Flight supports collegiate students in their faith journey in God. It’s here to assist collegians fix their faith in Christ, grow in Christian community, and influence the world as Jesus did.

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Phone: (213) 687-0814
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The Flight Crew

Darren Lo, Spencer Sun, Kevin Chan, Danny Orh, Matt Tsang, Whitney Hung, and Nikki Leon

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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Thailand Missions (2018) "The Challenge"

Hi all!

I can't believe it's already been a week since we've come back from Thailand and been thrust back into the normalcy of our days. Here are some of my musings from the past week!

1, Sharing
This past week I've been blessed to meet with a lot of people to share my experiences in Thailand despite having to work most hours of the week. I shared about a typical day, our activities in the Centre, some of the characters of the students and staff, my personal feelings, and "God moments."

Talking about Thailand sometimes feels like a dream, as if our transient stint at the Centre happened long, long ago, but discussing the experiences as a team with friends and family makes it real again. Not to say that the lessons from God aren't still present, but that the events that led to the teaching are even now growing fainter.

As I share with those around me, not only are the explanations grounding me in what we experienced, but also to those praying for us throughout the week. The encouragement brought by what our sovereign God is doing across the globe is so evident in their questions and responses, allowing me to understand even more the power of God's work on the trip.

2. Work
For those who don't know, I had only returned from a week long stay in Korea for a day before flying to Thailand for this trip, and after arriving back in Los Angeles from Thailand on Friday, I immediately had to return to Irvine for a week where I was the resident advisor for a camp teaching financial literacy for incoming, low income, first - generation 9th - 10th graders. Yes, the struggle was real with my body feeling like it was about to break down on some days without proper rest. But even then, I find that mindset is different. The high that I felt coming back from the Centre transformed into a set paradigm, and it manifested itself with my thoughts moving from "How can I help these students get into a university?" to "How can I be an older brother in Christ to these students while glorifying God in my work?" including the success of the students' futures. With that shift, I could speak to students and even my fellow RA's about what they believed after building trust through the week, and I could share my faith with them. Although there was no heart change with them, seeds were planted, and I pray that people go to water, and God grows them.

3. The Challenge
The paradigm shift I described before will hopefully be lasting. The challenge comes as I travel to Cambodia in 2 weeks to teach English and during the school year when it becomes so easy to selfishly push aside ideas of relational ministry and concentrate on academics. At the Centre, we could freely talk and play games with the students with the hope of building a relationship with them. With my last year as an undergraduate at UC Irvine, I hope to continue the lifestyle of giving my time and energy freely to those around me even as we study and work towards graduation, and I pray that God shines though me.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Thailand Missions (2018) "10 Takeaways"

In similar fashion, I've compiled a short list of things that impacted me, things I miss, and things that I've been challenged with since returning from Thailand. Here are the top 10:

10. The Food. I find myself missing Thai spicy soup noodles. I can't seem to get enough nor can I find anything similar in LA yet!

9. A/C everywhere. I can't believe how hot it is back at home. It's hotter than Thailand! And thinking back, I'm grateful for functioning, always-running air conditioning.

8. Quiet coffee shops. I miss the time each morning walking to a local hipster coffee place and just start the day with a cool drink, sit in a comfy chair, and spend some good time just reading, journaling, and thinking.

7. Walking. Yes. I miss it. But just the convenience of living near many walkable places of convenience. Everything seemed to be just a few blocks away--it was quite convenient.

6. Everyday ministry. Something about being intentional, focused, and available to people I'm meeting. Why can't I keep this mentality with everyone I'm meeting? Something I've been challenged with.

5. Exhaustion. Just like the above, it was good to feel a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment at the end of everyday. Knowing that my efforts were 'not in vain' I truly felt like we were running a race, as Paul describes, each and every day of missions. (Philippians 2:16)

4. Meaningful conversations. Whether with a team member, staff person, or someone I just met, I tried to leave with some sort of spiritual impression or thought for future follow-up. Also something I should keep doing back at home.

3. God's constant goodness. Not that this doesn't exist back at home, but being away in a new place, enduring difficult circumstances, and being reminded that this is what matters more than the situation was a great lesson to take away. Praise God with me for his consistent and constant goodness that He bestows on us.

