"And I pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ." Ephesians 3:17b-18

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Blessed to be able to serve!

Below is a link to few some pictures of some of the work God has blessed us to be a part of. It is hard to believe our journey here is quickly coming to an end. We have church tomorrow & have one more day of ministry in a very impoverished village on Monday. While we are anxious to see our family and friends at home, it will be very hard to leave our  friends here, they have left such a sweet thumbprint on our hearts. We pray the God's light has shown through us into the lives of those we have ministered to.

We do have some desperate prayer needs we would like to share with you:

Martha - young daughter of our friend and driver, with malaria and pneumonia

Aaron - young boy with abdominal abscess, liver & spleen complications, & severe glaucoma, from which he is losing his sight

Bernard - 8 month old boy in Nzigu village with hydrocephalus is great need of medical treatment

Uganda July 2014 Pics

Friday, July 11, 2014

Morning ya'll.....evening here ;)

July 11, 2014

The high for today was in the low to mid 90’s with a slight breeze and extremely comfortable in the shade of a beautiful, full Acacia tree.  Evening temperature is in the low 70s providing a comfortable sleeping temperature for those enjoying serving the Lord in Africa. We had a wonderful day full of adventure.  After a delicious breakfast and morning devotion we set out for a morning of African style evangelism (i.e. hut-to-hut). We divided into 4 teams to cover some of the area around the local missionary church. Each team had very different experiences. Testimonies were given, questions were asked and answered, and there was rejoicing for salvations. Rhonda and I, decided to see if we could get a Bible club going. With 2 to 3 children present I started reading from a Bible story book and before we knew it we had 17 children gathered. We went from one story to another and then gave out stickers – we had great fun!  

Upon returning to our host missionary family’s home, we enjoyed homemade chicken salad sandwiches for lunch and then we all headed to the children’s hospital. We found our good friend Florence (head nurse for the hospital), she gave us a small tour of the new section where we distributed beanie babies. The hospital visit and handing out the beanie babies has become a tradition that we’ve carried on for several years now.  Though there have been some recent renovations the suffering and crowded conditions have not changed.

By the end of the day we had searched through all our trunks to find story ideas and craft materials for over 200 children that we expect to work with tomorrow.  We thank God for getting us one step further out of our comfort zone and allowing us to serve Him. We have made our plans for tomorrow, but we never truly know what tomorrow holds.

We would like to request prayer for Martha who is the daughter of Andrew (our long time friend and driver). She has malaria and pneumonia.


Well, I had a very interesting day, I was assigned to go out knocking on doors to spread the gospel today.  This was way out of my comfort zone after living a very sheltered life in my Christian growth in the states.  We had another Missionary with her daughter and an Interpreter from the local Church to go with me.  We stopped at 5 different homes talking with them about Jesus.  We had 7 young men and one young girl to pray the salvation prayer with us.  We hope they will come to services on Sunday and learn more about Jesus , his life, what He wants us to do with our lives, and  to show others how to live.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

"You are WELCOME"

 July 9, 2014

Here goes the team’s last day in Gulu. I believe I can speak for all of us, when I say that we all have enjoyed the children these last 4 days.  Seeing their faces glow like the sun and their learning expanded day-by- day makes the lost luggage, the long hours of drive worth the wild. Today was a rather eventful day to say the least. We started out with our daily breakfast and devotion. This morning’s devotion was lead by Cindy, and was one of great reflection. We talked about how at times we try to put God in a box, and rather than allowing the Spirit of God to lead, we try to lead with our minds. We all concluded that God’s ways are much higher than our ways, and daily we must seek to know His plan even when it doesn’t make sense to our finite minds. He knows best and our faith should be fueled on His perfect plan for our lives.

After breakfast we quickly reported to our designated classes. The look on the student’s faces was simply breath taking. As soon as we stand on the first step, their eyes are directed towards us. They wait for us to enter and they all say in concert,”You are welcome”. They were all ready and eager for whatever activities we prepared for the day. We went over bible stories, namely the story of Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection. As we reenacted the birth of Jesus, the K2 and K3’s face lit with such amazement as they watched Susan deliver “Baby Jesus” from under Tameka’s dress. Can you say birthing 101 is in full effect? The children continue to laugh even minutes into the rest of the story.  In addition, we revisited some of the classes on hygiene. It is amazing how much their minds absorb. It just confirms that our desire and availability to allow God to pour in their hearts and minds through us will never be lost. We are preparing the next generation to have an advantage.  Just as the Bible says, as children of God we must renew our minds daily. That is applicable in the spiritual as well as the physical realm. These children have a chance for a brighter tomorrow.

Evening approached and a heavy downpour came. Jenny and Elizabeth expressed that the rain hadn’t fell that much in some time. After the rain cleared, everyone gather at the pavilion for the student’s special Acholi dance. They looked like little men and women as they performed with such confidence and pride. The dancing was followed by a science lesson demo on the qualities of air, then the P4 class singing a farwell song to us. Each of the team members was then given the opportunity to express appreciation for the students, teachers and staff’s welcome.  We definitely look forward to all God has in store for the months and years to come.

