All Languages and Peoples
Dear family, friends and partners
Bpen ngai bâng kap?! (How are you doing?!)
We pray this email finds each of you abiding in the love and peace of Christ. As we share about this past month, we pray that God would be ministering to you. Ultimately, it is our hope that these newsletters may draw your eyes upon Christ, that every testimony points to His faithfulness and grace upon all our lives as believers. He is working in the day-to-day. He is Immanuel, God with us. May we glorify Him together.
It is such a blessing to update everyone again as we have officially been living in Trang for just over one month, 40 days to be exact. Since clicking send on our last newsletter, much has happened, both physically and spiritually. We've had a successful month of meetings preparing as a team to enter into our Language and Culture phase which we will begin next week. We've discussed and prayed over the vision and values that we believe God has spoken and truly oriented our minds, emotions, and lives to be at the starting line, ready to run this marathon with endurance, joyfulness, and discipline when the first day of class soon comes! Along with that, we're nearly approved for our Education Visas and will soon begin looking to purchase a car, set up health insurance, and open a Thai bank account. This month we have also been attending local churches in the area, prayerfully seeking God's guidance on the congregation He would have us join. As a team, we have been connecting with the Christian leadership in this local province, seeking how we can come alongside them in their vision, meet any needs, serve, and join together in unity to see the Good News not only reach, but transform Trang, Southern Thailand, and the surrounding countries in South East Asia. As we have quickly learned from our first meetings with local pastors - we share a common vision, a grand vision, God's vision for the nation of Thailand to have a witness in EVERY people group. He has been on the move long before we arrived and we are simply humbled to be partnering alongside these fellow brothers and sisters in advancing His Kingdom.
As mentioned, we will soon be starting our Language & Culture Phase, but what does that mean? Essentially this is focusing our efforts to learn the language and culture of Thailand for the first two years here for the purpose of being effective long-term. The "L&C" Phase involves our community gatherings (worship, Bible reading, staff meeting, and intercessory prayer) and ministry within our community, but the primary focus is fulfilling a minimum of 30 hours total of active Thai language learning which includes classroom and real-life engagement in our community alongside of culture training for cross-cultural ministry. Read more about YWAM Thailand's Language and Culture Phase at this link: https://www.ywamthai.org/cultureandlanguage/
For those who perhaps haven't followed our ministry accounts on Facebook and Instagram, we wanted to take a moment to share this testimony and update. A day after sending out our last newsletter we witnessed a young Thai man, James receive salvation. It was so beautiful and powerful to hear our "Thai mommy," Pi Daranee, witness to him in his native tongue as we were in the back of a police escort. As we were both praying in the moment for His heart to be opened, it was like I could hear God say "He is mine." Right in the police station parking lot, James committed his life to Jesus. We'll be gathering with him and a few other new believers and some Thai Christian leaders as we engage in intentional discipleship together. We pray that these small beginnings would produce great fruit for the glory of God in the days to come!
Vision for Ministry in Trang, Thailand
We wanted to take this opportunity to fully outline the specific vision and goals of our ministry. We hope that in reading this, we are able to give a wholistic picture of YWAM Trang as a spiritual family which we have been adopted into. This team is our flesh and blood and the vision and values that guide us literally live in the very veins of each of our team members. This is our “what” and our “why.”
Partner with Thai churches in both mobilizing believers to unreached people groups and making disciples.
Raise awareness among Thai believers of God’s global purpose in reaching ALL unreached people groups and our collective call as the church to engage in it.
Encourage and equip short term teams we host to engage in missions in Thailand and other unreached countries.
To make disciples that make disciples in all aspects of our day to day life and ministry among Thai’s.
Annual Discipleship Training Schools.
Plant YWAM bases, ministries and churches in all southern Thailand.
Have regular short term staff outreaches throughout southern Thailand.
Reflection: God of All Languages and Peoples
This Monday we had our weekly worship gathering. The focus of our attention was drawn to the beauty and diversity of God as the Author and Creator of all languages. As each and every tongue carries various sounds, grammatical structure and intonations, each one uniquely expresses the brilliance of God's intricate handiwork. God speaks and mankind in His image is made to respond to Him with praise and adoration. As we were led to focus our attention on these awe-inspiring attributes of the Lord, we were simultaneously reminded that there are still languages which have yet to express their praise to the Uncreated Creator of ALL. The header picture of this update was taken from this time of worship where we poured greens, blues, and yellows into a cup, then let the paint flow over a blank canvas. Our worship leader intentionally left out reds and pinks as a symbol for those languages which still have not yet been added to the chorus of praise from the earth. As we worshiped alongside the video below and prayed for these languages to hear the Good News proclaimed, we invite you to take a moment and join in on a beautiful harmony of people giving glory to God in Hebrew, Arabic, Mandarin, Thai and many languages around the world. What a blessing to reflect on the worthiness of God to be praised by all His creation.
