Tuesday, December 1, 2009

INDIA...here I come

Well folks, this is probably my last blog until I come home. There will be very few chances, if any, for me to access the internet while I'm in India. Thanks for following this far, I hope you've been blessed and encouraged by what you've seen and read. I'll be sure to blog about India after I'm back in the States...but until then, I'll be off the radar :) Thanks for your prayers as well. I spent much of the day preparing my teachings for the Worship Conference, and I now know more than ever, amongst many other great divine-appointments, that I have been undeniably sent by God to pour myself out at this conference. He has put messages in my heart, and I can't wait to share them with these awesome believers. Pray that I'd be confident to sow my seed, that it would land in the soil, take root, and that the Holy Spirit will water it long after I'm gone.

God Bless and thanks for journeying with my in prayer and in heart!

My extended family

I thought I'd post a few pics of the family I've been living with while I'm here...
(be sure to click on them for a closer view)

In this picture (starting on the right and moving left) is Issac, the younger of the Porter's sons. To his left is Seth, who was found on the street around the age of 14. The Porters took him in and adopted him after a couple of years. To his left is his fiance Gabby. She is from New Zealand and they'll be married in January. To her left is my main man Elijah. He is Issac's best friend from Korea and he's living with the Porter's while going to school here in Thailand.

Here's a pic of Phil and Cindy, seated on the right. Seated on the left is Dan and Bonnie Olson, who were part of the original home group that prayed off the Porters to Thailand 18 years ago! They have been praying for and supporting them since then and this was there first visit after all these years. They finally were getting a chance to see with their own eyes, the fruit of their relationship! Their daughter Lisa is seated just behind Phil and Cindy.

Here's a couple pics of Issac and Elijah. I've had a lot of fun with these guys! I have a LOT in common with them...they love soccer, video games, laughing, being sarcastic, and dancing to "Boom Boom Pow." An interesting note about the pic of Elijah below...Those sunglasses currently belong to my American roomate Jerrod, they are currently being worn by a crazy Korean, who is currently living in the country of Thailand...who 'da thunk?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Ministry Tour

This particular day was a very special one. We spent about 6 hours driving around Bangkok visiting a few of the twenty-some ministries that YWAM Thailand oversees....amazing!

We started at the YWAM Thailand National Base. This is where Phil and Cindy work. This building is a light in a dark place. We walked through the entire base...they've got offices, kitchen, dorm rooms, lecture hall, worship room, media-design room, lounge hall, conference rooms...and much more. It is a five story building and they rent most of the space. They have purchased a few spaces in the building, but the grand vision is to own the whole thing! After taking a short walk down the street, we saw other buildings that house some of their ministries, like an impoverished-child sponsor program, a coffee shop designed to minister to local students and their worship/music recording studio.

Before leaving, we had a chance to meet Brittany (on the left) and Tukta (on the right). Brittany is a 23 year old who felt called to come to Thailand and serve people living in slums. God gave a her a strategy to help women who need to stay home and cannot work. She had a relative who taught her how to make purses out of...you'll never guess...plastic grocery bags. Click on the picture to your left and take a closer look. Green-friendly, very creative and amazing to look at. She is getting connected with some friends in the States to help sell them in America. The money made from the sales will help bring an income to these needy moms. She has another friend in the States who is trying to get a professional documentary filmmaker to come to Thailand and tell her story. Check out her website at: http://thaisongfairtrade.org/

The woman pictured here (standing in the center) has a very similar vision...and she calls it "Hope Cards." She is also trying to help women who are trapped in their homes in the slums where working is difficult. She hires them and then sends them home with a box full of materials to make these greeting cards. I know these pictures won't do it justice. They are AMAZING. Each one is hand-made and they all have such depth, texture, color and creativity. She shared a simple vision in her heart..."Most people start a business and the goal is to make money. I wanted to start a business where the goal is to make disciples." Isn't that awesome!

