Tuesday, May 29, 2007

What Now?

Hello! It's been a few days since the team headed off for America so I thought I would give an update on what I've been up to...

(Having Lunch with the ITDP Staff)

The team flew home on Friday leaving me alone here in Thailand...I'll admit that it was a strange feeling being left behind...but I have now settled in and am enjoying every minute in this country! After I dropped the team off at the airport I headed straight to my new home for the summer; A one room apartment located across the street from the ITDP offices. It is small, it doesn't have a kitchen, and there is no TV or Internet...but it is perfect for what I need. I eat three full meals a day for less than three dollars. In the morning I can buy bags of fresh fruit for about 10 cents, and the rest of the day I eat fish, BBQ chicken, noodles, rice, and Pad Thai for about 30 cents...gotta love that!

(View from my Apartment in Chiang Mai)

From now on my days will be consumed with working on the Child Sponsorship program which will provide monthly income for children who want to attend the new school. Included in this cost will be funding for a teacher, school supplies, and daily food for each child (the cost will probably be around 30 dollars a month, per child, so I ask that you start praying about that now). The goal is to have this all finished by July, and for the school to be opened November 1st with fully sponsored students...I think this can be easily achieved! This sponsorship program will require me to spend a lot of time in the villages working with the families, filling out demographic reports, and organizing it all for you folks back home. I will also be planning evangelism events for this summer, a three day crusade for the end of December, teaching the Missionaries English, and helping complete the school...needless to say I will be busy!

(Working at ITDP Office)

On Sunday I had the opportunity to go to church with Somsok...what a privilege. In the Sunday school class they talked about the inerrancy of Scripture and its fading emphasis in Liberal Evangelicalism. We also went through a packet on the importance of a verse by verse, systematic study of the Bible...it's encouraging to see that sound doctrine and study methods are upheld here! The man that gave the sermon was the President of a seminary located in the jungles of Burma. I chatted with him after the service and he told me of the many problems there, some of them being...All Christians have been ordered by the government to place their names on a list (for reasons unknown). Also, many of the seminaries have been closed in his area and there is now a restricted time in which Christians can worship (anything other would be considered a violation). Finally, physical beatings, deaths, kidnappings, rapes, etc. are still a common occurrence. After hearing all of these things I was in shock...but even more shocking was that the man told me things were going really well and God was remaining faithful to those in need. A Canadian missionary to India was also at the service. Her ministry is consumed with going from church to church in India and spending time with Pastors and their families. She said they need encouragement because they are continually having to endure beatings (and worse) from local Hindus who oppose all Western Religion. It's one thing to read a report in Voice of the Martyrs Magazine about persecution stories...it's quite another to talk with the people who the reports are written about. God has been showing me the reality of the cost of discipleship and the urgency for faithful prayer.

I have a special prayer request: A ten year old girl, Pae Ja, from a neighboring village (where the water project was just put in) has a severe infection from a three inch piece of would which is lodged in her leg, penetrating down to the bone. Our team Doctor looked at it and said that it would require immediate surgery, otherwise she would lose her leg and eventually her life. We offered to transport her to the hospital and pay for the surgery, but her parents refused to let her go...they are Animists and have been performing rituals trying to "please the spirits" so that their daughter might be healed. On June 4th I will be going with Somsok to see how the girl's health is, and urge the parents to let us take her to the hospital. Please pray that Pae Ja is alive when we get there and that her parents change their mind...it's a great opportunity for these people to see the powerlessness of their gods, and the the love of ours!

Prayer requests:
1) For the souls of the people in Dae Buh Sae La Koh
2) For Pae Ja and her parents...for physical and spiritual renewal
3) That funding will come in to pay for the surgery (if needed). We are guessing around 500 dollars in total costs...
4) For a safe Journey to Mohojo (June 4th-9th)

Friday, May 25, 2007

SDCC Water/School

Hello Everyone! It's been a few weeks since I last updated my blog site so forgive me as I try to summarize all that has happened...

