Saturday, December 19, 2015

Christmas In Roi Et

Merry Christmas to each of you.  We wish you God's richest blessing this Christmas as we celebrate Christ's birth and the hope he brings to each of us.

We know many of you participate in the Samaritan's Purse Shoebox ministry.

We had the privilege of being part of the distributing of the Samaritan's Shoe Boxes in Roi Et this year. Around 250 boxes were given out at the Banon Christmas Event. It is a blessing being able to witness and take part in the receiving side, so we wanted to share some pictures and 
reflections with you.

Students from Banon Receiving Shoeboxes

Hannah Grace handing out the gifts
Students attended the Christmas event where they sang songs, watched a drama written by Thai Team member Patdy and performed by the students.  The drama portrayed the miracles of Jesus, the crucifixion of Jesus and then his birth.  It was all in Essan which is the heart language of the people in Roi Et.  The play was moving and was contextualized to the Thai worldview.  It was the first time some of them had heard about Jesus' life and story.

 Following the play Dr. Ubolwan    Mejudhon, one of the founders of the  ministry, came and spoke to the students about how Jesus is here ready to enter into their lives if they ask him.  Many students stood up that night and wanted to pray to Jesus.

Reflections from Hannah Grace~

"I was glad that I was able to help hand out presents to the Thai students.  Just to see the look on their faces was enough.  Even though the gifts were small they brought a lot of joy.  I kept thinking this is the only Christmas they will have and they have such happiness. "

The children waited patiently as they lined up for a gift.  Over 100 were handed out the first night and around 150 on Sunday.

Some of the favorite items received by the Thai students were stuffed animals, jewelry, socks, games, make-up, and small toys. They also really seemed to like any notes or pictures that came with the boxes.

 The boxes designated for boys ran out so many of the boys had to receive girl's gifts, but as you can tell from this picture they did not seem to mind.  They were gracious and happy to have anything.

One of the observations we have is the sharing that takes place after the boxes are open.  The Thai students share things with one another so that each one will have something they like or can use.


Merry Christmas to each of you.  Remember the Thai people in your thoughts and prayers this season.  Thank you all for your support so that we can serve here, helping bring his name as Lord and Savior and offer the love and peace that Christ brings.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

A New Season

We have had a busy October with training with other cross cultural witnesses from all over the world in Albania and Summer camp for the Roi Et Students in Bangkok.  Read this until the end~ The best for last.

Attaways in Rome

At the end of September we gathered in Albania for a pre-conference training on coaching.  We have been asked to serve in Community Care for SouthEast Asia, so we reach out regularly to others serving in our part of the world.  The strategies we learned about coaching are helpful and we have already started using some of what we learned.  In this technique the goal is for the coach is to listen and to ask questions that lead the person to talk through their situation and see things in things they might not have seen before.

 The process is one where through prayer the Holy Spirit often brings the new insight and processing as well as healing and movement toward a future goal or resolution.  It is really powerful.  After one of the trainings I took Noah for a walk and started trying to coach him by asking questions.  He finally said, "Is this what you learned about in that class?, Why do you keep asking me questions? You aren't very good at this!".  It is harder than you think.

The conference was an amazing time for all of us with 129 folks serving all over the world in attendance.  We worshiped and fellowshipped together, as well as attending breakout sessions.  The Bible study for the week was the book of Ephesians, we heard sermons and also participated in inductive Bible study.  It was a blessing to study again the words of Paul to the people of Ephesus, the book addresses so many themes that are relevant and important for today such as the need for Unity and the importance of Spiritual Protection.  We felt renewed and encouraged after the study.  It felt good to connect with other's serving cross culturally to hear their challenges and also their praise stories.  We made a lot of reconnections and also met new friends.

Hannah Grace and her MK friends
There were 39 MK's in attendance.  Hannah Grace bonded immediately with several girls in her age range serving in India, Spain and Africa.  She attended the program for kids and learned about how to cope with struggles of being on the field and how to be a witness for Christ.  She sang in worship with the large group and performed several skits,  (no surprise there :)  She had sleepovers in the hotel with a groups of 7 girls a couple of times.  This time was really life-giving for her.

