Saturday, August 6, 2011

Goodbye Bangkok!

Our time in Bangkok is done! here is a quick recap of what we've done so far:
  • · (In Korea) Learn about “abba” prayer, based on Romans 8:26. We ask the Holy Spirit to intercede for us and focus on God, not necessarily on our prayer requests…but in the process miracles happen!
  • · Take a 10 hour van ride to visit an IDP (internally displaced people) camp in Maesot, a city on the border of Thailand and Burma, to bring gifts and hear the stories of refugee orphans who had to travel through the jungle for three days to escape Burmese soldiers. One girl shared that she doesn’t know her birthday, but she guessed that she was around 12 years old. Even though she only just finished second grade, she was so grateful to be getting an education at the camp.
  • · Visit the slum community with Brenda and James Strombeck, where they go every week to provide dinner, play games, and do crafts with the children. Afterwards, we got to sit in on an English class they provide for free for the community. There have been churches that helped out this community before, but it was very conditional; if the community accepted Christ, then the church will help. Because of these scars, Brenda and James go simply to love the kids and have gained trust with them in the past few years.
  • · Travel up north to visit and learn about the Isan Fish Farm in Udon Thani, a part of SDRF (Sustainable Development Research Foundation).
  • · Visit The Well, a leadership and equipping ministry who reach women working in the bars to teach jewelry-making and other goods. Kiana, Rebekah, and I have been involved with outreach, where we go to the bars to develop relationships with the women involved in the sex industry.
  • · Participate in NS BKK verges (services), staff meetings, and help remodel the space and cafĂ©.
  • · Take a short trip to the island Koh Samet with our team along with some friends for team building and reflection.
  • · In the midst of it all, live out communitas; invite people to our home (or go to other people’s homes), eat together, listen to their stories, and encourage them with prayer. See how God is already moving in Bangkok!
Thanks to all our supporters and friends who've been praying for us. See u soon :D

Heart of the Father

In the parable of the prodigal son, the younger son goes off and wastes his inheritance on bad things and the older son stays behind, thinking that's what he was supposed to do. While most can relate to one of the sons, it's interesting to think that we should be striving to be more like the father. Upon the return of the younger son, the father not only embraces him but celebrates that which was once lost.

Three important points I took away from this story and trip:

- The heart of the father is to bless. Not to cast judgment or love someone any less because of mistakes that were made. Even when the son returned, he embraced him with love. This is something I've come to embrace after being in an unfamiliar area for over a month. To love unconditionally and continuing to bless, love and embrace no matter what...that's what we're all about.

- The father takes the initiative. In this story along with the parable of the lost sheep and coin, the image of the father is always seen as an initiator. He pursues with a love that's so unique and all he wants is for us to return to him. And even if it's just one small coin, after finding it, joy fills the place. Newsong is so good at this idea of going after the lost and the broken and in Bangkok I had the privilege to be apart of it. Our agenda is not to convert, but to love first and allow God's spirit to intervene in their lives.

- The Father offers a unique kind of love. God's love is so great and unique. It's a love that cannot force, constrain, push or pull, but instead, a love that needs to be freely received just as it's freely given.

Striving to be like the father isn't easy but it's a great mindset to have. The heart of the father is to bless, nothing more and nothing more and nothing less.

Praise on,

Michael Fukuda

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Potter's Hand

Last week, we had the privilege of meeting a man named Claude and his wife Sandra. Our team was invited to eat dinner with them and share experiences. Before arriving, we knew very little other than Claude being a potter, but for me, that was enough to raise excitement. I've never met a potter, nor have I had the chance to even see the process in action, so I let my imagination run wild as to what I would see. I knew that there would be a lot of strong biblical references, but nothing prepared me for what I would learn on this night. Here are some highlights:

The Food
When we arrived, it was around 7, so naturally...I was starving. We walked in and the first thing you see is a table with cups and other dishware, all different shapes, sizes and colors. I noticed that these cups and such were made by Claude and I examined them with care...until my nose caught a sniff of something delightful. I look in the small kitchen to my right and saw some delicious chicken wings that were prepared for our meal. I immediately thought, "Just like the pottery, the food was cooked to perfection." Later on, we got to taste it along with an indian dish. So. Good.

The Fire
I enjoyed this night partially because I got to ask a lot of questions that kept popping up in my mind. Everything was really amazing and I was intrigued by his abilities and equipment. For instance, he used an old barrel and turned it into something he can heat up to 1000 degrees (kind of acted like an oven for his pottery). As we were talking, he told me to come closer to see what it looks like from the inside. From my angle, it looked like he was sticking his head over the flames coming out the top...I thought he was joking. I've heard horror stories about people losing eyebrows and stuff from something as small as a burner in chemistry. I like my eyebrows, so obviously I was a little worried. When I took a little peak inside, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I don't think I've seen anything quite like it. Even though the flames burst out from the top of the barrel, the flames inside were moving as if in slow motion, revolving inside with a majestic glow. I thought it was a good example of how we should feel about God. Inside we're burning hot, because we know God's love and his enduring promises, but it gets to a point where we just cannot contain it any longer.

