Now that the holidays are over and things have slowed down for us, it’s time to tell you about the week of Christmas outreaches that took place before Christmas. This year the missionary team, TREK team, and church leader team organized outreaches at 7 locations.
- December 16 – Outreach at Gai and Gao’s muban, a community of around 1000 homes in the middle of a rice field. Gai and Gao are leaders at the Bethel church.
- December 18 – Burmese outreach near Lighthouse Church. People were transported to Chachoengsao from Bang Sai and Bo Tung where two new Burmese churches have been planted in the last 2 years.
- December 19 – Carnival games and Christmas story at Klong Kluk Mai school where we teach English and hold a kids club.
- December 20 – Carnival games and Christmas story at Klong Luang Pang school where Sandy teaches English.
- December 21 – Outreach at Sandy’s muban in Chachoengsao. We set up the stage, chairs and carnival games in front of Sandy’s house and flooded the streets with Christian music and the joy of Christmas.
- December 22 – Carnival games, Christmas story and Gospel story at Klong Kluk Mai kids club.
- December 23 – Outreach at Bethel Church.
The TREK team was in charge of organizing up to 12 carnival games and craft stations for the kids to rotate through before the program of the outreach events. The youth from Bethel and a 5 person team from Canada assisted us with running the events. During the program the Christmas story was depicted through drime by the youth group, a narrated nativity skit by the TREK team and kids from the audience, personal testimony from church members, Christmas carols, and the presentation of the Gospel story given by Pastor Naat. Afterwards we drew names of adults to win prizes and gave gift bags away to all the kids.
The week before Gai and Gao’s outreach, we joined the youth group in caroling in their community and inviting people to the event. As we walked around, we also silently prayed for people we saw that they may come to the event and be touched by Jesus. The day of the event, Kyle spent the afternoon stetting up the stage with several of the Thai guys and was in charge of making sure the sound system was operational during the event. He was so busy setting up that he didn’t notice the people beginning to gather. Thirty minutes before the carnival games started, he looked up and saw the long line of kids waiting to register and the chairs filled with their parents. We were both shocked at the number of people that came out that night – around 400. But why were we shocked? This is what we prayed for – for the whole town to come out. Why be surprised that God will show up big when we ask for big things? That night at least 40 children and adults raised their hands to accept Christ!
Another favorite event for Danae was at the Klong Kluk Mai kids club outreach. Over the last two months of club and teaching English, we have begun to develop relationships with these kids. We performed a nativity skit with Thai narration and had several of the kids join us on stage. Dtoom, the Bethel intern, gave his testimony and Dave shared the gospel. We ended by handing out Operational Christmas Child shoeboxes, sharing hugs and laughs, and telling them God loves them.
Thais don’t celebrate Christmas. To them, it’s the Westerner’s extended celebration of the New Year. Life does not stop on Christmas day, even for the Christians. While we were relaxing and skyping family at the Hope Center on Christmas day, Pastor Naat and P Chin were running around all day distributing OCC shoeboxes and following up with the people who raised their hands to receive Christ at the outreaches the week before. For Thai Christians, Christmas is on Sunday and the 25th is just another day. Christmas is a great time of year to give. Pastor Naat asked us in a Bible study, “What are you willing to give up for Jesus this Christmas?” Christmas was about giving this year: giving of time, energy, gifts. Giving of smiles, joy, laughter, salvation. Isn’t that why Jesus came?