We concluded the evening with Deborah’s delicious chicken and dumpling. We sat around and watched “Journey to Jamma” and “The Perfect Game”, two great movies to end our last night in Gulu. Nothing can compare to the laughs, love and the peace of God resting upon us these last few days. We are truly blessed and we are grateful to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us all in every way. Just as God led the children of Israel with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, He will surely continue to guide and protect us for the duration of our journey.    ---Tameka

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

5 Short Term Missionaries + 3 Resident Missionaries + 2 National Missionaries + 400 students + 18 Teachers = a fun day of VBS!!!!!!

July 8, 2014

Last night we had a wonderful time of praise & worship with a visiting team headed to Far Reaching Ministries in South Sudan. After a time of prayer & singing we had communion. What a special time it was on the eve of our VBS.

Today we had our first full day of Vacation Bible School (VBS) ----- boy did we have fun…I think the kids did too J After our crazy intro of the chicken dance at morning assembly we loaded up our supplies & headed to our respective class rooms. There were Bible Stories, games, songs, crafts, snacks & health education for all. 

Here are some highlights:

·         Susan “supervised” as Tameka washed 102 pairs of hands as she taught the K2 & K3 classes proper hand hygiene…she was a little wrinkly by the end.

·         Deborah was very happy to find that the P2 class, which she had last year as P1, had matured so much…especially since there are 50 of them.

·         Cindy’s class got to dig for “treasures” in the sand bucket while learning about “digging” for all the treasures God has for us in His word.

·        Rhonda was so encouraged to see the excitement of the children as they worked the “simple” games of a floor puzzle & memory matching game while learning about being a part of the team – the body of Christ.

One of the greatest highlights of the day was the 68 children in P5 – P7 who made commitments today to be Health Mentors. We had met with them yesterday & did some intense health education. At the end of the classes we talked with them about becoming a “Health Mentor”. While the word “mentor” was new to them we explained that if they choose to they would be responsible to not only maintain good personal hygiene and first aid, but would be responsible for watching out for the younger children. These responsibilities would include helping to educate them, as well as, reinforcing good personal hygiene by the younger ones.  

It is not uncommon in a society, such as here, that there is a lack of knowledge in things that we in America take for granted. When you live in a mud hut in the dirt, have to walk miles for water that is usually not safe or clean, and your parents are struggling just to survive simple things like proper personal hygiene and first aid are not a priority. By educating the children to take responsibility for themselves and others we prayerfully hope to instill a sense of empowerment that they do have control over, at least, part of their lives, and they can make a positive impact on not only their future but the future of others. They were very proud to receive their “SOG Health Mentor / Matthew 25:20” dog tag necklaces and their Certificate of Completion for the teaching.

It was very encouraging to us that so many of the P5 – P7 children remembered the teaching they had received yesterday. Some of whom have already put their new knowledge to work.

Tomorrow is another day of VBS fun with some amazing, bright eyed, eager, beautiful children!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

God;s Divine Timing

Uganda Newsletter #2                                                                                    July 6, 2014

Tameka here: We started our journey early this morning from Entebbe in route to Gulu. We arose and loaded all of our trunks; that we are so grateful to have finally picked up from Entebbe Airport yesterday.  Prior to pulling on our journey, we took a few minutes to thank God for His divine timing, and allowing the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us. We took our first stop at a local café, which was totally warranted since some of us are professional coffee drinkers.

So we arrived, and as the newest member of the team, I (Tameka), describe Gulu as a breath of fresh air. We met the newest members of Sanctuary of Grace (SOG): Teresa, Jenny and Elizabeth. We then quickly began unpacking supplies for VBS and got settled in our spaces (preferable bunks). Before long it was time for dinner. The Coggins were so grateful for the smallest things like parmesan cheese and ranch dressing. It was quite the finishing touch to our delicious spaghetti dinner. We sat around the table like a big happy family and began telling of how we all came to meet. In that very moment we all realized that nothing can compare to God’s divine timing.

The Bible says “obedience is better than sacrifice” and we as children of God, should always incline our ear to the heart of God. This is when we can firsthand experience God’s perfect will and not just His permissive will.  God’s timing is always perfect no matter how inconveniencing we find it at times. He reassures us of His promise, His guarantee that He will never leave us nor forsake us, and His timing is not our timing. We look forward to all that He has in store here at SOG and are marveled of all He has allowed to happen. Tomorrow is pregnant with possibilities.

Rhonda here: how Blessed we all feel to be serving within Gods will for us. He knows just who to bring together to make a complete “team” with each bringing the special gifts that He has nurtured within them.  No matter how many times I’ve been before with Cindy, Susan, & Debra each time, to include this one, is filled with new Blessings.  There is always so much to write about, but I want to share what I wrote today in my journal as we took the 8 hr bus ride from Entebbe to Gulu (awesome experience within itself).  Each page in my journal has a “Thought for the Day” & a scripture to go with it.  My scripture today (06 Jul) is from Mark 1:15 (NIV), “The right time has come. The kingdom of God is near. Change your hearts and lives and believe the Good News!” It is the “Thought for the Day” that got me thinking, it reads: Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.  I wrote…”absolutely, especially if you travel as a missionary to a 3rd world county where there is extensive poverty that is increased by an enormous lack of clean water & health care & education.  It’s more of a reality when you’re physically staring at it, when you’re shaking its hand, when your sharing the Love of Christ with it. Really, what is 1,000 of miles & money when you’re serving God? All you have means nothing if you are not serving God. How far would you walk to church carrying your own chair to sit in simply to hear God’s message & be part of the body of Christ? Oh, the walk is in the heat of noon, on red dirt roads/paths, & without shoes. Do you really mean “use me God”

Saturday, July 5, 2014

TRUST, FLEXIBILITY, & THANKFULNESS.....That is the name of the game.

