Fear Factor 
Thursday, March 22, 2007, 08:14 AM
As hopefully many of you may have remembered, Tuesday was my birthday! What would normally be a day with a few presents in the morning, a day at school and then a nice meal in the evening was rather different this year. It was a day that was shrouded in mystery, came with an early and unexpected start at 7:30. Nathan, who had stolen my keys the night before in a move more a kin to espionage than missionary work, broke into my room and woke me up from a deep sleep with a big “Happy Birthday” and a few earthquakes through my bed. I’m not the best at waking up in the morning and particularly dislike being woken up in such a sudden manner, fortunately for Nathan my quick thinking prevented me from punching him and instead smiled for the camera which he had been videoing the whole drama with. My anger was quickly appeased as Nathan conjured a bowl of gorgeous chocolate serial and a small present.

When I say the day was shrouded in mystery, there was one thing I knew would be happening, something involving big heights and a few elastic bands, known as Bungee Jumping! Around 9 O’clock our friends Jen and Steve turned up to take us to an outdoor pursuits centre just outside Chiang Mai where we would throw ourselves off a platform 50m above a large pond. As it was my birthday, I was the first to be strapped up with pads and tied to the ropes. I was lifted up to the top of the crane type thing with the instructor who tried in vane to distract my thoughts by telling me how safe this all was. To be honest, I was fairly cool about the whole thing, its easy just jump off, how hard can it be. Well, it can be hard, as the instructor brought me to the edge, the heart started to beat a little quicker, he decided to prolong the agony by asking me to pose for a few photos which seemed to take forever. Finally, he gave the count down, “Three, two, one Bun……” I didn’t here the rest, instead I was falling towards earth, my heart in my mouth, my cheeks behind my ears and hoping that they had attached the bungee cord to my feet. To my relief, my fall began to slow and I bounced back up. I think it only lasted about a minute but it became quite fun dangling upside down, not quite sure which way was up. After I was just starting to get a little nervous about hanging above a lake, 2 of the instructors on the ground offered me a bamboo stick to grab hold off and pull me back down to earth. Next it was Jen’s turn to face her fears; she had been up all night worrying about it. Shaking quite a lot she climbed into the cable car and began the journey 50m into the air, it took her a few moments and a couple of attempts to bring herself round to the crazy idea but she managed after a few prayers and a bit of encouragement. Nathan was extremely calm (outwardly at least) about the whole experience, he has an almost un-healthy love of heights and so jumping off something high and not dieing is a great joy. Steve was the last to jump, he too was extremely calm as this had nothing on the bungee jump he did over the Victoria Falls in Zambia. It was great fun and gives a huge amount of satisfaction to know you have survived a bungee jump in Thailand, not that it wasn’t safe of course.

The rest of the day proceeded with lunch at a café just next to where we stay and then the usual at The Centre. However, I kind of knew this wasn’t quite the end, they like surprises at The Centre. It wasn’t long after wrapping up my lessons for the day that I found myself being blindfolded with ties and lead out of The Centre and on to a motorbike with Nathan. This was rather disorientating as Nathan proceeded to drive around the roads nearby, stopping to put food in my mouth and asking me what it was. This happened 3 times and each time he took a blindfold off, not that this helped much. At the end of this rather scary 15 minutes, I was lead back to The Centre to have the blindfolds removed and find a group of The Centre staff and students singing happy birthday by candle light. The evening concluded with some of my favourite Thai food and a delicious birthday cake which Nathan had cooked earlier. It was a tremendously fun day with a lot of excitement and certainly one I’ll remember for a long time to come. Follow the link on the right for photos of the Bungee Jumping.

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Back to School 
Friday, March 16, 2007, 09:49 AM
This morning saw an unusually early start at around 6:15 to be up in time for school. Today was a special opportunity to visit “Grace International School”, located just south of Chiang Mai, it is a school run primarily for MKs (Missionary Kids) whose parents work all over Asia. As we could see from the moment we arrived this is no ordinary MK school. My image being a hut in the middle of the jungle with maybe 50 kids and 1 teacher; Grace couldn’t be further from this. It has been converted from a failing health club into an impressive school with around 450 students and over 100 staff and admin people. It has an incredible swimming pool as its focal point with tennis and basketball courts and a top quality gym. The health centre is still open to the public after school hours but provides a fantastic facility for the students.