2. Thai people. I had my reservations about opening up my heart to care for more people. But I truly felt God's heart and love for the people we've met along the way. I find myself praying for their salvation and hope in life. Would you join me?

1. God's unwavering and powerful love. Through Him, I can love abundantly. By His grace, I can love when difficult to love. From His perfect love, can I hope for those to experience it one day. Thank you God for your example of love and for experiencing this love first hand.

Thanks for reading and joining us on our mission!


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Thailand Missions (2018) "Things I Miss..."

Hey everyone! It’s been a few days since we got back home from Thailand and I, unfortunately, still have jet lag. I’ve been sleeping at 4am and waking up at random times in the morning before forcing myself to go back to sleep till 3pm. For those of you that know me well, that might sound normal for me, but even staying up till 4am is unusual for me. While staying up late, I’ve been trying to put together my last update letter for my supporters. This has been helping me reflect on those unforgettable ten days and making me miss the daily routines we had in Chiang Mai. Here are some things that I have been missing about Thailand:

1) The Team
I don’t mean to sound all mushy, but I really do miss being around my fellow team members. Whether we be doing our morning devotions, experiencing Denise’s excellent driving skills, cooking up a storm in the kitchen, playing games with the students, going to the night market, learning about Thai culture, or just traveling together…Even though we may not be close to every single team member, there definitely was a sense of unity and love. We relied on one another for support, prayer, and encouragement while doing ministry. (I’m missing Alisa’s complimentary wake up songs most of all)

2) The Centre/The Thai Students
Although I was low-key nervous every time I walked into the building, I always looked forward to the warm and welcoming environment of The Centre. Not only the staff, but the students would always seem so happy and excited to see you again. They would make sure to make eye contact with you, smile, and greet you. Not only are they friendly, but they are all considerate people who aren’t afraid to help out with setting up for events or sharing their food with you. I will also miss their enthusiasm during games and how competitive they are. The community there really reminded me of Commuters, one of our church’s collegian fellowships that I attend.

3) The Night Markets
There was one by The Centre that seemed to be open every night. They had so many different options of food, dessert, clothes, and other goodies! As well, there were night markets that opened only on the weekends, which was more similar to the 626 night markets that we have here. However, the food they had were much more reasonably priced. The night markets also gave us opportunities to hang out with the students outside of The Centre! It was a great way to learn and experience their culture with them!

Aside from the things I have been missing, here are 3 things that I’ve learned and taken back with me from this trip:

1) I learned that sometimes the things that I get nervous about doesn’t end up to be as nerve-wracking as I expected them to be. On the night we left for Thailand, I was freaking out in the car on the way to LAX. I was so worried that absolutely EVERYTHING would go wrong during the trip. That I would have forgotten to bring something essential, would get 1000 bug bites, that I wouldn’t be able to speak a word to the students, and that I wasn’t spiritually/emotionally ready overall for this missions trip. Thankfully my good friend, Jenay Yuen, was there to send me off with warm encouragements and prayers. After a couple days in Thailand, I realized that I was silly for being so nervous over nothing as everything was more than fine! I didn’t forget to bring anything, didn’t get any bug bites (at least I don’t think so), and was able to interact with several students! I was also really nervous about telling my life story in front of the Thai students, but it actually didn’t turn out so bad. In fact, a student was moved by my story and told me how they related to it! (For more details, check out my update letter)

2) Another thing that I learned, was that I actually enjoy working behind-the-scenes aka serving people through my actions. I was happy to go grocery shopping, to help prepare dinner for the students, and to wash the dishes (ok this wasn’t as fun, but I felt good while doing it). Although working behind-the-scenes might mean that those you serve won’t be able to see all your hard efforts, God still sees it all and will be the one to validate you. And sometimes He will even reaffirm you through other people!

3) Something I learned about missions was that missionaries need a spiritual recharge after doing ministry every day. It can get very tiring sometimes and the work might seem more like a routine that you start to do half-heartedly. The worship night that we hosted at The Centre was a great recharge for me. It felt different worshipping there compared to worshipping at FCBC on Sundays. It was very heartwarming to see the Thai students singing along with us even though they didn't know who they were singing for. As well, doing devotions with the team every morning was a great way to keep us serving with the right mindset.