The Potter
After dinner, we got to see a demonstration of the beginning process where Claude turns a blob of clay into something beautiful. While he gave us a demo of what he does, I kept thinking, "that looks pretty simple." Never should have thought that. HAHA We had the option of trying to make something using the techniques he showed us. The first thing you have to do is center the clay as the wheel spins. When it was my turn, I felt like the clay had full control over my body; my arms were shaking and I had no control, but with Claude's help, I got things under control. As I continued to make something out of nothing, I got to see how even the slightest movements will affect everything. So much thought and detail has to be put into his process. It's cool to think of a design in your head and trying to create it. We all just made bowls, but we all got a little taste of what God does for everyone; he's the potter and puts so much thought and love into each and everyone of us. And just like me upon completion, he looks upon his creation with a huge smile and thinking "that looks amazing!" The things we make with our own hands provides us with so much joy, I can't even begin to fathom how God must feel about all of us.

Claude and Sandra
They are an amazing couple. They seem to have so much fun together and love to poke fun at each other. They truly love each other and it's a refreshing sight to see. They were so nice and hospitable. They treated us as if we were the first guests they've ever had. What really struck me was when Sandra kept thanking us for joining them and she looked like she was about to cry. In that moment I felt so loved and cared for.

Claude and Sandra are both incredible in their own ways. Claude's passion for pottery goes far beyond just a simple hobby, but rather an outlet for creativity. His excitement in what he does and the beauty in everything he makes is so obvious...he got all of us super excited too. You can tell that nothing will ever stop him from pursuing this with all that he has. Sandra is an outstanding supporter. Not only does she just like what he does, but she loves it just as much as Claude does. She would say comments like "Claude, look at that! Isn't that beautiful?!" Even while he was explaining how he does everything, her eyes were fixated on him and the things he was saying, agreeing with everything with such confidence. Overall, in every aspect of this night, it was full of blessings and real life examples. We were so blessed to have had the opportunity to meet with them. Our prayers go out to them as they get the word out about his pottery. God has blessed him so much with this unique ability. I praise God for giving us the chance to experience being the potter and the joy in gazing upon our own creation. I'm constantly remind that he delights in me and loves me just the way I am.

Praise on,

Michael Fukuda

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Just flow with the Holy Spirit

Today I got to take a picture with the chef at that nearby restaurant. He’s the one who has heart problems. Since Ki-Lang wasn’t there, I told him in all the Thai words and various hand motions that I thought he was a great chef, and that I would be praying to God (“Prajow”) for his heart! Yay! :) That might have been the last time our team would get to eat there since we are leaving soon :(

Also, Mike, Josh, Kiana, and I went out with Ki-Lang for the night. When we were coming back to our apartment, we got into a taxi cab with a nice man who was willing to turn on the meter. Then he broke the ice by playing music and letting Ki-Lang sing/dance to it. This opened up a huge conversation between all of us and the taxi driver could speak English! He told us how he used to work with ISUZU and had travelled half the world. He had been to Japan, Germany, Australia, Singapore, etc.

Then he said that “If you have enough money, you should help others.” Ki-Lang followed that by telling him that he really liked what the taxi driver said because in the Bible, Jesus says that if you are rich, but your soul is dead, then there is no meaning.

We told him how we were here to help with a church, and we invited him to come to the church party this Saturday at Newsong. Ki-Lang got his phone number, called his phone, in which caused the taxi driver to say “Listen to my ringtone!!” Hahah it was great.

Yeah I really hope he comes to church on Saturday! :D


out of the city

A few weeks ago our team got to visit an IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camp. Well, the 8 hour trip to the town of Maesot was amazing and we got to stay at the IDP for a few hours. The camp is hidden from the road and you have to walk down a steep pathway to get to the buildings that are made out of cement, bamboo, and dried leaves. We got to witness the community of teachers and adults who cared for 25+ children. Many of the children were orphans and had trekked through the jungle from Burma to arrive at this safe haven. It was a privilege to play with the kids, sing and dance to “Father Abraham”, and eat with them. Personally, this trip to Maesot was really eye-opening for me because I got to hear the stories of some of the children. One of the 18-year old girls told us how she had traveled 3 days through the jungle. Also, her father had passed away of sickness trying to hide in the jungle. She wants to learn and study and is currently learning the equivalent of 6th grade schooling. Another girl was 12 years old and is learning the equivalent of kindergarten schooling. She had traveled one day to get there and her father died from a landmine. It was a scary reality for me to hear these young children’s’ experiences. No child should ever have to experience that trauma and pain. Saying goodbye was hard even though I had only gotten to play with them for a few hours. Some of their faces were so happy and I loved seeing the smiles on their faces. It’s crazy that we had to leave the camp in the early afternoon because if we left too late, we would face the risk of robbers and marauders on the street! So ridiculous.

