A Story Only God Can Write

Welcome 2012! Tuesday I will be talking about something new for Spoiled For The Ordinary. Here’s a teaser – a story only God can write!

Twenty years ago I was part of something that became pretty incredible. It started with listening to God and a hunger for pizza.

I was on a Discipleship Training School (DTS) outreach through Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Montana. We had two different teams, and my group was in Chanthaburi, Thailand during Dec/Jan of ’91/’92. It was a great group of people – single men and women, married couples, and families that were all strangers a few months ago, coming together to learn what it means to serve God overseas.

Chanthaburi is a neat city, but it is small enough that it didn’t have any Western food outlets at the time (No McDonalds or KFC sadly – or maybe not). We enjoyed the Thai diet of rice, vegetables, fish and chicken, but comfort foods are magnified when a few thousand miles from home.

One day a few of my teammates really had a craving for pizza. We had a few translators with us, and somehow they found out about an Italian restaurant in town. They hailed a taxi and made it there for lunch.

I heard the pizzas were interesting – no tomato sauce, so they improvised with ketchup.

However, the owner spoke English and was intrigued by the foreigners visiting his establishment. Chanthaburi is not a hot spot for tourism, so we did stand out. It turned out he was quite the businessman, and he also owned a disco in another part of the city. It also turned out that we had a group of musicians in our team – some of these guys were sick!

The businessman was excited, and asked if we could play for his disco. No big deal, right?

Our show date was New Year’s Eve, 1991.

The musicians in our group enjoyed scouring the markets to see what Thai music tastes were like. At that time they ran towards Credence Clearwater Revival, Phil Collins, and Richard Marx. Interesting.

They put together a set of songs from these artists plus some up-tempo worship choruses. A few of the songs lent themselves to a horn section. We had a really good sax player. Then there was me. I brought my trumpet, but I was more concert-trained. Where was my sheet music? I muddled through, and they humored me and let me play with them! We had three guitarists, but they were so good one switched to drums and another to bass to fill out our band. We were christened – “Lightforce”!

December 31st came, and we drove up in taxis to the disco location.

That’s when our leader’s chin hit the ground.

He had been on another outreach to Chanthaburi about three years prior. He remembered being on this street – the town’s small red-light district. He knew the disco.

Their group had prayed that this disco would be used to glorify God. That His praises would be lifted in this place.

We were there to do exactly that.

We serve an amazing God, who knows what is coming three years down the road when we are praying over a building in a foreign city, that something will happen. He can use even a craving for pizza. Shoot, our leader wasn’t originally scheduled to come to Thailand with us. He joined up as a co-leader to help out as our other leaders were first-timers as far as leading an outreach. If he hadn’t joined us, we wouldn’t know that God was cooking up something.

Something greater than pizza even.

That’s me on the left rocking the peg-leg jeans. And I still have hair!

A Story Only God Can Write

Welcome 2012! Tuesday I will be talking about something new for Spoiled For The Ordinary. Here’s a teaser – a story only God can write!

Twenty years ago I was part of something that became pretty incredible. It started with listening to God and a hunger for pizza.

I was on a Discipleship Training School (DTS) outreach through Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Montana. We had two different teams, and my group was in Chanthaburi, Thailand during Dec/Jan of ’91/’92. It was a great group of people – single men and women, married couples, and families that were all strangers a few months ago, coming together to learn what it means to serve God overseas.

Chanthaburi is a neat city, but it is small enough that it didn’t have any Western food outlets at the time (No McDonalds or KFC sadly – or maybe not). We enjoyed the Thai diet of rice, vegetables, fish and chicken, but comfort foods are magnified when a few thousand miles from home.

One day a few of my teammates really had a craving for pizza. We had a few translators with us, and somehow they found out about an Italian restaurant in town. They hailed a taxi and made it there for lunch.

I heard the pizzas were interesting – no tomato sauce, so they improvised with ketchup.