1) Please continue to pray for Alisa, Noreen, and Lillian in Chiang Rai! Pray for energy, strength, protection, and good health!
2) If you haven’t already heard, the 12 boys and their coach have all been rescued from the cave! Pray that this miraculous and glorious event will show the Thai people that this is the work of God! Especially for the students at The Centre, who knew that we prayed for these boys!
3) Pray for Denise Poon as she is currently on a vision trip in Cape Town! She is looking to see where God wants to place her next after Thailand, so pray that He will give her guidance and wisdom!


Monday, July 9, 2018

Thailand Missions (2018) "Mission Complete?"

We’re Back! Thank you everyone who supported us for the past week and the half. Our short-term mission trip has come to an end. After being back in the states for 2-days I've been exhausted, sleeping around 16+ hours a day.  Missions felt like a dream to me, it came, it left, and it impacted me in many ways. We’re all really sad that it’s [ended], but we’re all really happy for what it was.
-Taylor Swift (New Romantics)
Over the course of 10-days I learned so much about myself, about God, and about what God wants from me. Today I would like to take the time to talk about it.

Things I learned while on missions:
1. Leaving a mark
Prior to going to Thailand, I told myself that I wanted to make a mark on Thailand before I leave. I mean which short-term missionary wouldn’t? We all want to see result from our hard work. From one person’s perspective it may seem like a good thing to do something “good.” Eric, the head of the Centre, told me a story:
There was a group of short-term missionaries who went and helped clean up the rooms of a local orphanage. After painting the orphanage, they noticed a nearby house with its walls old and dirty. So, they decided to do something “good” by repainting the walls. After they finished they showed the owner. By their surprise, he was disgusted. The owner was a professional house painter. What they meant as help, became a horror of armature paint jobs. 
Instead of looking to make an impact by doing something so extravagant, we should listen to the long-term missionaries, because they see the past, and they see the future after the short-term missionary leave. Their judgement is better than ours.

2. Watching over ourselves
Often, I struggle with how much energy I should invest in something. There would be days where I push my limits and following with a major crash of energy the very next day. This is very unsustainable for missions.
I always had this western idea that if you wanted something, you should work hard for it. I wanted to share my experience with God to everyone, and I wanted to share the gospel.
On the morning of Worship night, I had a mild sore throat. Looking back at it now I should have been more cautious on what I did. But instead, I tried to hit some vocal notes I didn’t have and ended up worsening my throat. My throat was hurting every time I tried to talk, and the next morning I was under the weather.  For the next serval days, I felt weak. My throat hurt, my nose stuffed, my hearing muffled, and my awareness dropped.
So a take away from all this is that mission is a marathon. You’re playing for the late game. “You could have two days where you push yourself very hard, but then you would require taking a day off. This is something unsustainable.” – Darren

3. Repertoire
I thought the only criteria for missions was your love to share the gospel with everyone. But I felt the requirement were far beyond that.
It would be a lot easier cooking our July 4th meal if I had some cooking skills
Some communication skills so I could control the flow of a conversation.
Leadership abilities when I need to take charge.
Playing instruments so that I can help my teammates.
In a way, I felt like this was a way for God to tell me to better myself. I should be improving myself as an individual, so God can use me more places.

Over the past 2-days I've been in contact with Alisa, as she tells me what’s going on in Chiang Rai. She sends me this update of her and Noreen.
“Lillian our missionary is in good shape. FCBC SGV married couple are okay except for car sickness and tiredness from fatigue. Yesterday we reconnected with our high school principle from previous years and figured out some expectations for possible future partnership thru English teaching. Today we visited a lot of local/tribal churches, student centers, and ministries. We got to know them and how they’re doing and prayed with and for them- their stewardship in ministry and social care is very encouraging.” -Alisa

