On 25 September, our team of 8 set off to Chiang Rai, a province in Northern Thailand. Home to a myriad of hill tribes, our team worked in collaboration with the Akha Outreach Foundation (AOF), started by Pastor Aje and Sister Nancy in ministering to the orphans and the Akha villages. There are a few takeaways that have made this trip unforgettable for us.
On one of the night sessions, Leslie shared with the children and youth on how the song ‘Jesus loves me this I know’ spoke to him as a child and how God had brought him through his life. We then took the opportunity to minister to the children. Particularly, our team learnt that most of the children were going back to their villages the following week. This was something daunting for the children as many of them came from broken homes and did not have good relations with their parents.
Personally, it was my first time ministering and I did not know what to expect. Before praying, I thought to myself as to how much would the people I would be praying for understand what I’m praying due to the language barrier and since there will be no translator. But as our team began to lay hands on each individual and pray, the Holy Spirit began to move. Many were crying as the Holy Spirit began to minister. I too, whilst in a position of ministering, was touched by God’s presence and by how He was ministering to the children and healing their hurts. The Holy Spirit at work enabled them to receive in the Spirit although they may not have understood what was being prayed over them in the physical.
Sister Nancy subsequently told us that one of the boys had come up to share with the other children and youth the next day that the previous year he was supposed to go on an internship, but had instead engaged in smoking and drinking. During the ministry time, he was convicted of the wrongdoings and repented. He even told the rest of the youths not to follow in his footsteps. Praise the Lord!
Our team was also given the opportunity to minister to the staff at AOF. Prophetic words and promises were released over the staff that morning during the time of worship. Later on, one of the staff had said that the word of encouragement shared by the Cornerstone team was a poignant reminder for her to surrender her desires to God. Another too, shared that a word of knowledge and prayer by our team member, Ah Lay, had spoken and ministered to her deeply.
During the trip we also visited Huey Yuak, the most remote village under the network of AOF, to visit and minister to the Akha Church. Saddled on top of a hill was a church with a congregation of about 15-20 people. Esther, one of our team members shared a word with the congregation on Kingdom Living. Thereafter, an altar call was given to those who would like to be prayed for. Most of the members lined up in the front to receive a prayer of blessing or for healing. Similar to the earlier situation, there was no translator to translate every single word of our prayers for the people. But as we spoke in tongues and prayed over the individuals, the Holy Spirit began a work in them. An Akha woman in her traditional headdress, who looked like an elder in the village, had tears in her eyes too. This was something extraordinary as we had been told that the elders in the village tend to be more emotionless and serious. Nevertheless, God must have deposited something in them that touched the deepest end of their hearts. The Holy Spirit indeed is the universal language that transcends all language barriers.
The team with the church pastor and her husband
Esther, with two of the church members
We also visited another village and prayed for the silver smith’s son. He had a knee injury and we began to pray for healing. Later, he said his knee felt better and a headache he had been having since he woke up had left him. Subsequently, our team leader, Yunhe, felt led to ask if there was anything he was worried about. In the presence of his parents, he answered that he wanted his parents to get along with each other. Sister Nancy then explained to the couple the importance of loving each other and the impact it has on their children. She then led the husband to apologise to the wife. It was truly a touching moment to witness reconciliation, especially when patriarchy is deeply entrenched in the Akha culture. To top it off, that day happened to be their son’s birthday. What a precious birthday gift this was to him!
(Top) Praying for healing & (Bottom) Seeing marriages restored
The second couple we prayed for was also having problems in their marriage ever since the husband fell from the roof of their house. We worshipped the Lord and prayed for them and the wife later told us that she felt that the burden was lifted from her.
Throughout the trip, there were many other opportunities to pray for the sick, the hurting and to minister to the churches and households in the villages. As it says in the book of Philippians 3:10-11; “So that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Amen.
Written by Ruth, THA 01
In the midst of crowded streets and delicious phad-thai, the Couriers team left with a love for Chiangrai. We went to a ministry amongst the Akha people, led by a couple who has selflessly given decades to building a Bible school, run an orphanage and minister in the surrounding villages. It was the first time to Chiangrai for most of the team, but we saw a few things that made the 7-day trip memorable for many of us.
We visited two villages while we were there, village churches that were a part of the network under the Akha outreach foundation. During this time, we watched as villagers gathered for the Harvest Festival, a thanksgiving celebration. Church members brought the best of their increase and laid them – ranging from bananas, potatoes, cucumbers, and even live chickens (who contributed to the praise and worship). Dancing and songs of praise were lifted up as they thanked God for the new season of harvest. However, the highlights of these village services were the altar calls, especially for healing. A few of our team members had words of knowledge specifically for pain in the right ear, shoulder pains and several other identified sicknesses. As a result, many responded in faith for healing, and we saw God do miracles right in front of our eyes! One lady specifically came forward for prayer, and in response to the love of God received salvation – we later found out that she had been a witch doctor and had been resistant to the gospel many times before. Yet another old lady was healed of a persistent pain in her right ear, and another, of a pain in her shoulder too! After we enjoyed the food prepared by the locals, we began the drive back to the town area.
Most of our time was spent in the orphanage, where we had time with both the young children and teenagers for ministry. The young children were open to receive ministry, but the hardest group as we were told, were the teenage boys. On the fourth night, we had time separately with the teenage boys as team member David shared about the Father’s love. His wife, Michelle, then shared about growing up as men who respect women; in light of replacing the male-centric Akha culture with Kingdom values of respect and honour. As they shared stories from their own experiences as parents, we felt that the boys related well to the stories and became more and more open. During ministry time, something notably shifted in the atmosphere and we saw God move amongst them. The boys started gathering together in groups to pray for each other, minister to the ones whom they knew were going wayward, and even cry out for revival. We saw walls being broken down and the night session ended way past their bedtime because we couldn’t stop them from standing up one after another to share their testimonies. There was not one dry eye in the place as we heard the teenage boys confess about their year-long grudges and reconcile with each other. Many also shared about how they had bitterness towards their own parents for abandoning them, but had gotten breakthroughs that night as they felt the Father’s love for them. David had personally gone around hugging the boys as a representation of their fathers, and we did not realize how significant it was until many started recounting that something broke in their hearts towards their own parents as they did that.
One of the things that we were also excited about was how the Bible students had been empowered at the afternoon session. Winnie, our team leader, shared on the baptism of the Holy Spirit and many of the students, not being used to speaking in tongues, shared openly about the fear of receiving the baptism. However, as truths about it were taught during the meeting, many of these students thereafter responded to be baptized and by the end of the session, many were laid out on the floor, touched by the power of God and speaking in tongues. The team was so encouraged as we felt that ministry would continue past just our team’s visit, through the lives of these Bible school students.
One of the things that we were thankful for was also the synergy amongst the team members. All of us saw how what we lacked in one area of ministry, another filled in that. We saw how God worked through our different strengths as we sought to bless the church there as a whole. Indeed, one may be overpowered, two will withstand, but a threefold cord cannot be easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12). It was a distinctly memorable trip and most of us are already looking forward to where God would lead us to next year!
Written by Song Tingxin, THA 01