Cooking Night 
Thursday, February 15, 2007, 03:08 PM

As well as offering students a chance to improve their English, The Centre also has evening activities to help build relationships with the students. One of these is the legendary Wednesday Cooking Night. This is a chance for the students to learn how to cook Western food and also to have fun eating and chatting with Western people. Nathan and I have been helping with these evenings – well, mainly Nathan: my cooking skills don’t extend much beyond tins and microwaves. A crucial skill for a University student-to-be, of course, but maybe not the most useful when you can’t get tinned food! Recent dishes have been; Pasta, Pizza, Mexican food and Pancakes!
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Elephant Riding 
Saturday, February 10, 2007, 03:23 PM
Today we tagged on to a lively bunch of SIM treasurers to head of on a day of Elephant riding, trekking through the Jungle, visiting a hill tribe village and bamboo rafting. Need it be said it was tremendous fun. The day started with a spot of Elephant riding, we got the ADHD Elephant that which took every opportunity to climb up the very steep sides of the path and dismantle a tree with a swish of it trunk or stop for a little scratch of its backside on a stone. This made for an entertaining ride for us and especially for those watching! This was added to when the Elephant we were following decided to let off some excess gas from its backside right in our faces for a full 30 seconds.

This was followed by a short trek through the jungle and over a rather rickety bridge, not for someone with a head for heights. The scenery was very impressive; rolling mountains surrounded us with rice and crop fields up the sides and a river down the middle of the valley. The team of treasurers from all over the world and varying in age from around 30 to 60 did well as they struggled up the side of the mountain to the hill tribe village. We were met by a few traditional looking houses and a lot of people in traditional Thai dress wanting to sell us junk for extortionate prices, well by Thai standards. This obviously wasn’t a very typical village as the only people around were selling things and as many tourists visit everyday it made it seem a little false.

In the afternoon it was time for a spot of Bamboo rafting down the river. This was much like punting in England only it was fun as you actually get wet! Ours had me and 3 big guys on it so most of the time it was more like a submarine, 3 of us got very wet bums as we sat on the raft and Steve did a great job standing on the back and dipping a bamboo stick every now and then as was required.

The rest of the week was busy at The Centre, it was the final week for our classes which have been running for the last 4 weeks. I haven’t found the teaching particularly easy or enjoyable but I can see some improvement in my students and we have had some fun over the last few weeks. Hopefully, most of them will sign up for future classes although many of them are graduation in the next few weeks and moving on to the world of work. Next week is exam week for the students so I expect it will a quieter week for The Centre, we also have a week off from teaching as we will wait till the exams have finished before we start more classes. It is great fun being around The Centre chatting to students and having fun with the other staff who we are really getting to know now, it is exciting to see how much work God is doing through The Centre at this time.

Many thanks to all who have sent encouraging emails and letter or sent gifts of chocolate in the last few weeks it is such a blessing to have a great group of supporters. I’m sorry I haven’t been able to reply to all of them but I will do my best over the next few weeks. We are continuing to see many prayers answered and really enjoying ourselves in all we are doing.

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Agency Day 
Wednesday, February 7, 2007, 04:30 AM
Today we were invited to attend a conference with other SIM missionaries who are working in China. Some of them are here in Chiang Mai for another conference with SIM's partner organisation so today was a chance for them to share their experiences and prayer requests with us. Unfortunately, as China is a very dangerous country to be a missionary I can't give many details for fear of putting others ministries and lives in danger but I can tell you I found this day extremely encouraging.

Nathan and I were asked to lead a bit of worship at the beginning which we very much enjoyed. Nathan was delighted to have the chance to play a piano for the first time in a month and I was happy to strum away to a few well known songs. It is always difficult choosing songs when there are people for all over the world who know and like very different songs but I think we managed to pick a few that most people knew.

Then there was a chance for some of the new people who are starting work in China in the next few weeks to share about what they will be doing and how God has called them to serve him in China. It is so encouraging to hear how God really can and does use anyone for his work, many of them said how they had doubted for many years that God could use them in the mission field but that he had shown them that they could. Also how God had been working in their lives over many years preparing them for this work and how God had used so many people to bring them to this stage. It filled me with joy to be reminded of how God is working and made me excited about what he could be doing in my life and what he has planned for me in the future. I'm so glad that I don't have to worry about the future but I can trust God that he has it all sorted and that it is the best plan for my life. One verse from the day really stood out,

Many are the plans in a man's heart,
but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.
Proverbs 19:21

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January Prayer Letter 
Friday, January 26, 2007, 05:30 PM

Dear friends...

Welcome to Chiang Mai! Nathan and I arrived here safely Monday morning (8th Jan) after a long but pleasant flight from Heathrow to Bangkok and then a short flight to Chiang Mai. We have so far settled in well and we’re enjoying the busy life that accompanies living in the middle of a city. Chiang Mai is very busy at the moment as it is peak holiday season for western tourists and is also graduation time from the local universities.

We started work at The Centre on our second day here, still feeling very jet lagged we were given two classes and a few resources and told to teach! Fortunately my first class didn’t turn up which gave me more time to prepare for the second class. It was desperately needed as I have never taught English before and didn’t have much idea what I was to teach. In the end it went a few students. Classes are never any larger than 5 or 6 and it is rare for everyone to turn up. Students pay just 700 baht (₤10) for 20 classes, one every day for four weeks. This gives us a good opportunity to build relationships and often students will sign up for further classes.

After classes there are activities on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights; Tuesday and Thursday evenings we often go out to dinner with our students. Monday nights there is a discussion group which discusses issues such as relationships, Wednesday night is the western cooking night which is very popular and involves a few students helping to cook and then everyone enjoying a meal, and The Friday night party which is a chance to play a few games, have some food and hear a short testimony or gospel talk.


