Monday, March 30, 2009

Lithuania Bound

Tom and I are preparing to leave for Lithuania one week from today. We will be out of the office for one month. I hope to be able to post to this blog while we are gone, but that is iffy, considering that I will be playing with my grandchildren and may not have any spare time for blogging:)

I will try to catch you up on things now, so that you will know, at least what I am up to. I am working on getting a prayer letter out. It will be both electronic and paper. (Paper, what is that!) I found out recently that some of our friends actually don't believe in having Internet. Which is kind of like not believing in food because some of it is bad for your health, or clothing because some of it is immodest and revealing. OK, you guys, so go naked and starve. Not Me!! I have Internet!!! I can say this with impunity because of either 1 of 2 things. The people who don't believe in Internet won't be able to read this, or else they are reading it and have gotten over whatever problem they had. Either way, I HAVE INTERNET AND I AM VERY HAPPY!!!!

Oh wow!! I digressed there for a second. Had a little funny party all by myself. The other guys in the office look at you when you are laughing all alone. They want to laugh too, so I tell them what is funny and they just look at me. I don't think they get it. Oh, well. Now I will return you to the regularly scheduled program.

Tom is returning from the Burmese border today having spent a few days up there getting very valuable translating and proofreading done on the Burmese New Testament. It will be ready very, very soon and we are really excited about this. The devil has fought tooth and claw, but victory is in sight. The reprint of the Thai Good and Evil is done, and will be shipped to us from Chiang Mai and will arrive tomorrow. We have a container load of Burmese stuff coming from America. I can't exactly say how much of how many are coming, but there are 400,000 Burmese John/Romans printed and ready, 10,000 New Testaments, and 2000 Bibles. I am not sure of the quantity of each that will be in the container, but we are really excited about this. The John/Romans are printed off of the new, clear negatives and they will be wonderful. The New Testaments and Bibles are printed off the old negatives, until we are finished with the re-typesetting and proof-reading of the New Testament and Bible. It is this New Testament that is in the final stages now. Please pray for Noah and the translating team. They will be staying at the shophouse that we rented on the border while they do this work. They are not safe. Some of the team members are illegals and prayers need to go up they don't have any trouble with the border guards and police. Noah has a passport and he should be OK, but you never know.

We also need prayer about finances to rent 2 more small storage depots on the boarder for this literature when it arrives. We already have the large facility, but the year is almost up. (One individual paid for the whole 1st year in advance.) The other 2 only need to be very small. Just large enough for the literature and room for 2 people (Tom and myself) to stay when we go up. Basically one room and a bathroom. Or maybe just one room and we stay at a hotel. I'm not sure about this yet. The large shophouse has been a great blessing to us. It is being used as guest housing, translation center, literature storage facility, and training center. We really need to be able to keep this one, so please pray for the financing of it as well as the 2 we have yet to rent. By the way, the other two will be in two other unnamed cities on the border. The border is too long to keep everything in only the one location. The folks need to be able to come over the border clandestinely, get the stuff, and get back quickly and without getting caught. They can't travel far. Most people have absolutely no concept of what life is like for these folks. They lay their lives on the line to get the Word of God to their people. How many of us would do the same.

While you are in praying mode, please pray for another van for the team here in Thailand. The one we have is underpowered for the mountains where we travel, falling apart and uncomfortable. When you are old, comfort matters a little more than it did even 10 years ago.

We are also in need of housing for guests; the invited ones. People keep showing up on our doorstep in need of a place to stay and assuming that they can stay with us, without ever bothering to ask ahead of time if we have accommodations. Believe it or not, we have had several people come over here on vacation expecting us to provide housing and taxi/tour services at no cost. These are not the ones we are concerned about. These vacationers can stay at the literature storage building also known as "the Cage." It is really crummy as a place to stay, unless you are a box of literature. But then again, maybe this is a good thing as it will discourage freeloaders from returning.