However, the owner spoke English and was intrigued by the foreigners visiting his establishment. Chanthaburi is not a hot spot for tourism, so we did stand out. It turned out he was quite the businessman, and he also owned a disco in another part of the city. It also turned out that we had a group of musicians in our team – some of these guys were sick!

The businessman was excited, and asked if we could play for his disco. No big deal, right?

Our show date was New Year’s Eve, 1991.

The musicians in our group enjoyed scouring the markets to see what Thai music tastes were like. At that time they ran towards Credence Clearwater Revival, Phil Collins, and Richard Marx. Interesting.

They put together a set of songs from these artists plus some up-tempo worship choruses. A few of the songs lent themselves to a horn section. We had a really good sax player. Then there was me. I brought my trumpet, but I was more concert-trained. Where was my sheet music? I muddled through, and they humored me and let me play with them! We had three guitarists, but they were so good one switched to drums and another to bass to fill out our band. We were christened – “Lightforce”!

December 31st came, and we drove up in taxis to the disco location.

That’s when our leader’s chin hit the ground.

He had been on another outreach to Chanthaburi about three years prior. He remembered being on this street – the town’s small red-light district. He knew the disco.

Their group had prayed that this disco would be used to glorify God. That His praises would be lifted in this place.

We were there to do exactly that.

We serve an amazing God, who knows what is coming three years down the road when we are praying over a building in a foreign city, that something will happen. He can use even a craving for pizza. Shoot, our leader wasn’t originally scheduled to come to Thailand with us. He joined up as a co-leader to help out as our other leaders were first-timers as far as leading an outreach. If he hadn’t joined us, we wouldn’t know that God was cooking up something.

Something greater than pizza even.

That’s me on the left rocking the peg-leg jeans. And I still have hair!

The Land of Smiles

I can’t believe that it was almost 18 years ago that I spent 2 months in Thailand with Youth With a Mission. It was an amazing time of formation for me, being fresh out of high school. I changed from a wide-eyed Idaho boy to a wide-eyed Idaho boy with a sense that there is a big world out there that needed Jesus. The Thai people were incredible to be around, and I’ve never forgotten the experience.

A couple from our outreach team showed true sacrificial love by staying behind in Thailand on a long-term commitment. In that time they’ve just become the directors of YWAM Thailand. Thanks to Facebook, I’ve been in a little contact with them, and I’m so excited how far they’ve come in their ministry to Thailand. God has kept me State-side for the time being, but that doesn’t mean I can’t support them from afar.
Thailand is about 95% Buddhist, although for them it is very much a cultural identity. To be Thai is to be Buddhist, it is said. However, there is a strong mix of ancestor worship and spiritism as well. There is a sizeable Muslim population in the south, with some occasional breakouts of violence, and few Christians. Thailand has been a hard place for missions for a long time.

It is known for its beauty and its corruption. Thailand immediately conjures up images of beaches, the tsunami of 2004, and human trafficking and red light districts. There have been frequent governmental upheavals. It is know as the “Land of Smiles” because the people are very friendly and hospitable, but it belies a deep need under the surface.

My YWAM friends have called for 40 days of prayer for Thailand. It started at the beginning of this month, but it is never too late to pray. I’m asking for my friends and interested people to remember Thailand in your prayers for the next month or so. God can speak prayer needs to your heart. If you are still wondering about how to pray, a suggestion would be to pray through the Seven Spheres of Influence that shape a society:

Family/Home
Church/Religion
Government
Education
Arts/Culture/Entertainment
Business/Commerce
Media

I was also referred to Bless Thailand, where they are slowly translating a prayer guide into English. If you’ve been to another country, you know that it sticks with you. I want the Father’s heart for Thailand, and I hope the people there will open their hearts to the love He has for them in this season.

Thanks for praying! Bless you.

