Friday, May 2, 2014

From Buddhist to Baptized!

Many of you reading this blog prayed for, and financially supported, me while I was in Thailand. In those ways, you became an active part of the work the Lord did through me while I was there.

Jum is one of the Thai women God gave me the opportunity to build a friendship with while in Bangkok. Even though I'm back in the States now, we're still able to keep in touch. (3 cheers for the internet!) She accepted Christ my last week in Thailand and, on March 30th, I was blessed to be able to skype into her baptism!

[I'm on one of the phones in the crowd!]
Jum has been working on writing out her testimony, and I wanted to share some of it here with you (with her permission, of course). Your faithfulness to give to missions and pray for missionaries and for Thailand has been fruitful! Even though I am state-side, please don't stop investing in the international Great Commission. (If you don't know who to support, you can join me by investing financially in the ministry of The Rossies or Ruth!)

But, back to Jum's testimony, in her words... Be blessed.

It is difficult to start my testimony because it is a long story.  My interest in religion began when I studied in international classes. My friends came from different countries. They were different religions so sometimes we couldn't understand each other well. I believed that the problem came from their culture and their religion. Once I observed my friends from different religions pray I asked why they said the same word "Amen" at the end. They shared about what they believed. 

Then I started to learn English at the BSC. I had chance to meet missionaries and we talked about the history of Christianity, I tried to search the internet about the history and doctrine of this religion. I found a different between Buddhism and Christianity in how they view "Love."  One believes that love makes suffering and the other one believes that love makes peace. Then I want to know more. "How does love make peace?" I started to attend one of their small groups. I learned more about the Bible with the missionaries. 

One of them, Liz, talked about the Holy Spirit is work in the story of Jonah, Jonah went to Nineveh and the people of Nineveh believed God. She said that 'The Bible also it can work by itself when you read it, because of the Holy Spirit." When I started to read,  I didn't want to stop. I almost finished the New Testament in 3 weeks. I still wanted to know more about God. I started to understand and compare the doctrine of Buddha  and Christ. I could see  the different attitudes of Christians (from USA) and Buddhists (from Thailand). For a while, I thought both religion were good, but I must to choose and follow only one of them. It was a difficult time to make a decision....

I accepted Jesus. About 3 weeks later, I began to understand it that God wanted to teach me about the love of God and His grace give the eternal life for us. I couldn’t understand well but I still search the answer by learning from missionaries, reading the Bible and praying... I haven’t done it well now, but I feel happy more than in the past... Thank you my parent and my sister for accept my decision. Thank you Khun Tim, Khun Jill, Ann, Meleah, P’Pom, Jai, Liz, Luke, Dylan, Alli and Matt for telling the Gospel to me. Thank you brothers and sisters at church for helping me didn’t feel lonely when I choose to follow Christ and I think this is important for new believers for continuing on and growing to the next step of Christianity. 

[Matt and Jum]

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

guest post: we're never done serving!

Betty was one of the dynamic women I met during my time in Bangkok. She lived in the BSC Community House with me and the other teachers. Many times people have commended me for serving the Lord with my youth. But, I commend Betty, for serving the Lord in her years. I asked her permission to share her story with you... so here it is, in her words.

- - - -

I have always lived in America, where my husband, a pilot for American Airlines for thirty plus years and I raised our three children, saw them all marry and are now raising our eleven grandchildren in CT, CA and TX. We lived in the New England area for many years. My husband and I were originally from Arkansas and Texas, but we lived in MA, NY, CT and VT for over twenty years. In fact, I became a born-again believer while living in CT and have spent the last thirty-five years of my life falling in love with Jesus, while reading, studying, applying and teaching His word during that time.

We left CT in 1982 and returned to TX where we have lived ever since. I was widowed eight years ago, at age 65, and since that time I've been asking God to show me how I could finish my life well for Him. When I heard about the BSC last year, I felt the Lord was telling me to go to BKK and share in the ministry here. Doing this has changed my life, fulfilling Psalm 92:12 that says "The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree and.... shall still bear fruit in old age..."!

A lot of people are amazed that I could leave my home, my church, my family and friends and move to a foreign country. Sometimes, I have to admit, I'm amazed myself that I am here! I have found it to be an adventure, though, meeting many new people from all parts of the world, tasting new foods, living in more crowded conditions from my present home in rural east TX, experiencing a foreign, atheistic culture with Buddha shrines everywhere, and attempting to get around in a city where my language is seldom spoken or understood. However, when God leads us to do something, He always provides the way! Nothing is too difficult for Him and with Him as my Husband (Isaiah 54:5), I have found my life here full and abundant, just as He promised us in His word.

One of the most surprising things I have learned while here is that Thailand and the other nine ASEAN countries are working together to form a coalition of Southeast Asian nations and they have chosen English as their common language. Consequently, English teachers are in great demand.

That brings me to the reason for writing to you today, especially to those who are retired, and like myself, want to finish well for The Lord. I want to encourage you to pray and ask The Lord how He wants to use you in  your latter years to glorify Him. If you are healthy and have a retirement income, living costs in Thailand are very inexpensive, so your income goes three times further than in America. And since English is our native language, it is an open door for a Christian ministry.

The BSC is always looking for volunteer missionaries to teach English and to share the gospel with Thai students. These students are usually career-oriented and are here to learn the language to make themselves more marketable in the business world. They come from far and wide in their enthusiasm to learn English and God does the rest by giving us opportunities to share Christ with them.