Who we are concerned about are the legitimate folks who are coming to help and do internships. Both the ladies and men's dorms are full with our semi-permanent staff. We need some kind of divided facilities, or 2 facilities to house single men and women, separately. If there is any way possible, we would like to be able to consolidate and have the publishing office and guest quarters housed in one large facility. As it is now, we are spread up and down the street in 5 separate facilities, but because they are all very small, we still do not have enough room for everybody. At the moment, a young man is sleeping among boxes of "Good and Evil" books on the bottom floor of the boys dorm, which is also doubling as a storage facility. This guy had surgery last week and can't walk up and down stairs. As one can imagine, this is pretty unacceptable and inhospitable, to put a semi-invalid in a storage room. At least I find it most unacceptable, so help me out with this one and really pray that the Lord will open up a larger, affordable facility here on the street so that we can accommodate the folks who really need to be here.

Also pray for the health of the whole team here. We are all experiencing mild to serious health issues. For the three of us who are pushing 60, they are pretty serious. For the others, under 40, they are still ranging from mild to moderate. At least the health care over here is high quality and cheap. We have Bumrungrad International, an excellent hospital and I should know, I've spent time there on 5 separate and miserable occasions, one time lasting a whole month.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Just Rambles and Prayer Requests

As I sit here in the office I hear the sounds of workers around me. One is speaking in Thai on the telephone transacting some business or other. To my left, one of our Thai co-workers, Bunga, is pasting text into one of the languages of the “Good and Evil” book. To my right is the Project Head of “Good and Evil,” Pookie. She is the one talking on the phone. To her right is one of the American ladies who has worked with us for almost 11 years, who is now in charge of the home office in Texas. Her name is Myra. To her right is another American lady from Tennessee who has been with us for about 7 months and who plans to stay indefinitely. Her name is Carolyn. To her left is Anne, from Pennsylvania who has been here for 7 months and who will stay as long as she possibly can. Her visa expires in 5 months, but she is hoping to extend. She is here with very little financial support, so she will stay until her money runs out basically. Behind me, the man translating the Bible College curriculum into Thai is called Burm. To his right is Noah, the man from Burma who is working on the Judson Bible.

Only 2 of these folks are members of the same church. Berm and Pookie belong to the same local church here in Bangkok. So that means that there are 8 churches represented here. Each morning at prayer time before our work day begins we go before the Lord and commit our day and our work to Him. It is a blessing to pray for the various things that take place from day to day here, but also for things that each one of us receive each day via e-mail and phone calls from other places around the world.

Tom and I leave for Lithuania on April 7th. We will be gone from the office for a month. Myra leaves to go back to America in 5 days. She is the closest thing we have to a computer geek at present, so we pray that all the computers stay up and running and virus free since there will be no one here to do any maintenance on any of them while Tom is gone.

We look forward to seeing our daughter and son-in-law and our grandchildren. We haven’t seen any of them for over a year, and we haven’t seen our oldest grandson in almost 4 years. He did not come over to Thailand last year with his mother, brother and sister, because he was in school. That is the hardest part of being on the mission field, not seeing your family for long stretches at a time. However, we do get to see them from time to time unlike the early missionaries who left for the field knowing they would probably never see their families again. Travel, technology and the advent of things like telephones and e-mail have made life so much easier for most missionaries today. I can call my grandchildren and see them and they can see us with the help of a tiny camera mounted on the computer. We have no real concept of what the early missionaries sacrificed to serve the Lord in foreign and many times, hostile lands.

Almost immediately upon returning from Lithuania, there will be people coming for various periods of time to work with us. A man from our church who has been coming over for the last 3 years during his vacation time from work. He has been a great help and blessing. There are several folks from a Bible college who want to intern for a specified period of time and then there are the unexpected folks who stop by and lend a hand for a few days at a time. Right now, we need to rent some additional facilities to house these folks. We have need for guest quarters because what we have now are full. Three ladies are sharing the second side of our small duplex townhouses, the men’s townhouse has 1 permanent resident and maybe another soon. We have some tragic facilities in our resource center, that can only be used for men. No sane woman would dare stay there. What we need is some type of facility that can be used for both men and women and possibly couples. Where the trouble comes in is that sometimes we have single men and women and they can’t share the same house. Please pray with us that something can be rented that will meet all the housing needs.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Progress and Other Stuff

