Our Last Months in a Week

Indeed, it sounds like we’re confused about what to call the things that go into a week. Days? Surely. Minutes? Inevitably. Months? Too big!

Read ‘Our Last Months in a Week’ a little differently and you’ll understand that we’re sharing about our last few months in Chiang Mai, bit by bit, over the course of a week.

So settle your brain and enjoy the updates. These are written by Brian, and two more will follow before the week is up.

With love,
Amanda on behalf of us Elliotts

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Auntie Pond with Pax and Urijah

With Grace out of session for the summer we were able to be involved in some different happenings from the normal. Aside from spending numerous hours working on completing continuing education units for my professional licenses, and working on the curriculum for the class I teach (Advanced Strength and Conditioning), I spent more time at home with Amanda and Paxton, which was nice.

And below are a few highlights from early summer:

Phuket Marathon
In June I went down to Phuket, Thailand to run the Phuket Marathon with a friend. He wanted to complete his first marathon before leaving Thailand for Uganda later that month, and this marathon happened to be the weekend before he left! I agreed to join him and we planned a guys trip. It was a really refreshing time. We spent much time relaxing and discussing our spiritual beliefs. Sharing Jesus with people is a passion of both of ours so there was a lot of time talking about Jesus and our beliefs with people who we encountered over the weekend.

After a few in-depth conversations, we gave a Thai-language gospel tract to our taxi driver and then my pocket size New Testament to a Pakistani Muslim who was working as a tailor in Phuket. Our conversations with the Pakistani man lasted multiple hours. We were actually on the way to the beach, ready to soak in our last chance to swim in the ocean but never made it! It was great! We talked all about the Koran and what he believed and then were able to share with him about the Bible, Jesus, and what we believe – which was quite different from what he understood Christianity to be about. He very much believed in a works-based life in order to reach a better after-life. We shared about God’s grace and the gift of eternal life through his son, Jesus, who sacrificed his own life for our sins. We could tell he also enjoyed our conversation and he was pondering the information shared. When I gave him my Bible he kissed it and tucked it in to his shirt pocket, saying he would read and study our “sacred text”. I think he appreciated the gesture because he understood how much the Bible means to us. That was definitely a highlight of our Phuket trip!

English and Sports Outreach Camp
We (Grace International School) hosted an English and Sports Outreach Camp for 120 local Thai students. The kids played sports, learned English, heard the Gospel in a culturally relevant way and had a chance to respond to what they had heard. As a result, 104 kids filled out a form inviting them to accept the truths of Christ and/or learn more about Jesus. This included all 10 of the kids who came from Venture Expeditions community center, HOSEA! We were stoked! There were even several of the older kids from HOSEA (who are already believers) who came to help out with the camp and learn more about evangelism. They’re pretty eager to do their own outreach of sharing the faith.

Ban Pong Community Center
We spent more time with the kids from HOSEA, the Venture Expeditions community center. We took the kids swimming at the Grace pool several times – which they absolutely loved! We also helped out at the center on a few Saturday mornings, including one day in which we brought a fellow PE teacher/coach and his family. He had a new 4-way tug-o-war rope that we got to use. The kids had a blast.

It’s quite amazing to see how the kids have matured and grown spiritually since first meeting them in 2010. There are now 9 kids in Ban Pong who are solid believers and another handful who are eagerly learning about Jesus.

U-14 Boys Soccer Team
I co-coached Grace’s soccer team for the 14 year and younger boys. Most of the boys came from teams I had previously coached. We wanted them to continue practicing together over the summer to hone skills and built team unity. This summer ended with a tournament against a few local Thai schools. We won first place of the eight teams!

There are some very talented and dedicated kids who are also a ton of fun to watch. And coaching at Grace is always a good chance to pour into the kids’ lives, encourage them to use their gifts and skills to glorify God, and of course, play soccer well.

More on our summer in a few days.

Until then and in Christ,
Brian

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