Christianity is becoming more popular with the young people because they are seeing the futility of worshiping Buddha. As the world becomes more and more chaotic, I believe we will see even more people coming to The Lord. The fields are white for harvest and we are praying to The Lord of the harvest to send more workers into the harvest. There is no better time than now, especially for us who are getting older and wanting to finish well for our Lord Jesus Christ.

I hope that I will be able to meet some of you this side of heaven! Wouldn't it be a blessing to meet in Thailand, a land that belongs to God and one in which His Spirit is moving. May you be one of His children who desires to glorify Him with your life. To God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever.

Betty McClung, your sister in Christ

Monday, December 23, 2013

home sweet home.

From attending Spotswood my first day home, to celebrating my niece's first birthday and Addison's third birthday, to interviewing for a position (and getting hired!), to gift shopping and wrapping, decorating Christmas trees and cookies... it's been a whirlwind. And it's only been a week.

It still feels a little unreal.

When I first arrived in Thailand, I felt adjusted after a week. Then, I felt really adjusted after a month. Then three months. The longer I was there, the more I felt like, "I wasn't actually adjusted before, but now I am." It wasn't until month ten/eleven that I stopped feeling that way. Coming home feels very similar. Everything is familiar, and so I want to say I'm adjusted, but I know I'm not. There is so much here that I am seeing and experiencing with fresh eyes, and it's taking time to process.

Many of you have asked for me to come and share with your groups and Sunday morning classes, and I would love to! The Lord has given me a unique opportunity and I want to be faithful in communicating back to you all what you were a part of. However, between Christmas and traveling over New Years, this month is very hectic. Once things settle down, in January, though, I would love to set up some times to speak and share. If you already know of some dates/times when you would like me to share in the new year, send me an email:

Thank you for your investment in my life and in Kingdom work! If you missed my post about Jum and my follow up post, please check them out. You will be encouraged by doing so.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

0: D-Day!

It's Departure Day!

Steph and I are currently waiting at our gate... 4:12am Bangkok time. Check in went smoothly and all our bags were accepted (no overweight charges!).

[Love us some airports!]
The airport is pretty empty, and our flight boards in 20 minutes. So far, so good! Except for having to throw away every water bottle we've bought. (We're at 3...) It would seem that even after security is not safe.

Thanks for all your prayers, keep them coming! Looking forward to seeing many y'all soon!!

Friday, December 13, 2013

1: wrapped up and ready

Thanks to some lovely friends and 4 pairs of scissors, I now have all my things packed and ready to go to America... All I need now are the scales at the airport to register at 50 pounds :)

We leave for the airport in less than an hour, and our flight departs at 5:30 am local time. If possible, I will try to update Facebook during our connections in Tokyo and Los Angeles. If I can't get wifi, though, I'll definitely update once I'm back home-sweet-home. It's supposed to snow on Saturday in Virginia-- so please pray that the weather does not affect our landing.

Thank you so much for your prayers and for being a part of this journey--

For live updates on our trip, follow Stephanie's twitter (@battledaughter) hashtag: #partyintheUSA

Thursday, December 12, 2013

2: 25 hours

25 hours from now we're going to be in a truck, headed to the airport, heading back to America. For those of you in the DC/Reagan area who would like to come to the airport for Steph and my arrival... here's our flight information:

That's 9:00pm EST on Saturday, December 14th. And! Since we'll be going through customs in LAX, we should be out of the gate fairly promptly.

< All are welcome to come! >

For those of you who can't make it to the airport, we'll both be at Spotswood on Sunday, December 15th. We'll be the ones bundled up looking very, very cold. I will be going to the 8:55am Service, 10:15 Encounter, and 11:30 YP. Steph will be going to 10:15 Encounter and 11:30 Service. Looking forward to seeing you all in just a few short days!

Also. Please pray for my packing. It's turned into quite a disaster, despite all my efforts to plan ahead and stay on top of it... Thanks! :)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

3: new sister!

First news first.

You all have a new sister in Christ!! My friend, Jum, who I posted about previously-- decided today to follow Jesus and surrender her life to Him. Jum had an appointment to meet with Jill (IMB) today, and she asked me to join her. I was humbled and ecstatic. During that time Jill went over, in Thai, the Gospel. As she explained her way through, Jum was nodding and affirming what Jill shared. At the end, Jum prayed and began her new life as a child of God! God is faithful. Praise Him who removes the scales to allow the blind to see!

Second news second.

This week I've baked over 200 cupcakes, plus cookies and sheet cakes. I'm in a losing battle with my dishes. My bed has been turned into a giant cooling rack. And I've never bought (or had Steph buy for me!) more butter in my life... but it's been totally worth it!

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday (tonight), and Thursday are party days. And what's a party without cake and games?? Tonight Steph and I merged our classes for a group competition of Jeopardy and Minute-To-Win-It! I headed up the cake and Steph mastered the games. It was really fun to get to have a more relaxed environment for our last Wednesday class of the term.

Here are some pictures from this evening :)

[Boss and Poy are my 1:00 Wednesday Class]
[Minute-To-Win-It: "Mummy"] 
[Minute-To-Win-It: "Face the Cookie"] 
[Minute-To-Win-It: "Bite Me"]
[Minute-To-Win-It: "Card Ninja"] 
[Some of my 5:00 Wednesday class]
[Some of my 7:00 Wednesday class]
[Beam and Ton]
Last, but not least!

After classes, Steph and I met up with my friend Air to say our goodbyes. I met Air through a guy named Supot, who tutored Claire and I in Thai before we came to Thailand. 

[Air, Steph and I at "After You" dessert cafe]
It's been a busy/full/fun/emotional day to say the least! But I'm thankful that everything got fit in and finished :) Another day down. Only one more "sleep" left in Bangkok after tonight!