Check out the testimony about "Hope Cards" on YWAM Thailand's site:

And then support the ministry by buying some of their handiwork :) Just in time for Christmas!

My new recording comrades...

Well, one of the many reasons I came to Bangkok was the connection I felt in my heart with the Porter's regarding worship, music and recording. They have been helping mobilize worship and recordings from the Christian church here in Thailand. All Thailand has really known is "American" worship songs that have been translated into Thai and sometimes the translations are wrong :-( This is ok, because no "new" worship songs are worse than no worship at all. But the Porter's are raising up and encouraging local worship leaders/song writers from this area to create their own songs, in their own language, with their own hearts...songs that capture the sounds and passions that come from the Thai people. I love that! Every tribe, every nation, all sounds, all dance styles, all colors, all instruments, all hearts...that's what heaven will be like, so why not now...right?

So part of my trip was getting the opportunity to meet some of the people who write songs and do the recordings. So here are a couple of them...Tan (seated left - pronounced with a D/Th sound) and Danny (seated right - pronounced with a D sound :) Tan has written a lot of worship songs and non-worship songs as well. He has a heart to see the non-worship songs reach out to his unsaved friends and family. Danny is American and has been living in Thailand for about 16 years. He is a musician/recording engineer and also has a heart to see indiginous worship come from within the nation.

We had a great time hanging out, sharing vision, laughing, talking tech, listening to their recordings and I played a few of mine for them as well. I left really encouraged and even more excited to record back at my studio and see local worship recorded in our area as well :) Who's first??? I know, I know...I need to get my own butt in gear and record some of myself...so who's second?

Below are a couple of Tan's songs...enjoy!

Two others I met (no pics...sorry) were PJ and Yam Hudson. This married couple are putting out AMAZING Thai worship music! Check out their website:


Thursday, November 26, 2009

I had Thanksgiving Dinner before you :-P

Well, depending on your time zone, I may have enjoyed my Thanksgiving Dinner before you :) One of the benefits of being in Thailand.

Here is a photo of Phil and Cindy Porter (and myself behind the camera) shopping at a really nice supermarket that has a lot of import items you can't get anywhere else.

In case you're interested, here is a picture of Thai currency. They call it a "baht" and when you have more than 1 baht, you still use the singular: 20 baht (not 20 bahts). Currently, you get about 30 baht per US Dollar. The paper bills amounts are easy to see, but the coins below (from right to left) are 10, 5 & 1 baht.

If you look close, you'll see on every single piece of currency, the image of their current King Bhumibol Adulyadej. He is highly revered by the people of Thailand and he has been good leader to them. It is against the law to say anything bad about him and it is a MAJOR taboo to step on any Thai currency, because his image is on it. Like most Asian cultures, their Kings are regarded as gods. If you're interested, here's a wiki on the King at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhumibol_Adulyadej

Below are some pictures from our Thanksgiving Dinner. And yes, it was a REAL Thankgiving Dinner...no rice or chicken here. We were hosted by a couple by the name of Steve and Marie Goode. They live here in Bangkok and help oversee different mercy ministries, here and around the world. They have been a very special mentoring couple for the Porters and are like family. They were such a blessing and I felt like family myself the minute I walked in the door. FIRST PICTURE: Steve is standing and sharing out of a book and his wife Marie is looking on just to his left. SECOND PICTURE: You can see Cindy preseting our "Pumpkin Cheese Ball." Cindy was the visionary who found the recipe, I grated the cheese and Phil shaped it into a pumpkin. We were very proud of it, if I must say so myself :)


Hey everybody. For those of you following the blog and wanting to pray as well, here are some of the requests for the trip right now:

1. India Worship Conference: The time frame has changed a little...we fly to India on Dec. 2nd and we'll return Dec. 9th. The conference itself is on Dec. 4-6. We'll spend the other days touring the area. Pray for The Porters and myself as we pray and prepare for the Worship Conference in India. We are looking for continued direction from the Lord in what we should do when we get there. At this point, it looks like the three of us will be doing most of the conference...teaching, leading worship, etc.