Thank you Lord!!!! First off everyone arrived safe & sound & everyone is doing well. It never ceases to amaze me how God can bring a group of people together, some of whom we have never met before arriving in Uganda, and everyone works together like they have known each other for years :)

Again we say...Thank you Lord!!!! ...since arriving late Thursday night we have been stretched, flexed, and the sifted...all we can say is we are so thankful that God is control. We arrived minus over half of our trunks, which translated into having less than half of the ministry supplies needed for Gulu. We were told they would be in on July 6 & would be delivered to us in Gulu in about 2 more days....For those of you who have been to Uganda you can certainly understand our concern. Time here has a whole different meaning & what you think, and are told, should take an hour or so, can easily turn into several hours to days.Prayers were sent out that everything would arrive the night of July 4th & we would be able to get them the morning of July 5 & head to Gulu - having missed only one day of ministry activities. We headed to Jinja to rest, wait on our trunk, & were able to catch up with some friends. Prayers answered - the trunks arrived & we headed to Entebbe this morning to get them & head to Gulu....well at least that was the plan. As things turned out by the time we had them it was too late to get on the road & head to Gulu....change of plans again....we are staying in Entebbe for the night & will leave early in the morning.

What does all this mean???? Well in short it means that God certainly has a reason we were not to be driving to Gulu yesterday or today. Do we know why???? No, and we may never. But there is one thing we are sure of...He IS in control. We came to serve as He directed us & we will continue to follow His direction....regardless of the "schedule" we thought we would have.

Please continue to pray for us - safety, good health, and for the ministry work God has in store for us.

We are so thankful to be here & be available for whatever He has in store for us!
Cindy, Susan, Rhonda, Deborah, & Tameka

PS Internet has been very unreliable so we will post when we can.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The journey begins....

By this time tomorrow 3 team members will be on our way to Uganda from the US, 1 team member will be getting ready to leave Tanzania to meet up with us in Uganda & 1 other team member will be leaving Korea to join the team...Can't wait for the team to be together! So excited to see what God has in store for us this year. The focus will be on children's ministry with 350+ children for VBS at one location & ???? number of children for Bible Club at another location. We had originally planned on also having a medical clinic in a remote village, but due to new requirements for visiting nurses we have had to cancel the clinic.... disappointing, but we trust the Lord will reveal a better plan for us. Looking forward jumping into the next 2 weeks of ministry work & watching God do some amazing things in our lives & those of whom we are going to share HIS love with!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Newsletter #6

Thailand Newsletter #6

Rusty:  Our time here is rapidly coming to a close. The team is deeply rooted in their faith ministering to each other and to the Karen (Ka-ren with accent on second syllable) people.  They have been extremely patient with me when I didn’t have a clue what would happen next and when plans changed at the last minute.  They are centered in prayer.  Jesus said in Matthew 21:13, “My house shall be called a house of prayer.”  Prayer has circled this team and the work done.  The team fully trusts God and gives me their trust, which humbles me.  Each member is qualified on his or her own to lead teams to the foreign mission field.  The only thing I brought to the table was that I knew the missionary hostess, “Susie”. It is easy to live out with the team Jesus Christ’s command in John 13:34, “A new command I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

If you’ve been following the Face to Faith Ministry newsletters then you should know a little about what we’ve been doing so I’ll not try to plough the same ground.  Instead I’ll share an observation.  The Thai New Year’s Day is January one just as ours is.   They also celebrate New Year’s Day at the end of February and the middle of April.  It’s the celebration in the middle of April in which we found ourselves immersed (almost as in full immersion baptism) with the Songkran water festival. 

The Gregorian calendar and Christian calendar base year one on the birth of Jesus.  “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”  (John 1:14)  Every time we think of a date, write a check and date our signatures we are testifying to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We are claiming the birth of our Savior, of Whom it was written:  “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”  (1 Timothy 2:3-4) and “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”  (1 Timothy 1:15)  Christ was born to die but He didn’t stay dead as we celebrated yesterday on Resurrection Day!  We are redeemed!  Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  

Here’s the observation.  The Thai New Year is 2557.  What do they base their number on?  Year one is marked by the death of Buddha. They mark it by his death not his birth and not his resurrection from death.  Buddha died and is no longer.  He didn’t come back.  He wasn’t resurrected.  He supposedly passed on to Nirvana, the eternal state of nothingness.  There’s real despair that comes from total and complete death.  There’s no hope.  A Buddhist lives a life of despair.  The best a Buddhist can work towards is Nirvana and ceasing to exist.  That’s how they end suffering, by ceasing to exist.  Where’s hope?  Hope is found in Jesus.  “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”  (Romans 5:5)

It has been a privilege to join God in His work with this team.  We have worked hard to share the hope of eternal life found in Jesus.  God has been generous to allow us to witness some of the fruit of His work.  I always feel like Bob Uecker, baseball player and comedian who sat in the wrong seat at the baseball stadium and when told to move said, “I must be in the front row.”  It’s as if God has given us front row seats and a glimpse into His kingdom work.  Join God and serve Him.  You’ll enjoy the view from the front row. 