Praise & Petitions
Each and every prayer on the behalf of us, our team and Thailand is one of the greatest blessings we could ask for.
Join us in thanking God for these events:
Pi Daranee (our Thai mom)
local favor with churches and the wider community
the new believer, James
the Mexican restaurant we often go to :)
Join us in praying over these points
A witness in the 77 unreached people groups in Thailand. To explore the specific needs of these people groups visit https://joshuaproject.net/countries/TH
Our team of 18 - God’s endurance, wisdom, & provision
We are praying for a car to purchase
As well praying that God would provide to us more monthly supporters to join us in this vision. We need around $400 more per month.
One of the things for myself that God is doing in my heart has been growing me in humility. The simple phrase, "easier said than done" has been on my mind as God is teaching me patience. I had been so eager to start language school as soon as we arrived, but I feel that God is desiring to develop patience in my heart for further down the road as patience will be crucial for our success at every step along the journey towards fluency. For now I must give more thanks to God for all He has done and fully appreciate the process of being a student of the Thai culture and language. God has much to teach us as we go from knowing nothing and in way becoming a small child again, to partnering with God in His mighty plan for every nation of Thailand to be represented before His throne (Rev. 7:9-10). I have most definitely missed the joy of being in the presence of family and my beloved friends, the high schoolers of youth ministry, and the overall comfort of being in control of going to and fro while knowing what is being said and how to say things. With that, even much more God has been humbling my fleshly side, teaching me that I am not to come here being great and knowing all, but that I am to be lowly and to be a sacrificial servant as Jesus was.
I have been SO blessed with my new family of YWAM! The way they have all welcomed me into their life and camaraderie of unity has truly helped this process of God calling me to move across the world to a foreign country. Its been about six months since the Lord so heavily putting on my heart to go, but His small still voice continues to ask if I will trust Him.
Since being here God has fully opened my eyes to how the things I may miss, personal preferences and carnal wants have no place in light of eternity and His heavenly kingdom.
It would be so so amazing to be with family, friends, and in reach of simple things that I am so spoiled with in America, but asking myself if He has called me elsewhere I must obey Him. He truly is worthy of it all, all my life, my obedience, and sacrifice in the big as well as the small things in this temporary life.
The love the people of Thailand have shown us while being here has been incredible, it has helped a foreign place turn into our new home day by day. I now understand why they coin it as "The Land of Smiles" after daily seeing the joy on peoples faces as they greet you, and that smile is highly infectious! Just today, we met a new friend in the DMV. We were waiting outside, about to call a grab (Thai version of Uber) and he came outside and asked if we wanted a ride home. We were only able to hold a conversation of a few minutes until running out of what we know, but still his generosity was teaching me how to love others, God using him to exhort me even without him knowing. I am so incredibly excited to be able to talk to the friends we have made in their native tongue, to truly get to know them on a heart level and especially to let them know that there is a True God who created them and cares for them, who sent His Perfect Son to be a sacrifice for all mankind. He is the only God who hears them and will speak to them, the only God who loves and desires intimate relationship with them.
As I write today, I wonder how to say all the things I want to. I miss you all, my family especially. Being in Idaho and being in Thailand are two very different types of "being away from home." With that, I'm in awe of God's providence in aligning so many small details to ease the difficulties of this transition. It has been such a beautiful month. I am so thankful to Him for so many things I cannot even begin to list them all! But for one, Trang honestly is one of my favorite places in Thailand so far. I've enjoyed the simple things like settling into our own home for the first time, buying a few new plants, exploring the city and building relationships with the people. I see the image of God within them. Their hospitality, meekness, and relational disposition just makes me feel easily at home and for that I am so grateful. I'm amazed by God's timing. It seems that for such a time as this we have been called here. As foreigners we have automatic favor as Thailand greatly values the education and healthcare that Westerners have brought in the past. Because of that, we aren't struggling to be accepted by the community, but have rather found that we are being welcomed in with warmth as well as curiosity. It seems that the doors are wide open to a magnificent move of God in this place due in large part to the many before us who have toiled to cultivate a fertile ground. Truly I am longing for these beautiful people to meet the One from whom all beauty flows. For now, I just ask that you'd pray that we would be empowered by the Holy Spirit to be His representatives to the lost and forgotten. There's an old poem that reads, "Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours... Yours are the hands with which He blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes. You are His body. Christ has no body now but yours." This poem has been on mind my very much this month. God's teaching me everyday, little by little, how to extend my hands, my feet, for His namesake. I'm praying for us all collectively that He'd show us more and more how to be His body, walking in holiness and godliness as we hasten the day of the Lord by blessing all the world with the message of salvation (2 Peter 3:11-12).
With love and so much gratitude,
Ethan and Marie Parks