

 

The Steck family arrived, with their piano and special music!

My best friend, Lisa Sharon came with Travis and her seven sweet Karen children!  Five media people came in the new production truck with Daniel Bair, Jonathan Hill, and 3 other young men!  Later we picked up a pastor and his wife from Illinois. – so many visitors like BYT has never seen!  It was a wonderful re-union for the missionaries, as we had not seen each other for a long time.  We prayed together and each day during the meetings, we split up in groups and visited other villages on Monday Tuesday and Wednesday.

Pastor Jimmy met with the people who wanted to be baptized and taught them.  (I had imagined only 2-4 would be baptized). He also had a special training seminar on Wednesday for all the church leaders and organized the elders, deacons, deaconesses, clerk, treasurer, women’s ministry etc and taught them what to do.  These things our little church never knew about. He asked us to expand our church and make it 2 sections larger, as more people attend when it is bigger.  He met with the principle of the government school and she wanted to send the Christian students to us for worship 3 days a week – the ones who wanted to worship God and not Buddha.  She also wants someone to teach English in her school.  (We plan to do it)

For Friday Pastor Jimmy planned a special Thanksgiving breakfast for everyone. All day Thursday the people leveled the ground on 3 levels opposite the church, constructed the tables bowels and spoons from bamboo, and prepared the food. And the people came in droves!  I imagined Jesus feeding the 5000! My joy knew no bounds!

We fell in love with Pastor Leonardo and his wife Vanessa at the very first sight.  What a humble, godly couple they are and so encouraging to BletJhaw and I!  They said they were changed for life and would never be the same again after witnessing the mission work being done in BYT and surrounding villages. They are so supportive beyond words!  They had made a real sacrifice of their time, money, and energy, to travel all the way from Illinois for only a little over one week, just to preach in our little village! Pastor Leonardo did all the preaching, morning and night.  He gave the people a simple, clearer vision of Jesus, his love, His second coming and heaven.  We did not have just 2 or 3 in attendance! Away with that thought! The morning attendance was a little less, but in the evening meetings there were over 40- 50 every evening and then on Sabbath we just did not count them all! They came from 4 different villages maybe more.  I felt the light from the throne room of God being shed abroad over all in attendance, the rays of which will spread out wider and farther until Jesus comes!!!

Finally Sabbath came, the highest Sabbath Day of my life.  The little church was packed and others outside. The special music, the prayers, the piano, the songs, the sermon, filled with power from the Holy Spirit telling the people that they don’t want to miss out on heaven, and the 3 large video cameras catching every single word, was just too wonderfully amazing to put into words!  Then we proceeded to the river for the baptism.  People swarmed all down both banks of the river and across the bridge.  There were not two people baptized, not four, but 16 precious Karen people baptized that day.  Seems so strange to cry tears of joy.  But when your cup of joy is full and it overflows and runs all over the place, unbidden tears come out.  I watched one person after another follow each other into the river that day.  People that I had preached to countless times.  People that I loved so much.  People that I had prayed for – my joy was intense.

 

You know I am so glad that God gave us human beings the job of soul winning!  He could have sent the Angels to do it, but think of all the joy we would miss!  I am told that in heaven our joy will be even greater as we meet those who are there because of our sacrifice for souls.  I’m so glad we will then have immortal bodies then, otherwise I don’t think I could live underneath such an enormous cup of joy!

ChaPoe is so happy to be a member of the SDA Church at last! He dropped his membership from the Catholic church.

So . . . if your first priority in life is not soul winning, than I ask you to make it such.  Until then you cannot know true joy!

 

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Media Truck

Here’s an amazing story! Jesus for Asia has a foundation now in Chaing Mai called, “Love for Asia.” Jon Wood came to Thailand last October to purchase a 4X4 truck and adapt it for media use. The team worked on this project all month and outfitted this truck into a mobile, state of the art, production studio. What a miracle! It cost a lot of money, but now it can travel to remote sites and video meetings etc. in the people’s native language and the DVD’s or MP3’s can take the gospel to many other locations.

