August Prayer Letter - Answered Prayers 
Tuesday, August 19, 2008, 04:27 PM
"Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" Matthew 7:9-11

Dear Friends,

Thank you so much for all your prayers. It has been wonderful to see God faithfully providing and answering so many prayers for my time here. Our Father in heaven certainly knows how to gift good gifts to those who ask. This has been increasing my faith each day and it’s exciting to see him at work in all I’m doing. Here’s what’s been happening.

Nok and Saman

It’s been wonderful to get to know Nok and Saman over the last few weeks. Communication hasn’t been a problem as their English has been improving and my Thai is gradually getting better. We have continued to study for 2 hours each morning and have nearly finished the book we have been working through. They have continued to do very well on the spelling tests, even when I gave them a surprise test reviewing some of the words we had been learning over the last few weeks they still got 80-90% so I was very impressed. Saman’s pronunciation is not great so I would really like him to improve on that over the next few weeks.

I have also been teaching some of the girls English on a Saturday morning. They are quite low level which I find much easier to teach than the higher level of the students in Chiang Mai who I taught last year. Last week we had fun learning parts of the body, playing “Simon says” and learning “Heads, shoulders, knees and toes”.

Another feature of the weekend has been teaching Guitar to a couple of the boys from the church. This has probably been the biggest challenge as I have never taught guitar before other than to myself and trying to do it in another language as well is proving difficult. Some of boys have such small fingers that just holding the strings down is hard for them. However they have continued to come and seem to enjoy spending time together whether it involves playing guitar or not.

Friday Night Club

Last week I finished teaching “2 ways to live” with the challenge to make the decision we all have to make to either accept Jesus and his forgiveness or to reject it. There is a regular attendance of about 30 and most of those have already accepted Jesus so I have been teaching it more as an evangelistic tool for them. Last week I also gave them a chance to practice teaching it to each other.

Over the next few weeks I will be teaching 2 Peter about how to grow in our faith and stand firm under trials. I am excited by this opportunity to share 2 Peter with them and I hope God will help them to stand firm in a culture very much opposed to the Gospel.

English Camp

This will be a major feature of the next few weeks. We are planning to hold an evangelistic English camp for the local teenagers on the 12th and 13th of September. I will be teaching a few English lessons and will be sharing the gospel so I have lots to prepare over the next few weeks. We expect to get about 50 teenagers and will have some of the Christian teenagers helping so it will be a great opportunity for others to be drawn to the Friday night club and hopefully into the church.

Chiang Mai

I had a great time when I took a short break in Chiang Mai a week and a half ago. It was an extremely busy time meeting old friends and making some new ones. It was great to meet a friend from university who was on her way home from a mission trip in China. I also met an English guy who was about to start a year serving in China, an American friend looking to be a long term missionary in Chiang Mai and the SIM-UK team working at The Centre for 3 weeks. Not to mention catching up with Steve and Sherree who have done much work to organise this placement for me and meeting a few Thai friends. It was certainly a busy 2 days. However it was encouraging and challenging to meet people also considering their future in mission and has made me think more seriously about my own future. It was very nice to taste western food again and stock up on a few home comforts.

Prayer Points

• Thank God for the answered prayers I see every day and for keeping me safe and healthy so far and pray that it would continue.

• Thank God for the opportunity to teach “2 ways to live” on Friday nights and the chance to teach 2 Peter over the next few weeks. Please pray that my teaching would always be accurate and truthful and that it would be challenging to them even though I don’t understand their culture as well as I would like.

• Thank God for Nok and Saman’s English improving and pray that their pronunciation would improve so that they can be confident in their English ability by the time I leave.

• Thank God for the opportunities the English camp presents and pray for our preparation. Pray that we would get people coming who have open hearts and will be wanting to hear about Jesus and please pray that I would be able to make the English lessons fun and enjoyable for them.

Thank you so much for your support and prayers,

Paul Zealey

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Lua Village 
Tuesday, August 19, 2008, 10:38 AM
Sunday afternoon presented a great opportunity to go with Mindy, Noi and Blake to one of the villages they work in. Mindy works in two Lua villages teaching English and giving medical advice. This Sunday was a special time for the village as they had their yearly spiritual ceremony thing which involved some dancing and hitting bamboo sticks as you can see in the pictures. We didn’t get involved in any of the spiritual traditions and instead met with some of the Christians for a time of worship and teaching.

Mindy and her team have been working in this village for 3 years spending 2 days and 2 nights there and so far 26 have come to know Jesus. It was great to have the chance to meet with some of them in a bamboo house. Blake was teaching using a chronological storying technique his organisation has developed from creation to Jesus with Noi translating into Thai. Despite the distractions of attention seeking children the villages kept their concentration and copied down the picture Blake was drawing. All apart from the younger members of the group were illiterate and some had clearly not had much practise using pens before. Some seemed to have very little concept of shape and had a lot of difficulty copying the simple picture Blake was drawing. It certainly seemed the 6000 miles away from my home church.