A couple of days ago the translator from Nepal came to Bangkok for a conference and was able to spend a couple of very full days with us helping us finalize the "Good and Evil" book in his language. It was a great blessing having him here. The men's prayer time every morning was unusual with each of 4 men praying in 4 different languages. One man each from Nepal, Burma, Thailand and America. The ladies prayer group represented 6 different churches. Truly, the ground is level at Calvary. Every person just a sinner, saved by grace. It is a great privilege to work with people from many countries and ethnic groups and to lay aside our prejudices and pray to the God of all peoples, and tribes and tongues. It is amazing to think that the Creator of all things chose simple, unqualified, ordinary folks to do His work. We thank Him for the opportunity to be serving Him in a place that He has personally chosen for us, doing a job he has given us to do and for a time such as this.

Myra Noel has taught Noah some more pagemaker skills and he learns very quickly and has good understanding of what he is doing on the computer. He is very savvy with the computer and as a translator. He is 25 years, but looks 12. The first time I ever saw him I thought that the Burmese translator had brought his son with him. But, he was the Burmese translator! We hope to be able to hire him to do some other translating when he finishes the job he is doing now. He is a humble servant and works hard and carefully at his job.

Today Pook, Anne and Bunga all worked on the Nepalese "Good and Evil," so that we could print out a proof copy for the translator to take with him to the conference and have some other Nepalese folks proof-read it. He has also said that he can find us a translator for the Dzongkha language of Bhutan. This people group was one of the main target groups at the Sydney 2000 Olympic games. For the last 9 years we have been struggling to get some things into print for these people and up until now have not had good success. The opportunity to get the "Good and Evil" book translated into Dzongkha is once again a prayer focus of ours. Please pray with us that this will come to fruition soon.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Techies Gone Away

Jeff and Sarah Evans, from Faith Baptist Church in Temple, Texas left us last night at midnight. Bro. Jeff started working on the computer system the day he got here and worked solid till the same hour that we had to leave to go to the airport. They took one day to sight see, buy souvenirs, and get a suit made, but other than that they worked solid for 2 weeks to get our system back up and running efficiently. It was in real bad shape. We had virus', worms, and just user idiocy. I just found out that before the Evans' came over their church took a whole service and prayed over what they could do to help us out over here. How we thank God for faithful prayer warriors, who are holding up our hands over there, while we are working over here. Without the prayers of God's people, we can do nothing. Thanks you Faith Baptist Church and Pastor Mike Lewis.

Our next prayer request is on the horizon. A man from Nepal is coming on Saturday to finalize the last few things on the Good and Evil book in Nepalese. Pray that this will be completed in the time we have. He will only be here for 3 days.

A great blessing to report is that one of the languages that we have been working on for a long time and for a very dark and evil regime is printed and already getting into the hands of the people who desperately need it. Can't say anything else, sorry, but just pray because God knows where they are and all the details that we can't share. Pray for the safe arrival of the books to the said country, and for the distribution of same. There are folks risking their very lives to do this.

Please continue to pray that the Lord will send us a computer technician that will be able to stay here and work with us. No matter how hard we try, the computers will only work well for so long until they need maintenance and we aren't the ones that know how to do it. Tom doesn't have time to do it, and the rest of us do not have the technical skills.

The team over here are all very tired. The weather is getting hotter by the day and the devil is fighting against us. We are taking turns being sick, not sleeping at night, and various other digs he is getting in. Please pray that he will be bound and that the work will go forth in power.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A letter written in response to a letter asking the question… “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”

Yes I am lonesome…Tonight, Today and most days. It is the life of a Soldier; to be away from family, and other loved ones, for long periods of time. However, I wasn't forced into this position. This privilege was offered to me by a mighty King, and I accepted of my own free will, fully knowing what I was getting myself into.