Another trip we made outside of Bangkok was to the city of Udon-Thani. We travelled and spent the whole day there, meeting the staff of SDRF (Sustainable Development Research Foundation). We got to tour the fish farms that SDRF has been creating. They breed tilapia and sell it to local and global markets. All the workers there were Thai and SDRF had helped them create a sustainable business. That trip was also cool because the SDRF staff was truly inspiring. We talked with them for hours and got to gain from their wisdom.

Two friends from home, Nancy and Emma, came to visit us in Bangkok. They came to Thailand for vacation and rest, but our team got to spend time with them. I am really grateful for the conversations that I got to have with them because they both helped me in the place that I am at. I definitely learned a lot from them both and also got to become better friends and sisters in Christ with them both. ☺

God's Light in the Red Light District

The biggest thing I want to share with you is our involvement and experiences with the Red Light Districts. On July 21st, Annette, Kiana, and I joined a sister from Newsong named Sophia and went to the Red Light District in Nana (an area in Bangkok). Sophia has been doing ministry with the bar girls for years now and she agreed to let us join her in her ministry. Our team had gone to the Pat Pong red light district twice before and had walked around to see with our own eyes and hearts the reality of sex-trafficking and the sex-slave industry.
Sophia brought the three of us into a bar in the Nana red light district. I walked through the curtained door. Top-less girls, ages ranging from 13 to 45 or I don’t know. I sat down with Sophia at a table while Annette and Kiana sat at the table a little way down from us.
Sophia instantly greeted one of the girls that was dancing on the right stage. The girl smiled, waved, and definitely seemed overjoyed that Sophia was there. Sophia ordered water and I ordered a Coke because you are required to buy a drink when you enter those bars.
Finally the girl could step down from the stage and ran to Sophia. They hugged and Sophia introduced me. Due to security reasons, I will not say the girl’s real name and will call this girl Katie. Sophia told me that since she has been doing ministry for a while now, she has known Katie for a few months and has visited her consistently. Sophia introduced me to Katie and shared that Katie is 30 and has two kids (ages 4 and 2). Katie asked us if we could buy her a drink, and I gladly told her yes, of course!
So here is the deal. These girls cannot come and talk to any “customers” unless the customer buys them a drink. The girls have to keep dancing and dancing on stage and work from 6 P.M. to 2 A.M. Most of the girls cannot read or write in Thai and it is difficult for them to get a good-paying job. At this bar, they get paid approximately $300 per month, but they have to work every single day, only have 2 sick days per month, and must get bought out 7 nights out of the whole month. For each drink that a customer buys for a girl, that girl only receives $1 towards her salary. It costs about $23 for a customer to buy a girl for the night, and the customer can do whatever he or she wants with the girl for the entire night.
I learned that for Katie, she works because she needs to send money back to her mother and brother who are taking care of her children. She told me that she doesn’t want to work in the bar, but she can’t get a job anywhere else and jobs such as being a waitress do not pay enough and many places do not want her because she is not educated.
Well, I asked Katie if she wanted to come to our Newsong Sunday service that weekend, and to my surprise, she said yes! She also told me that she wanted to share her story with us, but it was really painful and would probably take hours and hours. The thing I loved about Katie was that she was happy and joyful the entire time she was talking, but you could still see the pain and tears in her eyes. Anyway, the night was ridiculously eye-opening, and the new experience led me to meet a sister that I knew God just wanted us to love on her and lead her back to Him.
Well, we left the bar after an hour there because Sophia said it starts getting crazier as the night gets later because there are more customers. To finish the night, Sophia brought us to a nearby hotel and told us that we could see women being sex-trafficked there. Inside, there was a normal-looking restaurant, but inside there were about 10 women who were there waiting to be bought for the night. None of the women were Thai, and it was scary knowing that the issue of human sex-trafficking is a global issue.
Sunday rolled around and I was really anxious at church to see if Katie would show up at church. It sucked though because that whole weekend I had food poisoning. Kiana prayed for me at church that my stomach wouldn’t hurt the entire day so I could enjoy the time at church and with the girls from the bar. Lo and behold, my stomach was fine for the rest of the day and for the rest of the trip! Praise God!
Anyway, Sophia walked into Newsong with Katie along with 2 other girls from the bar!! I was SO HAPPY. I recognized one of the other girls (we’ll call her Lucy) because I saw her at the bar. Lucy has 4 children, 2 of them from relations with customers from the bar. She also shared with our team that the father of the other two Thai children had passed away in the tsunami of 2004. The third girl from the bar (we’ll name her Daisy) was 21 years old and was a waitress at the bar. She gets paid only $100 per month, must work every day of the month, and customers are also allowed to buy her out for the night as well.
