Sunday, July 30, 2006

We are on our way home today! Right now it's about 8:45 am, so after church services, lunch, and a final prayer meeting with the church, we will be headed for the airport. (I think there's a caravan of about 5 or 6 cars that are accompanying us to the airport!) Time has flown! If you're reading this on Saturday evening back in the States, pray for us to finish strong and be able to encourage the church as we leave. It's is really hard on us to leave and we have a long journey ahead, but we are looking forward to seeing many of you soon. May God be glorified in this work!

And if you haven't watched Eric's slide show below, I highly recommend it.=) It includes just about everything we've done, minus our free travel and the farewell parties. Eric did a great job!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Well, it took a while for me to upload it, but here's the farewell party's slideshow. This is a collection of pictures and videos that summarize the parties and a lot of the reader outings. It's eleven minutes long, so I wouldn't attempt to play it without a decent internet connection.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Hello everyone! We haven't forgotten about you, we've just been participating in more parties, good-bye ceremonies, social gatherings, and crying festivals in the past few days that I ever knew was possible. The readers are coming out for their final reading sessions and are hanging out to get in their last good-byes, not to mention showering us with outlandish gifts. (Loraine's readers have brought her enough jewelry to last a lifetime and she's just going to wear it all home in an effort to set off every metal detector between here and Nashville.) Right now I feel like we're running a big Asian CSC--even at this moment we have readers hanging out to study, watch movies, and eat pizza.=) Now we need to work on kicking everybody out at 11 pm.=)

One interesting fact is that Eric has been making his readers cry. Seriously, one of Eric's readers came out of his last reading session today bawling and hugging all over Eric (not even kidding.) This made Loraine and I cry and it was kind-of turning into a huge kleenex festival. Then Brad came out and told us we were all a bunch of pansies. At first I was wondering what on earth Eric had done to the poor guy to make him cry so hard, but then Brad astutely pointed out that he would cry too if he were about to be separted from Eric for who-knows-how-long. Fine point, Brad, fine point.

To be serious, I am so touched by how deeply these kids have become a part of our lives in the last 6 weeks. We've laughed with them, ate with them, traveled with them, danced with them, studied with them, shared Jesus with them, and now we cry with them and say good-bye for now. There's a time for everything. Last night at our farewell party we gathered our readers around with the church members and sang "A Common Love." It was so touching to look around and see people from all over the world singing and to know that indeed these we have a common strength and a common hope. And I believe, that to the glory of God, many of these students will have a common future with us as they begin to take hold of the truths that have been imparted to them these past weeks.

We thank God for everyone he has sent to us here in Malaysia. May He continue to bless them!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

I just wanted to share with everyone how happy I am today. Today has been a great wonderful awesome fantabulous day! I can't even begin to describe it. First off, Eric preached an excellent sermon on trials this morning that really registered with the church, I think. God really spoke through Eric powerfully. Plus, I just tend to be really encouraged on Sunday mornings anyway and the class and service this morning were especially touching.

Immediately after service we had a special treat. We got to witness Eric's reader James being baptized! How awesome! James came to the church about 3 months ago after "randomly" finding the address online. James is 18 and after he recently moved away from his family to begin his studies, he began to feel the need to seek God. He didn't have a Christian background, so it's obvious the Holy Spirit was working on him to bring him here. After getting to know the church members here, studying with them, and going through LST, James decided to be baptized. We all gathered at a nearby swimming pool to witness it and I must say that it was a spectacular moment. Praise God that James is part of our family now!

After the baptism, another reader, Veronica, showed us around Chinatown. We were blessed to have a young lady from the church who is exactly Veronica's age join us on this trip and it's so great to see how God is building bridges between readers and church members. We are so excited to know Veronica and look forward to hearing how God is working in her life in the near future.

You can see why it's been a grrrrrrrrrrrreat day! I'm exhausted from all the things we did this weekend, but I still bet it will be hard for me to sleep tonight from all the joy it has brought me. Praise be to our marvelous God!

We have had some awesome opportunities to hang out with readers this weekend and just have fun. God really answered our prayers as far as giving us some excellent outreach opportunities!

Picture #1: Four readers accompanied us on a trip to the bowling alley on Saturday night. We played 2 rounds and I even broke 100 if you add my two scores together. After bowling, we grabbed some dinner with this group!
Picture #2: The readers are bowling away. We had so much fun cheering each other on!
Picture #3: On Friday night, nine readers accompanied us on a trip to a historic ship called Doulos, thanks to some help with transportation from the church members. This was definitely a moment when I realized how little faith I have. The ship was an hour and a half away and I really thought we'd be lucky just to get a couple of readers to come. But God really blew our socks off when nine showed up! It was a cramped car ride, but a very interesting trip! In this picture, the 4 LST workers are pictured on board the ship with the 9 readers who attended.
Picture #4: Here's another picture on board the ship that's a little easier to see. This picture clearly shows us that Americans tend to be taller than Asians.=)

Friday, July 21, 2006

After dying the eggs, the LST readers went on an Easter egg hunt in the church building. They're pretty eager to get some eggs.

Our 4th party centers around traditional Easter activities. Here we have the egg dying portion.