You can also pray for me towards the end of the India trip, as I will get back to Bangkok on the afternoon of the 9th, get packed, hit the sack and get up the next morning around 5am to fly home.

2. Pray for GRACE over the Porters. They have a lot on their plate right now. They just got done with Thailand National Day of Prayer/March for Jesus, then they had Pattaya Praise and they're getting ready for the India Worship Conference. In the midst of it all, they're oldest son, Seth (who is adopted - I'll tell you that story sometime...it's amazing) is getting married the beginning of January. So again, they need grace, peace and rest in their hearts, as well as strength to juggle all that God has before them right now.

3. For me, pray that I would have confidence to pour myself out at the India Worship Conference and that I would hear God on what I would teach while I'm there. I believe I'm here for this purpose and I want to give it my all and believe God for much!

You can also pray for me as I have had a few days of disillusionment. Not sure quite how to explain it, but I feel challenged right now as I think about my calling from God....where I have been, where I am now, and where He is taking me to...am I believing Him for all that He has planned for my life, and what are the areas that I need to frontier with greater faith. Big questions...I know :) But I think that was part of why I came here. Pray that I would not let those questions become "heavy" in my heart, but instead as opportunities to draw into God and hear His voice more clearly.

Thank you for your continued interest in my trip and for any prayers, large or small, that you would offer on my behalf.

Journeying with Him,

Monday, November 23, 2009

My Room/A Small Adventure

I thought I'd post a few pics of my room. Definitely no "suffering for Jesus" going on here :) The Porters are such gracious hosts. I felt so welcomed and cared for with hospitality as I arrived. They even had a welcome basket with some "Thai snacks" waiting for me when I got there.

It was interesting to see some of the differences in "living methods" in Thailand. The air-conditioner in the picture is standard for the country. They do not have "central air" systems. Each room has it's own unit that is controlled by each room. It is actually kinda nice. Coming from a house full of roomies who each have their own likes and dislikes in climate control, I could definitely be open to this cultural norm :)

Most all of the bathrooms have no shower stalls. They tile the entire bathroom and you just step into the toilet area and use the shower (which are wall units that heat the water right on the spot). It's hard to see in this pic, but they even have little shower curtains you can pull over the toilet so it doesn't get soaked. Also, all the bathroom accessories (trash can, drawers, etc.) are made of plastic so that any water that sneaks out from the shower area won't damage them.

A SMALL ADVENTURE - Today was a really free day for me. Before they left for the YWAM base, I had the Porters give me a few directions on how to navigate the city. So, with very little knowledge of the area and a completely limited ability to speak the language, I set out... Those of you that know me, will know that this was a miracle of sorts, since I don't like stepping into situations where I don't have some familiarity. So this was big for me. Maybe not for others, but it was for me :)

And it turned out great. I rode a truck/taxi into town, looking out for signs and landmarks that the Porter's told me about. Eventually I found the area they mentioned. It was near a public school and the YWAM base. I spent about an hour walking through malls and outdoor markets, discovering all the sights (and smells) that Bangkok has to offer :) Then I plucked up my courage to walk in a restaurant and do my best to communicate with the waitress on what I wanted to eat. Eventually I got my food, ate, and settled into a nice couch in the restaurant with an iced mocha. The waitress had her baby son with her in the store, and I enjoyed a few interactions with him, and shared a few smiles with the waitress as her son took his time deciding whether I was trustworthy or not. I eventually got him to wave "hello" and "goodbye" to me...it was fun. I also ran into a bunch of YWAM students who were on a 3 week mission experience. Most came from around the world, but one boy was from Anaheim and we got to share some conversation as his grandma lived in Porterville. He still remembered the hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant near Exeter...what was it called? We couldn't remember.

Anyway, I took the cultural plunge today...and it was really fun. Now I'm the one walking down to the local market to pick up groceries for the Porters. Who 'da thunk? :)