Well, they told us that they really enjoyed service and felt safe at Newsong. Lucy had gone to church once before, but she told us that she wasn’t welcomed there. I guess it was a new experience for them because they felt welcomed since so many people wanted to talk with them and get to know them.
After church, we went to a food court and got to hear more about Lucy. Abe and Annette really spoke truth to her in response to her sharing, and it was just an overall good time. Then, we all went BOWLING! ☺ It was such an amazing time taking the girls out bowling because you could tell they hadn’t gone bowling in a really long time. Also, being able to cheer them on and celebrate with them when they got strikes, spares, or any pins was amazing. They had huge smiles on their faces and it was such a blessed time. It was crazy too because they still had to work that night, but were willing to go a little late, which they get docked off $1 per minute that they are late. I told them that we would hopefully see them again on Thursday when we went to visit the bar again with Sophia.
The Thursday after, July 28, Annette, Kiana and I joined Sophia again to go to the same bar. This time, we bought a drink for Katie, Lucy, Daisy, and two other girls that Annette and Kiana were talking to. Every 15 minutes, the bar girls would have to rotate shifts for dancing on the stage, even if a customer has bought them a drink. So I talked with Katie and Lucy whenever they were able to sit with us. Sophia noticed that Katie didn’t have her usual happy persona and asked her what was wrong. Katie said that her family had been calling her all week telling her that she wasn’t making enough money and needed to sent more money to them to pay for her children’s schooling. You could tell she was really stressed out. Lucy also told us that her son was in the hospital because he had gone frog hunting at a river, stepped on a glass bottle which cut his foot, and his foot got infected. We told her that we would be praying for her son. Then, I felt like God was pressing on my heart to share something about Him, maybe a Bible story, I had no idea. I ended up telling her about my experience in Mexico last year when I prayed for someone, and God healed his back. I didn’t really know why I shared that, but I continued to tell her a little more about our God. Lucy can’t read Thai, so we decided to try to find her a talking Bible or audio version of the Word. I also shared with Lucy about my own experiences with losing loved ones. I guess the whole night was good being able to see the girls again and talk with them. I asked if they were coming to church again on Sunday and they said yes! ☺
So Sunday, July 31st, Katie and Lucy came to church again. Dave Gibbons was speaking and he also got to meet them. The girls had only 2 hours of sleep, and I was surprised they still came to church. We got lunch and went karaokeing. The girls seemed really tired, but they would sing occasionally.
That night, all of us had dinner with Newsong staff. Katie and Lucy came, and there were a lot of people there, including Dave, Mrs. Lee, Newsong Bangkok Staff, and Dan Park. After eating, Dave asked if Katie and Lucy could share a bit about themselves. They shared about their families and Lucy also explained how she felt that whenever Sophia comes into the bar, she brings God into their lives. That was really encouraging because Sophia said that was the first time Lucy ever said the word “God.” Katie began to share her story as well, and then she said, “Wait, I want to hear all of YOUR stories!”
Thus began the long hour of sharing, going all around the table, each person sharing their name, maybe how they became a Christian, their pains and their joys. It was a crazy time of intentional sharing, and when it came to my turn, I felt the Holy Spirit pressing on my heart so I shared my biggest temptations and some of my deepest pains. It was really scary because more than half of the people sitting at the table had never heard my story and Dave Gibbons was sitting 2 seats away from me!! But after, Shannon and Dave came up to me and thanked me for being vulnerable and for opening my heart. The night was such a great time because it was true community and it was cool to open up the community to the two girls too.
It was also super crazy because the girls had actually bought themselves out for the night, which is around $23, just so they could spend time with us!! Later, Mrs. Lee gave them money to cover the cost for buying themselves out for the night. I’m glad that everyone was so quick to serve and love them, and they definitely seem to want to keep coming to church! ☺ God is soooo good!!!
I think this has definitely been one of the greatest experiences from this trip. Seeing the inner beauty of the girls even in a place that may seem dark and forsaken. God is definitely just crying out for these girls to come back to him. Most of the girls definitely do not want to be in this business, but they are trapped. What God has done in these past few weeks has been amazing and please keep praying for all of these girls. Sophia told us that she would stay connected with us, so that if we want to send messages to the girls, she can relay it to them. God is so good!!!
I hope this encourages you! If you have any questions about this, ask me when I come home in 4 days!! I should be at Newsong Irvine this Sunday (second service)!