Yes, Lisa is far away. She left and took my grandson with her. She is a Soldier. She is the daughter of Soldiers. She is raising my grandson to be a Soldier, I hope. I wouldn't have it any other way.

I miss them. I miss my baby. I long for the feel of his little skin and the sounds of his little voice. But then I see the other multitudes of little babies here in the Philippines and around the world, and the King, in whose army I am a soldier, whispers to me. “These babies are just as precious to me as your baby. Obey my voice and I will use you as a tool in My hand to bring in many, rather than one.”

God will do what God will do. He will do it with or without us. He doesn't need any of us, but if we will let Him, He will allow us the privilege of being there when he does something. God is doing something here and He has graciously allowed us to be a part; tools in His mighty hand.

There is too much emphasis today put upon some kind of a mystical “call.” There is a plain command in the Bible. “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” Period. Nothing mystical. A plain and simple command from this same King I keep telling you about. I've known you long enough to know that you've probably guessed Who this King is I keep referring to, so there is probably no explanation necessary.

Some people spend all their lives waiting for a “call.” While they wait for the call, they don't do much, just wait. People are falling off into hell by the thousands while they are waiting around. Waiting for a call is nothing more than an excuse invented by old slewfoot himself, to paralyze. I have found that the ones who actually even hear the call are the ones who are already serving the King on some battlefield somewhere.

My advice to those waiting for a call is this: find someplace where God is moving. Go there and get right in the middle of it. Live like the King is coming today; work and pray like He won't be here for a long time. Jump into some battle just like you know what you are doing. You know full well that you don't know squat, but act like you do anyway. After all, the King is there and He does know what He is doing, and that is good enough. He doesn't need you, but He will let you be there and stand on His mighty feet while He dances. He will sometimes put the sword in YOUR hand and your hand in His and let you put in a few swings. He will let you watch Him do exploits. It is a glorious time and an awesome thing to be there when the King does stuff! While you are in the heat of one of these kinds of battles, you usually are in a position to hear the still small voice and the “call.” You can't hear someone else's call, only your own. The still, small voice is so still and small that it is sometimes difficult to hear even your own “call” and it is not possible to hear somebody else’s.

To miss this, is to lose the reason to live. To miss this, is the greatest tragedy that a Christian can suffer. The only thing worse in the universe is to reject the King entirely and end up in Hell.

So, in answer to your question, Yes, I am lonesome...but not for long. I am weak...but not for long. I am tired…but not for long. I am poor…but not for long.

A Soldier…But not for long.

This was written several years ago, while we were living in the Philippines, but its truths still apply. Now I have 4 grandchildren. My daughter and her husband are still missionaries in Lithuania. They are training 4 soldiers now.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Well, the IT guy and his wife arrived from Texas. He took one good look at our system and he said it scared him. Fortunately for us, we didn't have enough sense to be scared before, but now we are. He said our system is in really scary shape. We knew it was bad, but we didn't know how bad till yesterday. Please pray. This is a serious situation and needs to be fixed before we lose our publishing resources. Pray that this man has enough time and we are able to get the parts and components we need to get this system safe and functioning the way it is supposed to. Also please pray that he is able to get my laptop fixed, because it has all the financial records on it. I have everything backed up, so hopefully it will just be a matter of re-installing windows and getting the virus software upgraded. Keeping these computers up and running is a major job. We still need a full-time IT guy. It won't be long before we are going to need a bigger office. On Friday, 9 people were in there working on all the computers.

Tuesday is Pookie's birthday. When anybody has a birthday over here, they get to pick where they want to eat their birthday meal. Pookie has chosen the Oishi Buffet. Lots of raw fish. She and Psalm used to eat so much sushi that I had to sit at the other end of the table. I don't eat raw stuff and sometimes I have trouble even smelling raw fish and watching other people eat it. Fortunately for us, they also have lots of cooked food and also you can pick your own stuff and they will cook it for you and bring it to your table. Pookie turns the big 21.