New Years Day Celebration

New Year's Day Event with the Youth Group at the beach

New Year's Day Event with the Youth Group at the beach

New Years Day is already upon us. It is so hard to believe that 2013 is all in the past. I praise God for the dramatic changes that have taken place in my life and in our ministry this past year. This past year presented a lot of ups and downs. I was able to experience some amazing gains in relationships and opened doors and yet experience some amazing loses in loved ones and closed doors. However throughout it all, I realized the hand of God upon my life and my family. Truly He is my Shepherd. 

To celebrate the New Year, we had an amazing time of worship with the church youth group. It started out as an encouragement to the youth group on how to live in harmony as the body of Christ, but it ended up being much more. Several young people who had never heard the gospel before showed up and took part in fellowship. At the close of the message, the youth gathered in small groups to pray for each other for the New Year.  These small groups gave the Christian youth an opportunity to share the Lord with the non-Christians, and as a result at least 2 prayed to receive Christ into their hearts. 

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
— John 13:34

It was wonderful time in the Lord and a great way to start off the New Year. Jesus reminded His disciples of this.

The Hair Dresser Receives Christ

The day she heard the Gospel for the first time, she prayed to receive Christ.  That night, she also took down all the idols she had in her house, vowing to serve the One True God.

The day she heard the Gospel for the first time, she prayed to receive Christ.  That night, she also took down all the idols she had in her house, vowing to serve the One True God.

It never ceases to be a blessing to me when I have the priviledge of witnessing first-hand how the Lord leads another person to Himself, for it is usually done in such a miraculous way.  In Vietnam it is a custom for the ladies to go to the beauty shop once or twice a week to get their hair washed, head massaged and be generally pampered. The cost is around $1 USD so it is something the ladies can afford to do and actually need to do after working hard all week. My wife decided to join her aunt one afternoon for one of these special treats. 
As they arrived, the young lady who has just opened her shop was in great dismay. She began explaining to my wife that she just met this man on the internet from America and he began telling her about this Jesus who is the One who created her and had a plan for her life. My wife said, “Yes, this is right. God does love you and He does have a plan for your life and it is found only in Jesus Christ.” So for about two hours she asked Lien questions as Lien eplained about the Gospel. Lien suggested that she go out with us that night to drink coffee, so she could hear more about the Gospel. Lien returned home to share with me her experience and our plans for the night. 

We went to our favorite coffee shop to talk with her and I simply began with just how awesome God is and how awesome His love is for us. I walked right down the tracks of how one could become a child of God through faith in Jesus. I asked if she would like to place her faith in Jesus and pray to begin her relationship with Him as His child. She agreed and right there, in our favorite coffee shop, as the place was closing, she prayed to make Jesus Lord of her life. As soon as she finished praying, she asked if I could take down the Buddhas from her house. She had been a Buddha worshipper her whole life and had never heard the Gospel until earlier in that day. Once she prayed to receive Jesus into her heart, she knew she was only going to serve the One True God and needed to get rid of the idols she had erected in her unbelief. The Apostle Paul explains it like this: 

This is the Gospel itself, which has reached you as it spreads out all over the world. Wherever that gospel goes, it produces Christian character, and develops it, as it has done in your own case from the time you first heard and realized the truth of God’s grace.
— 1 Thessalonians 2:13

A Powerful Divine Appointment

One afternoon Lien and I were visiting Church members who had not been to Church in a while, as well a those who had been hurt or who simply wanted us to come and pray with them. This was an amazing afternoon for the Lord and He truly gave us some divine appointments. One of them was so powerful that I thought I should share it with you. 

A couple, who are leaders in the Church, had asked a while back if we could pray that the Lord provide them the ability to buy the land next to them so they could build a new house. We did pray and the Lord answered our prayers.  So they bought the land and started building their new house. Following the example of those who had been sharing the Gospel with the people building the new Church, they began to share with those who were building their new house. When we had arrived that afternoon to pray with them, they asked that we pray for the workers to receive Christ, for they had been sharing with them for weeks. We did pray and, well, as the Lord has a tendency of doing, He answered our prayers.

This couple shared the Gospel with those building their new house.  Two workers were led to the Lord as a result!

This couple shared the Gospel with those building their new house.  Two workers were led to the Lord as a result!

Once we finished praying with the couple, the woman went and asked the workers to come and hear the Gospel once more. As the men came and stood before us, I asked one of them for his name and he replied “Cuong”. Lien said, “It means Strength” so I began sharing with him how we think we are so strong and we are able to handle all that life gives to us. But then things start to happen. We loose our jobs, we don’t have food, we loose loved ones, our bodys get ill, and we soon realize that we are not “Strong (Cuong)” at all but actually we are weak and in need of help. I stepped right into the Gospel about how we cannot save ourselves, but God, who is All Powerful, has offered us salvation. I asked if he wanted to be saved by this strong God today and he immediately said, yes. 

After we prayed and congratulated them on their decision to receive the Lord Jesus as their God, they left to go home. The woman began to share with us that Cuong was once a school teacher, but fell into trouble and lost everything. He had became very poor and even spoke out loud several times while working on their house, “What is the use living, I would be better off dead.” Little did I know that he who thought he was “Strong” actually had become very weak due to his troubles, but God knew and rescued him.