The Power of Native Language 
Monday, September 8, 2008, 06:12 PM
“Utterly amazed they asked “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?” Acts 2:7-8

When we read verses like these it is easy to feel a little jealous of the power the Holy Spirit gave the apostles on that day of Pentecost. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Holy Spirit would just enable us to speak the language of those around us? One of my fears and prayers before I came was that God might enable me to communicate in Thai, not fluently but that I would at least be motivated to make an effort to learn. God has certainly answered my prayers and your prayers for me too as he has enabled me to communicate at a basic level but far above what I imagined 3 months ago.

God in his goodness has not only enabled me to communicate on a basic level but also to explain the gospel on a basic level in Thai. It was a goal I set myself when I arrived. As I sat on the plane from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, I sat next to a Thai girl to my right and to the right of her a missionary to India. As I sat, tired after an overnight flight from London I realised that this missionary was making a valiant effort to explain the gospel with this Thai girl who clearly had very little English. I desperately wanted to help out and translate before remembering that being able to say “hello” and “how much does this cost?” wasn’t going to help much. Half way through my time here I mentioned this to Mindy and asked her to help me translate a very simple explanation of “Two ways to live”. To my surprise I realised I knew most of the words for it and that it may actually be possible. Today was the day I unveiled this to my Thai hosts, Nok and Saman, who until now had no idea I was learning this. As it happened Saman’s friend was also in the restaurant and got chatting to Saman, before I knew it I was asked to explain the gospel to this friend. Rather terrified, I agreed and although it came out rather broken he seemed to understand. He said afterwards he wants to know more, although it seems he has heard the gospel several times before. I am amazed at how God has allowed me to learn this and I hope he gives me opportunities to use this with Thai students in Southampton and who knows, may on the plane home as well.

The day of Pentecost shows us what can happen when people hear the gospel in their own language, 3000 people became Christians! There are still many people in this world who don’t have the opportunity to hear the gospel in their own language, lets pray that God would provide a way for those to hear and respond so that his Great Commission may be fulfilled and we will be with people from every nation, tribe and language on that last day!

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Monday, September 8, 2008, 02:43 PM

Mon seen here washing a rather reluctant cat

I’ve already introduced you to a few of my friends and the people I live with and here is another. Mon has become a good friend while I’ve been here despite having little in common. She is a Bible college student and is spending her 10 month placement helping Nok and Saman with the girls. She is originally from the Chiang Rai area in the far north of Thailand and is from the Lahu hill tribe. This means that her first language is Lahu (a completely different language to Thai) and Thai her second and she has very little English although she enjoys trying.

As I sat chatting with her the other day I managed to find the words in Thai to ask her what she wants to do after Bible college, she replied “I want to go back to my people and share the gospel with them”. She told me that many people in her village call themselves Christians but very few really live out their faith. This seems to be quite a sad trend in many of the places in Thailand where the gospel originally spread 50 or 60 years ago. Many people will call themselves Christians because they come from a Christian home or village but few truly believe. As Peter says in 2 Peter “they are short-sighted and blind and have forgotten that they have been cleansed from their past sins”, it is a continual reminder that if we reminding ourselves of what Jesus has done soon our faith will die.

It has been refreshing to get to know Mon, a young Thai lady with a lot of enthusiasm to share her faith in a gentle and quiet way but I’m sure a very effective way. I have certainly seen this summer that you really can see the Holy Spirit in someone even if you can’t understand much of what they are saying. The Lord has blessed me with such people this summer which has been a great encouragement and has helped me to grow as a Christian.

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State of Emergency 
Tuesday, September 2, 2008, 11:34 AM
You may have heard as I have this morning about a "State of Emergency" in Bangkok after a riot last night. It would be fair to say that Thailand's political situation is quite fragile at the moment and this could well be the start of some changes but life is certainly not affected in these parts. I imagine that the press coverage of this is slightly exaggerated and I guess life in Bangkok isn't any different for most people today than it was yesterday. Do pray for the government situation, since the last government change in 2006 it has become increasingly difficult to obtain visas for missionaries and another change in government may well add to the current difficulties.
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Jungle Adventure with the Jungle Kid 
Monday, August 25, 2008, 06:42 PM
“Mindy, you’re really quite at home here aren’t you?” A beaming smile on Mindy’s face confirmed my thoughts as we enjoyed watching some of the youth from Pua church splashing around. For Mindy trekking up a river in the jungle was quite a normal thing, “the kind of thing you do with your dad on a Saturday when you grow up in Papua New Guinea” she explained. For the youth from Pua church and I it was quite a new experience but a lot of fun for all us. It has rained a lot here recently so the river was quite full and at times it was hard staying on our feet as we waded through the river climbing slimy rocks and avoiding huge spider webs. A risk assessor would have had a field day but the smiles and joy on the faces of the 9 youth who had come with us told how much they enjoyed this. There does seem to be a complete lack of parents and children doing fun things here and a general lack of relationship in general so these opportunities come quite rarely. It was also a good opportunity for me to build closer relationships with the boys, this can be hard when there is a lack of common language but activities like this really help.

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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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