Prayer Request
Let’s pray for Alisa and Noreen. Pray their safety as they are working within the Golden Triangle, the area where the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar meets. There are a lot of drug trades and usage around this area.
Pray for plentiful energy for both Alisa and Noreen. Being a part of a 10-day mission trip in Chiang Mai and now a 7-day trip to Chiang Rai.
Pray for the FCBC SGV couple who are returning to the states soon. Pray for their good health.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Thailand Missions (2018) "Post Trip Reflections"

Hello everyone! Our team (minus Noreen and Alisa) has safely arrived back at home in Los Angeles. I was blessed by the surprisingly large amount of people that welcomed us back at church. Once I got home, I tried my hardest to not fall asleep to avoid jet lag. However, I found myself staying awake until 5:00 am in the morning and sleeping till 5:00 pm in the afternoon. I am currently exhausted and feel the need to go into hibernation for the rest of the summer, but before I do, here are 3 unmet expectations and 3 things I learned about myself and/or missions. Check them out!

3 Unmet Expectations 

  1. The architecture and layout of The Centre: Unmet
    Before the trip, I imagined The Centre to be much bigger, whiter, and modern-looking. Thankfully, it was not like that at all. When I first walked into The Centre, I immediately felt a warm feeling. It was not too big, it had many different colors, and looked more like a home. Because of the design, it was less formal and scary, and was more welcoming and warm. 
  2. Living conditions: Unmet
    Even though Whitney and I spent a lot of time with the fly swatter, our AirBnb was honestly not as bad as I thought it would be so PTL for that! I learned that it is important to always have a home where I could go back to and find rest after a long day of work. 
  3. Cold contact: Unmet
    Growing up, I mostly learned to evangelize through “cold contact”, or basically sharing the gospel with strangers I encounter on the street or a set location. I thought I would be doing the same in Chiang Mai. However, during this whole trip, I was encouraged to establish a friendship with the students first and start by asking about their spiritual lives, about what they believed in, if I could pray for them, and eventually if I could share my own faith and story with them. I found this method to be a lot more intentional and impactful. It gave the students an opportunity to see Christ’s love for them through us, our words, and our actions. 

3 Things I Learned About Myself and/or Missions

  1. Faith
    It is important to keep my own faith strong during missions whether it’s through devotions, personal time, prayer, or worship. Allowing God to pour into me through His Word ultimately allowed me to pour into the students from God’s overflowing love. 
  2. Energy
    Managing energy is extremely difficult for me. This past year, I have been constantly struggling with this. Most days, I would be happy, energetic, and joyful which are qualities that people usually describe me as. However, there are some days when stress catches up and I begin to feel antisocial and just need time to myself. When these rare moments happen, others think something is extremely wrong, but I really just need some “me time”. 
  3. Love
    God’s love for us is unashamed, uncontained, a light for all the world to see, not anxious, not passive, never disengaged, not broken, and pure. During this trip, I was reminded that I should be doing missions out of love for God’s people. I shouldn’t be ashamed or shy about God’s love for me and should feel compelled to share about it. God doesn’t give his heart in pieces, so we should mirror this and give our hearts completely. Jesus’s name has power and is such a marvelous mystery that needs to be known. 

I want to thank our supporters for faithfully praying for us once again. Here are some more prayer requests:

  • Pray that the Lord will continue to sustain Alisa and Noreen’s energy while they are in Chiang Rai and that they would not become weary, but find joy in the work that they do. 
  • Pray for our team that we would find time to rest and reflect on our trip at the same time so that we would not forget what we have done the past two weeks. 
  • Pray for Vincent, a monk that Melody, Denise, and I were able to talk to while we were visiting a temple. He became a monk at the age of 9 and firmly believes that his parents abandoned him there. He has a different perspective of love that probably came from the betrayal he felt from his parents. He also thinks life is like a game where you need to eliminate all potential rivals so that you may be happy in the future. Keep him in your prayers that he may come to know the true love of God and may be healed from his brokenness. 

- Cocoa Melody

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Thailand Missions (2018) "Leaving Thailand"

Hello everyone!

Melody here, sleepily reporting from Hong Kong International Airport. If you have not already heard, we are currently stuck in Hong Kong for a few hours since the second leg of our flight was delayed. Thankfully, we took it pretty well and are calmly and patiently waiting.

