Simon was invited to spend some time at the Juniper Centre and to give a day taster conference on Monday 27th January 2020, with the view to going back in future years for longer conferences in this new venue.
Marcus and Jen are long standing friends who recently came out to Thailand, along with a Thai man Mark, to manage a Christian Retreat called the Juniper Tree. The centre provides a lovely holiday location for many missionaries who work in India and East Asia. It is right by the beach and has a swimming pool. Whilst there I met many young missionary families who were enjoying a well-earned and relaxing break.
Since arriving in Thailand just over a year ago Marcus and Jen have been attending a local church and getting to know the pastor there. They shared about the work of PTI and as a result I was invited to spend some time at the Juniper Centre and to give a day taster conference on Monday 27th January.
There had been a lot of prayer and nervousness over how the day would go. Would anyone show up? If they did would they find the training of interest and value? Prayer was answered and about 15 attended the day. The local pastor who Jen and Marcus know hosted the conference at his church, and his wife along with two other ladies from their church provided an excellent lunch and a mid-morning coffee break. In the practical sessions we looked at several passages with the aim of discovering the BIG IDEA and then thinking about how the Bible passages related to Christ and how they would apply that teaching, the BIG AIM, in their own preaching. Following the training the people were asked if they had found the day conference helpful and whether they would like me to return with others for several days of training. Their answer was a resounding YES. For which we are very grateful to the Lord.
Jen and Marcus were thrilled by how well the day conference went and to hear that the pastors would like to have additional training. They are willing to act as hosts and to plan and organize the training next year. Please pray that we might be able to find a suitable time.
This was my tenth time in Thailand and probably the best. I stayed physically well through the time I was there and was able to adjust very quickly to the differing time zones. This work is relational, and it takes time to build the trust, both with those who come along to the conferences but also with the hosts, who I have now worked with for several years. They speak of the confidence they have in the training PTI is seeking to provide; how biblically rooted it is and how it is delivered with humility. Your prayer support has been vital.