Thank you for sending us.   Cindy, Tracey, Rhonda, Priscilla, Leigh Anne, Chandler, Don, Rusty.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter....Is this just another Sunday????

Is this just another day of the week???? or is this just another Sunday?????

Our day here in Thailand had already begun & with that, the celebration of Easter. We are so blessed to be able to be in this special place, working & serving with special people....."for such a time as this..." (Esther 4:14b). God's timing in all circumstances is always perfect, as Tracey shared yesterday from the book of Esther during our team devotion. Today we celebrate the realization of the fact that we serve a risen Lord . "Christ died for our sins...He was buried, and...He rose again on the third day" (1Cor 15:3-4).

As we will be spending our day worshiping with  a group of people, who have been forced from their homes due to persecution and fear, we are reminded of the freedom to worship that we have in the US - a freedom that too often is taken for granted. While this freedom is an earthly freedom - for those who serve the risen Savior we have eternal freedom from the penalty of sin.

So....is this just another Sunday????

Thailand April 17-18 Pictures :)

Children's Ministry Pictures

Friday, April 18, 2014

Newsletter #5

Thailand Newsletter #5

Leigh Anne:  As the F.A.I.T.H. conference commenced on Monday, several of us helped Don set up as attendees arrived.  As soon as they were registered with properly spelled nametags (quite a task in itself!) and had received their packet of materials, the conference was off and running. 

Chandler, Cindy, Rusty, Susie, three Burmese caregivers and I alternately entertained ten precious little children. We started out playing with the children in the large hall on the third floor of the hotel.  After a hotel guest complained of the noise, we were sent to the fourth floor soon to be booted to the top floor of the hotel, a rooftop floor with a beautiful view that overlooked the city of Mae Sot. After a morning of songs, Bible stories, puppet shows and anything else we could think of, Susie drove us through the downtown area of Mae Sot.  Of course, because of the water festival, the children and the Burmese caregivers who sat in the back of the truck were soaked to the bone by the time we returned to the hotel.  Chandler, Cindy and I were not too keen on getting wet so we safely sat inside the truck. After an afternoon of swimming in the pool (a first-time experience in a pool for most), the children were exhausted and all piled in one hotel room to take a nap.  Ten little bodies, sleeping on three twin-sized beds was quite a sight to behold--what a luxury for those who normally sleep on floor mats in homes with no air conditioning in this blazing heat.
On Wednesday, the last day of the conference we looked up to see one of the conference attendees with his five-month-old baby. I asked if he would like to leave him with us, but he shook his head no. No diaper bag or list of care instructions, not even a word but simple trust in our ability to take care of his little one.  And what a sweetheart!  We couldn’t help but adore his plump arms and legs, his beautiful full lips, almond shaped eyes, and unceasingly calm demeanor.  It was sad to say goodbye to all our little friends especially our little baby. 

On Thursday we visited Burmese refugees that live in a shantytown just a few minutes from our hotel.  The town was built on the river around thirty years ago on a small slice of land that floods so often that it cannot be used by the owner for anything else. He rents the land to these people for $3.00 a year per household. Lean-tos made of corrugated/particle board houses about 125 people.  Months ago, Rusty coordinated our visit with the American missionary couple who live on the property.  While Rusty, Tracey, Don and Priscilla played games outside with one group of children, Cindy taught the children about proper hygiene.  Chandler, Rhonda and I taught the story of Jonah and the whale, and shared the story of creation from the wordless child evangelism fellowship book.  Chandler then shared the gospel using the Evangecube—a seven-picture cube “puzzle”.  When we asked if anyone would like to accept Christ, a young girl raised her hand. As our Burmese translator prayed the prayer of salvation with her, she invited Jesus Christ into her heart.  It was such a thrilling opportunity to share the truth about God’s love and forgiveness with these sweet children!

Tracey; I’d like to share two humbling moments.  On Tuesday afternoon I was doing street evangelism in a small hut community and my team approached a young lady returning from her mile walk to get fresh drinking water, what made it special was she was 8 months pregnant and it was 100 degrees outside.  We spoke to her in the road and she accepted Jesus Christ…..while that is special it gets better.  She offered to finish her walk and show us where she lived.  Her husband was home so my team again used our newly learned FAITH training and spoke to him as well. As we were presenting to him she poured us all a large cup of water.  I did not have the heart to drink from the gallon of water that she walked in 100 degree heat a mile to purchase.  She needed that water more than we did!  Her generosity was touching.

