Sunday, November 2, 2008

Spiritual Refreshment

What a busy month we had in October! It seemed like all we did was wash clothes, pack the suit case, wash again, pack again! Ah... camp season!
During the week of October 21-24, we attended the annual Romphrakhun Baptist Pastors and Workers Retreat. Not much physical retreat as the schedule was full, but the messages from God's Word through Pastor Ashok Andrews from India were beyong refreshing! "A Radical Look at the Most Important Relationships in our Lives" was the theme. We thank the Lord for the reminders to refocus on the important things as we serve God in this idolatrous land and be a light to the people around us on a daily basis. We also enjoyed our time of fellowship with our Thai, Filipino, and American coworkers through informal chats and prayer times. We have known most of these people for more than ten years. Some people Darlene knew since she was just a kid growing up in the Philippines!

The whole group of attendees. Darlene with Pearl and Joy Inion singing a special music at the retreat.
Pastor Roberto Gequillana, the very first filipino (PABWE) missionary to Thailand, praying for the Thai Pastors and their spouses.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

L.I.F.E. Camp and Teen Camp

We spent the week of October 13-17 at two camps. Jenni Starkey and Darlene took the kids to LIFE Camp (Learning Intensive Free English). It is an evangelistic camp held every year by Romphrakhun Baptist Churches. This year, there were about 600 campers and about half of that number are non-believers. There were 97 professions of faith that week that we know of!

Ed took nine of our church teens to Teen Camp. All of our teens participated in different contests - group singing, solos, preaching, and playing a musical instrument. We rejoice greatly in the Lord for three girls from our church that came to know Christ as their Savior during this camp. Praise the Lord!!! One of them is Ed's cousin, Am. The very first one in his family that got saved. Another girl, BaiTong, has been coming to our Student Center for 3 years now and made some sort of profession before. This time... she really is sure! The third girl, May, started coming to our English classes when the Shenandoah Baptist Team 2008 came in June. She had been asking questions about Christianity for close to two months now.Thank you again for being part of the ministry in Kabinburi through your prayers. Please keep praying for the Christian growth of everyone here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Cows Really Do Come Home... In Thailand

I was standing outside in front of our house. I noticed a couple of the cow herders heading towards the house. Two small cows went toward our storefront glass windows and stopped. The front door was open and before I knew it they headed in to the house. I called Darlene on the cell phone and said, "Honey, come downstairs quick and shoo the cows out of the house." The first thing she did was grab the camera and the proof is in the video. In Thailand the cows really do come home, at least IN TO our home. -EMW

Monday, September 29, 2008

A New Brother in Christ!

Oh, wow! How do I start this post? This one is a month overdue. I'm warning you now... this is going to be a long one, so you may want to come back later if you don't have time now.

For many of you, readers, this is already old news. For others it's new news and it's great news!

In mid-August we took a trip up northeast of Thailand for a short R&R in a city about two hours from where we are. It was fun! We took our boys to a zoo. We also spent a total of 11 hours straight at a mall called "The Mall." That's mind boggling until you know that that mall has SO many restaurants, lots of little shops (and yes, most of them are cheap and bargainable, if there's such a word), a big food court, big arcade that's both for adults and kids, and a waterpark. Yes, you read that right, a water park in a mall!

But those were not the main highlights of our trip. We travelled eight more hours further north to attend a fellow missionaries' church building dedication. And since our second's son's biological family lives not far from there, we decided to pay them a visit and meet Boaz's biological grandparents for the very first time. It was a joy to watch them see Boaz for the very first time.

We invited the biological parents to attend the dedication service, and to our delight, Dtim (mother), Kreuk (father), and Bea (sister) came. During the service, we were praying that God would speak to the heart of Kreuk. Many of you know that Dtim and Bea got saved in 2005, and wow! What a story was Dtim's conversion alone!

After the lunch fellowship, Ed asked a couple Thai Pastors to come talk to Kreuk and see where he was spiritually. You see, we have been praying for the whole family since we first moved to Kabinburi in 2003. Shortly after Dtim became a Christian, Kreuk took down their idols in their house. When we asked him what he was doing, he said, "I don't think these have any benefit. I think believing in God will be better."

Three years to the date of him taking the idols down, Kreuk was sitting there with two Thai pastors and Ed, hearing God's plan of salvation being laid out in front of him. At the end, he didn't even hesitate. He was ready! We had been witnessing to him through our lives and through little bits of "good news" here and there. And folks, you have been praying with us. God has been working all along! And oh... it was Kreuk's birthday too. The best birthday gift he's ever received!

