2012 Thailand – Stephanie Yeung

Love Never Fails

“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13

God loves Thailand. God loves Thailand so much that He sent a team from New Philadelphia Church twice in one year to share His love. In little more than a week, my team travelled to three different cities to spread the love of God. Having heard how the Lord moved during the previous missions trip to Thailand, we could only imagine that even greater things were to come. The main goal of our team was just to love—to love on the children, the youth, the young, and the old. Many of the people we ministered to on this trip had heard the Gospel multiple times or had even accepted Christ. But I could tell they were searching for something deeper—something more personal and relational. It’s amazing how the Father’s love goes beyond language barriers, distance, and boundaries. We didn’t go to Thailand to be a temporary source of love. We were sent to share the Father’s love, which is never ending. It’s a love that never fails.

This was my first missions trip ever. All sorts of thoughts of anxiety, excitement and nervousness rushed through my head in the days before my departure. Is this really happening? Am I ready to go out to a foreign land to minister? It was hard to believe that the drastic transformation I’d experienced over one semester—thanks to New Philadelphia Church and Emmaus College Ministry—would be enough to qualify me to be sent out as a minister. I’ve only been part of this church family for a few months, so I felt like there was still so much more I needed to learn. But our team leader Anita, along with the team, reassured me that I lack nothing and that I am fully equipped. God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called.

Our team spent a large part of our time in the Province of Chainat, in a small town called Manorom. We went there to partner alongside Sister Busakorn, Mark Worawat, Mike, and Kim- local ministers who have been networking and building relationships with schools, teachers, and government officials in the region. Years and years of hard work have been sown into this community, and our team was excited to see what was in store for our fully-packed schedule.

Not only was this my first missions trip, but I was also given the chance to share my testimony for the first time in front of a group of 65 students at Anubaan Manorom School. Once again, thoughts of being inexperienced dawned on me. My testimony was not originally geared towards this age range. How could I possibly share it? How can my breakthrough in Canada change lives in Thailand? I’ve never shared my testimony publicly before. But as I prepared, I realized that the verse I chose for my testimony was the same verse that we meditated on earlier that morning. “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10) The details of my testimony weren’t what mattered the most. What mattered the most was that God wanted to use me to show the kids how much they are loved by Him. God loves His children just the way they are, and He thinks nothing less of them. They are all precious gems in His eyes. Even when all else fails, love cannot be defeated.

Atom, or as he likes for us to call him “Tommy,” is one student who was transformed by this love. Tommy came faithfully to every single one of our open invitation ministry times, wearing his soccer jersey. He would be one of the first to arrive and one of the last to leave. Being shy and soft-spoken, he didn’t like being the center of attention and would rarely crack a smile (or two). But he simply enjoyed the company of the team and the loving atmosphere. We gave him smiles and encouragements, which made him feel rather embarrassed. By the last day of our stay in Manorom, as our team had been pouring our love on him for the past few days, he was the first one to say “hi” to us, he even remembered all of our names, and he even took the initiative to give us high-fives.

And the Father’s love didn’t stop at Tommy. A few members of the team were invited to visit Tommy’s stepdad Jack, who had become half paralyzed after brain damage and had not been able to move the left side of his body for two years. Pastors Jon and Anita, Donna, Kathleen, and I were led by Sister Busakorn to their house, where he was receiving care. Jack is a man full of character and started to joke around with the team as soon as we met him in his wheelchair. As we started to intercede for healing, his fingers that were curled and cramped, which couldn’t even be physically stretched out without severe pain, slowly started to relax and straighten out. Although we didn’t see anything in the natural as we contended for healing in his feet, Jack didn’t give up on himself. Without being asked, Jack struggled out of his wheelchair onto his own two feet. Mustering up all of the strength in his body, he took his first step in two years. The overflow of blessings kept coming in. It was through the love of the Father that he was healed. Being touched by that love, he accepted Christ, and even promised us he would go to church every Sunday with Tommy! As we shared with the father about how our team has been so blessed interacting with Tommy. The family was so pleased to see how Tommy had been growing since first encountering God not too long ago. They were smiling from ear to ear as any proud parent would be to hear how their son is having such a positive impact on others. As we kept Jack company, we caught him peeking at his feet, staring in awe as to what he just experienced. Throughout the entire conversation, from the sinner’s prayer to casual talk, Jack was full of joy and love. This is only the beginning for Tommy and his family!

A young girl, Gigi, is another youth that faithfully came out to every evening of ministry. She carried a sweet smile on her face as she walked in. She is an anointed young woman of God, and I was moved to tears as she worshipped on stage at the Manorom Christian Church. At the young age of 14, she sang with a passion that I’ve never seen before. At the altar, the Holy Spirit was speaking to her through me, as I was telling her the words she had been waiting to hear. Tears rolled down her cheeks, as she was overwhelmed by the love she was receiving from the prayers. The mic that she carried while singing wasn’t just going to be used for the praise team, but God was preparing her for even greater ministry work to reach the community and beyond. Gigi later shared with me that her passion was to become a missionary in Thailand and abroad. Her eagerness to perfect her English was so that she could minister to a larger audience. Her eagerness to learn more about music from her father showed her huge heart for worship. Love was fueling her passion to do great works for God’s Kingdom.

God’s love has been overflowing in the youth of Thailand. At such a young age, they are on fire and have a passion to live for His name. Most of them are the only believers in their class and schools. They often feel rejected and isolated from their Buddhist friends and peers. Their faith is often questioned by the insecurities and fears that they face. They don’t always have someone to talk to. But the way our team loved on them was just a confirmation from God that they are loved and treasured. He will be faithful to them until the very end. God loves Thailand with a love that never fails.

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