Thursday, February 26, 2009

Saved to Serve

Ephesians 2:10 (Amplified Bible)

For we are God's [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].

Ephesians 2:10 makes it very clear that we were Made and Saved to Serve God. We were put on earth to make a contribution. You and I were not created to take up space, to just eat and breathe. We were made to contribute not consume, not to get the most out of life but to give the most with our lives; not to take from life but to add value to life.

Ephesians 2:10 sheds light on the fact that we were created to do good deeds; verse 9 explains that we were not saved by good works, but for good works. The Bible’s main word for "doing good works" is service, serving; and we serve out of thankfulness.

I hope this post comes as an encouragement to you :)

God Bless,

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Monday, February 9, 2009

It takes just a little time to give your hand...

Hey Ya’ll! I suppose it’s about that time for Josh and I to be updating our blog once again EH!

Josh and I had a wonderful Christmas- Outreach week! December 23rd we went into the local prison here and painted one large cell (there are 4 in total). First we had to scrub all the grunge off the cell walls, clean the prison bars, and last clean the screens, that of which were very filthy, that were attached to windows.

Scrubbing down the walls before painting.

While we all took turns cleaning the cell and painting it, those of us that weren’t occupied with a task, took the time to minister to the inmates, we sang songs and brought in food and water. Harley, a young man enrolled here in VBCI, is a qualified electrician, so we had Harley rewiring in new fans and lights in the hall way between the cells. Ministering in the prison here was a good awakening for me. My eyes were significantly opened to God’s heart breaking for His people. My heart ached to see those that were confined behind those prison bars. Men, women and even children were held captive. The majority of the people that were imprisoned there were not Thailand citizens; they were illegal immigrants working in Thailand from neighbouring countries. Out of desperation, these illegal immigrants will work dishonestly to earn so little to feed their families just so they can survive. The problem with this illegal situation is that when it comes to “pay day” instead of their superior paying them their wages earned, they will, instead, get turned in to the authorities. The fact is that in Thailand’s eyes, these illegal immigrants are taking work away from their native people; so as a result, they are held captive and then later released back to their own country. It’s crushing to see children behind bars because of their parents’ poverty-stricken choice to work illegitimately.

I can recall witnessing one event in the jail when tears were streaming down the faces of the women in the cell waiting for their names to be called off a list by the officer so that they could be released and sent back to their country, and sadly not one name was called. Of course I had no idea what all the commotion was about because I can’t speak the language or understand it all that well yet and neither can some of the others in our group so we had someone translate for us to find out what was going on and so this was one woman’s response: “The officer in charge had told us that if we paid 100baht by Friday that we could go home and so when they came to read off the list of names that were going to be released our names never got called.” I later found out as well that the last day for release is on Friday and so therefore they would remain in the prison until Monday, this helped me better understand the dilemma the woman were in and not forgetting to mention that they have already been in there for 3 weeks now. My heart broke for those women; I wanted so desperately to take them all home with me! The ministry that Josh and I work with here has developed an outreach that reaches out to this prison, they will go in and minister the gospel, feed the inmates and give them water, and encourage and uplift them weekly; this outreach gained us the open door to go into the prison Christmas break and bless. Since most of the inmates are from neighbouring countries, meals become an issue.

Not enough room for everyone to sleep all at once.

The authorities in charge don’t feed the prisoners, so if the inmates don’t have local friends or family in the area, sometimes they will go days without eating. There’s a scripture in Matthew 25 about Jesus telling us a story and nearer to the end of the chapter He comes to say “Whatever you do unto the least of these you do unto me.” I want to be the one that answers unto God on the day of judgement saying “For when you were hungry I gave you something to eat, when you were thirsty I gave you something to drink, when you were a stranger I invited you in, when you needed clothes I clothed you, when you were sick I looked after you, and when you were in prison I came to visit you!”

Our outreach team.

On December 25th our outreach team went to a local government school to feed the children. We ended up having a lot leftover so we brought the remaining food to the prison. December 26th was our Hospital outreach for the sick children. We preformed a puppet show in Thai, had some clowns clowning around while handing out balloons to the children. We made a snowman craft with the kids and to finish sang Happy Birthday to Jesus and blew out His birthday candles on the yummy cupcakes I made. To end our outreach week we lastly went to a Youth Detention Center on December 27th. Our ‘ONE WAY’ youth group has a band that preformed at the Detention Center. We also brought food in to feed the youth.

There are needs everywhere and all it takes is just a little time to give your hand.

Josh and I shared a beautiful Christmas this year giving the greatest gift of all! I hope this blog blesses you all this month. Josh and I really enjoy bringing you updates on what God is doing with us here in Thailand. We have some busy months ahead of us so more will be to come. Thank you so much for all your love, support and prayers!

God Bless,