You know what the best part of this whole thing is? That day Kreuk got saved, Ed & Darlene Weber and Jenni Starkey were just watching God work and use others! TO GOD BE THE GLORY GREAT THINGS HE HAS DONE!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What's it like to have water 24/7: Conclusion to our water situation story

Promise, folks! This is going to be the last blog about our water story. We've gone from "OK, I can deal with this" to "this is just insane!" for more than a year that having water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week is a big deal for us. The timing couldn't have been more perfect. A team of fourteen from our home church in Virginia was coming and God worked out amazingly in the heart of "Uncle" next door. Sometimes as missionaries we are stretched beyond what we think we could do. Ed learned some simple plumbing early on in our ministry here. He worked on our 1,000-liter tank for a few days and finally got pipes hooked up to the water pump. Poor guy, first time we turned the water on, there were leaks in just about every connection. He finally got it done a few hours before we had to leave for Bangkok to pick up the team. Isn't God wonderful! Perfect timing! Imagine what we would have to do with so many people in our house and no running water!

A few have asked, "what's it like now that you have running water?"
1. We don't have to revolve our lives around 4:00PM to store water.
2. We don't have to use disposables almost every meal.
3. We don't have to yell at our children for using more than a scoop of water to wash their hands.
4. We don't have to pour water ourselves while washing dishes.
5. We don't have to do laundry at the laundromat (if we did laundry at home, there wouldn't be enough water to live for the day).
6. No more bucket showers!!!
7. Darlene's plants are not dying anymore, they're green and flowers are blooming!
8. Kids in our student center get to wash their hands after using the bathroom. Now, THAT's a big deal!

So, folks... every time you use water, please thank God for the convenience of having running water in your house! This experience made us appreciate what many people just take for granted!

The big question now is... what are we going to do with all these tubs we collected to store water in???

Saturday, June 14, 2008

His Way Is Perfect: God's answer to our water situation

If you haven't read the previous post about our water situation, you may want to scroll down a little bit ("Testimony is More Important Than Our Comfort") and read it first so you can understand and fully appreciate this blog post. Thanks!

It's funny sometimes how God allows us to pine and whine, and lets us realize on our own how bad our attitude is, and then answers our prayer. Well... the day after we wrote the previous blog, God answered our prayers. Long story short...

Our next door neighbors who had a special line piped straight into their house (... from the water tower. We'll spare you the details on how they got a special pipe) moved out on Sunday. Two weeks before they moved out they asked us if we were interested in getting their pipe but that we would have to ask "Uncle," the guy in charge of the water. So we prayed for "Uncle" and asked a few more people to pray as he is known to be a difficult person. The day we were going to talk to him, Darlene, went over to talk to Uncle's wife to ask for our water bill (they forgot to give us our bill - God's working!). While "Auntie" was complaining to Darlene about complaining neighbors, "Uncle" came out and asked if we were interested in getting the neighbor's pipe but that we would have to ask them. Darlene could barely contain her excitement! If you know Darlene well, that's pretty hard for her to do. We didn't even have to ask him!!!

So... thank you all for your prayers. WE HAVE WATER! It's still not 24 hours but it's from 6AM-6PM, instead of just 2 hours in the afternoon. Today we bought a thousand-liter tank and a pump so we can have water 24 hours! God is good!

God's ways are higher than our ways. We asked for city water but God didn't answer that. Instead, He gave us a better relationship with "Uncle & Auntie." They have been more kind and nicer to us since we gave them Darlene's Filipino spring rolls, sometimes other foods too. When we first moved in to this building five years ago, it was nothing more than a hi and a hello with them. Now, we can talk about their teenage children, about their health and about their day to day life. Maybe someday, they'll be open enough to allow us to share Christ's love with them not just in actions but in words from God's Word. Aren't we serving a GREAT GOD!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Testimony is more important than our comfort: Our Water Situation Story

Many of you have been asking about our water situation. It hasn’t gotten any better… yet. We would like to take this time to help you better understand how we came to this status with our water.

When we first moved into our building, our neighbor, a young Chinese man, was in charge of the water. We do not have public water but a well that is shared. The person in charge of the water makes sure that the water is pumped up into a tall water tank which maintains good water pressure. When that man was in charge of the water, we had water 24 hours a day with constant pressure.

He had to move so another neighbor, an older man volunteered to take charge of the water. Granted, the person in charge does get a small salary for doing so. But this man raised the price of water immediately and regulates that water.