Pulling an All-Nighter in College Ministry Style

Today was our last day in Thailand. The past ten days seemed so long at first, and now they seem to have passed so quickly. We spent today mostly gathering ourselves for our return home. After checking out of our AirBnB this morning, we ate an early lunch and then went to a cafe to have some time for individual reflection and team debriefing. Noreen and Denise led us in sharing about self-discovery from this trip, praises, and affirmation of one another. Midway through the day, Alisa and Noreen headed out to catch their bus to Mae Sai, Chiang Rai for their extended segment of the mission trip.

Before heading to the airport, we briefly stopped by The Centre to say goodbye one last time. Even though we were all a bit reluctant to part, it was encouraging to see how God has used us to bless the students and staff and how He has poured love into the relationships we have formed the past week and a half.

Beautiful Clouds in a Clear, Blue Sky for Our Last Day in Thailand

As we return home, it will be another journey for us to process all the things we have seen and experienced on this mission trip.

Please pray…
  • that God would help us to spend some time each day to reflect on the trip and to continue praying for the students we built relationships with, the staff, and the ministry at The Centre
  • that God would remind us of all the ways we have seen Him work and the things He has begun to show us and teach us during this trip, that we would apply these lessons to our daily lives
  • for Alisa and Noreen and the rest of the team they are working with:
    • Alisa and Noreen will be trying to reconnect with contacts in the area
    • Lillian will be juggling many roles, including trilingual translator (Alisa and Noreen only speak English while the other two team members only speak Mandarin) and organizer
    • the team members may have differing expectations and plans for what they hope to do in Mae Sai
I look forward to sharing with you what God has done and is doing. Thank you for your support and your patience as we take some time to put our experience into words and stories to tell you.

- Melody Y

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Thailand Missions (2018) "Almost Home"


Hi Everyone!

First of all, thank you so much for all your support and encouragements this past week and a half. It's been such a revealing week and I can't wait to share about it with all of you!


Tuesday, July 3 
- Personal Devotion Time
- Group Devotion Time
- Lunch w/ the Centre Staff (Daniel)
- Full Day at The Centre (Games, English classes)
- Basketball at Chiang Mai University w/ students and staff
- Dinner + Dessert w/ the Centre Staff

Wednesday, July 4
- Personal Devotion Time
- Group Devotion Time
- Lunch + Prayer Meeting at The Centre
- Food Prep for 4th of July celebration + Join the Centre English classes + Games and Conversations          with students 
- 4th of July Celebration - BBQ + Testimony (Whitney) + Organized Rec

I can't believe that our missions trip in Chiang Mai is almost over. Tomorrow, July 5, is our last day at the Centre before flying back to California in the late afternoon. God has been so evident and good in this place and ministry, but for the sake of your time, I'll try to focus in on 1 highlight and struggle from the past 9 days

Today, I was able to share my testimony with and pray for a Buddhist student who is currently studying English at the Centre. From Spirit led conversation about his work and travel transitioning to discussion of faith, he allowed me to talk about my past of anger and hatred turning to peace with my parents and family. God's divine appointment brought me to share with a student who had been struggling with his father, and he even allowed me to pray for peace in his predicament. He explained that he attended the Centre's local house church intermittently to learn about the teachings of Jesus Christ, and I pray that somehow the Spirit convicts him to give his life to God.   

For 9 days I've wrestled with my need to recharge and my want to share my faith with students. Usually I need a lot of time with myself to regain strength of mind and keep my sanity, but during this trip there was a very noticeable dearth of private moments with my own thoughts and with God. However, through His provision and sustenance, I was able to push past and adapt, learning to take breaths of air in the small windows of time that arose (ex. car rides, walking from place to place). Although the intense interaction was a struggle for me, God is constant in my weakness and strengthened me in every circumstance. 

Anyway, we're coming home tomorrow! Keep following and look out for more post trip reflections.

