Life on the Road: March 2019

updates Mar 15, 2019

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,
always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy,
because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
(Phil. 1:3-6 ESV)

The time since our last update has been very full.  We have seen a lot of wonderful opportunities for ministry unfolded for us and we’re very excited about what God has for our future ministry here in Thailand.  Thank you so much for your part in this work via your prayers, support, and love for us and for the people of Thailand!

The church we’re worshipping with, Cool Shade of Life Church, is part of a broader network of churches and church plants organized under a foundation called Siam Blessing ASEAN Foundation.  Back in February, I (Ben) and Pastor Ogaat began visiting some of the various member ministries of Siam Blessing ASEAN.  So far, they’ve traveled to the following locations:

  1. The mountains west of Chiang Mai to visit Pastor Chatrii.
  2. Baan Naa village in Chayaphum province to investigate how to disciple and support a group of new believers in that town.
  3. Nawng Han village in Udonthani province to visit a couple running a children’s ministry/church plant/farm/occupational training center in a poor neighborhood.
  4. Pang Faen village about an hour east of Chiang Mai to visit Pastor Thuu. We also had the privilege of attending the dedication of a new building for Pastor Thuu’s church, Way of Life Church.

Next week (March 18-21) I will be traveling down to Chumphon province in southern Thailand for a board meeting of Siam Blessing ASEAN Foundation.  This will be a great opportunity to meet many more of the leaders of the foundation, hear more about their ministries, and see how we might be able to love them and support their work.  The meeting will also be hosted at Baan Eurphon Chumphon ( which is a home for orphaned and rejected children operated by Pastor JumNong.

It is my hope to write up some more detailed descriptions of these ministries and the amazing people who serve in them.  We’ll let you know as those stories are ready for you!

In between all this traveling, I have been teaching adult Sunday School at Cool Shade of Life Church in Chiang Mai.  As I will be teaching about once a month, I’ve decided to start a series on the gospel of Mark.  This has been a wonderful blessing/challenge to bring the truth of scripture into the Thai language and context.  I’m learning tons of new vocab and cultural insights. 

Becca has also been involved at Cool Shade of Life.  The church has been blessed with an increase in the number of kids attending Sunday school.  But because there has only been one class, that class includes kids from 3 to 15 years old!  Needless to say that’s a tough crowd to teach at the same time.  So Becca and a friend are splitting the group in two and developing plans for the older group.  It’s a wonderful challenge to think about how to teach biblical truths to kids from multiple cultures and languages!

Becca has also begun volunteering a few hours per week at McKean hospital here in Chiang Mai.  McKean is a Christian hospital originally established as a leper colony/hospital.  Today it has many different areas of care, including assisted living and nursing home facilities.  Becca visits dementia patients and spends time chatting with them and hearing their stories.  This has been a wonderful opportunity to use her gifts in social work and passion for the elderly.

Our kids are doing well too.  While most of our American friends hail from places that are dealing with school closures because of snow, our kids have been off of school Wednesday through Friday this week because of smog.  Every year at this time people in the mountains west of Chiang Mai, both in Thailand and Myanmar, burn their rice fields in preparation for replanting.  This smoke blows east and settles in the Chiang Mai valley. 

This week, we have earned the title of most polluted air of any city in the world!  (  As a result our kids are at home where we can keep our air conditioners running and filtering the air.  Believe it or not, we’re actually enjoying the time together!

We’re also experiencing some family firsts as our family ages.  Our oldest, Elie, had her first school dance this past month.  She even had a friend ask her to attend with him.  This gave her dad the long-expected opportunity to break out the shotgun jokes.  And her mother responded with frequently rolled eyes.  It’s been a fun month!  Some things overseas are just like life anywhere else!

We would appreciate your prayers as we’ve run into a small hiccup in our visa plans.  The Thai government has been getting significantly stricter with the type of visas we are working to get.  As a result, some documents won’t be ready before our current visas expire.  So, on April 2nd, we’ll need to take a quick trip to Malaysia to apply for another 90 day visa.  We don’t think there will be visa problems long-term, but we’d appreciate your prayers as we work through these details.

Prayer Requests:

  • Please pray for the members and ministries of Siam Blessing ASEAN Foundation. Pray that we will have wisdom to know how to bless them and their ministries well.
  • Please pray for Ben’s preparation and teaching through the gospel of Mark. Pray for his Thai and that he will be able to make biblical truths simple to understand in this Thai context.
  • Please pray for Becca as she and others make plans for the “older kids Sunday school class”. Pray that our teaching will communicate well across language and age differences.
  • Please pray for Becca’s time with the residents at McCain hospital. Pray that God would use her to bless these precious people and the hospital staff.
  • Please pray for our kids as they study, spend time with friends, and live life in this wonderful city and nation.
  • Please pray for the pollution situation in Chiang Mai. Pray that we would get plenty of wind and/or rain to ease the smog and that God would protect people’s health.
  • Please pray for our visa situation. Pray for a relatively simple trip to Malaysia and wisdom for long-term visas.
  • Please pray for the Thai election that will take place on March 24th. This will be an important election for Thailand.  To avoid commenting on politics, we encourage you to look up more information online.

Thank you so much for your prayers and support!

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