SERVING IN: Thailand, Asia
MINISTRY FOCUS: Church Planting, Evangelism
Bill and Julie both received a call from the Lord to preach the Gospel in Asia.
In 1991, after ten years of marriage and ministry in the States, God opened the doors and they moved their family to Thailand. They began in the central region where they spent their first seven years learning the Thai language and working with a team to plant Grace Bible Church.
In 1998, they moved to Northeast Thailand and began River of Life Church Planting and Evangelistic Ministry in the city of Khon Kaen. Starting with their outreach team and a few neighborhood boys, they started meeting in a rented facility. They trained their team and worked together with them to win people to Jesus and disciple new believers. After the church was established, they began reaching out to villages surrounding the city. Thus a new ministry was born.
In 2013, they began working exclusively in the villages. Groups began to form as a natural and effective way to disciple believers. Now, they oversee groups that meet in homes and a team which is made up of village believers who work alongside them to evangelize and plant new groups in the rural areas. They are very committed disciples and have a passionate desire to follow Jesus. They come back reporting what God has done. The miracles, the baptisms, the new villages being reached- all point to the fact that they could be on the cusp of a movement among the Northeast Thai people.
We began to ask “What If..”
Bill and Julie have four grown children and two grandchildren.
Isaac, their eldest, is a missionary with Globe International working in Thailand, along the Burma border. He supports a Burmese church and school for children. He also does recording work for Burmese; worship music and audio Bible recordings.
Updated prayer requests:
Last month we mentioned our desire to dig a well for Mr. Sum and Mrs. Gaan. Thank you to everyone who helped with this project! The well was dug and in addition, a solar panel was installed to provide electricity for the well and land. It was so thrilling to see the water bursting up out of the ground! Now they are able to grow their crops just in time for the dry season.
At the beginning of the year, the restrictions on meeting in large groups have been reinstated in our area of Thailand. There was an outbreak around Bangkok and many of the provinces are on alert. Instead of meeting at the House of Prayer, we are worshipping together in small groups in the fields of anyone who wants us to come.
Throughout the year our team regularly brought testimonies of people being healed through the Name of Jesus. Several people who were bedridden and could not care for themselves have recovered and are able to walk and work. One person that had been cheated out of money had the money returned after prayer. One demon oppressed young man was delivered from hearing voices taunting him. Family relationships were mended through the mercy of God.
We are thankful that God has led us during this time to be here with the beautiful people of Northeast Thailand. They frequently express to us how grateful they are to the Lord that He sent us to them to tell them about Jesus. I think about how God sent a sweet lady named Gaan into our lives at the perfect time and that He had an amazing plan for many people to come to know Him starting with her life.
Last Sunday, Maew and Wanna came to one of our gatherings together for the Þrst time and told their story. What a joy it is for us to see God’s mercy and kindness displayed in the lives of these lovely people.
There are several new believers in the village of Ban Khaw. Please pray with us that this group will continue to grow in the knowledge of the Lord and will be a light to those who don’t yet know the grace and power of our Savior.!
Lately, we have not been able to accommodate everyone in houses, so have begun meeting every Sunday with the core group in a “tiny house” with a big porch. We were able to move the building to a beautiful location not far off the road next to a lovely pond and tapioca fields. One of our leaders has given us free use of the land and our people love coming to worship. Having a place of our own that is dedicated to the Lord seems to have special meaning for them. Of course, we are still emphasizing discipling groups in every village but the consistent gathering in this place with those who are close enough to come, is definitely strengthening the church.
Mrs. Lum, a faithful believer in our fellowship, reached out to Mrs. Dow who was very ill. Her liver was hardened and her stomach protruded as if she was about 8 months pregnant. She was going to the doctor frequently to remove the ßuids from her stomach, but the swelling always came back. She was unable to work to support herself in this condition and she felt quite hopeless. Mrs. Lum and Mrs. Ban visited her and began praying for her. After a while, she opened her heart and received the Lord. Within a few days the swelling went down, her strength has returned and she is able to begin supporting herself. Praise the Lord for his merciful kindness to heal and save!
When I asked one of our leaders what lessons she learned from this she said, “No matter what happens we can have faith in God. God will help us if we persevere in faith and prayer. Power comes from God and He does not cast us off when we have difficulties.” We have seen our leaders go through many difficulties over the past few years but we have seen God use every trial to develop such beautiful faith in their lives.
Because of the Covid 19 virus, the villages we visit have been under restrictions. Even though some orders have begun to loosen recently, we were not allowed to meet together and visit outlying villages. The past two weeks we have been able to meet with our leaders and visit in very small groups and time limitations. But despite all these inconveniences, God is continually at work!
Most people around here are very nervous about catching the virus and are complying with the government. This has severely restricted our ministry since we can’t go out and visit our people or reach out to new ones. However, I have started giving a short message from the scriptures online most days for those who can access it through their phones.