From the Field – SE Asia Report Part One – Jan. 1,2018
. Prov. 25:25 Good News from a far country is like cold water to a thirsty soul. What a way to begin the new year! Mark Bohde is doing independent mission work in SE Asia. In this emailing and the next one you have excerpts from his reports.
“… Normally, when I travel overseas it takes me about 24-25 hours from the time I leave my house until I arrive in Bangkok. If I go straight to Chiang Mai it normally amounts to about 29 hours. This year I decided to stop in Bangkok for a few days of rest and to adjust to the time change. There is an exact 12 hour difference between Houston, where I live, and Thailand. This time I also went to Vietnam first and taught there. In the past I have taught in Thailand first so I have always proceeded directly to Chiang Mai.
I stay at what the Thai call “discount hotels”. They are very inexpensive and save me a lot of money. I usually buy food from street vendors or markets because they are much cheaper than restaurants. I am quite comfortable at the discount hotels and find street vendor food to be much tastier than restaurant food.
When I travel, I pray and look for opportunities to share the Gospel. The Lord is always so faithful. I stayed at a hotel close to Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok. When I arrive I go to a mini-mart or seven-Eleven store to pick up small items that I need. Since the hotel had no laundry services, I decided to ask people in the area if there was a small laundry shop (usually in someone’s home) that I could walk to. Nobody knew of any. After I entered the mini-mart I saw two Western looking foreigners. The first only spoke German. The second one was from Norway. He said he knew where I could take my clothes. We walked back towards my hotel and stopped at a little open air coin operated laundry with a total of about four machines. Since I had traveled for such a long time, I thanked the Norwegian and went to my room. The next day after much needed rest, I sat outside on my balcony. Sitting on the balcony next to mine was the Norwegian man. We greeted each other and remarked about what a coincidence that we were in adjoining rooms. I knew the Lord had given me a great opportunity to share the Gospel. He invited me into his room. I found out that he came to the country for about 6 months every year. Like many foreigners, he was there for the sun, sand, and prostitutes. He told me that when he was a boy in Norway, he had gone to church but hadn’t gone in many years. I shared the Gospel with him and gave him a copy of the little witnessing book I sent … He was leaving in about 2 hours to head for a coastal town called Pattaya. He said he was glad we had talked. He was very receptive. It was my privilege to give him God’s Word. I knew that this was one of God’s appointments for me…”
Geographical location names are deleted in order not to cause problems in this next country with Bohde’s visa and the local Christians. If you would like to receive his reports directly you can contact him at comabo@consolidated .net
“… After my stop in Bangkok, I flew to … on October 1. I normally allow three days for each group training session, using 8-10 hours per day. I also keep the groups small at 15 people. The small groups allow me to respond to questions and comments. I have attached pictures of the groups…the first group that studied the book about spiritual warfare… the second group that studied the book on God’s Word. The second group had one young lady who is a senior leader for youth. Almost everyone was a pastor, even though they use the name leader if they don’t have any Bible training. The training went extremely well. The enthusiasm is great. They really appreciate the fact that we only study God’s Word. My goal in all of my instruction is to train the students thoroughly in God’s Word so that what they believe and what they teach agrees with God’s Word. I also teach comprehensively from Old and New Testaments so their Biblical foundation is strong. I take the long term approach that their doctrinal foundation will be firm. We will continue to study God’s Word thoroughly over the next couple of years. In addition, I make the books so that they have a reference and so they can teach others.
It becomes obvious rather quickly that they don’t know God’s Word. I hope by God’s grace to remedy that. Besides growing in knowledge, I also teach them to rely, not on their reason, but rather to rely on God’s Word to explain God’s Word. For example, we read from Genesis 4:
Gen 4:1 Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the LORD.”
Gen 4:2 And again, she gave birth to his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
Gen 4:3 So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground.
Gen 4:4 And Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering;
Gen 4:5 but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell.
Why wasn’t Cain’s sacrifice accepted? I have heard many different explanations. God’s Word explains why in Hebrews 11:
Heb 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Heb 11:2 For by it the men of old gained approval.
Heb 11:3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.
Heb 11:4 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.
God makes it clear that Abel’s sacrifice was accepted because it was offered in faith. One young pastor thanked me because he had thought God was being unfair to Cain before we looked at Scripture.
Now that I am getting to know the students better, they are beginning to tell me some of the issues they have to deal with in their congregations. There is a problem with young people living together outside of marriage. It is obviously very contrary to Scripture. We discussed that briefly, but will in the future study fellowship and church discipline according to God’s Word.
Another problem that came up was the issue of whether women can be pastors. Apparently this is a problem in the… A complicating factor is that the government has ruled that women can be pastors because there must be equality under …rule. While we will, in the future, study God’s Word on the orders of creation, I gave a short answer from Scripture:
1Co 11:1 Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.
Php 4:9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you.
Php 3:17 Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.
1Co 14:34 Let the women keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but let them subject themselves, just as the Law also says.
1Co 14:35 And if they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church.
1Co 14:36 Was it from you that the word of God first went forth? Or has it come to you only?
1Co 14:37 If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment.
1Ti 2:11 Let a woman quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness.
1Ti 2:12 But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.
1Ti 2:13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.
1Ti 2:14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being quite deceived, fell into transgression.
It is not possible to have women pastors or women teaching men if we imitate Paul (who imitates Christ).
I must be very discreet when I teach in … I walk to the house where we have the training by myself. They give me a hat to put on and I pull it down and keep my head down. If I am noticed, they told me the neighbors might call the police… At the upper floor where I teach, we are quiet and the shades or curtains are drawn so curious neighbors can’t see.
I praise the Lord for this wonderful opportunity. The response to God’s Word is exciting. We still have a long way to go, but according to God’s grace we are training leaders to be very sound in Biblical knowledge. The men can in turn teach others. “