After flying across 12 time zones and literally traveling to the opposite side of the world and back, here were are in good ol' South Carolina. We want to start off by saying how grateful we are for everyone who was praying for us while we were gone! Our hearts were so encouraged by your prayers, and we were amazed by God's faithfulness to bring about His plans.
Our biggest prayer request before we left was that if God was calling our family to Isaan, this trip would confirm that calling in our hearts... and it did! God has allowed us to share in His burden for the people of Isaan and given us a deep desire to see them experience the freedom and hope of a life built on Christ.
We are officially a part of the Pioneers team in Isaan and are hoping to leave for the field in September 2016! Please consider whether God may be calling you to send us through monthly financial partnership or by being a part of our prayer team.
As soon as we stepped into the airport, we were greeted with signs that said "Welcome to Buddha Land... Disrespect to Buddha is wrong by law." Nearly 95% of all of Thailand is Buddhist, and everywhere we went we saw symbols of idolatry and people striving after never-ending systems of merit making. After only a few days in the country, our hearts felt heavy with an overwhelming awareness ofDARKNESS. The evil one's dominion can be clearly evidenced in Thailand through superstitious fears that hold people in bondage and through rituals that honor human enlightenment and deny God's rightful place of worship.
This awareness of darkness was heightened when we visited the area of Isaan that we feel called to, Nakhon Phanom. We looked at four counties where there are no churches, no known believers, no opportunity to hear that the God of this world has made merit on their behalf with His own blood and righteousness. Our last day in Nakhon Phanom, David went out in the early morning dusk to pray by the Mekong River. His heart was burdened by hopelessness and grief of all of the darkness we had seen, and he cried out for God to establish His kingdom among the Isaan people. When he opened his eyes, he was overwhelmed by the brightness of the risen sun, and God gave him this verse:
"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." John 1:5
The darkness may be reigning right now in Isaan, but it will not win! The power of God for salvation is the gospel, and so we trust that when the truth of God's Word comes to Isaan, many people will be ransomed from darkness to light for His glory!
At Christmas time especially, we rejoice that "the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light... For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end." (Isaiah 9:2, 6-7)
May the God of Light be praised in our homes and in our hearts this Christmas! Love and blessings, The Englands