In Service,
Jonny Lee

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Thailand Missions (2018) "Relational Missions"

Hello everyone! It's Kevin!
We’re 8 days into our mission trip. And we’ll be heading back in 2 days. On the first few night I thought this would be a long 10 days. I would come home from the Centre, take a shower and fall directly to sleep. Now that it’s almost over, I ask myself where did all of those days go.
Tuesday (July 3rd) We had the opportunity to visit an elephant farm yesterday. The farm was owned by local Thai citizens with the goal of protecting the elephants. We saw a small elephant family had recently migrated to a renovated farm. With a total of 3 elephants, a mother, aunt, and a baby, elephant. We had the chance to feed them bananas and shower them. After our daily routine of eating breakfast and morning devotions, we headed out for the Centre.

Missions For those who don’t know what are we doing in Thailand, I wanted to clarify. What we are doing in Chang Mai is considered “relational missions.” That means we’re building relationship and trust with the local community members. And hopefully sharing the Gospel with them.

There are five steps that we use: * Get to know the locals by starting a conversation with them or asking questions.* Building relationship and trust by creating sentimental moments with the people. * Getting personal with the people. There are many ways in sharing the gospel. Cold contact, the opposite of relational, is the process of directly sharing the gospel to someone. This could cause people to think it’s weird or not like having a foreigner tell them what’s considered right and wrong. * Sharing the gospel. One of the most difficult parts about sharing the gospels is finding opportunities. Most people would say “that feeling just comes to you.” When I first heard this I was puzzled at how it was a valid answer and yet it explained nothing. But lucky for me I got the chance to share the gospel with someone on this trip. My advice for sharing is that “you gotta pull the trigger.” It’s comfortable and safe to act like this new fun person that everyone likes but this isn’t why we’re here. * Help build a sustainable faith. Like all missionaries we wanted to do something impactful. We don’t want to share the gospel and not have them be able to live it. For us this is the Centre. The Centre can help us give a sustainable Christ life.

“Missions is a really awkward term. Everything you do to glorify God and showing that to people is missions. Missions is more of a lifestyle”-Denise Poon

Prayer • Please pray for that we could at least leave an impact on the students’ life. * (please pray for the health of our members. As Jonny, Matthew, Alisa, and me (Kevin) are still recovering from our sickness, common cold. )

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Thailand Missions (2018) - “Top 10”

Top 10 Things to know about Chiang Mai:

10. To me, the city seems like a mix of old and new: modern, hipster coffee shops alongside traditional, old temples.

9. Animals seem to roam free throughout the city: dogs, frogs, rats, and geckos (lizards).

8. It can rain at any moment lowering the temperature from a warm 90 degrees to a cool 89 degrees. 

7. It’s always hot and sticky. That’s not just a description of the weather. 

6. There is every cuisine available. It’s like the 626 was squeezed into a 3 square mile area. We’ve had spicy soup noodles and eggs benedict in the same day. 

5. I’m pretty sure Uber got their idea from this city through their “songthaews”—red truck taxis that own the city streets. 

4. The Centre—our area of ministry—is like a tiny school, full kitchen, coffee shop, and board game shop squished into a 4-story building no bigger than a small Chinatown apartment. 

3. While small, the space at The Centre is flexible, open, and inviting. Something we have made into our own home, playing games, helping in classes, and sharing deep conversations. Pray for more of this. 

2. Our Airbnb has become a haven for rest, team meetings, and a home base. Pray that God would use our time there to rejuvenate the team as we sleep, meet, and converse there everyday. 

1. The Centre’s ministry team is incredibly international (Canadians, New Zealanders, Australians, Americans, Chinese)—pray that as we bring a little bit of American culture at our July 4th event, we would encourage the staff and students in attendance. 

Can’t wait to tell you all that God has taught us so far and looking forward to another week of ministry. Thanks for all your prayers and support!

For His grace to be made known,


Saturday, June 30, 2018

Thailand Missions (2018) "Wat Happened on Friday"

Hey everyone! It’s been four full days since we arrived in Thailand and we are pretty much settled in Chiang Mai. Since we’ve been having full-packed busy schedules for the past few days, most of us have been a little drained but feeling more enthusiastic each day!