Love, Rebekah

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Love Love Love

I just got back from our second week at the bars with Sophia. Annette, Rebekah, and I have started to develop relationships with some of the dancers at a bar in one of Bangkok’s red light districts. Three of the girls actually came out to Newsong on Sunday and were so blessed to take them to lunch and bowling. I think its been great to just give these girls, an opportunity to just have fun and to know that we see them as people, beautiful and worthy. I think someone already wrote about Lak’s story on the blog. It was the first time she got to tell her story. I can’t imagine going through so much pain in her life, and still having to raise four kids on her own. Even if she wanted to get out of the bar, she needs the money, and there doesn’t seem to be any other options. So many dilemmas like this have started to haunt me. I know we are leaving in a week, and can’t promise these girls that we can save them from their situations. Most of them work two jobs, have multiple kids to feed; Lak says she only gets 2-3 hours of sleep every night. I want more than anything to rescue them from this life. Tonight I felt so overwhelmed knowing the industry is spreading to other streets in Bangkok. More demand means more supply, which means more trafficking. There is so much to be done.

It’s kind of a slow process, but this entire trip I’ve been learning to seriously just lean into God and quiet all my worried thoughts, and just try to bless people by loving them. In short, I have to focus on my heart and make sure its right with God in order to love all these beautiful people we meet. Tonight Annette and I were talking to a girl named Noi. It was our second week calling her over to our table. She was sick this week. It was kind of awkward to pray in the bar, but I prayed for her throat. After I gave her the flower clip that was in my hair. She always wears hair accessories. It looked so appropriate on her. Annette told her that she was beautiful on the outside (pointing to her face) and “in here” pointing to her heart. I know she felt something in that moment. Something about her is just so sweet and innocent, even in the occupation she works. In that bar, trying to just take in the situation before us with a humble posture, it’s so much easier to see how much God loves her. I feel like that was all God wanted from us--- to just tell her that. I think we will probably see her Sunday.

Yesterday we went with the Strombecks to the largest slum in Bangkok. They go to the slums every Wednesday night, feed and play with the kids, and teach English to the adults. Brenda and James were explaining that one of the boys used to be one of their greatest challenges. He used to trample over all the crafts and interrupt all the lessons. One week James decided to set aside Thai mores and hug and encourage him. On Wednesday he was part of a group of boys working on b-boy moves. I think I saw this boy do 3 back-hand springs in a row, in his shoes, on the concrete of the temple. All he needed was someone to believe in him, and something to strive for (in this case break-dancing), and now, he’s more or less thriving. We only have one more week here. I know I’m going to be heartbroken to leave. Pray that God teaches us so much does a lot with us and with the people around us in this last week. See you guys soon!

God of this City

Bangkok is an amazing place, full of life and full of possibilities. Since being here God has been speaking so clearly to all of us. We've been learning how important it is to create space for our lives to be "interrupted" by God. Holy interruptions that are the real life that we get to live out. God is here, and God wants to show you things and speak to you. (Applicable anywhere you are).

video shot by our friend Andres

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

bowling with an amazing mom

Our friend Sophia, who's involved with the Well, who does ministry with women in the bars, took the girls on our team to a Bar to talk to girls that were working there. During that night we heard from our girls on the team, that they were shocked to see these Bar Girls parading themselves topless to men who would buy a drink from them and take them out for the night. The girls on our team took the time to get to know a few bar girls with the help of our friend Sophia, and invited them out to newsong bangkok on sunday morning as they worked every nite.

After service one of the ladies, who's name is Lak, shared with us how this church was so different from what she expected. I spoke on lies and truth that morning, and she said that everyone in the bar told her not to go to church today as they said there was nothing for her here. I shard Philippians 4, about the God of peace being with us as we focus on what is true and noble and putting that into practice. I believed she felt God's presence and we all went out to have lunch.

Over lunch she shared a heart breaking story of how her boyfriend from a few years ago tragically died during the Tsunamis in 2004, and has raised her son and 3 other kids from other relationships since then, she was raising 4 kids, plus supporting her brother and family members by working as a Bar girl.

I told her she was an amazing mom for sacrificing so much and loving her family despite how difficult her work is, she doesn't want to do it, but its the only way she can make some money, she is illiterate and even worked in construction to make ends meet but it was not enough. When I told her this, she started crying and i couldn't fight my tears back either. I shared Psalm 23 with them, so they could hold onto truth before they would go to sleep.

After Lak shared we went of to Bowl. Had a blast bowling and hanging out at the disco/tech bowling alley. After that Lak and her 2 friends had to go to work for the night.

It was a true honor to hang with them and hear their story.

more to come.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

God answered

Greetings again from Bangkok. In my previous update, I discussed the hero in John 6 and how he was in the right place at the right time. If you haven't read it, do so now. It makes this blog even more meaningful.

Last Sunday morning, our team helped take care of the kids during service. Those little rascals were rowdy, but they were pretty fun and full of energy! Bekah prepared a lanyard for one of the kids but then wanted us to do it for I decided to do it (growing up in summer camp, it was a fun craft that made the time go by faster). After working on it for a day, Bekah helped me make it into the shape of a fish. It was pretty cool and it felt good to finish it! I placed in my pocket and forgot about it.

The next day, we visited an organization called the Well with Sophia from Newsong Bangkok. It's a group that focuses on sex trafficking victims, but they also try to take in their families as well. So any kids or boyfriends/husbands are encouraged to come too. Overall it makes it better for the women and their progress towards staying out of that job market.

After sitting in on a worship time with about 20 women and a few men, we stopped by the child care center. We met Pi Lek (Pi is used to acknowledge someone older), the woman who cares for up to 10 kids of the women at the Well. She really needed prayer because she's been struggling as of late, so we gathered and prayed.

As she was thanking us for taking the time to pray with her, I was just sitting there and listening with my hands in my pockets and I realized I still had the lanyard. All of a sudden my heart began to race as I felt like I was supposed to give it to her as a symbol for something. I've never been so overwhelmed by the spirit to move in such a way; naturally I was afraid of a potentially awkward situation...but when I saw that this was an opportunity that couldn't be missed, I pulled it out of my pocket. I asked Sophia to translate for me and I shared with Pi Lek that I felt like I was supposed to give the lanyard to her as a symbol and reminder of God's love and presence in her life. She examined it and grasped my hand, both of us holding back the tears. And she said thank you over and over again.

