Not in Vain

“God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause His face to shine upon us. That Thy ways may be known upon earth, Thy saving health among all nations. ” ~ Psalm 67:1-2 ~

These holidays have been productive, but also included a couple of very sad occasions last week..

We lost two students.

1.
Khon got sick about a year ago. He went to the hospital here and they said it was tuberculosis and gave him medicine. Well the medicine didn’t work, so his Aunt (who is a house parent and teacher here ay WPY) took him to a hospital in Thailand, and they said it was a form of leukemia. They said it was quite advanved and treatment would be expensive. He comes from a poor farming family. Well he sold his share of the farmland to purchase medicine and treatment, but worsened and died the morning of Monday the 22nd August. He was 19.
We held the funeral service at his home in the village, but buried him here at WPY on Tuesday, as per his wishes. He wasn’t baptized, but in the words of his family, “He wasn’t a Buddhist.” and never attended the pagoda with them. The whole village got to hear the gospel preached to them from the 4 or so sermons over the 2 days of the funeral. We spoke about sin, death and the hope of the resurrection. We used the local custom of loudspeakers. We pray that seeds have been planted that will bear fruit and his death won’t be in vain, and are glad they allowed us to do a Christian funeral.

Khon was always a good, quiet student for me. A bit shy, but would talk when he warmed up to you. He got along with all his classmates, never rude or crude to girls, and although not the highest academically, always applied himself to his work. I remember one time being in the back of the ute going to the airport to farewell a volunteer, and the other boys were talking about how many girlfriends they have had, currently had, or wanted to have. Khon turned to me and said, “Teacher, I don’t want a girlfriend…. I want a wife!”

Khon - red shirt

Khon – red shirt

2.
David got sick about 2 months ago. He was a HIV positive orphan that has been here since he was about three years old. He had a bad reaction to a change in his medication, and lost most the skin on the upper half of his body. They took him to hospital, where he contracted a strain of antibiotic resistant bacteria which affected his intestinal tract. The poor boy suffered from chronic, explosive diarrhea, and it took a while for them to get on top of the bacteria. The first antibiotic they tried, he had a bad reaction too. He improved and came here for a week. Although we then got the diarrhoea under control, he was finding it hard to eat, due to a thrush infection from his mouth all through his intestinal tract, and lost weight. The hospital decided to admit him again when he went for a check-up, and sure enough the diarrhoea started again, as well as possible internal bleeding. He continued to lose weight. We aren’t sure if he caught another bug at the hospital.
Tuesday early morning he slipped into unconsciousness and was admitted to ICU and died early that afternoon. He was 14 years old and weighed less than 25kg. We buried him late Wednesday morning.

I once disciplined him with a cane to the hand when he was making class unbearable for Ely. But after that we got along quite well. When he came to ride the horse he looked very proud of himself. He always used to greet me when we would pass each other by the way.

David

David

Khon wasn’t expected to die just yet, the herbs he had been taking were actually making the lumps in his neck go down. David wasn’t expected until the day Khon died, and even then we were praying he would pull through. I am glad that they aren’t in any pain anymore.

I am so glad for the Bible’s teaching on death. We can know that our loved ones are sleeping in Jesus and will be awakened at His Second Coming, where there will be no more pain, suffering, tears, or death.

The following Sabbath we attended another funeral. The father of one of our students passed away. He wasn’t a Chrisitan,  but his family are and wished to do a Christian funeral. There, in that village, the Gospel was again preached to some who may not have heard of our hope before. Again we pray for a harvest from among those villagers, and for each family who suffered the loss of a loved one last week.

In other, better news, we also had three new volunteers arrive this week. Kim, she is from Germany; Conchis from Mexico, and Matthew from the USA. We are very thankful they arrived safely, and thank God for sending them.

Less than one week and then school will start again. Ely and I not only have some classes in the school, but will also commence teaching Hooftrek. Our first students will be from our Special class. These kids struggle academically, and some behaviourally, and a couple are physically disabled. We are excitred to have a chance to help the students in this way.

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ue know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:58 ~

Relationship Matters

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words”  ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18 ~

 

Notice, that God’s first priority when He returns to take His people home, is to resurrect those who are asleep in Christ. Why?

Because those who are alive, are still in active communion with God, but God misses the communion that He had with those who have fallen asleep.

God is like… “I miss Abraham, my friend; I miss communing with Adam… with David and all the saints of old.”

I wonder…. if I died today… would God miss the communion between Him and me?

For the Glory of God

“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?” ~ John 11:25,26 ~

I heard a true story that I’d like to share with you all. Dustin, a co-volunteer, shared it with us the other day. He also shared it with one of his classes and you can read about that experience here.

Sunrise - photo credit SannalA Cambodian church planter  went to a village to share Jesus with the people there, but struggled to have any success. One day, something happened to his young daughter, while she was out playing with the other kids. She collapsed. Previously trained as a health professional, the church planter raced to her and checked for signs of life. She was dead.          

Next to his dead daughter, the man began to pray, “God, I have come to this village to try to reach them for You and I have had a very difficult time. Now that my daughter has died, all the Buddhists will see it as bad karma and never listen to another word I say. Please bring my daughter back to life. For your sake and for their sake God, bring her back to life. The villagers looked on as the man continued to pour out his heart to God in prayer. After 10 minutes, nothing happened. After 20 minutes, still nothing. After 30 minutes of praying next to his dead daughter, the father felt a faint pulse. Within 15 minutes she was up running around and playing with the village kids. God had worked resurrection! The villagers came to the church planter and said, “We want to know more about your God.” If there was a God powerful enough to bring a little girl back to life maybe He could work in their lives also.

           I am reminded by this story, how everything and every part of our lives is to be for the glory of God. I believe if we truly live our lives for His glory, for His name, alone, then He will work wonderful things in and through us that will lead many to know about and believe in Him.

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”  ~ Romans 12:2 ~

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“Constantly we fall into the error of imputing to the human agent that which should be ascribed to God. This is one great reason why the Lord cannot glorify His name as He longs to do. If He did, the human agent would become self-sufficient, self-exalted. Men would ascribe to themselves and to their human energies the honor that should be given to God alone. We need to walk humbly with God, As teachers, we should be very careful to make straight paths for our feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way. In union with divine agencies, we shall have hope and assurance of success, but not a jot of the glory is to be ascribed to man. Having through faith, living, unwearied, persevering faith, secured the co-operation of an all-powerful agency, men must not make the mistake–now the reason of the great feebleness seen in the churches–that it is their goodness and their merits that have done this great work. When this feeling is cherished, self-exaltation comes in and dishonors God. Self appropriates to itself the glory that God should have. As God’s human agents we are to work with unremitting diligence, straining every spiritual sinew and muscle to lay hold of a power out of and above ourselves. Only thus can we accomplish our work. The Lord Jesus is beside us, ready to grasp the hand that is outstretched to Him who is omnipotent. When our hopes are fulfilled, self is hid with Christ in God, and all glory is given to the Captain of our salvation, who has anointed us with the oil of gladness by His divine efficiency. Then we go forth, working like inspired laborers together with God.”  {1888 1701.2}