Noah had 6 teenagers in his group, serving in Africa and Jordan and Asia.  He also met a guy Aaron from the UK who had come to help with the leadership team.  Noah enjoyed playing the guitar with Aaron who is a songwriter and performer as well as a witness for Christ in Spain.  Noah and his group wrote a song and performed it for the group the last night.

Noah outside the Colosseum

Hannah Grace in Rome
We were able to spend a few days in Rome on the way to the conference. We stayed at a Monestary Guest House which close to the city, simple and clean and not as expensive as most places.  It was incredible for all of us to see firsthand the beauty and history of Rome that Hannah Grace and Noah have studied about.  We had the opportunity to visit the Colosseum, the Vatican and many Basilicas.  It was a blessing attending an Italian Mass at St Paul's Basilica on a Sunday morning.  Paul's remains are laid in this Basilica.  Rome felt much more like home to us and we ate as much delicious Italian pizza as possible.  We are thankful to God for this opportunity.

Roman Forum

Roi Et kids playing with the kids from the Slum
Noah and his Thai Friend with Chris
The day we got back from Albania we headed to the church for the October Camp where kids from Roi Et come to Bangkok.  The camp held in March is an "academic" camp, this one is shorter in length and called a "moral" camp.  We had 24 students in attendance.  The theme of the camp was "Think and Thank".  The team spent a lot of time praying over what we should present to the kids.  Most of them had not heard about the death and resurrection of Jesus so we felt led to cover this.  Pastor Life was able to teach each morning and did a remarkable job explaining the sacrifice of Christ.  The team members took turns also teaching and adding whatever the Lord put on their hearts.  In the afternoons the students were able to go serve (best place to find Jesus :).  Each day they did a different service activity. They went to a Children's home for handicapped kids, arranged a game day at the church for the slum kids next door, and gave out free water at a park to people riding bikes and exercising. Each evening the students were able to talk about and discuss the day and what things were meaningful to them.
At the Park handing out Water
Worship at the Park

One morning Todd and I spoke about the Resurrection and used the Resurrection Eggs to illustrate the story of Jesus.  We put the students in pairs and gave them each an egg and asked them to see what was inside and talk about how it relates to the story.  We had some Thai Bibles out and showed them in the Bible the scripture references for the story.  In the evening during sharing time several of the students said that what was most meaningful for them that day was we had shown them how to use the Bible.  One girl student said, "Thank you for teaching me how to open the Bible".  It was an incredible affirmation that the Holy Spirit was at work, he used what we thought was a side note (having Bibles to look up scripture) as the big thing.  God is good and he will use us in ways we don't even expect.

Watching "Everything" skit

Patdy and students
The students were able to watch "The Passion of Christ" in Thai one evening.  We also showed the "Everything" skit from the internet, this is a powerful skit our youth participated in at our home church several years ago.  The students were moved by all of it.  One afternoon students were able to write any question they had about being a Christian or anything they had heard about and the staff answered them.  The students had many questions about Jesus, "Why did Jesus have to die?, Why did he have to suffer?, Do you have to go to church to be a Christian?, Can you still Wai (an act of respect performed by the Thai) to Buddha if you are a Christian?, How can really God know everyone in the world"… awesome questions.  It was evident that they had been really processing and thinking about everything that was presented to them.  The Holy Spirit was moving in them.

Trust Fall

Game about Getting Help in Life
Students performing a skit about Love

Foot washing Service at the Conclusion of Camp

The last evening we had a foot washing service.  The staff:  Kat and Patdy, Chris and Dora and Todd and I along with the college youth who help out, washed all the feet of the students.  This was a time I don't think we will ever forget.  Many of the students were crying and visibly moved by God's love.  To have your feet washed in Thai culture is extremely powerful because the feet are the most lowly of all body parts.  It was humbling for them to have this experience, especially being served by people older that them.  In Thai culture the heads of the older people have to be higher than the younger ones, also younger people serve the older ones with respect.  In this case the students were in chairs and we were down lower than them and washing the disgraced feet.  While perfuming the foot washing we tried to put ourselves in Jesus' place as he washed the disciples feet as we prayed for and tenderly washed, dried and and showed love for each one.  The Holy Spirit was present in a deep way; the kids knew they were loved by us, but more importantly by God.  That night many of the students told us they loved Jesus.