When I heard that this work of art was completed, I called Jon Wood before he left Thailand to congratulate him on this huge project, and say good-bye to him. He had been too busy to visit us in BYT this time. We were planning our evangelistic meetings, and I decided to be really funny and tell Jon Wood that now he had completed this truck just in time so he could bring it to BYT and record our evangelistic meetings! I knew that we were by far too remote and that could never happen, but I wanted to be outlandish. . . ..However.. . . to my utter and profound, amazement his reply was:

“Yes! That’s exactly what we will do, that’s what it’s made for. This truck will come to BYT and record the entire series if you would give your permission!”

PERMISSION!! I was completely shocked and dumbfounded – speechless, unable to process what I had just heard! To think something this expensive and valuable and new would be traveling way out here to this small place with all that big capability! This really was encouraging because I knew the timing of that truck was providential and even if hardly any people came to our meetings, those videos could be taken to many other villages. How encouraging! God was working!

Sure enough it came with 5 young professional men who knew what they were doing for sure! I really thank them for taking the time, money, and effort to do all that work.

God’s word is going to cover these mountains!

 

 

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Poverty Plus

 

This is poverty.  This is how a real hard core opium addict lives in my jungle mountains.  We saved this ladies’ life by getting her to the hospital in time – now she is well, but cannot stop mainlining heroin.

We heard from the government reports that our area called the Omkoi district is the heaviest, worst area for opium in all of Thailand.  Not hard to believe when you live here and look around you.

 

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Fun Time!

 

Had a fun time riding on a bicycle cart from the market to our truck today.  First time!  The good part is that God blessed our day and we got all the food we needed for all our company in just 2 stops!

 

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Devil’s Onslaught!

We knew it would be tough just before the evangelistic meetings start because the devil hates it so badly.   Sure enough we had a real ugly time this week.  This was our week to travel to other villages and invite them personally to the meetings.  But it didn’t get done because trouble hit.

  1.  First of all our dear friend and church member committed suicide on Sabbath – then came the funeral the next day which took all day.

2.   On the heels of that, the next day, came a trip to LaGlah on the motorbike with all our medicine.  But lo and behold we find BeLoo dying from starvation and dehydration!  She had lost so much weight you could barely recognize her!  She could not eat or drink anything without throwing up.  She was only skin and bones. We had to quickly take the motorbike back and get the truck to take her to the hospital.

3.   Next BletJhaw’s youngest son, Brayden age 2, became very sick.  At one time his temperature was 105.9 degrees.  Paracetamol and cool baths hardly would bring it down.  It was a relapse because 18 days ago he was sick for a long time.  BletJhaw told me at one point that the meetings can go on without him if he should need to take Brayden to the hospital.  I said, “Maybe the meetings can go on without you, but I cannot!”  Our work must still carry on with added pressures.  We earnestly prayed for Brayden and after 2 days his fever went down! Praise the Lord!

4.  Rain is still a very big threat.  At times ugly black clouds fill the sky and we get a huge downpour.  This has happened since we worked hoeing on the shortcut road filling in the deep ruts. No more time to fix what the rain destroyed. We have no assurance that the roads will be dry so the visitors can make it in with their trucks.

But never mind all this!  Jesus says:

“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them:  Because greater is he that is in you, than He that is in the world.” 1John 4:4

Please keep praying and just hang on for the next exciting report of how God is working in the jungle!

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The Funeral

Our black truck is a hearse for the first time last Sunday, November 19. Weeping people watch us leave.

We make our way to the jungle spot where he will be buried.  We are there for hours because the hole has not yet been dug.

His 2 oldest sons help dig the hole.  His marker cross bears the name and age:  DuPe, age 44.

I thought to myself, “This is what he wanted.  He got what he wanted.”

Suicide is a godless and selfish decision.  He left young children and grandchildren and friends.   He has no idea how much God values him and gave His life for him, though he has heard God’s message of love more than anyone else in our villages.

I just read how Sister White sometimes spent hours during the night season praying for the lost that they would wake up and sense their danger and turn to the Lord.

“Oh Lord,” I cry, “Help me! I want to do more praying for the lost like this before it is forever too late for all the rest!”

 

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Heart Break!

The words called out from the back of the truck burned into my brain and cut into my heart:

“I don’t think he is breathing.”

BletJhaw stopped the truck and I jumped out and swung myself up into the bed of the truck where he lay.  My hand flew to the carotid artery – nothing. I flipped open the eyelids – fixed and dilated. I checked for breathing – none. I thumped the chest – no response.  This can’t be happening!

