October 2022 Prayer Letter update

October 7, 2022

For a one-page printable version of this letter click here

Dear Friends,

Change is inevitable. Change in and of itself is not necessarily good nor bad. But often we don’t like it.

It seems like our church has been going through a period of change. As I have sat down to write the last few prayer letters, I have had a hard time deciding what to say. I want to write positive letters. But the truth is, the last year and a half of the work to establish Pinklao Baptist Church here in Bangkok has been different than most other similar periods of time. There have always been ups and downs, people coming and going, and disappointments, but on the whole the trajectory has seemed to be towards progress. In the years of 2018 and 2019 the church hit its numerical peak when it was not uncommon to have 50 or more people meeting together for worship on a Sunday.

Then of course we all know that Covid happened. But during that time, although our numbers decreased, it seemed like there was stronger internal growth, and there were several new people added too. Now life is basically back to normal, but the trend of losing members and regular attenders has continued. There are many reasons for it. Some are quite understandable, like moving out of the city or out of the country. Sometimes the reason for moving has been good and clearly God’s leading. Other times the reasons were questionable, if not clearly wrong. Some have not moved away but have stopped coming for one reason or another. Regardless of the reasons, good or bad, I was able to count more than fifteen people who were regulars with us a year and a half ago who are now gone.

These changes have been disappointing, even discouraging at times. But it is important to not lose sight of what God is doing and the good that is happening. We have had some new regular attenders. Lord willing God will lead them to stay and grow with us. Some of the young men in our church have been dealing with some issues in their lives, and good progress is being made. This could be a time of significant spiritual growth for them. There is still a core of people who are faithful, and many are serving. In my adult Saturday English class there are 6 regulars, four of whom are not Christians. I really enjoy our interactions as we close each lesson with studying the Bible together. One older man in particular has many questions. Please pray with me that his questions would come from sincerity to know the truth, not just curiosity about religion.

Studying the Bible together after English Class

Our family has gone through a change as we have entered the stage of our children going to college. In August Hannah took Elaine to Faith Baptist Bible College in Ankeny, Iowa. She’s doing well and enjoying the new experiences. Likely, David will be leaving for college within the next year. There are aspects of this change we as parents don’t like, but it is good, and we pray God will continue to lead them and grow them into the young people He wants them to be.

One change that is certainly good is that the prison has finally allowed us back to teach. I mentioned in our last letter that they were planning to have us back in August. In the end, our first day back for regular teaching was this past Wednesday, October 5th. I asked you to pray that we would still have freedom to teach the Bible and preach the gospel. God has answered that prayer. The prisoners can sign up for either English or Christianity class. Between both the men and women, about 70 have signed up for the Christianity classes and about 80 for English. The English students will have a Bible lesson too. But the Christianity class will be Bible only, for almost 2 hours with the men, and an hour and a half with the women.

Thanks for much for your continued prayers for us, for the believers here, and for the gospel to bear fruit.

Your partners for the gospel,

Duane and Hannah