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Good News of Great Joy

“And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold,

I bring you good news of great joy

that will be for all the people.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭2:10‬


Family, friends and support team,


Greetings from the Parks family, as well as our team here in Southern Thailand!! We miss each of you but we take courage knowing that our Father continues to watch over you and care for you so dearly. It's our joy to share of what the Lord has done in our hearts and in the time He has given us this past month! He is ushering us into a deeper reliance on Him for all things and amidst the ever-present understanding that this world is wasting away, we know that He has promised us and indeed we are, presently receiving His Kingdom. What joy, what hope fills our hearts and we pray, yours as well, as we cling to this truth that withstands all waves and winds that may come our way.


Updates

There were some exciting milestones we'd like to share from month three in Thailand! We just finished our third week of Thai Language classes! We LOVE our Thai teacher and are learning so much from her. It's also a blessing to simply grow in friendship with her. The Lord has already birthed a curiosity in her heart towards the gospel and it appears He has been planting seeds before we arrived. Her mother was just admitted to the hospital today so please pray for her and her family, and also for us that we could bring encouragement to her in this time.


Ethan and I also feel the Lord has led us to a home church here in Trang: "Christian Sampan Church." This small local church falls under the Assemblies of God denomination and as YWAM we are joyful to partner and unify across denominations with the shared ambition of making Jesus' name known! We've had the opportunity to fellowship over dinner at friend's homes, practice Thai with them and visit their places of work - our favorite Thai Dessert place is owned by one of the grandma's at church - yum! Building relationship with this congregation of about twenty individuals continues to be one of our primary avenues for connecting with our community and in the future we pray we will be able to serve in larger capacities such as doing evangelistic outreaches in the local community alongside these brothers and sisters! Our friends Pi Toxin and Pi Kwan fellowship here as well. They are YWAMers and God has led them to join our staff team after their sabbatical comes to a close in the next few months. :)


Over the past month we have also begun fellowshipping every Wednesday with local believers. This past week we were able to host a Spaghetti dinner with our Thai mom! Instead of coming together for our usual Bible study in Thai, Marie was able to cook some delicious pasta with our Thai Mom and Miss. Lin. They also cooked up a Thai version of spaghetti and of course we had chicken on a stick and some sticky rice on the side. It was such a pleasant night as Pi Toxin, Pi Kwan and some of our other new Thai friends joined us. We came together breaking bread with one another, laughing and sharing stories in our native tongue, as well practicing more of the Thai language. Everyone has been more than happy to take us under their wings as they help us learn the language and dive deeper into the heart of Thai culture. Towards the end of the night we each shared a quick testimony of how God saved us! It was powerful to hear the love, mercy and leading of the Lord so differently in each one of our lives.


In the next month, we are looking forward to a brief but intense frontier missions training. We'll be adding 12 hours of lectures/discussions onto our language and ministry schedule. We are gearing up for a very busy month ahead so your prayers for our endurance and above average brain-functioning are so appreciated! :) Please also pray for our teacher, Manuel Becker and his family who have uprooted for a whole month to bring this training directly to us.


Transition on the Horizon

Marie here :) I have some super exciting news to share with you all. As many of you already know, I have been serving as the communications/media department leader for our ministry since its first pioneering stages back at YWAM North Idaho. Upon the Lord leading our team to re-plant here in Southern Thailand, I assumed without much thought that I would continue to serve in that role. However, over the past month, I have sensed the Lord re-directing my steps and raising up another leader to take the place of Communications Director for YWAM Trang. Through much prayer and discussions with our leadership, the Lord brought confirmation. I am so happy to announce that this past Wednesday we transitioned the leadership of the communications ministry from myself to our team member, Erik Gonzalez by the laying on of hands. I will continue to serve on the communications team, however in a supporting role as Erik takes over the vision and leadership. I know that the Lord will guide and empower him to guide this ministry and I am so excited for all the glory that the Lord will receive through it!


As I became aware of this transition on the horizon, I began to ask the Lord if there was anything I was missing. I felt the Lord bringing something to the surface of my thoughts: a book. I continued to ask Him, “a book? Is that really You, God?


Yes.


"Let an order be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman the Agagite,... which he wrote to destroy the Jews who are in all the provinces of the king. For how can I bear to see the calamity that is coming to my people? Or how can I bear to see the destruction of my kindred?” Esther 8:5-6


At this point in history, the Jewish people were are on the brink of destruction. Haman, enraged by the Jew’s fidelity to YAHWEH sought to annihilate them by having letters dispersed across all the land with instructions to destroy every man, woman and child of Jewish descent. Queen Ester is called upon to defend her people and the passage above is her plea.


I believe the Lord used this story as an allegory. As Haman sent out a decree for the destruction of the Jews, so too has Satan sent out decrees against the unreached nations of the world. As Ester pleaded for an order to be written to revoke those evil decrees, so too is the Lord asking me to make a similar appeal: that the lies being disseminated across our lands standing in opposition to the unreached being brought the message of salvation would so too be made null.