Aaron and I spent the first week in Mohojo Village with three ITDP Missionaries trying to get everything prepped for the SDCC team arrival. Most of our time was concerned with the school project. Every day we woke up around 6 am and were at work by 7, bending re-bar, digging foundation holes, and laying out the framework for each room. The work was slow at first, because supplies were still being shipped in from surrounding villages; however, we got a good jump start for the weeks of construction to come. The villagers were extremely welcoming and gladly prepared a place for us to stay at night. Every time I returned to my hut there was a meal ready to be eaten...the family I was with had two children yet none of them would eat until after Aaron and I had finished, then they would eat the leftovers. Arriving a week early was highly beneficial because it gave us a chance to become acclimated to the weather, food, sleeping conditions, and long work days. However, the best part about my first week in the village was getting a chance to fellowship with the Christians. Mohojo village had a water project put in by ITDP three years ago, and since that time 11 of the 22 families have forsaken Animism/Buddhism and placed their faith in Christ because of the follow-up ministry done by the Thai Evangelists and the display of God's love set forth by the American team. Nearly every night we were invited to attend a Bible study/worship service held in the hut of various families. Songs were sung, the word was clearly preached, and much time was spent in prayer...but what moved me the most were the prayer requests. Not one request set forth by a villager was for themself, only for others. Some of the youth asked that we would pray for their parents who were still Animists, while others prayed for family who still had no citizenship, had very few rights, and faced possible deportation...very different than our requests in America. One evening I was eating dinner with a Christian family and the husband excused himself, grabbed his Bible, and left the hut. I asked where he was going and their son, Wan Jon, told me that many of their neighbors were still Buddhists, so his father went from hut to hut every night, explaining the gospel and answering questions about the Christian faith...and this man has only been a believer for two years...

On Sunday morning Aaron and I woke up early and rode two elephants for three hours to meet the arriving team. Our pace was sloooooow but amusing as the elephants became angry any time and unsuspecting motorbike passed by...a couple of the riders had to jump off their bikes because the elephants charged at them...I felt safe seeing as I was on top of the elephant! We met the team in the afternoon and began our journey back home. It was encouraging to see familiar faces and feed off everyone's enthusiasm.

(You can see the school on the bottom right of this picture)

Work began the next day. One team stayed in Mohojo village and worked on the school project, while another group slept in Dae Buh Sae La Ko village and built the water tank and bathrooms. On the first night one of the trucks was taking a group of team members and villagers to Mohojo when there was a gearing malfunction. It began to slide backwards down a steep, muddy hill...the breaks of no use. The truck ended up sliding off the road at the bottom of the hill injuring three people. The most serious was Alli who landed on a tree stump bruising her kidney. Mike and I took her to Chiang Mai the next morning to make sure there was nothing more serious done to her internally. Thankfully, she was fine and returned to the village a day later, though her mobility was limited. In hindsight, I am so thankful for this accident because it showed the villagers that we were there to serve the Lord, and that this mission would not be hindered. It also taught the team to persevere through trials for the glory of God. I strongly believe that God has His hand on the vehicles as they go up the hills, and even as they slide down into a ditch. He is sovereign over every circumstance and I find such great comfort in this truth.

The rest of the trip went as planned and there is simply too much to write about. I will say that everyone worked hard and stayed unified. The water tank was finished early and the school now has a foundation, roof, and the brick walls are well under way. Weather prevented the use of the new video projector and sound system by which we planned on showing the Jesus film in the Karen language. However, we had the opportunity to show one other video in Karen followed by an evangelistic message given by Somsok. The villagers fell in love with the team and the team with them. VBS had children showing up every day who walked over two hours to be there, and the team of Doctors we brought had more patients than they could handle. Fresh water has been given and now we must pray that they will drink of the Living Water...what a privilege we have to participate in Missions.