These people live in huts with walls of cardboard and plastic bags but were so inviting and shared with us what little they had without hesitation.  Another humbling moment was after spending the morning with the children in the Shantytown on Thursday. Once we sent the children on their way, an elder came back with several large bowls of a sweet warm soupy treat for all of us. Again, so much generosity and appreciation from these people.  Oh, and the pregnant mother I mentioned (this was her first child) had not one thing in her home that suggested she was about to have a baby.  In fact, the babies and small children in the Shantytown do not even have diapers! Believe me, just pick one up and you can tell. These people have nothing, but give everythingJ


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thailand April 14-16, 2014 FAITH Witnessing Conference

Thailand April 14-16,2014

Humble Servant Hood = Light of Love Church


Humble servant hood – that I how I would describe the Burmese people from Light of Love Church. They greeted us with Ming La Bah when we first met, Sunday night at their church. They now greet with American “Good Morning” & “Hello”. Their humility, sweet spirit is such a reflection of the Christ manifested in their lives. Their Pastor gave up a successful career & financial security to answer God’s call to start a church. The pastor’s wife works for Partner’s Relief & Development, the mission organization the missionary we are working with is associated with,& was spending all day work only to go home each day to spend her evenings visiting the parishioners & ministering to their needs. 

Shrines – We have seen many shrines here that have an array of offerings at them. Their faith in idols is so evident as you walk the streets. They are obvious to everyone. The question that begs asking is what idols do we, in America, have?   Ours are less obvious yet they continually take our focus from God. It could be anything from things or to our time. This morning in our Bible Study we talked about intimacy with God. Is God truly the Lord of our life, of our every waking thought, is all that we do governed by Him, do we hear Him when he whispers to our hearts???? Or, are we too busy to have time to do those things that He has laid before us to do, to speak a kind word, to sit with someone who is hurting, to be the salt & light in this dark world???? I would venture to guess that America, the land of abundance, has more idols than those we see on the streets here. The difference being that ours are subtle and at face value seem so insignificant – yet in many ways may be more hazardous to our spiritual relationship with our creator, the one true God. How do we know just how far we have drifted….I would venture to guess that if we analyzed what we spend our money & time on we would know what we truly value. . I am so convicted of how I have allowed those things in life that we deem important to steal me from growing in my personal relationship with God.

I am so grateful that God open the door for me to come here. Asia was a place in the world that I had no desire to go come to, yet He knew that this is where I needed to be at this time.


Newsletter #4

Thailand Newsletter #4

Don; Praises to our Lord, the conference is over with 33 people Faith Trained and a factory sweatshop workers community has 34 new believers in Christ. Doing street Evangelism in a community where the people only get Sunday off and one week a year vacation has many challenges. Their days are long and hard as you can imagine, and not all are interested to hear what you have to say. But we thank God for the 113 that stood still and allowed us to share the Gospel.
A couple special moments to share- Tracey Marshall was one of our students. She tells a story of getting into a house/shack, sharing Christ and leading 2 people to the Lord. I think she was more excited then they were. Going back the next day for follow-up she found 3 more family members and lead them to the Lord. 5 salvations in 2 days is awesome.

Next, I went with Priscilla and Leigh Anne to follow-up visit. A husband and wife had accepted Christ the day before. The husband tells a story of a dream he had during the Night. His great grandfather came down to him from heaven, white hair, white beard and spoke with him. We stayed visiting with them longer than I normally do and started feeling a little un-eased that it was taking so long. Within 40 feet of leaving this couple we found a couple factory working young men relaxing. We stopped and started talking with them within minutes three more workers came down the path a stopped a moment later another one came. When it was over 7 men heard the plan of salvation and 6 prayed to accept Christ. Leaving these young men it occurred to me, that we had left the husband and wife when I first wanted to we would have missed the 7 men. Thank you Lord for your perfect timing.

Our translator, “Stephen” proved to be a special man after God’s heart, we were fortunate to have him for this conference. Our missionary host coordinated with Pastor “Siya A Thee” for the conference. Pastor
Thee told a friend from the backcountry of Myanmar. That friend asks his friend to come translate for us. I love how the body of Christ works together. Anyway, Stephen has a passion to help the Makua Naga people group from Myanmar. This people group doesn’t have a Bible, so he has written a  dictionary, translated the Old Testament and is working on the New Testament. He had a  North Carolina sponsor that founded this effort until recently when he got involved in a different project. So if anyone would like to help Stephen finish the translations for this people group please contact me and I’ll get you in touch with him.

Overwhelmed with praise as we see God’s hand at work in Thailand. Thank you for your prayers.

Rusty, Chandler, Leigh Anne, Rhonda, Cindy, Priscilla, Tracey & don

Newsletter #3

From Face 2 Faith Newsletter 
*The team has people from a few different ministries, one of which is Face 2 Faith, who conduct the FAITH Training Conferences around the world. So to not duplicate efforts I am re-posting :) 

Thailand Newsletter #3
Priscilla; Today is day two of the FAITH Conference.  All the attendees were on time and eager to learn.  You can tell and see the excitement they have to be able to attend this conference.  Their faces are always beaming lights of joy.  They recite scripture in unison, sometimes without even opening their bibles.  I am in complete amazement in their ability to know the word, and wanting to know more about sharing their faith.  One attendee asked me during one of their breaks if sharing the Word with others was easier in America.  I answered him quickly by saying "No". It is never easy to share the gospel, but it is rewarding. John 15:18 immediately comes to mind, "If the world hates you, know that it hated Me first." No one said it would be easy to share the good news of redemption and salvation, people will hate you, and they will criticize you, and mock you.  Just know that for every handful of rejections there is a salvation, and that alone makes the whole thing worth wild.  It makes this trip to Thailand worth the long plane ride, the separation from family, and the lack to understanding or speaking their language, just to train a hand of attendees wanting to do what God has asked us all to do.