Two major problems were very clear from just an afternoon in this village and they were alcohol and depression. Nan province consumes the most alcohol of any province in Thailand despite being one of the smallest and drunkenness is very apparent in most places but in this village in particular. Several of the men were very drunk and were very friendly to the foreigners who turned up, speaking a very slurred version of Thai I could make out a little of what they were saying. Depression was less upfront but from the stories I heard many people have committed suicide or have tried.
This is a very animistic culture and therefore the people live in fear of evil spirits every day of their lives, it is no wonder that they sometimes wonder why they are alive. It is exciting to see the gospel spreading to these lost people and giving them a reason and a hope for their lives.

This is the dancing and hitting bamboo sticks, they did the same rhythm and dance for at least half and hour.

This is a typical Lua house, most have very little inside as this is a very poor community.
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"So Paul, are you going to be a long term missionary?" 
Thursday, August 14, 2008, 12:02 PM
Last weekend I took a short break in Chiang Mai or “Little America” as it is nicknamed by missionaries in Thailand. It was a good break and I enjoyed having deeper conversations in English and spending time with some English, American and Thai friends. It was also nice to taste some western food again and fresh milk. It was very encouraging to meet up with a couple of friends who are committing their lives to serve in mission. A couple who I know from university are planning to finish their current studies and move to China and an American who I met last year at The Centre who is currently raising support to move to Chiang Mai as soon as possible. Naturally enough many people both in Pua and in Chiang Mai have been asking me the same question, “are you going to be a long term missionary?”

It is a natural enough question. Thai’s are often prompted to ask the question because of my efforts in learning Thai. I have surprised myself at how much I have been able to learn and at how keen I have been to learn and I think this can only be God’s work through our prayers. However I think it is a great blessing that I don’t know for certain my future, I hope to have 3 more years studying in Southampton and I need to focus on that for the time being. In many ways part of this trip is about finding out if I could be a long term missionary but more and more I realise that this is a rather silly and human question. If God intends for me to be a long term missionary then of course I can because he will always provide for what he calls us to.

These wonderful opportunities to serve in Thailand have certainly opened my eyes to the realities of long term mission and how tough it can be but it is important to remember that life can be tough wherever it is lived. In many ways the struggles I face as a short termer of language and culture will become easier the longer you live in a place. There may be frustrations but we must humbly accept these and overcome them. It is also interesting that many missionaries would rather be on the mission field than on “home assignment”. The idea of missing home seems hardly to register on the mind of the long term missionary. Life can often seem more comfortable at “home” but is it really?

Like everyone, I will have to be open to whatever God calls me to. Whatever it is he will provide for it, this is a wonderful certainty for us if we’re Christians. What I do know is that my life will always involve sharing the gospel wherever I live and supporting world mission in whatever way I can, for this is what we are all called to.

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Nam too-um 
Friday, August 8, 2008, 09:20 AM
Yesterday it was time for a new word to be added to my vocabulary, Nam too-um which means flood. It didn't seem too bad but did affect quite a number of houses at the end of the road about a kilometre from where I'm staying and the girl's school has been closed for a few days. One of the girls from church, Gluay's house was flooded so we all spent the afternoon giving them a hand mob up and helping the next door neighbours aswell. Fortunately flooding doesn't seem to cause as much damage here as it does in England as there are no carpets and people seemed to have managed to get things out of the way. We also spent this morning helping at the school which was again closed today. It was good to see the local Christian's really getting stuck in to help the community and hopefully they will be impressed by our witness so you can pray for opportunities with them.

Tomorrow I'm heading to Chiang Mai for a few days to catch up with some friends who are there at the moment and have a bit of a rest. I'm looking forward to tasting some fresh milk and cereal again.

Gluay's House.

That's a motorbike under the house.

This is the school the girls go to.
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"I Will Build My Church" 
Thursday, July 31, 2008, 05:21 PM

One of the tasks of a few weeks ago was putting a ceiling on the church. Previously it was a fairly un-impressive building with 4 concrete walls and a tin roof but after 4 days of work it now has a ceiling as well! A few of the teenagers and an older guy in the church lent a hand climbing over scaffolding and carefully lowering the polystyrene panels into place. My job was a little less precarious and involved learning Thai and then trying to pass them the right thing.

Today we finished off the job after installing lights and doing a fair bit of rewiring we finished it off with some wall fans which will hopefully make Sunday mornings a little less sweaty. Here are some photos of the ceiling being built and I’ll hopefully upload some more recent ones soon. Many thanks for all your prayers!

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