Prayer Requests:
1) That the villagers would accept Christ in Dae Buh Sae La Ko where the water project was built...right now there are none.
2) That God would provide funding for ITDP so that the ministry there can continue.
3) For safety as I travel with the staff in and out of the villages this coming week.
4) That the team's return to the United States would bring along with it enthusiasm for missions and motivate SDCC and the American Church for the glory of God.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Missions Conference

Hello everyone! Today was very eventful...and rainy! Aaron and I started off by going to an Asian Baptist Convention with Mike Mann located at a hotel in downtown Chiang Mai. There were 1,700 missionaries, pastors, and church workers in attendance from Myanmar, India, China, Indonesia, Korea, and many other countries. Aaron and I helped out at a booth Mike had set up where people could learn more about his work among the Hill tribes and buy a cup of Lanna Coffee while they were at it. I was having a conversation with a Pastor from India and he asked me if I liked the conference. I told him "yes," and he said, "that's good, because Heaven is going to be very similar to this conference. It will have people from every tribe, from every nation, who have gathered together to glorify Christ in one unified body." He couldn't be more right. I also met a Pastor from Myanmar who was explaining to me the problems and persecution that go on every day in his homeland. He asked me if I had ever heard about these problems, and I said yes...and I explained to him how our college group back home in San Diego studied, discussed, and prayed for a different persecuted country every week, and that Myanmar was the first country we had ever prayed for. He was quiet for a moment, and then tearfully expressed his gratitude for our prayers. He told me that ministry in Myanmar can get very lonely at times because they are so cut off from the outside world, and they wonder if fellow Christians ever think of them...to know that they do was of great encouragement.

In the afternoon we went with Mike and about 20 missionaries from the conference to a local Karen village in which ITDP had done a water project six years ago. It was a great time and an encouragement to see how the water project, coupled with a Pastor, had transformed the village.
I have learned so much today and have seen with my own eyes the fruit of God's work through simple men like Dr. Clark and Adoniram Judson. The Gospel here is pure and sound doctrine has persevered uncompromised...amazing. I discussed the teachings of the prosperity gospel with many different pastors and they all laughed, commenting on how that type of false teaching would fall flat on its face in this part of the world. America may seem stagnant...but God's word is not returning void. It is my prayer that we can all find ways to provide more support to the missionaries and pastors around the world...or perhaps become one ourselves. Tomorrow we will be buying supplies for the upcoming trip and then we are planning on leaving for the village early Monday morning! Thanks so much for your prayers and support!

All my love,
Dan Lamm

Prayer Requests:
1) That the Lord will be preparing the villagers hearts to recieve the seed of the Gospel
2) Safety for the missionaries currently in the village
3) Safe travel for Aaron and I to the village on Monday
4) That the rain will stop and that the roads will dry up creating better driving conditions (Mike said it's really muddy right now!)
5) For Steve Jenkins as he trys to transport 33 students to Thailand next week :)

Friday, May 4, 2007

We are here!

Hello everyone! Aaron and I arrived in Chiang Mai today at 9 a.m. after a 17 hour flight to Bangkok and then another 1 hour flight to Chiang Mai. The temp is only about 83 degrees but the humidity is extreme! It's been raining on and off throughout the day.
We are staying at the Downtown Inn tonight and then we are going with Mike Mann to visit a village tomorrow (Saturday). We will come back to Chiang Mai that night and finally leave for the SDCC team villages on Sunday morning, staying there until the team arrives next week. Aaron and I are excited to be here and we thank you for your prayers thus far! It may be a few weeks before I can update this blog so bear with me. God bless.

Your brother,
Dan Lamm

1) That the Lord will be preparing the villagers hearts to recieve the seed of the Gospel
2) Safety for the missionaries currently in the village
3) Aaron and I are both feeling a little sick from the flight, lack of sleep, etc.
4) Safe travel for Aaron and I to the village on Sunday as well as the team next week
5) That the rain will stop and that the roads will dry up creating better driving conditions (Mike said it's really muddy right now!)
6) For Steve Jenkins as he trys to transport 33 students to Thailand next week :)