Back to Basics

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Life has radically changed for us. Our son, Jeshua, has officially flown the nest to continue his education in America, following in his sister Alina’s footsteps. Alina has graduated from academy and has started her freshman year in college. Meanwhile, our dear friends and family in America mercifully make the separation bearable through their special love and care for our children. We love and praise God for each of you who have offered to take our children under your wings when and wherever needed.

Meanwhile, in Thailand, our family dynamic has assumed a sort of déjà vu quality, as we feel like we have just stepped back 15 years to when we had only two small children (Alina and baby Jeshua). But now, while proudly claiming four great kids, we only have Selah and baby Aria at home. In many ways, we are returning to the basics: the basics of parenthood, character development, and discipleship training with our second set of children.

But we are not just returning to the basics in our family. In our spiritual life and ministry, I have recently felt God calling me back to the basics of simple faith, trust in Him and His Word, and the power of prayer and following God’s providential leading in ministry.

One way God has called was through a text from my friend Dr. Armin Kritzinger. “We are in need of a week-of-prayer speaker for middle and high school [students] at Ekamai International School from 4-8 September. . . Are you able to come, or know a foreign missionary [who] might be able to come? Thank you!”

I shook my head as I read it and smiled, imagining how stressed they must be, with only two weeks before the week-of-prayer date and still not having a speaker lined up. My second thought was, No. A big school like EIS would not wait until the last minute to think about finding a speaker. Some emergency has obviously come up, and the speaker they originally sought has had to cancel for some reason. It turns out I was right. But wow, Lord! There are only two weeks to prepare and ten messages to share. What, Lord, would you have me do? Should I refer this to someone else?

I asked for more information and learned the theme was “God Answers My Prayers.” I felt God strongly impressing me: You NEED to accept this assignment, not just because it will bless those students, but because YOU need the blessing that will come through sharing what we have been through together. And, of course, I will be with you and teach you what to say. You’re right, Lord, I prayed. I do need this. Thank you that You will be with me.

So I went and spoke for six days straight to the more than 800 highly energetic but respectful students of EIS and their amazing teachers. The Sabbath sermon was added as a surprise bonus! I shared my testimony about why I believe in God, why I am a Christian today, what God has taught me about Him and the power of prayer, and the key conditions to powerful and effectual prayer.

More than 95 percent of the student body was non-SDA, mostly Buddhist. They politely listened, eager to hear how God could become their near and dear personal friend through prayer and studying His Word. The teachers and staff were surprised at how well they listened and participated throughout the week.

I thank God for some very positive feedback from students and teachers alike. But of course, I am not so interested in what they thought about the information presented as much as what they will actually do with it.

Time will tell the better tale about how it went—for them. But for me, the effect was profoundly positive! Throughout the week, I sensed God graciously calling me back to the basics—to a closer-than-ever walk with Him through a more consistent and constant lifestyle of devotion, service and especially prayer. I praise God! I do not want to ever slide back into a more-or-less self-dependent and anemic prayer-ministry lifestyle. God has mercifully reminded me yet again just how much more can be accomplished for His Kingdom if we simply remember to keep calling Him through prayer into our daily, moment-by-moment decisions.

Please pray for me and our whole team, that we will not lose sight of that for a moment. Also, please pray for the more than 800 students at EIS who have recently learned more about a very real, very caring, prayer-hearing, and prayer-answering God who wants more than anything to bless them beyond imagination, if they will but honestly and prayerfully open their hearts to Him.

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