Foot washing service

We have been praying bold prayers, that hundreds of people in Roi Et will come to know Christ.  Many of you have joined us in that prayer.  Sometimes that seems like such a difficult, even impossible thing, but this experience was a reminder that God is moving, that his spirit is changing
hearts and that his will, will be done.  We believe the prayers are being answered.  We just have to be faithful and serve him.

Thank you for loving us and joining us in this mission to bring the name, love and hope of Jesus to the Thai people.  Please keep on this journey with us; please pray for us, for the team, and for the Thai people.

Love and Peace,

The Attaways

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Summer in Thailand

On our 29th wedding Anniversary, August 16th

Greetings to you all!

We wanted to update you on the past 2 months in Thailand.  On August 16th we celebrated our 29th Wedding Anniversary at a beautiful spot in the Kao Yai mountains.   We feel blessed and fortunate for this time together.  Hannah Grace told people she and Noah were getting to go on their first anniversary!

Gary and Sean Hughes with the Roi Et team celebrating Thai teammate Patdy's birthday

 In July we were blessed to have two small teams come to visit us in Thailand.  Gary and Sean Hughes came for a couple of weeks, followed by Lee and Bobby Gettys and Caroline Spangler.  It was a tremendous encouragement and blessing for us to host both groups.  We were able to introduce them to Thai culture in the city, the coast and in Roi Et.  They were able to spend time meeting our Thai students and joining the current Thai team with activities.

Introductions at Banon for first time guests which included a dance move!

We had spoken with both teams about this mission trip, that they would not be physically "doing work" here, but that the way they could serve was by being open to the culture and relationship building.  It was a beautiful exchange of cultures on both sides.  The teams from America were able to offer encouragement and love to the Thai people, the Thai people opened their lives and hearts to the Americans.  It was a beautiful exchange and we believe appreciation of both sides.  God is good and we believe this time will forever change hearts and minds.  It is interesting as people realize that as human beings created in the image of God we are all more alike than we are different.  

The Attaways, Hughes and Cheryl Moye, from TMS coming to serve in Thailand in the future

Personal Thai Tour guides at a Wat

Each of our guests has relayed to us that this trip was meaningful for them and created a love and burden for the Thai people and the needs here.  This week at our home church in Greenville SC a group that visited will be speaking about the trip to combined Sunday School classes to increase awareness about Thailand and to share how they can be praying.  It is perfect timing we believe, especially in light of the recent bombings in Bangkok.  We ask you too, please pray for this country and the Thai people especially.  We pray for the Lord to be glorified in all things here, that his name will be known.

Showing the beauty of Thailand
Meeting Thai friends at the park in Roi Et

August has included having after school activities at our home, doing conversational English and building relationships with students in the park, teaching English classes in a couple of schools, and working with team on Wednesday nights and Sunday's at Banon.  We are continuing to learn Thai language and culture, praying for God's presence and help in these areas.  We make plenty of mistakes, but hope the genuine love we have for the Lord and the Thai people will overcome barriers.  Noah recently had the opportunity to go with Life to Ranong to teach English for a camp.  It was an incredible experience for him, we are grateful his willingness to serve.

Students in English Camp in Ranong

Please join us in prayer for Thailand and the victims and families of the recent bombing,  for the Muang Thai Church and for Pastor Life and his family as he has left his job in the school for full-time ministry, for the Roi Et Ministry and for the Ranong ministry led by the Mejudhons.  We count each of your as partners and cannot be on this journey without you.

Many Blessings.

Todd, Pam, Noah and Hannah Grace

Mountains of Kao Yai