Don; We are batting 100, every time we load up the truck to go somewhere a few tenderhearted girls rush to ride inside. Their reason is that as we drive through the city you are appt to get wet, I guess they don’t want their makeup to run. The penalty or prize, depending on how hot it is, you are going to get wet. Little kids with water pistols, bigger kids with soaker guns, others with a plastic bowl or bucket dipped into a barrel then there are the few with garden hoses zapping any vehicle [especially tourist] that have an opening. Walking, bicycling, motorcycle, car, truck if they can get to you…you’re going to get wet. All those riding in the back of the truck, watch out, its open season and you are an easy target. Yesterday was our first day of visitation, scared, apprehensive but willing 34 people pile into two small pickup trucks and head to the factory workers hosing area. The ones that have the Evangelist heart quickly rise to top, bold as brass they walk up to or into peoples homes and start talking. 90min later 21 names have been recorded in the Lambs Book of Life, hallelujah. They are making plans on how to do follow up and we haven’t finished the training yet, I love it, I love it. Thank you Lord.

Serving our Lord in Mae Sot Thailand
Rusty, Leigh Anne, Chandler, Rhonda, Cindy, Tracey, Priscilla and don.

Thank you for your prayers of support and encouragement.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Slide Show: Thailand April 11-13, 2014

Click on the date (link) below to see some fun pictures (with comments) of our first few days in Thailand. 
Thailand Newsletter #2

Don: We have seen God's hand again and again before leaving the States. The lady that checked us in at the hotel the night before we left was so impressed with what the Lord is doing through us she asked for information so she come next trip. [Yes, Kathy, we have room for you anytime]. Being inline early when they assign seats has advantages also as can see from the Exit row seats for the girls. The plane later was packed. After a long and uneventful trip we arrive just minutes before Rusty, Leigh Anne, Chandler and Cindy. The only casualty was one small tote with ministry supplies.

Friday After breakfast at Starbucks Rusty & I do some Banking and go after Bibles. The Lord lead us to a close and friendly Church/Bible store where after applied discounts we picked up 18 Thai, 25 Burmese and 41 Sgaw Karen Bibles for under $600.00, Praise God.

One wrinkle we hadn’t expected was our transport to Mae Sot. A very nice & clean large minibus arrived ready to take us, until the driver seen how many bags we had. Can’t all fit in one bus, so we’ll take two buses at double the cost. Stopping off at the airport to pick up the AWOL plastic tote we are on our way to Mae Sot.

We are in the Queen Palace Hotel in Mae Sot. A nice hotel with A/C and clean sheets [thank you Lord]. Mae Sot on a border town next to Myawaddy, Myanmar. We were tempted to walk across the Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge today, only tempted. The Moei River is a twisting-turning shallow river at this time of year. It was strange for us to see the “legal” border crossing on the bridge and the “illegal” crossing on boats or wading across a hundred yards up stream, in clear view of the authorities.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Not the "normal" mission trip update

In light of some events yesterday and a burden God has placed on my heart, I am deviating from the “normal” mission trip update.
Today started with unexplainable sorrow. We learned the news of the tragic death, that occurred yesterday (Sunday),  of a friend in my Sunday School Class. Within 20 minutes of receiving that news, I received the wonderful news of the birth of my great niece. The wave of emotions were from one extreme to another in a matter of minutes.

As I struggle to comprehend the events of yesterday one thought is resonating in my spirit. God is still God. We have both Blessings and hardship in our lives. Though there are tragic things of this life that are beyond anything we can comprehend...God's desire is "not to harm us but to prosper us" (Jeremiah 29:11). HE desires to have a personal intimate relationship with us, not only here but for eternity. The fact that we live in a sinful world means that there will be pain and suffering  For those of us who have Christ as our personal Lord and Savior we have the assurance that God has overcome this world (John 16:33). A fact that we will celebrate this coming Easter Sunday, remembering that pain and suffering were not God's design, but the choice of man, to whom God gave a free will. A free will to choose Him or not. But HE chose us as HE hung on a rugged cross to pay the ultimate price for our sins, a price that we could never fully pay.

Now, imagine going about your daily life, with all the joys and sorrows that this life brings, trying to adhere to rituals and rules to try to earn the assurance of your eternity. Each day you have to complete tasks hoping that you do it all correctly, always wondering if it is enough. As we drive through this area of the world there are many shrines to various gods with a wide variety of offerings laid before them. Some of these gods are not even worshipped any longer but the people won't take them down and continue to leave offerings for fear of offending some god they don't even know or believe in. They have no assurance of their eternity, but live in fear. Placing their faith in their abilities. A faith based on our abilities is no faith at all as we all have sinned and fall short (Romans 3:23).

That brings me to today's program, the first day of the F.A.I.T.H. Witness Training. As I sit in this room of 28 of my sisters and brothers in Christ I am humbled and encouraged, for they have chosen to spend the only 3 days they have of annual vacation earnestly studying how to share God  with this dark and dying world,. They realizing the urgency of what God has called them to do – to tell others of the one true God.