After breakfast and our daily team devos, Denise took us to the Old City Moat to look around and to check out some of the many Wats (Buddhist temples). For those of you who don’t know, Chiang Mai is actually known as the temple capital of Thailand! We were able to check out Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Phra Singh, which are two really well-known Buddhist temples within the Old City. Just like the temple we visited on the first full day, the Wats were decorated with shining gold and jewels. Seeing this alone, made me think of the large amount of money that was donated by Buddhists to create these buildings and how they have the concept of earning merit. This reminds me of just how thankful I am to God that He didn’t make it difficult for us to be saved, but rather He made it easier for us by sending Jesus down to die for us.

Ephesians 2:8-9 says:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Aside from the temple buildings, there were also many monks walking around. Every Buddhist male becomes a monk sometime in their life. Some become temporary monks and some become monks for life. One of the biggest reasons why they enter monkhood is to make merit for their mother. Some young boys may not even want to become monks but they would have to because it would be seen as a sign of disrespect to their parents if they didn’t. Seeing a few young monks walking around made me wonder just how many of them became monks for their own sake. Two of our team members were able to talk with a monk around our age and was able to find out that he couldn’t wait to quit monkhood next year and get back to living his normal life.

After we grabbed lunch, we spent the rest of our day at The Centre. Jonny and I were able to attend one of the classes and played a charades game with the students. Afterwards, we were able to convince them to stay at The Centre a bit longer to play even more board games! Although it wasn’t easy to have side-conversations with these students, as the size of the group was kinda big, I was glad that I got to interact and bond with a bunch of people at once. I actually surprised myself when I invited them to go bowling with our team tomorrow. Although it didn’t seem to work out too well (since we couldn’t give them a set time yet), I was still proud of myself for trying.

Later tonight, we held a worship night and ordered pizza and Korean fried chicken for all the students at The Centre. Melody and Jonny did an amazing job leading and teaching everyone our FCBC signature “Jesus is a Friend” hand motions! I felt so moved that we were actually singing praises to God with the students!! It was also very encouraging to see Jonny allow himself to become vulnerable towards the Thai students and describe how faithful God has been in his life by sharing his testimony (below is a little snippet with translation by Eric).

Towards the end of the night, we split into groups of 4-5 to talk about our week and prayer requests. Our team split up and strategically placed ourselves in different groups so that we could help pray for the students who were not too familiar with praying. I wasn’t too sure if the students were going to talk about their current hardships as I’ve heard that many Thai people do not enjoy talking about stressful things. However, two of them revealed their struggles and hoped that the power of prayer would be able to help them go through their trials. As well, one girl named Patty, asked for us to pray for the coach and teen soccer team that has been trapped in a cave for 6 days (The soccer coach is actually associated with SIM so we heard about this incident from them during orientation). She also added that she wasn’t sure if there would be unknown spirits in the cave and said that if our God is more powerful than the spirits, we should pray for them. I was really taken aback by her statement and was touched by her open-mindedness about the power of God. Overall, it was a blessing to be able to pray for the girls in my group.

To be honest, it has actually been quite hard for me to make the first approach to students for the past couple days. I’ve been praying about it lately and God answered my prayers by giving me a slight boost of courage and confidence today. Truly, our God is the almighty God that always listens to our prayers.

Speaking of prayers, we hope that you can still continue supporting us through prayer~.

1. Aside from tomorrow’s bowling event, we are currently starting to plan for the 4th of July celebration event that we will be hosting next week! Please pray for guidance and that we will be able to gather/organize all the supplies and food we need!

2. Pray for the Thai people and that they would be able to be more open-minded, even though it would be difficult as Buddhism is deeply rooted into their culture and identity.

