A letter from Esther Wakeman in Thailand
Residential life at Payap University is lurching along with both good times and challenges. I was spending the night in the dorms early in the term (which started in June) and was wandering around in the lobby in the evening when a young man approached me with a big smile and sparkly eyes. “Glen” is a fairly new Christian from a small town north of Chiang Mai, eager to be at Payap where he can grow in his faith as a follower of Jesus. He’s a psychology major and was getting worried that his studies might lead him to lose his faith. I listened for a bit and heard some of the questions of his heart. We met a week later in a quieter place where Glen was able to allow Jesus to address his questions, to reveal some of his hurts underlying the questions, and lead him to do some giving and receiving of forgiveness. Jesus’ love and mercy are real. Glen is now in a place of deeper communion and knowing Jesus better. And I was allowed to be a part of the process—a precious privilege! Thank you for your prayers and support that allow me to be here.
Our residential life system is in place—we have the equivalent of Resident Directors and Resident Assistants—but in this first year we don’t really have anyone who has ever experienced what we are trying to bring into being. We do have some terrific folks in place doing great work as well as some doing not so well. I’ve instituted a weekly work report that I hope will enable us to give feedback that will encourage and inspire people to wake up to the important work for which they were made. Please pray with me that our staff and student assistants will be used wonderfully to encourage and nurture our residents, protecting them and encouraging them to become all they were made to be.
While I’m trying to nudge some of my staff in new directions, I think God may be nudging me in a new direction, too. One of our Christian volunteers was in the 7-11 store at the dorms (7-11s are ubiquitous in Thailand—we have 3 of them on our campuses at Payap!) picking up some needed items. Our volunteer was approached by one of our master’s students who looked at her with concern and asked whether she had a headache, and whether the pain was especially bad on the left side! The volunteer was surprised by the accuracy of the diagnosis and answered in the affirmative. The student offered to pray, saying she felt Jesus wanted to heal the volunteer. The volunteer was happy to be healed, and when the student commanded the headache to leave, it did, and it hasn’t come back—after a month. This is a woman who was experiencing frequent migraines. When I heard this story I met with the student who healed in Jesus’ name. As we talked I was deeply moved by the reality of Jesus’ love that shines through her. Jesus heals because he loves. I am hungry to know more of his love and to learn to receive and use God’s gifts for healing more fruitfully—to expand his kingdom in Payap. We have a “revival” week every year, and this year (August 20-24) I’m hungry for a palpable move of God’s Spirit. Please pray with me for this.
The Christian Communications Institute (CCI) is planning another U.S.A. Tour of our Thai Dance and Drama from March 20 to April 30, 2013. We’ll start in California and go wherever we get the most response from churches. If you would like your church to experience an amazing evening of Thai culture and sharing of God’s love through traditional Thai drama, please contact us soon so we can put your church on our itinerary.
Rob and I are visiting our daughter Anna and her husband, Dom, in their home in Germany. They are wonderful hosts and it is a joy to see their lives here (lovely friends, Dom’s family, whom we love, and Anna’s vintage clothing business—gorgeous goods and displays). God is good and generous and we’re grateful for all the good gifts we’re receiving.
Thank you for your prayers and support. Please continue to pray that Jesus’ kingdom of wholeness and joy will grow exponentially at Payap University—within and among and abounding all around us.
The 2012 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 183