This is the season of Matariki in New Zealand, the Maori celebration of the new year. Similar to the western New Year holiday in January, it is a time to reflect on the year past and prepare for the year to come. Looking back over the last month or two, we praise God for the opportunities we have had to encourage God’s people. Looking ahead, we see that God is preparing new opportunities for service and learning.
Short Course in Social Entrepreneurship
Teaching social entrepreneurship in Vietnam turned out to be a pan-ASEAN affair! Students from Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia came to Hu? University in central Vietnam to learn, share, and be inspired. Two of the participants were university professors who came to learn how to develop a curriculum in social entrepreneurship for their schools. The highlight of the course was the class visit to an organic vegetable market called Susu Xanh, a social enterprise set up by a non-profit organization to support farmers shifting from “marinating their vegetables in pesticides” to organic agricultural methods.
The Old has Gone, the New Has Come in Vietnam and Cambodia
After the social entrepreneurship course, we met with pastors in 3 cities in central Vietnam and then in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. In each case, we heard testimonies of God’s faithfulness and protection in the midst of challenging circumstances. Both countries are undergoing rapid and profound social and economic change; these pastors put their hope in the Lord as they find new ways to “be the church”, train up leaders, and share the good news. We were honored to receive invitations from both Baptist conventions to return and provide trainings in holistic ministry and servant leadership.
Here’s What’s Coming
Have USB-Drive Will Travel!
Pray that God would give us wisdom as we work with Cambodian and Vietnamese Baptist leaders to design a video-based theological training program for pastors and leaders in remote parts of their countries.
Vietnam? Indonesia? Thailand
Our next series of trips is in August, and it promises to be whirlwind. Pray for the Holistic Evangelism training we will offer through the Baptist Convention of Vietnam in early August, the week before the BCV’s national convention in Ho Chi Minh City. Pray for our meetings with the leadership of the Union of Indonesian Baptist Churches and our part in a UIBC mission conference. Finally, pray for the region-wide gathering of IM missionaries that will take place in Bangkok, Thailand. We will gather to meet IM’s new Exec. Dir. Sharon Koh and review the new strategic plan called “Responding to the Call.”
Building and Rebuilding, Together
Pray for wisdom as Ann prepares to teach several courses at the Kawthoolei Karén Baptist Bible School at the Mae La refugee camp on the Thai-Myanmar border in August and September.
Faith Based Social Entrepreneurship... in Practice
Bruce continues to offer counsel to students from the course we taught in Vietnam. One student is managing an organic vegetable market, and another plans to develop a church-based senior center in the Karén community in Thailand. Pray that God will grant him “tenacity and guts” (as a former friend used to say) as he prepares his doctoral research proposal for presentation toward the end of the year.
How do you say …?
We will begin Indonesian and Maori language classes in July. (Maori is an official language of New Zealand). Pray that our 6th decade brains would embrace the new sounds and grammar.
Whakawhetai koe (we are grateful to you, in Maori) for walking with us on this journey