We arrived this morning in time for the morning assembly which I don’t think could be further from my idea of an assembly. Assembly at Kennet School, Thatcham was an idiom for a time of discipline, un-necessary formality and utter boredom. “Grace” has a time for worship, prayer and then a short sermon every morning. This seems far from a chore for the students but even a joy. Education seems so much fuller at a school like this, it is seen as so much more than just passing exams but also developing Christ-like character. “Passing exams education” seems to produce stress, pride, arrogance and envy whereas surely education with Jesus at the centre leads to wisdom, understanding and hopefully eternal life.

“Grace” provides a fantastic solution to the age old missionary problem of what to do with their children. It has been an issue for most long term missionary families at some stage or another. It seems that for every family there is a different optimum solution depending on the circumstances they find themselves. I know very little about all the complex issues that arise when missionaries make these decisions but the problem is often that the local schools aren’t normally adequate for missionary’s children. Sometimes they will have poor education or the wrong syllabus or occasionally the area is too dangerous for the children to grow up in. Some of the options that parents are faced with are to send their children to the local schools, to home school or to send their children to a boarding school either in their home country or an international school in a third country. There is often not a right option as all have their advantages and their disadvantages and often only some are possible due to the costs. “Grace” falls into the international school in a third country category for most of the students but as it is in Chiang Mai it provides a useful middle ground between schooling at home or in local schools due to the easy travel to India, China and south-east Asia. The high quality of education and the low cost due to all the staff being volunteers makes it an attractive option for many missionaries.

“Grace” has many needs for staff in particular. As the staff are all missionaries and have supporters, they often have to go on home assignment for long periods of time. There are needs to cover these and also for more long term staff as the school is expanding. I’ll attach a list of all the needs below so you can pray for them but also pray for yourselves or those you know who may be interested in being the answer to these prayers.

As we were told this ministry, it really hit home what an important role this school has to play in world mission. India, China and south-east Asia is home to around half the world’s population and yet there is only one missionary to every million people. This school makes it possible for so many people to hear the good news of Jesus and to be saved from the eternal punishment we all deserve. If you are able to help in any way at all then it will be such a blessing to so many missionaries and eventually to so many people who wouldn’t have heard about Jesus. This was another reminder of how God can use anyone with any skills to advance his kingdom and impact so many lives. Check the website, the link is to your right.

Staff Needs @ GIS for the 2007-08 School Year

Secondary Teachers:
Art – (1 teacher)
Biology/Science – (1)
English – (1)
Foreign Language (French and German) – (2)
Middle School Science – (1)
P.E./Health – (1)
Social Studies – (1)
8th grade core– (1 or 2)
(includes language arts, religious studies,
and social studies)

Elementary Teachers:
Kindergarten – (1)
Grade 1 – (2)
Grade 3 – (1)
Grade 6 – (1) preferably someone
willing to teach math, science,
and computers.

Computer Services Department:
CS Dept. Manager
Engineer/Network Specialist
MIS support

School Wide:
NILD Therapist – (1)
Occupational Therapist – (1)
Special Education teachers – (4)
Speech and Language Pathologist – (2)

K-12 Curriculum Director - responsible for professional development and curriculum leadership
K-12 School Counselor
K-12 Spiritual Life Director
Nurse – (1) full or part time
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Exciting News 
Tuesday, March 6, 2007, 10:33 AM
"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
"Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 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 the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" Luke 11:9-13

Dear Friends,

It’s with great excitement I write to you all again for the second time in a week. Having sent out a prayer letter last week I have really felt the need to update you on the events of the last few days and the many answers prayers. Late on Sunday night we heard that one of my former students, Pang had accepted Jesus into her life. She had returned home last week after graduating from Chiang Mai University (CMU) to find her mother seriously ill with cancer. By Sunday it had become too much for her to cope with so she rang Wor and Opal (two of the Thai staff at The Centre) to ask for prayer. After some long conversations she decided to accept Jesus into her life. Since being in Thailand we have heard many testimonies of how whole families have come to know the Lord through healings and although we don’t always understand why God works in the ways he does we hope and pray that this maybe the case with Pang’s family. Please pray for Pang and her family as they cope with her mother’s illness and as Pang grows in knowledge and understanding of Jesus. Pray for her to find Christians in her home town so that they might be able to teach her and encourage her in her faith, pray that she would find a church to be involved in and that she would not be distracted by the evil one. Praise God that she has come to know Christ and for all the people who have shared with her about Jesus. Pray for God to use her in the future for his glory and to spread his kingdom on this earth.