God is still God.....A God who choose to leave Heaven, live among us in human form, and die a horrific death on a rugged cross then be raised from the dead so that mankind could have Heaven, both here and for eternity (John 10:10b)
The scripture from my devotion this morning:

As our family celebrates the new life God has brought to my  niece & her family, it reminds me of the new creation that we all are in Christ. For Christians we will fully realize the perfection and wholeness that we were created to be when we see Christ face to face – as my friend did yesterday. While he will be greatly missed, I know one thing for sure: One day there will be a great reunion in heaven. Please keep his wife & mother in your prayers as they deal with his sudden tragic death. Their journey will be something I could not imagine – but God can surely carry them through.

So…… the question for each of us is……What have we done with this knowledge of who Christ is? Is HE our personal Lord and Savior?

For me, I have chosen Christ & although I stumble (often), I choose to follow HIM, knowing fully that HE is my Lord & Savior. My prayer is that Christ is Lord & Savior of your life, for none of us have an guarantee of tomorrow. 


Saturday, April 12, 2014

My first day in Mae Sot

Today was our first full day in Mae Sot. After much travel & working our way here, we finally arrived last night. The morning started slowly....some of us slept right through breakfast only to find out that if you arrive in the dinning room  too late that at least you get a glass of grape koolaide for breakfast. Late morning Marci Haigh Toe (the nurse missionary we will be working with), her husband, & 2 children came to greet us & give us a little tour of the town. First stop was a coffee shop, a very welcome site after my grape koolaide breakfast, yes I was one of the sleepy heads. Then we headed on to the Friendship Bridge which crosses a river & joins Thailand with Burma. There was a lot of activity with people crossing the boarder - both "official" and "unofficial." Many of the people are headed home to Burma for the coming week, which is a national holiday that is celebrated by an excessive amount of water throwing - more details (& I'm sure pictures) to follow in the coming week. For these people, who work in sweat shops, work 6-7 days a week & are paid very little, this is their only time off from work all year. While we were there we walked along the river, visited a market & had lunch with a sweet time of fellowship & getting to know Be Soe Toe, Marci & their children.

They brought us back to the hotel so they could head onto a family obligation. Some of the team tried to catch up on that ever elusive jet lag sleep & the rest of us headed to the market to get some wash basins to do our laundry in & 200 bars of soap to distribute when we have our Community Health Evangelism lesson on hygiene. There were children along the way already practicing the water throwing skills & Rusty became their target. With the temp up into the low 100's he was probably the most comfortable one of us walking back to the hotel.

There are many sites similar to those I have seen in other countries in Africa. There were  boys being boys swimming in a river with a lot of trash floating by & on the river bank; people going about their daily lives which, for the most part, entailed poverty &  a struggle to survive; a mix of development & squalor so closed together that you mind wonders how such opposites can exist together. In it all you see the human spirit searching for some meaning or purpose. There are a lot of shrines here & I'll post info on the religious beliefs here tomorrow to give more background.

This evening Rhonda, Priscilla, and myself went to get more airtime for my phone. As we walked through a market area there was a man, missing his left leg & arm, scooting himself along the pavement. As we passed, Priscilla felt called to pray for him. We backed up & she knelt by him, placing her hand on his shoulder & prayed for him. With the language barrier there was no way for him to understand what she was saying. But the look on his face when she finished said it all - there was a change in his expression as he looked at her.

We don't know what all God has in store for us here, but prayerfully we will see through HIS eyes & love these people as HE does, fully with grace & mercy. Our prayer is to serve HIM fully & unconditionally every minute that we have the privilege to be here.


News from Mae Sot :)

F2F Newsletter:
Thailand Newsletter #2

Don: We have seen God's hand again and again before leaving the States.
The lady that checked us in at the hotel the night before we left was so impressed with what the Lord is doing through us she asked for information so she come next trip. [Yes, Kathy, we have room for you anytime]. Being inline early when they assign seats has advantages also as can see from the Exit row seats for the girls. The plane later was packed. After a long and uneventful trip we arrive just minutes before Rusty, Leigh Anne, Chandler and Cindy. The only casualty was one small tote with ministry supplies.

Friday After breakfast at Starbucks Rusty & I do some Banking and go after Bibles. The Lord lead us to a close and friendly Church/Bible store where after applied discounts we picked up 18 Thai, 25 Burmese and 41 Sgaw Karen Bibles for under $600.00, Praise God.

One wrinkle we hadn’t expected was our transport to Mae Sot. A very nice & clean large minibus arrived ready to take us, until the driver seen how many bags we had. Can’t all fit in one bus, so we’ll take two buses at double the cost. Stopping off at the airport to pick up the AWOL plastic tote we are on our way to Mae Sot.

We are in the Queen Palace Hotel in Mae Sot. A nice hotel with A/C and clean sheets [thank you Lord]. Mae Sot on a border town next to Myawaddy, Myanmar. We were tempted to walk across the Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge today, only tempted. The Moei River is a twisting-turning shallow river at this time of year. It was strange for us to see the “legal” border crossing on the bridge and the “illegal” crossing on boats or wading across a hundred yards up stream, in clear view of the authorities.


