Soon after arriving, there was an opening ceremony for the Karen reading and writing classes. People gathered from villages on both sides of the border. They met many people for the first time. A year later, at the same ceremony, it was encouraging to look around and see the number of people that they have come to know in the last year.
The reading and writing classes that they attended have not only taught them the most common Pwo Karen script that they want to use for the Karen Bible and Bible lessons, but has also given them a practical way of engaging with the Pwo Karen community. Just last month Karen classes started up again, Richard and Wendy are continuing in the programme. Most of their closest friendships have developed through attending these classes. Recently the community started an organisation for the preservation and promotion of Karen language and culture. Richard has been given a position on the committee and that has given him further opportunity to interact and be a help to leaders in the Karen community.
As Richard and Wendy have spent time getting to know people at a deeper level, they have been able to have deeper conversations. As they have discussed beliefs and worldviews with their friends, they have seen what appears to be a satisfaction and confidence in their belief systems. As they ask thought provoking questions, they get quick and confident answers. Only the Holy Spirit can convict people and bring them to a place where they are not satisfied with the lies that they believe and have a hunger for truth (John 16:8). Pray for the Holy Spirit to convict their friends of their sin and the need for the righteousness provided by God, the only salvation from judgement. Pray for Richard and Wendy as they talk and challenge these friends, that the Holy Spirit would guide them in their conversations.
Wendy’s mum Gwen Pierce has continued to stay with her sister in North-eastern Thailand. Recently Gwen went to the dentist to have a broken tooth fixed and the dentist discovered a cyst in her jaw bone, under her back teeth.
The specialist said that a biopsy is needed to see what needs to be done as far as removal of the cyst. This week she will get a biopsy and see what needs to be done next. Please pray for Gwen that she will have strength and peace as she has this done. She is quite nervous about it all. Pray for wisdom for the doctors in knowing how to treat the cyst.
Richard and Wendy are planning another trip to the UK and Ireland for the summer of 2018. The last time they visited was in 2012 and they would like to visit friends and relatives, many who have been faithful co-workers through prayer and support. Gwen is planning to travel with them for most of the time.