July Prayer Letter 
Tuesday, July 15, 2008, 11:01 AM
“Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvellous deeds among all peoples.” Psalm 96:1-3

Dear Friends,

We have so much to “Sing to the Lord” about. I have been tremendously encouraged to find myself in a small village in rural Thailand where many people are serving the Lord and many more are turning to him in their hearts. God has clearly been at work in many lives, in many families in this area through the faithful witness of missionaries and Thais alike. Saman and Nok are two such people.

Saman and Nok

Saman and Nok both became Christians when they were teenagers and now live out their faith pastoring the church here and looking after 20 Hmong girls in their home. They have been married 14 years; when Saman was just 18. Saman has grown up here and his parents live next door whereas Nok is from the Isaan region of Thailand. The Hmong people are one of the many hill tribes in Thailand and live in quite remote and underdeveloped villages in the mountains in this part of Thailand and in western Laos. The girls stay with Saman and Nok so they can gain a much better education and have a chance at attending university in the future which wouldn’t be possible in their villages. Saman and Nok use this opportunity to share their faith with the girls in the hope that they can in turn share their faith in their villages. Already 17 girls have made commitments to follow Christ which is tremendously encouraging. They also have a Bible college intern working with the girls for 10 months. Mon is from the Lahu tribe near Chiang Rai in the north of Thailand. She is 23 and has been very helpful in helping me learn Thai.


It has turned out my main activities are teaching Saman and Nok English and working with the local teenagers. It is vital that Saman and Nok’s English improves so they can communicate with the church that supports their work in America. At the moment they are very reliant on Mindy translating for them. We have been doing 2 hours, 4 days a week and trying to speak English as much as possible to help them improve. I have been giving them spelling and grammar tests each day and they have been meticulous in learning them which is encouraging.

I have had several opportunities to spend time with some of the local teenagers. Many of them have already accepted Christ and it is encouraging to speak with them although conversations have been rather simplistic due to the language barrier. They seem to love playing the guitar and it has been fun teaching them some new songs. Some of their favourites are “Better is one day” and “One Way” by Hillsong. I have also been helping Mindy and her friend Bang with the Friday night club. Last week I started teaching using “2 ways to live” which explains the Christian faith in 6 simple pictures. As most of them are Christians already the main purpose of teaching this is so they have an easy way to explain the gospel to their friends and family and also for some of the younger Christians to cement in their minds what it means to be a Christian. I am teaching one picture at a time, starting with “The Loving Creator”, please pray for me over the next 2 weeks as I teach on the fall and judgement, that I would be sensitive and truthful. I am also teaching the Hmong girls English once a week and will be teaching two of the younger boys in the church guitar on Saturdays.

Chiang Mai

I had a great time visiting The Centre and staying with Steve and Sherree in Chiang Mai for the first few days. It was encouraging to visit The Centre again and find a few of my old students still there. Many have become Christians in the last year and it was great to see Gyou who studied with me for 2 classes and is now working at The Centre. She has a great character and I’m sure has a powerful witness to the other students. The full time staff at The Centre has increased a lot and it is good to see more SIM short-termers serving there too. I also had a chance to buy a few things before Mindy drove me over to Pua. I plan to take a break in Chiang Mai around the 9th and 10th of August.

Prayer Points

• Thank God for a good time seeing friends and a chance to adapt to Thailand again in Chiang Mai.
• Thank God for the encouragement it’s been to find many Christians in Pua.
• Thank God that I’m feeling at home here and enjoying the food and climate.
• Thank God for my friendship with Golf and the chance to play guitar with some of the other youth including Cue.
• Thank God for the encouragement of The Centre and all the work God is doing through it.
• Pray for continued good relationships with Saman, Nok, Mon and the girls.
• Pray for Saman and Nok’s English to improve and for my Thai too as well
• Pray for me as I teach “2 ways to live” that I would be clear, that it would be memorable and that it would be faithful to the Bible and to the reality of judgement. Pray that I wouldn’t be tempted to compromise or water down.
• Pray for continued good health and safety as I travel.

Many thanks for all your prayers and support in the Lord,

Paul Zealey

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The days of Adam 
Monday, July 14, 2008, 08:38 AM

“Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you and you will eat of the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” Genesis 3:17-19

I was reminded powerfully of these verses as I worked planting rice on Saturday. “Painful toil” it certainly was in the heat of the day, wading through a foot of muddy water, sinking into the mud and trying hard to put the rice shoots in neat lines. It certainly gave me a taste of how millions of people live on this planet spending every day working the land.

