During Cornerstone’s winter break, the Kim family along with two Cornerstone alumni families, The Sweat Family, and The Walkup Family had the wonderful opportunity to travel with a group from Cedarcrest Church to Thailand to work with a minority group called the Shan people from Myanmar. Today, Rebecca Kim and Nellie Walkup share how life-changing it truly was.
The local missionary, Andrew, realized quickly that our team loves to pray so we prayed often going to villages and prayer walking, having prayer time together in the mornings and praying over people we met – both believers and non-believers. God had been working on a few and we had the privilege to see a couple of people come to Christ and be baptized and witness life change before our eyes as the darkness was lifted from them and the light of the Lord shone on their faces. We got to meet heroes of the faith who were the only believers in their village and shared the gospel despite being ridiculed for it.
Although we lived in India when Anna, current 9th-grade Cornerstone student, and Julia, Cornerstone current 10th-grade student were very small, this was our first international missions trip since then. The Shan people in Mae Hong Son are steeped in both Buddhism and animism. One of our prayers was that we would be able to encourage the few existing believers there and be a light through prayer and evangelism to those that don’t know Jesus. We were able to do ministry at a local Shan church through our missionary friend, Andrew, who translated for us. We also did some prayer walking in the villages and at the border between Myanmar and Thailand. We prayed that God would break through the darkness and allow the light of the gospel to spread. It was impactful for our daughters to not only be in Thailand but to see older believers from our church passionately love and serve Jesus. It was truly life-changing.
Choosing Joy Despite Difficulties
It would take much too long to describe all that God did in and through us and all that He is doing in this part of the world. My husband and I have been going on short-term mission trips to different places for over 10 years but this was the first time in this region. As the team began our training, the enemy was at work as one team member had to cancel their plans and another was not sure if they could come because of COVID-19 protocols that were in place. We prayed, God answered and the protocols were lifted. The team began meeting and forming a community. After about 6 weeks, we set out for Thailand to visit with the Shan people of Myanmar living in Thailand with our host Andrew Goodman.
We met so many wonderful people along the way. One of the special people we met was a high school boy named Oat who had been injured in a motorcycle accident and was paralyzed. Through his accident, he came to faith in Jesus and is leading the rest of his family to the Lord. Julia, was especially impacted by him. She was amazed at how he is able to have such joy in the middle of such difficult circumstances. Please pray for his grandfather to come to Jesus and for Oat who just got accepted into law school to get permission to do his studies remotely.
His Plan Is Always Greater
During our time there, a woman from the church passed away. In this culture, everything pretty much comes to a halt around a death and our plans changed a bit for us to be present at the wake and funeral. One of the events that had to be canceled was a showing of the Jesus film with a new projector and speaker donated by Cedarcrest Church. But God had another plan…
Because of the funeral, a sister in Christ, Nang Nong, was able to come across the Myanmar border to Thailand for the funeral. She committed to take the equipment to Myanmar to Awd (lives in Myanmar) who would then use this equipment to show the Jesus film in the country. Even though our team could not cross the border with the gospel, God figured out a way and now the gospel will be shared. Nang Nong was in a motorcycle accident and suffered injuries to her face. But the Jesus' followers in Myanmar did not let this stop them. The equipment made it to Awd and the gospel is going forth. (Nang Nong is healing nicely.)
We also got to see God at work in miraculous ways. We were able to visit a church that is experiencing miraculous growth as alcoholics are coming to Jesus and being healed of their alcoholism. We were able to pray for a woman who was actually possessed by a demon. Anna was especially impacted by her. Although she said it was a bit scary to witness, Anna was amazed by the peace that came over her as God delivered her and she invited Christ into her life. After that, Wei Lee was baptized in the river. Hallelujah! Please pray for Wei Lee as she learns to follow Jesus.
Miracles on Miracles
We also had a miracle happen in the airport. Prim, our ticket agent in Bangkok, let us pray for her and exchanged information with us. When we returned to Bangkok almost a week later, we met up with her and were able to lead her to Jesus. She was so excited she brought her brother to hear the gospel as well. As we were getting ready to leave, we prayed for a place to baptize her. Because The Sweat Family was planning on staying an extra day, they booked a hotel with a pool. We were able to baptize her in the pool. Please pray that Prim continues to take steps of obedience and faith. For believers in this context, it is very hard because they are surrounded by Buddhism.
You see, I can really keep going with details of the marvelous wonders of our Great God but I will leave you with this: Jesus sends us all to “go make disciples” Matt 28:19 and to “be wise in the way we act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity” Col 4:5. Jesus followers must “go” whether it is to the ends of the earth in Thailand or their own backyard. Go in body or go in prayer with others who are traveling abroad. It is a privilege and a way to experience the presence and work of God and will impact the rest of the year, maybe even the rest of your life.
In conclusion, we feel like this trip was such a gift and blessing to our family. It expanded our view of God and His work around the world. When you see villages with only one or no known believers, it reminds you of the priority of missions. God’s heart longs for people in every nation, tribe, and tongue to experience His salvation. He needs faithful people to share the gospel by praying, giving, and going! What a great reminder!
Here at Cornerstone, we believe serving others is an essential part of all we do. IMPACT is a week-long leading, learning, and serving opportunity for all our high school students outside of our classroom walls. Teams are both academic and mission-related as students learn we serve God in everything we do. Please be in prayer for our IMPACT teams during the week of March 27- April 1, 2023.