I completely forgot that I wrote about John 6 in the previous post. And when I mentioned at the end about that fateful day where we will all be in the right place at the right time, I never would have guessed that it would happen in the next week. Pi Lek was so thankful, but I was even more blessed for God's intervention in my life and using me to be a blessing. If it wasn't for Sunday working with the kids or had I emptied my pockets, this may not have happened. It was an honor to be a vessel for God's everlasting love to Pi Lek. Praise the Lord!

Praise on,

Michael Fukuda


July 21, 2011 Thursday Night

Today’s lunch was at a local restaurant that serves the best basil pork rice dish and garlic pork…yummy. This was our third time eating here and I guess you can say we were becoming regulars. After we were stuffing our faces, Ki-Lang ordered one more plate and told the 50+ year-old chef to make any dish for him. The dish was pretty good, but that was when the chef began talking to Ki-Lang, in Thai of course so I couldn’t understand. The chef began to pat his heart and I guess he went on to share that he has an irregular heartbeat. He used to smoke and doesn’t smoke anymore, but their shop has to close by 5pm every day because he has to rest due to his heart problem.

I kept asking Ki-Lang to translate and decipher what the chef was saying. I could feel my heart gravitating towards this friendly old man who had the purest smile. I’m pretty sure he was Buddhist due to the shrine in the back corner of the shop. I told Ki-Lang to tell the chef that I thought his food was the BEST (it is truly extremely good). The chef smiled and nodded.

I asked Ki-Lang, “Hey is it weird if you tell him that I will be praying for his heart condition?” Ki-Lang told the chef that I would be praying to “Prajow” (God) and the chef bowed and said thank you.

Here is when it got really weird.

So…in the past few years I think I’ve been learning how to listen to God’s voice and how to recognize it. Therefore, from previous experiences, I knew that the voice I was hearing at this very moment was definitely God. It was just pressing on my heart like BAM BAM BAM SAY IT SAY IT.

In my head I was conversing with myself, “Say, ‘The God of Israel can heal your heart.’”

“No, Rebekah, don’t say it. What are you going to do? Pray for him right here and now? What if you pray and he isn’t healed? Then what? He’s going to be pretty hurt and mad that what you said didn’t come true.”

“What are you so scared about? Do you not believe that God can heal this man? Do you not remember how God has healed people around you and yourself in the past? What do you believe?”

“Stop it, Rebekah. Believe in Jesus’ power. Jesus, HELP ME WITH MY DISBELIEF!”

We got up and left the restaurant. I bowed excessively to the chef and the other waitresses. “Kap Kun Ka!”

Yeah, the next half hour consisted of talking it out with other team members and really analyzing and figuring it out in my head. When it comes to prayer and healing, I believe that we should pray truly believing in the power of our God. I believe that we should pray for physical healing, but especially for their hearts that they may come to know Christ because that is what is truly eternal. I think that God has a plan and whether it is in his will or not to heal right at that moment, or slowly, or never, is all up to Him. He is our God and He knows what is best, even if our earthly minds cannot comprehend His ways.

Today, I think God opened a door for me, but I chickened out. The main question it left me with was, do I truly believe that God can heal? Where is my faith in my God of Israel, the one who parted the Red Sea, who healed the blind, who conquered death, who chose to love me?

Jesus, help me with my disbelief. Amen.

Be Bold. Be Strong. Joshua 1:9.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Brain storm

Newsong Bangkok is one of the most spirit filled, alive, & dynamic communities i have been part of. Had the privilege to be part of the Newsong BKK team back in 2005, since then it's come along quite nicely.

Great to be part of the community again, there's life transformation going on, pain is being shared, hearts are being healed.

Our team had a chance to sit in on a Newsong staff meeting to help add value and hear God's direction on a few element of NSBKK

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Friday, July 15, 2011


I've been learning so much, I feel like I could write a book. I think the loudest piece of wisdom I've been hearing is that the things I do don't matter as much as having the right heart first. The past couple of days we spent time near the border of Myanmar and Thailand. We got to spend some time at an IDP camp for orphans. I'd say there were 20-30 kids there and about 5 adults including their teachers there to care for them. After spending only a couple hours with them, and eat their delicious food harvested in the jungle, we spent some time praying for the kids and then Hearing the stories of two of the girls. Their stories were tragic. One girl had to sleep in the jungle every night to run away from the junta and walk three days to get to the refugee camp. The other girl's father had died while stepping on a land mine. She wasn't even sure of her age. Of course those things are so hard to hear. Sometimes all I want to do is rescue kids like this and hug them forever. But even after their stories, both girls were smiling. This camp was beautiful, in the middle of the jungle surrounded by green, mist and mountains. Even more beautiful was the community they lived in. All the babies being looked after by everyone. Everything was shared. It's easy to see that these girls had hope and hope is healing their lives. I know they have more needs still. The organization can't afford to send the older ones to school. Most of the shelters don't have walls. But beautiful things are happening there. It makes me think, when hearing people's stories and deciding how to help, I really need to pay closer attention to what God is already doing.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

God's Children

We've been in Northern Thailand for the last 3 days. Took over 12 hours to a small little orphanage.

