Yes, the building project seems to have taken over our lives from your perspective but, God has blessed us with other ministry opportunities along the way. New friends have quickly become family. Jessica will share with you about it. Not only do we have our two sweet boys learning more about Jesus through songs and Bible stories every day, now we also have a Pakistani family joining us for Bible studies every Friday night.
God knows exactly what we need! I’d say one of the hardest parts of leaving America is losing the ability to communicate. It makes life more difficult in multiple ways but the saddest is not being able to tell people about Jesus, especially the deeper subjects of the Bible. Part of me has felt like it’s dying because I have nobody to share with compared to being a full time Bible worker in the States. God hears our heart’s cry though and placed us on just the right street to live.
We met Yeshap (16), Mother Josephine, and David (14) about a year and a half ago. They have fled to Bangkok from Pakistan after their home was burned down. Brian has talked before about the situation with refugees here in Thailand so I won’t go into too many details. Like all other Pakistani Christians, they too came in on a 30 day visa almost 6 years ago. They try to go unnoticed by the Thai police because they are technically here illegally while waiting for the UN to give them Asylum status and place them in a new country. God led them to an apartment at the end of our road. William, the father, is a math teacher and is currently in a detention center for refugees. It’s been over 16 months since this family has seen their father. It’s not an easy life here for them. They rely on other Christians to provide for them while they wait because they aren’t allowed to get a normal job. Many of the Christians here are Filipino working to send money back home to their own needy families in the Phillipines, so there isn’t much left over for the Pakistani Christians. Asylum Seekers, as they’re called, scrape and save every little donation they get through the month to pay for food, rent, and electricity, hoping and praying everyone stays healthy so there aren’t any unexpected medical expenses. We are able to help them with weekly food costs, and help do things like cook beans for them in our pressure cooker because it’s cheaper than them paying to run the electricity at their apartment, and occasionally we’ve helped with rent when they didn’t have enough, but we are on a tight budget too. For $150 a month, their rent, electricity, and miscellaneous expenses (soap, shampoo, etc.) would be covered. Please prayerfully consider giving to them this coming year! Imagine if you were in their position. How would you want to be treated?
The devil wants nothing more than for this family to give up and go back to Pakistan. They won’t give up though. Their faith is strong that God will make a way out for them and we’ve seen miracles happen for them. We have met various people in this same situation but this family is different. Linked below is a video news coverage of the incident that sent them fleeing. Some of the footage is graphic. They lived in a Christian community that the Muslims raided and attacked with homemade chemical bombs setting 60 homes on fire killing young and old along the way. Then their houses were ransacked for any valuables while the rest was left to burn. Their father can be seen in the video.
The children have been able to attend a school set up for Pakistani children so they don’t fall behind in their education. Yeshap told me she has big dreams of becoming a plastic surgeon someday. She and David are top of the class. They work diligently at their studies and because they are proficient in English were asked to share their stories for the ministry who operates the school from America. An audience member listening had connections and was moved to help them get their case reopened. This is miraculous and nearly unheard of after already being denied! Please keep this situation in your prayers! Almost all of the UN translators are muslim and translate stories wrong or just leave out whole sections because they don’t want to help these people so the odds are stacked against these poor families. If anybody in Canada or if you know any Canadians that would be willing to sponsor them, please contact us. Having sponsors in Canada would really encourage the UN to place them! It’s not so much a financial commitment as it is just needing to know a local. If you, a church, or anyone you know would like to learn more, please contact us!
Almost upon arriving back home in Bangkok this summer we started Friday night Bible studies with the family. Brian has been so kind as to put the boys to bed allowing me to lead the group without distractions. We started in the Beatitudes and all really enjoyed it for a few months. Then Yeshap asked one day, “Why are there so many different Christian religions?” I asked her if she was interested in studying Daniel and learning more about Bible prophecy. Both her and David were excited. They know their Bible so well and are quick learners. We commenced with a chapter by chapter study of Daniel. Last week we went through the study on the Antichrist and Yeshap’s response was, “Wow! It’s so clear.” Also, the study of the Sanctuary was another hit. I honestly can’t think of any person I’ve shared the Sanctuary message with that didn’t love it. We love using Ivor Myer’s Blueprint map as a visual. If you haven’t listened to his full message on the Blueprint, it’s nearly two hours, but well worth the time! Check it out below.
It has been a blessing to watch this family eager to learn and grow. This may be my first Bible study with two teenagers raised in a Christian home. Many people I’ve met here say, “Oh, I was born a Christian” or “My father is a Christian, therefore I am too.” Nobody is born a Christian, you’re reborn a Christian. It has been wonderful to call them to take their own personal stand for Jesus. Also, because God promises it’s more blessed to give than receive, they help me to stay thankful for all that I have. They aren’t just refugees to us, they are our friends, our family. Please keep their situation, financial needs, case with the UN, and their father in the detention center, and our Bible study in prayer! Most refugees placed in the detention center are willing to give up the fight to escape persecution and just return to Pakistan defeated. This is their father’s second round there. The first time lasted two years and he’s closing in on another 2 years. I say this only to give you an idea of the strength of character and amount of fight he has in his heart. There’s nothing to go back to Pakistan for. He wants a better life for his children and believes God does too. Are you able to help? Every little bit makes a difference! You can donate at this link, be sure to note it’s for the refugees or Pakistani family. Thank you.
We pray you enjoyed the holiday season. Take a moment and consider those who don’t have such an easy life; those who miss their family, those who are hungry, and the saddest of all… those who had no reason to celebrate Jesus Christ because they don’t know anything about Him. Please keep us in prayer and as we work with the Lord to reach the millions here in this city who have no hope or peace.
Thank you all for your continued prayer and support. This work would not be possible without each and every one of you.
In His service, by His grace,
Brian, Jessica, Asher and Joseph Atwell
- That we can find the right workers with a heart to serve the Lord. (We have had many applicants lately, please keep us in prayer to know the right ones.)
- The team building the climbing wall is searching for a welder still. Please let us know if you know someone capable and willing.
- For donors to sponsor the fitness center/climbing wall construction (Roughly $5,000 needed to complete) (PRAISE GOD FOR THE INCREDIBLE ANSWER TO PRAYER IN $35,000 being pledged!)
- For the funds to finish the renovations and furnish the center (Roughly $10,000 still needed to complete the church and furnish kitchens and cafe furniture)
- For extra protection over our marriage and family as the enemy seeks to discourage and destroy Christ’s work
- For the planning of TYC (Thai Youth for Christ) conference at the end of July
- God has impressed us that we need to open an official call for someone (or a family) to come and join our team to help with the climbing side of things. Please pray that God opens the right heart. If you know anyone with a passion for climbing, route setting skills and a heart for missions please send them our way
- For our website development. I have very little experience with this but God has been guiding and it looks pretty good. You can view it here F5BKK.com
- For guidance for Josh and Chitlada (Directors of Jesus for Slum Kids project) as they seek to know what God is wanting them to do. If you would like to find out more check out their website here http://jesus4slumkids.org/ or email the Project Director Joshua Bauder at Joshuabauder@hotmail.com.