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Sunday, March 6, 2016

End of School Coming to a Close

God's beauty in Thailand, the River Kwai
It is amazing how fast time flies. The school term between Christmas and the end of February went so fast! Thai schools end in February because March and April are the hottest months of the year and many schools doing have air conditioning.
Students after school in our home


We continue to lead conversation in our home with a core group of about eight students. We feel like they have grown in their ability and confidence to speak not only with us but others. One example, we were having class one day and a visitor came to our door. I (Todd) went to the door and the gentleman was telling me someone was trying to get in contact with me but I could figure out the rest of what he was saying and I didn't recognize the name of the person. I turned around to ask one of the students for help and they were all right there and began telling me what he had said. In fact one of the quietest students was in front translating. They seem to be comfortable around us and know we care for them.  We also feel that some of them are getting closer to being ready to hear some of God's word. They are inquisitive about our Bibles and books on our bookshelves. We pray for them consistently and for the Holy Spirit to lead them to him.


 For Valentine's Day we used conversation hearts that were provided by one of our good friends as a way to make speaking English fun. We also played a modified version of Truth or Dare. They all had a great time, but the candy was a bit sweet for them.

Valentines Day games and conversation

The Wednesday night and Sunday worship and study has been going very well. We did lessons on being a new creation in Christ since we had the first Sunday after New Year's. We discussed ways we are all similar and they ways we are different. We showed them pictures of snowflakes and that each one is different. We passed out coffee filters and had them make a snowflake from it. They decorated it with watercolor markers and  and made beautiful butterflies out of them to illustrate we are all new creations in Christ.


Butterflies made out of coffee filters by students~ In Christ we are New Creations

Another week, we talked about sin. We illustrated this by putting glow gel on the students hands, then putting their hands under a black light to fluoress the gel. We had them only rinse their hands with water then repeat putting them under the black light. Finally, we had them wash their hands with soap and repeat putting them under the blacklight. We were actually teaching them about hygiene as well as sin. The more important discussion came when we asked how do you clean the inside from sin? We gave them Bible verses to show them what the bible has to say. They opened Bibles, read, asked questions, had us repeat scripture as they followed along and drew pictures. We are encouraged by many of the responses by students. We continue to ask God for discernment and guidance as we journey along with these students. We thank you for your prayers for them and us as well as the entire ministry team here.
Students from Palanchi School

Leading a song
In talking about time passing quickly, it is hard to believe in only about two months Noah will be heading back to the US to spend the summer working at Asbury Hills and then heading to Anderson University in the Fall.  We ask that you keep him and the transition he will face in your prayers.  Pray for us too since it will be much different serving on the field without Noah here.

Our family in Kanchanabui,  the Bride over River Kwai

We love all so much and pray for you.  Thank you for your ongoing love, prayers and support.

The Attaway Family

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
T
Rome





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