December Prayer Letter 
Wednesday, January 24, 2007, 04:03 PM
Dear Friends,

December could be described as a kind of no-mans-land of the SIM GAP programme. The 8 weeks of orientation is over and the great adventures yet to begin. These last few weeks have been a good time to relax and reflect on the past 8 weeks and prepare for the coming 6 months abroad. I have had the opportunity to meet with friends and supporters and share more about what I will be doing in Thailand. It has been extremely encouraging to chat with a few former OMF missionaries who worked in Thailand for many years. I will be departing these shores for the rather sunnier and warmer climes of Chiang Mai on 7th January for a challenging 6 months.

Orientation

It was with sadness but great excitement that the 12 of us left Wetheringsett Manor at the end of the orientation period in November. It was a time of much fun and enjoyment mixed with huge amounts of work and much learning. As I have reflected on all we did and studied I think there are three main things that I took from the 8 weeks.

Firstly I gained a much deeper understanding of the reasons in the Bible for telling people about Jesus. As we saw, The Bible is not the basis of mission; mission is the basis of the bible (Ralph D Winter). I found this really confirmed the real reasons for why Im taking these 6 months to go to Thailand.

Secondly, we looked at what the Bible says about everyday life. It will be important while we are away to continue to read the bible and pray lots, it seems so simple but when there is lots to do it can easily get forgotten. I found this biblical and practical advice very helpful and I will have to use this to continue living a Godly life in Thailand.

Finally, I learnt much about cross-cultural mission, how we relate to people from a completely different culture and how we share the Gospel with them. The Thai culture is extremely different to our western culture and I know it will be difficult at times to keep up with it all.

Itinerary

As previously mentioned Nathan and I will be leaving for Chiang Mai on the 7th January and returning on the 1st July. We will also be attending the SIM south-east and central Asian conference in Singapore on the 19th to 23rd January. Please pray for safety as we travel and for quick recovery from jet lag.
Fellow Gappers

Ill briefly update you on where the others in the group are going and what they will be doing, please also remember them in your prayers as Im sure they will have much the same excitements and fears at this time.

Hanna John and Becky Bellerby will be heading for Loja, Ecuador on the 4th January. They will be working in a student caf.

Bob Stanex and Stephen Collins will be going to Kaffrine, Senegal on the 13th January. They will be learning Wolof and telling bible stories to local Muslim children.

Katharine Brouwer and Katie Ayano will be departing for Jimma, Ethiopia on the 11th January. They will be working with AIDS orphans.

Jo Sharman and Ailsa Parrat will be leaving on 8th January for Kisumu, Kenya. They will be teaching arts and crafts in a nursery school.

Jocelyn Richard and Becky McMaster will be heading for India on 11th January. They will be working with street kids teaching them to read and write.

Personal Note

I want to say a big thank you to everyone who was able to come to my commissioning service at St Nicolas on 10th December. It was a great encouragement to me to see so many of you there and to know I have a church which is so supportive of me taking this gap year. I hope you all have a wonderful 6 months and I look forward to seeing you when I get back.

Prayer and praise points

Please thank God for:
A great time at Wetheringsett preparing for the next 6 months. Thank God for all we learnt and all the fun we had together.
Great support from my home church St Nicolas, for all the encouragement and the financial support which has meant I now have enough for the whole year! If you would like to see a break down of how the money is spent then please drop me an email.
Our visas!
Our flights being booked.

Please ask God for:
A real trust in God to use us effectively and to his glory over the next 6 months.
Our friends and families as we head off, that we would be an encouragement to them and that they would be able to trust God to protect us while we're away.
That we would both be able to adjust quickly to the culture, language and people so we can be great witnesses and really enjoy our time working at The Centre.


God Bless,



Paul Zealey

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The Blog 
Wednesday, January 24, 2007, 03:35 PM
Hi, welcome to my blog. Im Paul Zealey from Newbury, England. Im currently taking a gap year with SIM (Serving in Mission). After 2 months training in the UK last year I am now in Chiang Mai, Thailand, working with university students and sharing the good news of Jesus with them. I am here with my fellow gapper Nathan Sherwood; together we are based at The Centre which aims to evangelise to students through English classes and building relationships with them. Nathan and I are teaching English and sharing our faith with our new Thai friends. We will be here for 6 months until July when we both head home to study Engineering at university.
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