More personal thoughts to follow.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

We are in Thailand!

The gang is all here....minus 1 bag. Everyone is doing well, just very tired :)

We are headed to bed. Tomorrow we will prayerfully collect the missing bag and set out for our leg of travel to our ministry location.

Keep the prayers flowing!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Counting the hours.....until arrival in Thailand

As many of you know I am heading off to Thailand tomorrow. This is an area of the globe that until January 26 of this year I had no desire to go to. It never ceases to amaze me how God can open doors & place a yearning in your heart that you never even knew existed. With that said my trunks are almost packed & I can't wait to see what God has in store!  We have a team of 8, lead by Rusty & including Don (Face2Faith Ministry), Leigh Anne, Chandler, Tracey, Priscilla, Rhonda, & myself.

Thank you for your prayers & support!!!!

Here is the first Newsletter sent out by Don (F2F)

Don: Well it is coming up quickly, packing our bags, picking up last minute items,
coordinating ground transportation, hotel, checking and double checking everything.
We all fly out early Wednesday morning 9 April and arrive 11:30-11:50 pm Thursday
night. It feels good to get back into the excitement, anticipation, and expectation of
what God is going to do on this trip. Not sure if I need to say sadly or joyfully many of
the team are experiencing satanic attacks the closer we get. I think I’ll use these
attacks to confirm we are doing what the Lord wants us to and Satan doesn't like it.
Thanks Lord we are so thankful you have called us to serve you In Thailand.

Rusty Russell [our team leader] has labored for months to gather information,
supplies and support for and from team members, assign projects, coordinate with
our host [I’ll call her Susie] for in-country accommodations, conference, travel
arrangements and IDP Camp coordination.

The team consists of Rusty, Leigh Anne McLean, Chandler McLean, Priscilla
Griffin, Tracey Marshall, Cindy Albertson, Rhonda Hilliker and me. Interestingly
enough we have four different departure times from two different airports with
connecting flights in Beijing and others through Seoul, yet arrive within 20min of
each other in Chiang Mai.

Some of the activities we plan are; an Evangelism Conference in Mae Sot, street
ministry, children ministry, VBS, showing the Jesus film in the evening and
attempting medical awareness training. Finally we will visit with “Internally Displaced
Persons” [IDP] from Burma [Myanmar]. Some of these Refugees have spent their
whole life in these crowded, unsanitary camps. We hope to spread the WORD to all
that will listen.

Rusty: In November 2009, I was part of a Face to Faith team that went to
Yangon, Myanmar. While travelling I sat next to an American missionary nurse
who is the Susie, to whom Don refers. She told me about the work she does with
Partners Relief Development providing relief and development assistance to the
IDP’s inside Burma and the Burmese Refugees who fled persecution in their
country to live in refugee camps in Thailand. Their ministry fascinated me and
we’ve kept in touch.

In 2011, I went to Mae Sot to join Susie and another American missionary to hike
into the jungle along the Thai-Burma border to help establish a Christian house
church in Hskay, Thailand. They also took me to a Burmese refugee camp
where I saw the desperate living conditions. These camps were designed for a
three to five year life which has now lasted 30 or more years. Parents are
becoming great-grandparents and there are generations that only know life in a
refugee camp. I love the people and the ministry draws my heart.

We’ll spend our time in the Mae Sot, a large city on the border. Don will hold his
evangelism conference with a church where the members work in factory
sweatshops 16 hours a day 29 out of 30 days a month.

This is the one-week of the year they have off because it is the Songkran water
festival in Thailand. So understand this and you’ll understand why we go. These
people get one day a month off, one week a year off and they choose to spend it
learning how to share the gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost and dying world in
which they live. Oh me of little faith and little effort.

We’ll also meet another missionary couple for the first time working with the
Shanty Town children doing VBS for three days. We don’t know what to expect
but the description of “Shanty Town” has positioned our hearts a little higher in
our throats.

This is the most experienced and capable team. Being called their leader is
superfluous as each one is a leader himself or herself. The team has a diverse
set of talents. They love the Lord and are completely sold out on serving Him
with all their hearts, souls, minds and every ounce of strength. I’ve have no
doubt that they will leave it all on the field for the glory of God.

Thank you to everybody who has helped to send us. We covet your prayers.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Is God calling you to go on a Short Term Mission Trip to Uganda this summer??????

Below is some information regarding an upcoming trip. Some of the final details are still being worked out, but we wanted to get the general info out so you can be praying about your participation.

   ü  If you are interested please email me for more detailed information.
   ü  If you wish to be removed from this list, please email me to let me know.
   ü  If you need any further information or have questions, please email me.

Uganda Short Term Mission Trip
Locations of service: Sanctuary of Grace in Gulu in Northern Uganda & Jinja in Southern Uganda
Focus: Children’s Ministry, Village Health Education & Evangelism, Medical Clinic (tentative)
Dates: June 6 – 20 (proposed dates, exact dates may vary a day or 2, but should still be about a 2 week time frame)
Cost:  $3195 (estimate based on airfare of $2100 & in country expenses of $1095)

Please prayerfully consider if God is calling you to serve this year!

For HIS Kingdom,

Cindy & Susan