When they constructed the new road in front of our house, this man had city water piped to his building from across the street. The city water official told him that if everyone wanted city water on our side of the street he should notify us and let us know so he would bring a main line across. He told no one. Now, he has public water and everyone else is at his mercy. We pay more for our God-given rain water than others pay for city water and he only turns the water on at 4pm for about an hour. Neighbors have complained to him not only about minimal water, (some days he leaves the house or leaves town and forgets to turn the water on) but also about the high price of water that we only get an hour a day. People who have public water pay less for water 24 hours a day than we pay for rain water one hour a day. He doesn’t understand why people are complaining. There are businesses on our side of the street that depend on water, i.e. a beauty shop and a restaurant. So, you can see the frustration our neighborhood is dealing with.

The Thai government has been notified about our water need and said they will get city water to us… someday. Please pray that the Thai government would get moving soon.

Some of you have asked, “How do you survive?” Well, for one, we thank God for the water we do have. We have four 30-gallon tubs that we keep full when the water comes on at 4 pm. Our whole lives revolve around 4 pm pretty much. If we are not home that day, we aren’t able to fill up our water tubs and our water filter. Hopefully, we haven’t run out of drinking water by then. We can always purchase bottled water if we have to. Since we got back from furlough in April 2007, we have scooper showers and pouring “faucet” for washing dishes. It was hard for the first several months not to complain to the guy in charge of the water, but we learned that our testimony is more important than our comfort. We have learned to adjust. We manage. God is good.

Monday, June 2, 2008

How many can you fit in an 11-passenger van?

For the past few months our numbers were down. Many of the kids in our student center were gone for their summer break. Now schools are back in session, and so are kids in our center. The past two weeks brought a lot more kids. Some are old, some are new. We had about 40 kids today. We praise the Lord! So... how many can you fit in an 11-passenger van? Well... one time, we were able to fit 17 Filipinos (mostly adults). Ed was able to fit between 22 and 25 kids before.
The number of kids in Jenni's route has increased so she and Ed traded vehicles on the weekends. See if you can count the number of kids in this picture. That's how many kids she had in the van today! I won't be surprised if there will be more kids next week. "Oy!" As Thais would say.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Going Bananas!

Ed was on the road every single day this week. Monday, he took our family to Prachinburi city (45 minutes away) for our big grocery shopping day. Tuesday night he travelled to Bangkok to meet the Beckmans who were arriving from their one-year furlough in the States. Wednesday, he travelled back to Kabinburi. Thursday, he was up very early in the morning to take a friend for her visa run at the Cambodian border. Friday, he was up at 5:30 AM going back to Bangkok again to accompany our co-worker, Jenni Starkey, to her meeting with her visa/work permit lawyer. And tomorrow is Saturday, he'll be on the road again to pick up kids who attend our English classes on Saturdays and Sundays. He is tired but he is more than willing to serve others. I'd go bananas if I were him.

Anyway... here's a photo of a truck full of bananas stuck in Bangkok traffic. I wonder if the truck driver is going bananas?!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I'm not cooking tonight!

It had been an unusually rainy May in Thailand. Down pour after down pour. Rivers are rising and rice fields are soaked in water. We normally don't get this much rain until after June begins. But this week, hardly any rain. Today was VERY hot and humid! I would guess, it was probably 97 degrees. I was just sweating all day long. Sometimes we measure hot and humidity by how many showers we take a day or how long we stayed in our air-conditioned bedroom. Ed took a total of four showers.

Jenni Starkey and Lesa Morgan were coming over for dinner. I had chicken thawed out but at 5:30 PM I changed my mind. I said, "I ain't cooking dinner tonight! It's just too hot to stand in front of the stove." So, I asked Ed to go and order pad thai at the market - the best tasting in town, we think! Boy, was it yummmmy! We all ate and were filled. And I didn't have to cook dinner! -ddw

Trying this out

Sawatdii, world wide web! I am trying this blog thing to see if it would work out for us. Our website has not been working for about a week now. Yes, everyone can still view it... no problem, but it's not letting me make ANY changes at all. I could just easily leave it and forget about it but we're paying for a domain name and a month ago we paid to keep the domain name for another two years. So, we'll see.
For the mean time... here's a photo I took moments before I signed up for this blog account. Jayjay fell asleep on the couch and Jojo is giving him a kiss. What a joy it is to watch an older sibling show love and gentleness to the younger one!
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