This is how it began.  It is Sabbath morning.  We had been woken by the sound of a loud motorbike, straining up our hill at 5 a.m. followed by persistent knocking.

“Somebody in WST had been unconscious since 3 a.m.– can you come?”  …Was the message.

It didn’t take us long to grab the essentials and get to the house where we found the man in a deep level of unconsciousness.  His blood pressure was good, but respirations seemed to be shutting down.  We discovered he had overdosed on Tramadol liquid the night before.  The government gives it out in attempt to stop the opium habit.  Five cc’s should be taken twice a day.  This man had taken at least 200 cc’s all at once the night before.  This explains the respirations, as Tramadol works on the brain’s concept of pain, not on the pain itself.

Strong hands carried him out to our truck in a blanket, but he died three quarters of the way to Meta hospital.

Now it is Sabbath evening and we go to the house in WST, and meet with the family and many neighbors and friends.  I will do an encouraging worship for them, even though I have not had time to sit down and personally process the shocking events of the day. The men are hammering nails into a crude wooden box coffin when we arrive.  The box is completed, and the body placed in it, as the people crowded into the tiny house, or settled themselves on the ground outside.

I look at the crude wooden box that surrounded the motionless, silent and precious occupant.  He had made his choice.  His destiny is decided.  No more chances.  It breaks my heart! I look at the familiar room, and the faces of family and friends that I love so much.   You see we have met here week after week, doing Bible studies ever since this man tried to commit suicide by shooting into his right ear, 7 years ago!  God miraculously saved his life.  He stayed off opium several months, but started again.  He came to us for detox shortly after that and successfully came off it at which time he and his wife were baptized.  But the devil kept pushing and he was weak and returned to the opium.  We continued loving him and doing the worships.  He came to our church quite often – the last sermon he listened to was a powerful one entitled:  “JUDAS.” But still he kept spiraling downward, speaking often about suicide.  He recently stole his wife’s tithe money to buy his opium.

 

. . . And now here he lies – dead!   His name?      DuPe

 

 

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Evangalism!

On the 25 of November we have many visitors coming for an evangelistic campaign. We are very excited about this event because it has never happened in history of these mountains ever before!
Pastor Jimmy Shwe is a Karen pastor, who has been active in Thailand and Myanmar planting schools and churches.  He is now the Seventh-Day Adventist Church Planter and Consultant for the Karen Refugee Program in America, nation-wide. He will have a regular Friday night and Sabbath program in BYT on November 24 and 25, and then he will do a series of meetings morning and evening from November 26 through December 2.  His title:  “Prepare to meet your King!”
One year ago when I was in America, I met  Pastor Jimmy for the first time in his South Carolina home and discussed the possibilities of having evangelism for my people in BYT.  To my utter amazement, he was happy to do it!  Since then the plans have gone forward and really grown!

Pastor JImmy Shwe and his wife.

Now we are amazed to see the providences of God opening up before us.  Love for Asia Foundation has just purchased  a 4X4  truck that has now been remodeled into a mobile recording studio!  I was thrilled to hear that they will even come to BYT and video the entire week series!  Four professional young men will be on sight running the video equipment for every meeting!  Isn’t the Lord wonderful!  Who’d ever have thought. . .  “His mercy endureth forever!”
Not only that, but several missionary families from Thailand will come to support and pray. The Steck family will come with their piano to do special music!  Our people in the mountains will be so happy and honored to see and welcome the American visitors. And my desires will be fulfilled to have these poor mountain people see other Seventh-Day Adventist Christians who are happy in obeying all God’s commands, besides just BletJhaw and myself.  Praise the Lord again and again, for “His mercy endureth forever!”
We praise the Lord again and again for Jerry, who is our dependable cook.  This is a huge undertaking for us to feed such a group of visitors.  That is what makes me the most nervous, as it is hard to bring in and keep the fresh food.
You are all invited to come, enjoy, and swell the crowd!  Of course having never done this before we don’t know what to expect – maybe 2 people will come maybe 50!  But we are traveling from village to village inviting everyone and explaining the interesting and most important event in their area.  We speak to all the patients that come to our clinic from all different villages.  May God bless and push away Satan’s attempts to thwart our plans.
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