We returned from the C-SEA (Central and South East Asia) SIM conference in Singapore on Tuesday evening. We were helping to look after the kids while their parents were in the meetings. We played a lot of games with them, made balloon animals and sang some songs. It was good fun but often hard work particularly as I was a bit ill for most of it. There were around 50 missionaries at the conference many of whom work in sensitive areas of Asia and so have never had the opportunity to meet their colleagues. It was great for them to be encouraged by each others work and to discuss future projects and plans. Please thank God for the great time it was and for the work of SIM in Asia and the impact it is having.


While I am in Thailand I will be writing a blog which can be viewed here (you are reading it!) This will give further insight into my daily life here in Chiang Mai and also photos of what we have been getting up to.

Prayer Points

Please thank God for:
• The safe and comfortable journey to Thailand and also to Singapore.
• A quick settling in process and for the friendly staff at The Centre: Opal, Rachel, Wor, Jim, Max and Jen.
• The exciting plans for a new Centre in another part of the city, and the financial support for that from a church in the US.
• A good time in Singapore and the opportunity to be encouraged by the faith and work of fellow missionaries in Asia.

Please pray for:
• Opportunities to build strong relationships with our students; pray particularly for Jeev, Pang and Aun as I teach them and spend time with them.
• The YWAM team who are arriving at The Centre on Monday (29th Jan) for 3 weeks from Newcastle, Australia. Pray for safe travel and a real enthusiasm to get to know the students and share with them the good news of Jesus.
• Guidance in which church to commit to as we look around at different English speaking and Thai speaking churches. Please pray for a church which we can both get a lot out of, we can both be involved in and we can both be an encouragement to.

Thank you so much for praying for us, we have seen many prayers answered already and continue to everyday, it is so encouraging to know that God is always with us and is providing for us all the time. Prayer is so powerful.

God bless,

Paul Zealey

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The Poor Singer  
Thursday, January 25, 2007, 10:00 PM
(or is that just an even poorer pun?)

Nathan and I are settling back into life in Chiang Mai just now, having recently returned from about five days at the SIM C-SEA (Central & Southeast Asia) conference in Singapore...

We arrived last Friday (19th January) and as the conference wasn't to start until Saturday evening, we were left with almost two full days to explore Singapore. Unfortunately, Nathan was not at his best on Friday (I'll spare you the details, but it's safe to say that I didn't particularly enjoy seeing three different meals emerge from his mouth during our plane trip; I'm sure he enjoyed it even less!) and so I was left to wander the streets alone.

I was really impressed by how clean the city was: everything looks so new and there is very little dirt around. Orchard Street is the main shopping street, and is about three kilometres in length. Combine that marathon with the heat and the humidity (so constricting for someone used to rainy Newbury that I found it hard to breathe at times), and it's unsurprising that I was drenched by the end of my afternoon's perambulations! I had to remind myself on a few occasions, too, not to cross the road on a red man, for fear of arrest and possible hanging (I may be exaggerating a little, but the consequences are indeed relatively severe, I am told).

Many cities in the UK have 'China Towns', but Singapore instead had 'Little India', where it was an odd feeling being the only white face in the crowd (not something that I really have to get used to in Chiang Mai, though many of the other GAPers will in their countries of service). I wondered if it really was just like a little version of India; it seemed very underdeveloped compared to the rest of Singapore.

Nathan was well enough to join me on Saturday, so we revisited the city, walked around the shops and popped into Little India again (where, with company, I was less tempted to hop on the tube and escape to a culture with which I was more comfortable). On the way back to the hotel, I was reminded that other parts of the world can do changeable weather too, not just the UK... Unfortunately, C-SEA does it with more aplomb, and so once again I found that not one patch of my clothes was dry when I returned, this time due to exceedingly heavy rain!

when it rains, it pours...

At SIM conferences, short-termers like us are often asked to do the children's work so that the grown-ups can talk about longer-term issues that are affecting their ministries. There were ten kids between the ages of about 5 and 10, mostly children of missionaries, as you might expect. It was like a meeting of the United Nations, with children from all over Asia, and even one or two from far-flung Paraguay!

Nathan really enjoyed himself looking after them, setting up a sort of mini-Olympics. Sadly we didn't have the resources for the decathlon, javelin and 100m freestyle, so we instead set up egg-and-spoon races, water balloons, team balloon-through-the-leg relays and so on. Unfortunately, it was my turn to be ill by this time, so he was largely left to do things himself, and indeed he did prove himself to be great with the kids.

The Return

drinking chai tea in little india
I keep being reminded how blessed we are to be serving here. We are still stepping out for God in what are at times spiritually oppressive conditions, but I must be honest and tell you that materially we are not suffering as some other missionaries do. I could not believe the speed of the Internet in Singapore (actually, that's because it was so slow and expensive!), and back here in Chiang Mai it sometimes feels like we are living the life of luxury. Eating out here is so cheap (a full meal is possible for the equivalent of about 60p), and so we have been taking advantage of this and eating out with our students in order to build relationships with them and -- we pray -- help them to draw closer to entering a relationship with Christ.

With that in mind, would you join me in praying for Pang, Aun and Jeev, thanking God for the relationships that are beginning to develop and asking for his blessing on the continuation of this. Thank you.

Time to sign off
Evenings are busy times for GAPers here: there is much socialising with the students to be done! So allow me to thank you all again for standing with me in prayer. I love to hear from you all, so don't hesitate to drop me an email, and look out for my next prayer letter very soon!

In His service,

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