The first time I came to Thailand was at the end of 1999, with a team of 18 people from my (first) Discipleship Training School in San Francisco. We stayed at Baan Jai Diaow, the same University student Discipleship House that Iven are connected with now. During my initial first 6 weeks in Bangkok, in 1999-2000, I had the privilege of getting to know several of the young Thai Christians who were living at BJD then.Now, over seven years later, it is SUCH a gift to be getting to know some of them again. This past weekend Iven and I were invited to a small housewarming / blessing party for a Thai couple that were married a few months earlier. We all ate spaghetti (first time I’ve had it since October), chatted in Thai and English, and then prayed together that the house would be blessed and full of God’s peace, love and spirit of hospitality. Of the fifteen or so people who were there about half were Thai and half were foreigners. Suddenly I realized that I have known six of the seven Thais present for over seven years. A few of them (including the new bride) had even been first introduced to Baan Jai Diaow through the outreach team I came with in 1999. It was amazing to look around the room and think about what they were like when I first met them, and how they have grown over the years. Now, almost all of them have graduated from University, are staff with YWAM, and are giving their lives to serve Thai people and the Lord. Two are now on the leadership team at Baan Jai Diaow – where they first became Christians and were discipled for years. Another has left YWAM officially and is now serving God by working in the secular media industry in Bangkok. One is the leader of the Performing Arts ministry for YWAM Thailand. Each of them is a mature, experienced leader who is passionate about God and sharing his love with Thai people. One of the most delightful thoughts I had during this moment of revelation was how incredible it is that here I am now, again, to stay. More and more each week, I can get to know them in Thai – and hear in Thai about the seven years of growth that have brought them to the places they are. Few people are privileged enough to see the fruits of their own short term teams years later. I am grateful that I get to be one – and that now I am living here to see the next seven plus years in their lives, walking with them every step of the way.
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