Salvations, swine flu and a giant banana tree

In September 2009 four Pines’ Graduates went to Chiang Mai, Thailand, to encourage and minister alongside four other Pines’ Graduates – Peung, Relle, Terry and Robyn. The ensuing two weeks were filled with challenges, salvations, swine flu, tree removal, good food and new cultural experiences. In their own words:

 We left for Thailand hoping to encourage and support Pines’ Graduates living in Chiang Mai – Peung, Relle, Terry & Robin Collins-  Thai Christians and Thai people in general. By God’s grace we achieved this simple goal.

We also saw people make decisions to follow Jesus, developed relationships with Thais, visited villages, learnt heaps about serving God and rode elephants (!).

But if there was one major lesson and faith building exercise I learned, it was this …. “Wait – and see what God will do ….”

There are always challenges when we set out with God and seek to love people in service of Him. Often times, in the early part of the day, I would be wondering how to deal with some problem. My standard operating procedure is to try to work towards a solution Andrew’s way… with Andrew results (ie. very average; ha ha). But I gradually learnt to say, “Okay God – what do You want to do here? I’ve got no solution.” (Wait! And see what God will do).

It was amazing the things God would bring about, even that afternoon… through little or no effort of mine. I could then say, “You’re good God!!”

~ Andrew Burnett

Thailand, Free land (well not quite, but very inexpensive) but spiritually very bound. Everywhere you turn there are temples or statues or someone offering incense to different gods. 

What was reinforced for me was that God is bigger than all that. 

He is not one who needs to be appeased daily nor is He a silent, distant God.  He is here with us wanting a personal relationship. He knows our concerns and worries and reassures us that He has everything in His hands if we will only trust and obey. 

These three words were constantly going through my mind.  This meant I had to release my idea of control and let God.  And He did (after all He is God).

We saw the continuation of the work God is doing in Thailand with eight conversions during our time and the beginning of new works in the village and no doubt more than we know about. It will be interesting to go back in coming years to see the way that God is moving.  To God be the Glory.

~ Georgina Douglas

We generally always go into something with varied degrees of expectations.

Surprisingly enough in the case of this trip those preconceived expectations were not there.

I had hopes of seeing God move, maybe in the way we hear about the sick being healed the devils cast out and all that but also an attitude of let’s just go, ask God and “wait and see what God does”.

We did not see any of the “great things” like the sick healed and devils cast out, but instead we saw what scriptures say is the GREATEST miracle of all, a person being saved and we saw it seven times in our first night and later once more that we know of anyway.

I got a little huffy that we did not see or do the other, you know everyone who goes on mission does this, or so it would seem from stories you hear but again I was reminded that we were able to pray and be a part of something far greater – eight people are now saved from hell.

Upon return in the intercessors’ prayer time at The Pines, John T brought a word to us it was Matthew 11:20 – 24 (Woe on unrepentant cities) as John read and we reflected it dawned on me –  the grace of God.

In His sovereign wisdom he was protecting not just Thailand but many others. You see God know hearts and what this scripture said to me was that if a miracle is performed and people did not repent then they would be in a very seriously bad spiritual place one worse than Tyre and Sidon… that’s bad.

I have stopped jumping up and down over the signs and wonder “chase” and have said, “Ok God I am open and willing to be used by You in this way but only when it’s right in Your ways. I don’t want to be a part of messing someone up spiritually.” Then I also thanked Him for the grace that he has shown by NOT answering my prayers at times.

The next big lesson for me was as Andrew mentioned “wait” there were so many times where God said wait and then later an answer came or we were redirected to fit into a great plan – it’s funny we think we see the big picture but in contrast to God’s vision we all are so short sighted.

Fortunately the Holy Spirit was our glasses.

There was one time coming into the 2nd week where I was prompted to learn how to drive – we later found out why as Peung came down with h1n1 and I then needed to be driver for the following week.

Another time in the 1st week we were preplanning events because of program change and we felt God say cancel something we were planning to do, so we prayed and waited and later that week cancelled the plan and again this turned out to be the correct move because we needed that day in the second week to be free for something else.

Waiting and hearing God voice was a great lesson and one needed so much for me personally upon returning to Australia.

A quick summary of our activates – a building project with the Collins’ including removing a giant banana tree, work in the local primary school, work in various local churches with Peung and teaching English, time of sharing with trainee church leaders, plenty of eating, an evangelical outreach and relationship building in a hill tribe and a little personal time for sightseeing.

The team was well protected and thanks to all who were praying we did come in close contact with h1n1 and none of us caught it. Physically, emotionally and spiritually we were protected.

It is wonderful to know (in person) who we are praying for now when updates and letters come as we hear of the work taking place in Thailand.

We are planning on taking another team over next year in the September/October school holidays and would love to have you onboard. The trip is open to graduates as well believers who want to serve others (and through that serving you meet God personally).

So if you want to be stretched, tested and grow then contact The Pines to register you interest.  

~ Cameron Douglas


Witnessing God move through Peung reinforced to me that the whole idea of sharing God’s love is 100% through relationships.

The time team spent with Peung was always accompanied with the intention of leading someone one step closer to Lord.

This process of relating mostly occurred around food and it was seemingly effortless because of the free flow of Holy Spirit (Jesus’ yoke is easy and His burden is light).

Working with a sister in Christ made me want to stay in Thailand and spend every day doing church – sitting on people’s verandah’s sharing food, encouragement, burdens and praying.

I urge you to answer the call and step out in faith to go on a mission trip.

I had a prophecy earlier in year to go on a mission trip and the person giving me the prophecy said, “It’s not your cup of tea, but don’t let it stop you”. So when the opportunity came to go to Thailand, I thought – I can’t see I have any time to go because of Uni assignments and work commitments. I can’t see it working. But God I know You can make a way so let’s do it.

When I got back to Australia God moved some assignment deadlines to give me extra time. When you do step out in faith God makes a way. And He also sent another Chaplain to my school so He lifted work pressure too.

Watching God move and seeing Him in control of the things you have to do is a blessing and encouragement.

~ Michelle Britton

Some concluding words from Thai Pines’ graduate Peung…

The Aussie Pines’ team has gone back to Australia now and I thank God for the blessing that we could serve Him together here in Thailand.

The first Friday we had a welcome party for the team and we used this time to share God’s Word.  Seven people gave their lives to God that night.

The second Friday the team was here we had a worship night at Mae Dia.  The village leader was really open to us, and almost 200 people came to watch.

They were a little bit shy but I am so excited what God is doing at Mae Dia.  The teenagers asked if we could go there and have another worship night or youth camp.  So we are planning to have that next April.

The daughter of one of the first Mae Dia villagers to come to the Lord rang me last week and told me she wanted to hear about God.  I met her last Monday and I shared with her about God.  I asked her if she knew that her sister and her father were Christians, and she said ‘no’. 

I told her that her father gave his life to God last May on my birthday.  And after I told her she said, Peung, I have goose bumps because she said that she was surprised that when she looked at her father’s life it was changed especially the last few months, and she didn’t know why. 

But now she knows why.  She prayed and she gave her life to God.  Praise the Lord!

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