Saturday saw an early start for me as we left at 8:30 to head to Saman’s father’s rice paddies. A team of about 30 consisting of some of Saman’s many relatives, some of the 20 girls Saman and Nok look after, Mindy and I, set about placing rice shoots in the muddy sticky water. I was glad of Mindy lending me a pair of boots although I nearly lost them in the mud several times. “Sanook mai” (Having fun?), people seemed to say this all day, “Sanook mah” (Loads of fun, thanks) I’d reply. What? How can anyone think this is fun? Sunburn, leaches, mosquitoes, mud and water wasn’t quite my idea of fun. However, it did give a chance for some good conversations and bonding with my new friend Golf and a chance to enjoy an English conversation with Mindy. I think it was also appreciated that the foreigners were happy to get stuck in and help with one of the more tedious tasks of the year.

It certainly reminded me of these verses in Genesis and gave me an appreciation of how many millions of people earn a living in the whole of South-East Asia. It was exhausting and disgusting work, I’d sit in a lecture theatre or at a computer any day. This is how God promised it will be after the fall and before heaven, work will be exhausting, painful and unfulfilling but in heaven it won’t be, Praise God! I was also encouraged when Mindy told me that everyone apart from 1 of the people we had been working with all day were Christians, God has been at work here in powerful ways and many have turned to him. I wonder how many rice fields in Thailand you can say that about? Lets pray for more.

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Chiang Klang 
Monday, July 7, 2008, 05:05 PM
Tuesday was yet another sweltering day with temperatures over 35°C in Chiang Mai. Fortunately I was travelling with Mindy, Noi and Bang to Nan Province in an air conditioned truck. The journey took about 8 hours including stops for lunch at a roadside restaurant, Tesco-to stock up on supplies for the next 3 months-and finally immigration in Nan to register. When we arrived in Pua (the town I will be living and working in) our first appointment was to attend a meal for a funeral. It is certainly an interesting way to begin a placement. It was an older guy in the church who had died of cancer in the week previous, it seems he was a strong follower of the Lord and had been involved in the local church for many years. This was the third evening of the funeral – Thai funerals can last anything up to a week – and included two meals, we only attended one, and then a service with an evangelistic talk. There were about 80 or so people there which I think was quite an impressive turnout. The town elder also gave a short speech and Mindy was encouraged the he finished by saying “I believe his spirit has gone to be with Jesus in heaven”, quite a statement for someone not known to be a Christian!
For me it was a great chance to meet some of the people I’ll be working with and a chance for them to meet me. Mindy introduced me to Jo who was this man’s grandson. In the recent past this 14 year old has last both his parents and now his grandfather. He is a committed Christian and I’m looking forward to getting to know him over these next few months. Please pray that Jo would stay strong in his faith and that God would comfort him and his little sister.
I also visited Saman and Nok’s home where I will be staying while here. Mindy introduced me to the 20 girls they look after. They are all from the Mong tribe and some have very difficult backgrounds but Saman and Nok have taken care of them and put them through school. They have a dorm next to the house where they live but part of my responsibilities will be to get to know them and help them with homework and teach them some English. Many of them struggle with school as Thai is not their first language but Saman and Nok do their best to help with homework and they also have an intern from a Bible college who lives with them called Moong (female).
Mindy, Saman, Nok and I had a meeting to discuss what I’ll be doing. It seems my main task will be to teach Saman and Nok English so they can help the girls with their English homework and so they can communicate effectively with their American supporters. They want me to teach them for 2 hours a day, 4 days a week and will only allow me to speak to them in English. I will also be spending time with some of the local boys who Mindy has been working with, some of whom have become Christians, some haven’t, hopefully this will give me a chance to improve my Thai as I’m not allowed to speak to Saman and Nok in Thai.
Wednesday I spent in Chiang Klang which is about half an hour from Pua. This is where Mindy and a team live who work in the surrounding villages. I have spent the day meeting the other staff, resting and preparing for a lot of English teaching. I also went for a ride on my motorbike around the area, admiring the beautiful mountains and endless rice paddies.
It has been so clear that God has been at work in this trip even before I left to come here. Mindy almost fell off her chair when I told her I had been given a Non-immigrant visa which lasts for 3 months. I had no idea this was unusual, I just rang the consulate and asked for the options. This many not sound like terribly exciting news but it meant that I could get a motorbike license and has saved a huge amount of bother with the Nan immigration office whom Mindy has had some trouble with before. Mindy was also telling me how unusual some of the greetings have been. Dtoi who apparently is extremely shy and didn’t speak to Mindy for the first 3 years she was here greeted me with a “sa-wut-dee krup” and a handshake, and her team all introduced themselves in English which apparently they have never done before.
Thursday I will move in with Saman and Nok and begin the work they have for me.
Many Thanks for your prayers!

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Friday, June 27, 2008, 11:26 AM
We finally arrived in Chiang Mai, 24 hours after leaving Thatcham at around midday on Wednesday. It was a pleasant journey with only a minor trauma in Bangkok after we were delayed in Bahrain we nearly missed our flight to Chiang Mai but made it just in time, and our bags made it too. It was great to travel with my friend Jamie from university who is working at The Centre for a month where I worked last year.