The other thing that makes me excited to write to you in an amazing conversation I had with Aun in our lesson on Monday evening. What started as a mindless question about his weekend turned into a wonderfully open and God inspired discussion about Buddhism and Christianity, about heaven and hell but mostly about Jesus and his salvation. It was so encouraging to spend an hour talking about Christianity and then to pray with him afterwards. He was so delighted afterwards that he could now understand more, he proceeded to talk to at least 3 of the other staff about our lesson individually and tell them how he now understood more and how well I had explained things to him. It was clear throughout this conversation that it was nothing I said that gave him this excitement but it was so clearly God directing our conversation and working in his heart to help him understand more of who Jesus is and what he’s done for him. Thank you so much for your prayers for him and for me, it is so clearly making a big difference. Last week we couldn’t have had this conversation but something really seemed different about Aun today, he was just so willing to discuss. Please continue to pray for him, pray that he would understand more of who Jesus is, pray that his heart would continue to be open to the Gospel and please pray for protection, that nothing would pull him away from this interest he is showing in the Gospel. Pray for us as we study the Bible in lessons, help me to know which parts to use and help me to explain it clearly to him. Thank God for this time we had to chat about Christianity and for his great English which makes these conversations possible. Pray for Wor as she particularly has had opportunities to share with him in the last week and pray that what we both say to Aun wouldn’t contradict but that he would continue to grow in knowledge and understanding.

On a sadder note, our great friend Jen who also works at The Centre and who has been tremendously hospitable to us over the last few weeks received news that a good friend had passed away over the weekend. Please pray for their family and for Jen as she comes to terms with this loss and being far from home. Pray she would have peace at this time and trust in God for her strength to continue all her work with the students in the coming weeks and months.

Thank you all so much for your prayers and support. As you can see it is making such a difference and as well and seeing God using me in amazing ways, I’m continuing to grow in my relationship with him, to grow in wisdom and understanding of his will and his purposes for this fallen world. Pray for the right attitude and the right heart as I try to serve the staff at The Centre and the students.

Lots of Love,

Paul Zealey

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Discipleship House 
Tuesday, March 6, 2007, 10:09 AM

As well as teaching English, The Centre has several ways of reaching students with the Gospel. I have already told you a bit about “Cooking night” but one of the other ways is through Discipleship House. This is located just across the road from The Centre and its aim is to provide a safe and comfortable environment for students to drop in to ask questions or talk to Christians. It is also used for hosting small groups or cell groups for new believers so they can continue to grow in their faith.

Last week we had a small team from Seattle (USA) who helped tidy up the garden, cutting out all the weeds, dismantling a little shed and helping Wor, Bow and Namwaan move in. Wor is one of the staff at The Centre and Bow and Namwaan have become Christians through The Centre. Previously it was run by 2 American girls but it has now been handed over to 3 Thai girls. It is great to see how a Centre once started by foreigners is now being run by Thai Christians who are passionate to reach their generation. Please pray for Wor, Bow and Namwaan as they witness to the students and as they cope with the pressures of being hospitable all the time.

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February Prayer Letter 
Wednesday, February 28, 2007, 10:10 AM
Dear Friends,

Time has been whistling past at a rate of knots as we find ourselves at the end of our 2nd month in Chiang Mai; February as been a much more settled and normal month than January as we have got used to being at The Centre every day. We have really got to know the staff here much better and built good friendships with them but also had many opportunities to spend time with the students. It has been great to really get stuck into what we are here for and to really see God giving us the strength and energy for each day.