In the middle of the jungle

School with no walls

Encouragement for the kids

Kids loving biscuits and blankets we were able to pass out

Being out here to see how much safer they are compared to their past, brought joy to our hearts.

Now we prepare for another long drive back home.

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

John 6

A few days ago, we met a man named Poom. While he may think otherwise, he is a young man who spoke a lot of wisdom to us in such a short time.

One thing he briefly mentioned has stuck in my head and on my heart as if God had stapled it there. He talked about the hero from John 6. As I sat there being stubborn and wanting to remember John 6 on my own, I couldn't think of any hero besides Jesus (hah). Poom later explained that the hero is the boy with the five loaves of bread and two fish.

My mind was blown. Thinking back on all the times I've read through that particular passage, I unfortunately remember the miracle that took place there but not the boy. It's amazing to think of all the times I've read the bible focusing only on Jesus and the miracles that happen and missing a big name.

Sometimes heroes are overlooked. Sometimes they come in the form of a person without a name. This one knows who he is. He was there at the right place and the right time. Isn't that what God does for us? He places us exactly where we need to be just in time to work for his glory. Heroes will come in the most unlikely individuals and it's not bad for us as his children to dream of being a hero. Just like that little boy on that fateful day, we will be at the right place just in time to feed the five thousand.


On a lighter note, I survived crossing my first street in Asia with fierce taxi drivers and motorcyclists speeding towards us a couple days ago. Quite exciting to say the least!

Also, no food poisoning for me. Praise the Lord.

Praise on,

Michael Fukuda

Divine Interruptions

This past friday we went out early in the morning to do some grocery shopping and right afterward we went to this local area for lunch. As we were settling down to eat, Kiana was stopped by this old asian lady that had bandages on her left foot that was asking for money. She talked to this lady for a bit and then motioned for me and Rebekah to come over. She tells us that she thinks the lady is speaking in chinese and asked if we could possibly translate that she wanted to pray for her. Between bekah and I's poor chinese we were able to explain what Kiana was doing. After we finished praying for her foot, Fukuda offers her his bowl of noodles. She was completely bewildered at first. She wasnt sure what we were doing, but in chinese we explained that we would like for her to join us for lunch. So she sat down and proceeded with lunch. Throughout the meal I tried to make conversation with her about where she was from and what she was doing in thailand. She explained that about 2 months ago she and some family and friends had come to thailand for some vacation, but she had injured her foot. A thai hospital had taken her in and sown up her foot and allowed her to stay till she recuperated without charging her a cent. However, since it awhile the people that were with her have since left but she had no money to get back home. As we talked some more, she shared a little about her family. She told us that she had 4 kids and 3 grandkids and that they were all back in China: she was the only one here and was anxious to get home. (She was from just outside Wuhan city in Hu Bei province.) We also asked if she had heard about Christ and if she knew what christians were. She explained, after some effort, that she's heard of christians and she believes that they are good people cause they do good things, and that we were examples. She mentioned that there was a church in the area and she hears them praying and worshipping every week. She thanked us for praying for her and asked for our names. We wrote down our names and bekah and I's email. She said she was gonna give our names to the church when she got back so that they could pray for us and that we would be welcome when we go China. She also wasn't a believer and said she was busy taking care of the grandkids, but she said she would check out the church when she gets back home. We also got her name and a picture with her before we went our separate ways. Thank you lord for the faithful encounter with: mrs. yuan ze yu, an old chinese lady is now our contact in hu bei.

The experience was not only amazing because we were able to pray, share a meal, and the gospel. I've always prided myself of being taiwanese and bilingual, but to leave the country and use what God had given me was a reminder of the sovereignty of God and how he has plans no matter where I am.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

God of the Redeemed

Last night we visited the red light district; a place full of darkness and loss souls. At first I couldn’t bring myself to look inside the bars or even make eye contact with people who were selling stuff. But as I began to wonder about this, I realized the Holy Spirit was working within me. As I started to pray for God to reveal more to me, a lot of deep insecurities began to surface. I was immediately judgmental rather than loving. I couldn’t help but to see them in a different light. As I continued on, I was filled with pain and discomfort; my heart was breaking as I wondered why this was happening. I wondered how I could be of any use; I am after all only one man…one very lost and broken man. It’s easy to remember the simple truths like “God uses the least to lead His kingdom” but my heart is always drowned in insecurities.

