At 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, we touched down in Detroit Metro airport, twenty three hours after boarding a plane in Chiang Mai, Thailand. While we each went our own separate ways with family and friends who came to pick us up, we remain forever together as one, bound by our shared love for and service to Jesus Christ these past ten days. And what an amazing ten days it was! With the Holy Spirit ever present every step of the way, there were a countless number of blessings experienced, including:
– The dedication of the new Akha Leadership Institute where pastors will come to be equipped with tools needed to share the Gospel with thousands throughout the region.
– The daily inspiration and motivation provided by Pastor Akha John and his wife Nut, who tirelessly work non-stop in the name of Jesus in every way imaginable.
– Being joined by Woodside Pastor Chris Brooks and his wife Yodit for the first part of the trip, with Pastor Brooks delivering two powerful sermons, both simultaneously translated to Akha as he spoke.
– A very moving Sunday service at the Akha Baptist Church, which included a testimony from an Akha Pastor living in the closed country of Laos, where he faces prosecution and the risk of being jailed for his faith in Jesus. What an incredible inspiration he is, along with all the other pastors who were there from Laos and the Burma, another closed country to Christianity.
– Providing much-needed medical and dental services, along with much-need medicines, to over five hundred Akha villagers in four remote villages in northern Thailand. The outpouring of love and appreciation from the villagers was overwhelming.
– Seeing one hundred and thirty seven Akha villagers being saved and committing their lives to Jesus, with the seed being planted in many, many more. The Akha Pastors with us will continue to sow those seeds long after we have left, which will no doubt result in many more being saved.
– Being joined by two long-time friends and members of Woodside for the last two village days. These two extraordinary people, whose names are being withheld, now live in a remote area of the region where Christianity is both non-existent and shunned, with their goal being to start a ministry to share the Gospel regardless.
– Spending time over two days with the beautiful, wonderful, sweet children of the Akha House of Lights orphanage. What a complete joy these precious children are by every definition possible.
In addition to so many people relentlessly praying to our Lord for a safe and successful trip, the success of this journey relied on much effort by everyone involved, starting with the outstanding leadership provided by our mission co-leaders Jim and Brian. For months leading up to the trip, they organized and trained us with unwavering focus and dedication, which resulted in a highly-functioning team with a multitude of complementary skills serving our Lord with all our hearts. What a glorious, life changing experience it was to be a part of, and like all mission trips before us and all that will come, clearly exemplified the purity and beauty of the vision of Woodside Bible Church: Helping people Belong to Christ, Grow in Christ and Reach the World for Christ.
All Praise and Glory to God,
The Thailand Short-Term Mission Team