3. Pray for good health and strength for our team. Specifically pray for Alisa and Kevin, as they are both currently not feeling very well. As well, pray for Melody Young’s sore ankles.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Thailand Missions (2018) "Vlog #2: Connections"

สวัสดีค่ะ (Sah wah dee kaa~)! That’s “hello” in Thai! We just ended our fourth day in Chiang Mai and wow! Yes, wow. It’s amazing how so many events, memories, and beautiful new relationships can bloom in just 24 hours. God has definitely been actively present and working in the lives of our team from the first few days, but God answered our prayers and Darren allowed us to members, the staff, and the students. For our team, many of us felt drained extra-extroverted and intentional with the students at The Centre. Before we sleep in this morning! The extra hours of sleep gave me a boost of  energy to be spoke or understood Cantonese/Mandarin so learning new languages shouldn’t be went to The Centre, we attended our very first Thai class and learned “basic” phrases…“basic” as in “not that basic”. Growing up, most of our team either was a challenge, let alone the actual words. Despite all the embarrassment and difficulty, too difficult…but oh were we wrong. Even getting the tones and pronunciations correct it was still a great experience and reminder that the feelings of embarrassment we felt were likely what the Thai students felt when they spoke English to us. After hanging out and playing games at The Centre, we went out to get dinner with a few students. They were extremely excited to lead us through the night market and introduce us to pork bone soup, soft serve, ice cream, and certain topic – k-pop. Through music, people from different parts of the world crepes. We had various fun conversations, but mostly enjoyed talking about one can be connected! How awesome! I can’t wait to lead the conversations towards a deeper level and share my beliefs in the one and only true God.

Here are some ways you can be praying for us and our team:

  1. Half of our team is feeling unwell and many of us have been bitten by mosquitos so pray for healing and energy.
  2. Kevin shared an Evangecard with a student and has had meaningful conversations and interactions with him, but he has strong opinions about religion. Alisa has talked to a couple of people from house church, one a believer and one not a believer. Pray for courage to take our conversations with the students towards a deeper level. 

If you have time, check out this somewhat long video I made that brings what we do into a clearer visual perspective. It summarizes our trip to Thailand as well as days 1-4 spent in Thailand. Thank you for your prayers and support!

-Melody K

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Thailand Missions (2018) "Second Full Day!"

Hello everyone! 

We’ve only been in Chiang Mai for two full days, but today was the longest day yet. After team breakfast and devotions, we went to the SIM (Serving In Mission, the missions organization that Denise Poon is a part of) Thailand office to join the staff for their weekly prayer meeting, lunch, and orientation. Not only was it interesting to see more of Denise’s life here in Thailand the past three years, but it was also cool to experience the Church’s unity through bilingual and intercultural worship. The SIM Thailand director used a storytelling approach to the Bible study, which follows the Thai cultural preference for storytelling rather than timeline facts. I was also blessed by the fellowship over lunch, as the staff sent off a fellow member with encouraging and appreciative testimonies of God’s work in this member’s life. In the afternoon, we went grocery shopping and cooked for The Centre’s June birthday celebration. The evening was probably the most brutal part of the day, at least for me, since we were already very tired by then and stayed until late to fellowship.

The best part so far has been witnessing what God is doing here in Chiang Mail through various long-term missionaries and ministries. The most difficult part has been our tiredness. As we have begun to get the hang of what we doing here, I sometimes think, “what in the world did I sign myself up for?” God called me to “go” without really telling me who, what, or where, and then He sends a team of introverts to socialize for Him in a relationship-based culture and ministry. It’s a constant struggle to push ourselves through the tiredness and continue ministering to the missionaries and Thai students by helping out at the Centre and fellowshipping. But, as a friend told me, that’s what makes it all the more a miracle. In our team devotions, God has reminded me through 2 Corinthians 12:9 and Ephesians 3:20 that He is able to do so much more than we can imagine, even through our weaknesses.

Please continue to pray for us in the coming days. We are still very tired everyday and need God’s strength to get through each day. Also pray for God to fill us with His love, patience, humility, peace, joy, hope, and strength. Lack of energy can bring out the worst in us, so we really need God’s power to energize us to love on the people here but also on one another.

Some other prayer requests are:

Search and rescue of a Thai boys’ soccer team trapped in a large cave in Chiang Rai

God’s guidance during the new journey for departing SIM member

Ministries of SIM Thailand - Sports Friends, Radical Grace, and Administration

SIM’s preparations to send the first Thai missionary family (a young couple with a baby) who is going to a Southeast Asia country. 

Our team’s worship night at The Centre this Friday evening

Thank you all for your prayer! As I wrote before, God’s work is done through those going and those staying behind, so please know that your support is very important and very much appreciated!

- Melody Y