It has been great couple of days and I’m already feeling at home in Chiang Mai. I’ve been made very welcome by Steve and Sherree who work in the SIM office here and who I’m staying with till Tuesday when I’ll travel with Mindy over to Nan Province. I’ve spent the last few days with some friends from The Centre and it’s been great to see them again, it has also given me a chance to practice my Thai a bit and learn a bit more from some friendly faces. I’ve also had a chance to do some shopping and get my bank account up and running again. Unfortunately I’m going to have to do a motorbike driving test as I’ll have a motorbike in Nan and that will make getting around a lot easier. This morning I had to go to the British embassy to get a letter proving my address, which doesn’t actually prove anything, it just costs £30! I also went to the hospital to have a medical where they gave me an eye sight test and checked my blood pressure. I then have to do a written test and a practical test next week in Nan. It’s a little frustrating that there is so much paper work to get sorted but it’s probably easier than it would be in England so I can’t complain.

Tonight we have a prayer meeting with all the SIM people in Chiang Mai so it will be good to catch up with them, some of whom I know from last year but there will be some new faces too as SIM have about 2 times as many people here this year as they did when I was here before.

Thank you for your prayers, please continue to pray for safety as I travel around for more good time with friends here in Chiang Mai and that I would get everything done that I need to before I go to Nan on Tuesday.

My phone number here is 0066 816722204.

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June Prayer Letter 
Tuesday, June 17, 2008, 10:00 PM
“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.”

Dear Friends,
I want to start by thanking you all for your prayers for me in the past. As you know I had an amazing time in Thailand last year on my gap year and God challenged and shaped me in many ways for his glory. That work has continued this year at university and it has been wonderful to see how God has been at work in the people around me. As many of you will know already I will be returning to Thailand this summer. I feel tremendously blessed to have this opportunity to serve in Thailand again and it has been so clear that this is God’s will throughout the planning and preparation. I will try to explain to you some of what I will be doing, why I’m doing it and plenty of things to pray for.

What I’m doing

I will be working with a church in a remote part of Nan province in the north of Thailand. This church was planted only a short time ago by a few missionaries (including Mindy who has organized this placement for me and who I’ll be working closely with) and is now run by a Thai pastor. I will be living and working with the pastor (Saman) and his wife (Nok) and serving the church in any way I can. This is likely to be working with the young people in the church and helping with a weekly Bible study. It is likely that I will have opportunities to teach English and will aim to build relationships and encourage the young people in their faith. Details are slightly sketchy and it is likely I will have to be prepared to adapt and learn from Paul who says “Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.” (1 Corinthians 9:19) I will also have a few days at the beginning to visit friends in Chiang Mai and visit The Centre again.

Why I’m doing it

There are many reasons I could list here but the primary reason is that there are many people who need to hear about Jesus. Thailand is 99.3% non-Christian, that’s nearly 60 million people. Christianity has only made small inroads in this part of the world and much work still needs to be done. God has graciously given us the task of spreading his message around the world and it is amazing that he chooses to use sinners like us.
Following my gap year I really had it in my heart to return to Thailand. There were a few options I considered, I decided not to return to work at The Centre despite having a great time there during my gap year but sensed that this wouldn’t stretch me as much and that working in a rural area may give new challenges. I hope that my gifts will be used and developed more in this placement than they would if I was to return to The Centre.


24-25th June : Fly out to Chiang Mai via Dubai and Bangkok.
25th-29th June : Staying with Steve and Sherree in Chiang Mai, catching up with old friends and visiting The Centre.
30th/1st July : Travel to Pua in Nan province.
22nd September : Return home.


Please visit my blog (http://paul.zealey.org.uk) for photo’s and stories of my time away. I shall aim to update it each week and send out prayer letters every 3-4 weeks.

Major Challenge

It is hard to know what the challenges will be, but I know it won’t be easy and I will have to learn to adapt and enjoy a different culture. The major difference between this placement and The Centre is that this time there is nowhere to hide. Chiang Mai is very similar to many western cities; there are many western people, western restaurants and western churches. I will have to learn to feel at home in the Thai culture, learn to speak some Thai and keep my spiritual life on track without a western church. This is just normality for most missionaries but I know will be the major challenge for me and I will value your prayers for this.

Prayer Points

• Thank God for this wonderful opportunity to serve him again in Thailand and to visit The Centre in Chiang Mai.
• Thank God for this church and the many people who have come to know Jesus in the last few years.
• Thank God for the work he has been doing in me this year and how he has used my experiences of mission to grow my faith.
• Thank God for the great work Mindy, Saman and Nok have been doing and pray that they would have strength and encouragement to continue in all they are doing.
• Pray for good health throughout the 3 months and safety as I travel and get around on a motorbike again.
• Pray that I would be able to integrate quickly into the culture and language and build good relationships with the local people.
• Pray that I would be a great blessing to the people I’m working with and for many opportunities to share my faith and encourage them in theirs.

God Bless

Paul Zealey
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