This book idea was first birthed through a co-teaching I had the opportunity of doing with our Base Director, Brandon Oliver. We titled it, “Why the Unreached Should Be A Priority: Debunking Common Misunderstandings.” Over the past year there have been talks of eventually putting pen to paper on this but now God has given us a sense of urgency, irrevocably placing this cry on our hearts: “How can we bear to see the calamity that is coming to our people?" There are many reasons given for not prioritizing the unreached and unengaged. There are many misunderstandings of what it truly means to prioritize those without access to the gospel. The goal of this book will be to redirect the gaze of the global church towards finishing the task of proclaiming the gospel to every people group and to rebuttal the most common reasons given for not prioritizing the unreached.


Your prayers for the Lord's leading, wisdom, and sufficiency in this new season are greatly desired. Today we had our first "official" meeting. Though this is a first for us, we know that the Lord will help us to navigate each step by His Spirit.


Reflection: Good News Admist An Unreached World

One of the most impactful things that occurred this month was witnessing our city celebrate a festival known as "Gin Jae" which translates literally to "eat vegetarian." At first we heard about the distinguishing factors of the events: a host of delicious vegetarian foods to try all over town and the tradition of wearing white to participate! I was reminded of how we wear red, white and blue on July 4th or the memories of crimson red dotting the sanctuaries of our churches on a Christmas eve service. Soon however, we became aware of a much different meaning that had been compelling this festival since the 1800s.


The festival is in honor of the nine Taoist emperor gods. Merit-making and purification are the main purposes of the week's ceremonies and certain individuals (known as mah-song) invite these gods to reside in themselves, acting as mediators between the gods and the people. During some of the communal ceremonies which we witnessed occurring at various times in Chinese temples and even just along the street, the mah-song come under demonic influence, no longer feel pain and will perform self-mutilating rituals.


Even as I write I'm brought back to how quickly everything shifted from a light-hearted and exciting cross-cultural learning experience to a heavy spiritual burden that came with witnessing in a new way this nation's deep roots that have never been reached with the living water of Christ.


In a way we're used to seeing the food offerings placed on spirit houses and seeing idols line the dash boards of cars but this was new to all of us. This was different. As we drove by one particular ritual, I felt in my spirit what seemed to be a thousand-mile-wide chasm between myself and my neighbors though we were upon the same soil. I grew up putting on a red dress for Christmas eve, symbolizing the blood of Jesus that covers all my shortcomings and sins. My neighbors grow up putting on white robes for Gin Jae, symbolizing their attempt to build enough merit to appease the gods and escape the suffering of life. Ultimately they are seeking to self-purify, knowing of their sin but never having the privilege of hearing of the One who alone can cleanse such sin. They know only of idols, of the continuous spiritual bondage of sacrificing to the many false gods in order to clear their karmic debt. With such heaviness weighing upon our hearts we were reminded that one day, this culture and its people will dedicate themselves to the Lord.


Instead of hopelessness, a message of hope comes from Heaven:


I WILL BE THEIR MEDIATOR.

For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant,

that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—

now that he has died as a ransom to

set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

Hebrews 9:15


THEY WILL WEAR MY ROBES OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.

They have washed their robes and

made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Revelation 7:8


He will bridge this thousand mile-wide-chasm. His sacrifice will give them confidence to enter the holy house of God. He will bestow upon them His righteousness and they will have marvelous, colorful celebrations unto the Lord. We don't look to the power of the enemy but instead the mighty hand of God. With such darkness before our eyes how comforting it was to bring our burden to the throne of God. The Lord reminds us that His message is not merely one of great distress but of great joy.


“And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold,

I bring you good news of great joy

that will be for all the people.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭2:10‬


Praise and Petitions

  • We will soon have been in Language & Culture School for a month as of this Thursday (Marie's 23rd birthday by the way!) Suk san wan-gòoed Ma-lee <3

  • We are so beyond thankful for the smooth transition God has navigated us through in the time here so far. We know there will be times of difficulty, struggle and whatever may come in the future, but by His mighty hand we are praising Him for all He has done as we humbly partner with God in this unknown journey.

  • As of this past weekend God has fully provided for all of our monthly needs. We continue to thank the Father for His utmost provision and for so many of you who are so faithfully a part of our long-term support team.

  • As of just yesterday God provided a home for our two team members and their little daughter! Now all 9 families from our team have a place to call home. Praising God for this as it can be hard at times to find housing hear in Southern Thailand.

  • We now have all of our paperwork to purchase a car! This Sunday we went with Pi Thaksin, Pi Kwan their friends to a used car dealership. We are praying about what God would have us do and would love your prayers in this as well. We are still praying that some would feel led to donate as it appears we will need to spend a couple thousand more than what we had budgeted for a reliable vehicle to last for our future here in Thailand!


Thank You

We have been so blessed by the encouragement you all offer to us, the love you show us and the amazing support you give that allows us to serve the Lord in this way. We are so thankful to be surrounded by a community that continues to be so invested in our lives even though we are thousands of miles away. You all strengthen and inspire us and we pray that each of you knows the extent of our love and gratitude.


All our love,

The Parks Family



"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope."

Romans 15:13

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