The Land of Smiles

I can’t believe that it was almost 18 years ago that I spent 2 months in Thailand with Youth With a Mission. It was an amazing time of formation for me, being fresh out of high school. I changed from a wide-eyed Idaho boy to a wide-eyed Idaho boy with a sense that there is a big world out there that needed Jesus. The Thai people were incredible to be around, and I’ve never forgotten the experience.

A couple from our outreach team showed true sacrificial love by staying behind in Thailand on a long-term commitment. In that time they’ve just become the directors of YWAM Thailand. Thanks to Facebook, I’ve been in a little contact with them, and I’m so excited how far they’ve come in their ministry to Thailand. God has kept me State-side for the time being, but that doesn’t mean I can’t support them from afar.
Thailand is about 95% Buddhist, although for them it is very much a cultural identity. To be Thai is to be Buddhist, it is said. However, there is a strong mix of ancestor worship and spiritism as well. There is a sizeable Muslim population in the south, with some occasional breakouts of violence, and few Christians. Thailand has been a hard place for missions for a long time.

It is known for its beauty and its corruption. Thailand immediately conjures up images of beaches, the tsunami of 2004, and human trafficking and red light districts. There have been frequent governmental upheavals. It is know as the “Land of Smiles” because the people are very friendly and hospitable, but it belies a deep need under the surface.

My YWAM friends have called for 40 days of prayer for Thailand. It started at the beginning of this month, but it is never too late to pray. I’m asking for my friends and interested people to remember Thailand in your prayers for the next month or so. God can speak prayer needs to your heart. If you are still wondering about how to pray, a suggestion would be to pray through the Seven Spheres of Influence that shape a society:

Family/Home
Church/Religion
Government
Education
Arts/Culture/Entertainment
Business/Commerce
Media

I was also referred to Bless Thailand, where they are slowly translating a prayer guide into English. If you’ve been to another country, you know that it sticks with you. I want the Father’s heart for Thailand, and I hope the people there will open their hearts to the love He has for them in this season.

Thanks for praying! Bless you.

Pray for Thailand

Nothing like a thrown-out back to blow away the best laid blogging plans, but I’m back in the saddle today (more or less).

I’ve got some things for this week, but I want to start off by asking everyone to take time to pray for Thailand. This southeast Asian country is undergoing another round of political turmoil. There are two main factions battling over an ousted Prime Minister, and the protests turned deadly today with 2 people being killed. I don’t have an opinion on which side is “right”, but I don’t want to see people hurt anymore.

Thailand is known as the “Land of Smiles,” and Thais are some of the friendliest people you can ever know. I spent 2 months there in 91-92, and it was some of the formative experiences in my life. However, I know that behind the smiles is the bondage that over 95% of the people suffer as they hold to old forms of Buddhism and ancestor worship. Christianity has had a hard time getting a strong foothold there, but more and more there are Thais turning to Jesus.

There is a couple that were on the outreach team with me that stayed there, and continue to live there 18 years later. Please pray for all to be protected, especially God’s people, and that truth and righteousness will reign in the country.

Pray for Thailand

Nothing like a thrown-out back to blow away the best laid blogging plans, but I’m back in the saddle today (more or less).

I’ve got some things for this week, but I want to start off by asking everyone to take time to pray for Thailand. This southeast Asian country is undergoing another round of political turmoil. There are two main factions battling over an ousted Prime Minister, and the protests turned deadly today with 2 people being killed. I don’t have an opinion on which side is “right”, but I don’t want to see people hurt anymore.

Thailand is known as the “Land of Smiles,” and Thais are some of the friendliest people you can ever know. I spent 2 months there in 91-92, and it was some of the formative experiences in my life. However, I know that behind the smiles is the bondage that over 95% of the people suffer as they hold to old forms of Buddhism and ancestor worship. Christianity has had a hard time getting a strong foothold there, but more and more there are Thais turning to Jesus.

There is a couple that were on the outreach team with me that stayed there, and continue to live there 18 years later. Please pray for all to be protected, especially God’s people, and that truth and righteousness will reign in the country.