News from The Centre

The Centre has been a little quieter over these last few weeks as the students have had exams. Our first set of classes which we started the week after we got here, finished on the 9th February and exams for the students started on Monday 12th so we decided to postpone starting new classes until after the exams. This has given us 2 weeks to spend time just chatting with the students that drop in and also to help with other things around The Centre. It has also given us a chance to reflect and review the last 5 weeks teaching. As we had such a full on start it has been nice to be able to relax a little bit these last couple of weeks. We have also been given extra responsibilities around The Centre; Nathan and I are now responsible for running the discussion group/bible study on Monday nights. This is exciting but fairly scary too so please pray for wisdom in how to lead this group.

I want to introduce to you a couple of the students I have been working with recently so you can pray for them specifically. The first is “Jeep” (pronounced Jeev) he has been coming to The Centre for a while now and has heard a lot about Christianity. We have all been praying for him a lot recently as he accepts that Christianity is true but isn’t prepared to give up his Buddhist way of life and truly follow Jesus. Jeep is returning to his home town in central Thailand next week after he graduates so please pray that he would find Christians there who can continue to develop and encourage his interest in Christianity and hopefully lead him to have a personal relationship with Jesus.

I also want to introduce to you to Aun. Aun is 24 and is a freelance architect in Chiang Mai. I have got to know Aun well as he was in my class and speaks very good English. So far I haven’t had many opportunities to talk with him about Jesus but I will be having one on one classes with him during these next 4 weeks so please pray for some good opportunities to talk with him and pray that his heart would be open to the Gospel.

Other Activities

February has been an extremely busy month for SIM in Chiang Mai. There have been many conferences and lots of people visiting. We were asked to lead a time of worship at a day conference with some of the other SIM workers in Asia. This was a great day of people sharing some amazing testimonies of what God has been doing through their ministries. Some countries in Asia are among the most difficult places in the world for people to live out their witness but more and more are going in and many people’s lives are being changed. I found this day extremely encouraging and it also broadened my view of what the reality of mission is like in other parts of Asia. We heard so many testimonies of how God will use anyone, with any gifts to spread His word for His glory.

We also had the chance to spend a fun filled day with a lively group of SIM treasurers who were in Chiang Mai for a conference. We went out of the city to a small hill tribe village where we went riding on Elephants, trekking through the jungle and bamboo rafting. As you can imagine it was tremendous fun and a great experience.

Last week we embarked bravely on the massive challenge of learning Thai. We started lessons with one of the Thai staff at The Centre known as “Wor”. Thai is an extremely difficult language so we are realistic about our abilities to pick much up in the few months we are here but it is good fun and the Thai’s love it when we have a go at speaking a bit.

Please pray for us as we continue to hunt for the right church to become involved in. We have been to one Thai church and a couple of English speaking international churches which have been completely different experiences but we need to decide soon which to commit to. It is a great blessing to be able to go to church in a language you can understand and to even have a choice, for which we are very thankful. It has also been great to go to a cell group on Thursday mornings with a couple of other foreigners in a café just across the road from our apartments. This has been great to sit and chat with more experienced missionaries and to encourage each other in our faiths.


Just a reminder to check the blog (http://paul.zealey.org.uk), there you will find more news of my activities day to day and lots more things to pray for. I am also putting some photos up so you can see the environment and the people I’m working with.

Prayer Points

• Thank God for the work of The Centre and the impact it is clearly having on student’s lives. Thank God for Jeep’s interest and the relationship we have been able to form with him and also with Aun.
• Thank God for the last few weeks during which we haven’t been teaching. Thank God for the opportunities to get involved in other ways in The Centre and the opportunity to review and hopefully improve our teaching.
• Thank God for the day we were able to spend with some of the SIM missionaries who work in other parts of Asia. Thank God for their faith and the encouragement they were to us, also pray for their work.
• Please pray for Nathan as he leads the Monday night discussion group. Pray for him to have wisdom in knowing how to relate to the students and get the biblical message across.
• Please pray for Jeep as he returns home and also for Aun as I get to know him and share Christ with him.
• Finally, please pray for us to always have the energy and enthusiasm to do a good job and be great witnesses to the students.

Thank you for your prayers,

Paul Zealey

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