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A letter from Esther Wakeman in Thailand

September 2012

Dear supporters and friends,

Thank you for your generous support of my work here in Chiang Mai. Below are a few stories of some of what God is doing at the moment. There is so much more, but most of it is just little daily good stuff. I continue to be grateful for how God sent me to Thailand in the first place, setting me on the journey of my life. I am deeply grateful. Your generosity in keeping me here is new reason to give thanks to God and to you. And I do.

Outgoing and incoming residential life volunteers enjoying our hello and good-bye retreat at a Jesuit retreat center in Chiang Mai.

Personal God
Vivy, a recent grad of Payap’s seminary, the McGilvary College of Divinity, works in our international dorm. During Spiritual Renewal Week we were challenged to listen to God to hear with whom we might share God’s love. Vivy had been working with a student who was rather hostile to things Christian, so she had been much more circumspect about her faith than usual around this student. As Vivy listened to God, that student came to mind. Vivy was surprised, but she began to pray. Within a couple days, without Vivy having done anything but pray, that student was spending time with some Christian students and seeming much more open. It’s just a small little series of events, but Vivy felt like God was personally involved and caring specifically for this young woman and using Vivy’s prayers as part of the process. Vivy felt loved and useful, and was deeply touched by God’s concern for our student.

Healing Prayer
So often I am blessed during healing prayer as much as the person I’m praying for. Last weekend I met with “Shelly,” a young girl from Agape Home, a Christian orphanage here in Chiang Mai. Shelly’s been struggling with some aggressive behaviors she couldn’t seem to control, so teachers were upset and friends were becoming enemies. Shelly’s problem was self-hatred. I asked her what she’s good at and enjoys. Shelly enjoys folding paper and making beautiful little boxes to put tiny trinkets in. Her delight in those boxes is a reflection of God’s delight in her that is a zillion times deeper. I encouraged her imagining herself as a beautiful God-made paper box—delightful, good, and useful. We added to that an exercise to clarify the beauty of the box—it is the beauty of love, a la I Corinthians 13:4-7. Shelly has already memorized this Scripture, so we replaced “love” with “Jesus and Shelly” and all week Shelly rehearsed the beauty of the box Jesus is making: “Jesus and Shelly are patient and kind, Jesus and Shelly do not envy or boast, they are not arrogant or rude. Jesus and Shelly don’t insist on their own way, aren’t irritable or resentful, don’t rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoice with the truth. Jesus and Shelly bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things. Jesus and Shelly never end.” Shelly had a much better week this past week. So did I. I asked her to pray for me and I prayed for her that we’ll both keep growing in our experience of God’s delight in us, and keep trusting in Jesus’ life and love in us to reveal more and more of His beauty and love through us.

International College students and teachers prepare a presentation on one of Payap's core values for our MP3 (eM-Powering Payap Peaceleaders) program

Cell Groups Growing
Two of our international college students approached me recently asking to use our small chapel on Sunday nights to start a worship service that their Christian and non-Christian friends will want to come to. Our chaplain gave the green light, and they have met for over a month. There aren’t huge numbers coming, but a steadily growing group. This group is just one of five new groups of Christian students, and another new group for faculty and staff from a department or school, who are taking responsibility to gather their Christian friends for worship, Bible study, prayer, and fun together. They welcome their friends who don’t know Jesus yet to come too. Forming this type of group in each of our schools has been a goal for a long time; it is so much fun to watch dreams become reality. I am rejoicing deeply.

Thank you
Thank you for your prayers and support, which continue to give me the opportunity to grow and learn here in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I’m grateful that I get to be a part of Christ’s body here—learning more about God’s love and working with God in prayer to share that love with others. May you be blessed wherever God has placed you. Let me know how I can be praying for you.

Esther

The 2012 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 183

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