In just a month from now, my family and I will be leaving Houston to go to Thailand for a sabbatical mission trip. It has already been eleven and a half years since I came to Seoul Baptist Church of Houston and began serving, first as the youth pastor, then the head pastor of New Life. During sabbaticals our pastoral staff can choose to do one of the following:
1. Continue education for a semester on a full-time basis
2. Interne at another church on a full-time basis
3. Do missions work
As you can see, the purpose of the sabbatical is not to rest but to equip and train oneself more for the sake of church. My family and I have chosen the third option. Hence, we are going to Thailand on June 6.
The focus of my time there will be on two major projects. One is to pray and see what God would have New Life do in terms of missions. Over the past five years, we have been sending short-term summer mission teams all over the world, including Africa, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Canada, China, Djibouti, India, Japan, Kosovo and Mexico. Now, I believe, we are at a point where we need to focus and concentrate on one or two places or people groups so that we may be able to invest our people, skills and financial resources more effectively. Thailand is a strategic place God has been speaking to us about as a base to reach the surrounding 10/40 window countries high on the unreached list. I will be spending much time with a veteran missionary couple who will be guiding me to different places in Southeast Asia so I may be able to see what God is doing and be able to hear his voice for New Life. Please pray fervently for me to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
The second area of focus during my sabbatical is to see how we can teach and spread our house church ministry in a mission field context. This actually is the request of Pastor Chai, our senior pastor. When I went to India last year, I saw the potential that this ministry can have there. Through this trip, I will need to explore to see how this can be done effectively.
Besides these Lynette and I would like to see our sons catching God’s vision for the world and hope this mission trip will be a vital formation to that, that they grow up living their lives for Christ and making Him known to the whole world no matter the cost would be their passionate desire.
After spending seven weeks in Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia, my family and I will be stopping by Korea for about a week and a half to rest and meet some relatives and New Life members who have moved to Korea. My wife and I have never been to Korea since we came to the States in 1975 and 1978 respectively. It will be an adventuresome visit for the whole family.
I have already approached and asked several members to share God’s Word during Sunday corporate worship while I am gone for two months. And we will continue to follow the regular schedule with Monday morning men’s prayer, Sunday morning intercessory prayer, Wednesday House of Prayer, Tuesday Lighthouses of Prayer, weekly house church meetings, Wednesday shepherds’ meetings and Saturday leadership meetings. We will have house church rest month in July this year. Please use it for your family vacation, missions or informal joint house churches.
Also, please continue to pray for our building project. The KSC has graciously transferred the land title over to us and the NAMB has approved of our request for the construction loan. As soon as we purchase the construction liability insurance, we should be able to break the ground. It’s been a bit slower process than we had anticipated at first, but we sense that God is leading us every step of the way for us to build it right.
I am very confident that the church will do well in my absence because we have many committed members who love Christ and the church, the body of Jesus. It will bring me great joy if all of you could join your hearts with one another in praying for me and my family while we are gone, supporting the team leaders of New Life and standing as one family protecting the church from the evil one.
??Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.?? (Ephesians 6: 24)
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