This night was emotionally and spiritually draining. After debriefing I showered and tried to sleep. As I laid in bed, I still felt uncomfortable as my heart was still shattered. What I shared in debriefing didn’t do any justice to the thoughts on my mind; the tears that were shed as my soul wept. Knowing that I couldn’t possibly go to sleep like this, I listened to a song called Hope’s Anthem. He is where my hope lies and in Him alone. He is my anchor, never shaking. He brings hope to the hopeless, giving his heart to the broken. He is my joy. Let hope arise.

On that note, I fell asleep knowing that God is ever present and maybe my calling is simply to be here in Thailand; to pray as I walk; to live out Romans 12:1-2 and striving for making worship a lifestyle.

God is my everlasting love. He is the God of the redeemed. He had to bring me all the way out here to teach me something. If you have time…read through James 2, Romans 2, and while you read listen to Hope’s Anthem and God of the Redeemed by Bethel on YouTube. Maybe you’ll get a tiny glimpse of what’s on my heart right now.

Here's the links to the videos:

Hope's Anthem:

God of the Redeemed:

Praise on,

Michael Fukuda

mercy triumphs over judgement

Abe decided to take our team to Pat Pong, one of the red-light districts in Bangkok. We walked down three streets. The first-, also doubling as a night-market, catering to the general crowd, the second- the street catering to the demand for boys and lady boys, and the third- serving mostly a Japanese clientele. After walking down the first street, I didn’t feel as much of a shock as some of our team experienced. I’ve spent a lot of time in Asia- I’ve seen this scene before. What stood out to me more was a group of 3 women sitting at a stoop. The two on the sides were reading tarot cards. The third woman, in the middle was crying. After debriefing with our team, I realized that maybe God wanted to show me the pain that exists when He is neglected. The woman was crying. I don’t know why, but it struck me. Walking past the prostitutes and their customers on Pat Pong didn’t shock me. Maybe, I was looking at the supply of women and the demand provided by customers as an equation- a scenario- a problem to resolve. I knew the pain was there. And I chose not to see it until the end of the street, with the women playing tarot cards. I admire Rebekah for connecting to the hearts of these women through their eyes and opening up herself to feel their hurt. I feel like now, thinking about life back at school or in Orange County, how often I guard myself from seeing the pain or hurt or loneliness in someone’s eyes. While we were in Korea, I saw a man wearing a shirt with arms breaking chains and Romans 6:22 written below it. He breaks chains. He sets his children free from sin, loneliness, despair, heartache, disappointment, addictions, insecurity, failure, the list goes on. Mike kept thinking of the word ‘slavery’ while were walking around in down there. While debriefing and praying tonight, I couldn’t help thinking about the invisible world present in Pat Pong. He’s already fighting. Your angels are fighting. Maybe I have to release myself from being guarded to see it and fight along side Him and help release people from their chains.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Independence Day

We're in Thailand now, getting settled into our apartment. we had a long full day, we went to Newsong bangkok, got to jam with the worship team, met an old friend, got to check out a b-boy battle in siam, and even got to walk the red-light district with our team. Seeing and learning new things. Key words from today's debrief: Pain, Slavery, Individuals (Luke 15), Anger, Injustice, and Protection.

Also wanted to share about the hospitality of our korean hosts. we mentioned on july 4th, that it was Independence day, and if they had fireworks we can get. we stopped by a shop and got some fireworks. Here's a video:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Trust Beyond Understanding

With today being our last day in Korea and a long bus ride to the airport ahead of us, we picked up a BUNCH of steamed buns to hold us over. Words cannot describe how delicious these buns are. Throughout this trip, I encountered a lot of good food and I always had something to say but this was different. I normally don't like red bean but this was bearable for the deliciousness that I experienced. What's even more amazing is the story behind that little shop that was the source for these little drops of heaven.

The owners of this shop are 4 women who attend the church that Abe's father is the pastor of. Together, they come up with an amount that they want to give to God and from there, whatever money they make (no matter what the amount) they give that exact number. This is all given before they touch any of the profits. If they don't hit that number, they pay the difference out of their own pockets. (INCREDIBLE!) Once that money has been given to God, they split up the profits amongst themselves and with that profit they TITHE 10% (WHAT IN THE WORLD...).

For me, something I've been thinking about during this trip is offering. Not just money, but other means as well. While I do give time to God both in service and personal time, when that offering basket comes around, more often than not, I pass it along. Sometimes I don't have cash (but I can give online), sometimes I only have large bills (does that matter?), and sometimes I just feel like I don't have enough money to give to God. What's up with that mentality? If I can't give now as a college student, how much more difficult would it be when I have a job and the amount I should give is even more?

This story of the steamed buns really hit home inside my heart. The trust that they have in God is so incredible and apparently, their business is flourishing. Sure, there are probably months where they don't meet that magic number, but how awesome is it to see God come through for them EVERY MONTH as they offer what they don't even have yet. Simply amazing what God can reveal to us in new environments!

Praise on,


Bangkok Bound

After two and a half days of prayer and delicious hospitality we are back at the Korean airport getting ready to go to Bangkok, our team's destination.

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Location:Yeongjong-dong,Incheon,South Korea

Monday, July 4, 2011

Prayer meeting

This morning our team participated in a special prayer meeting that was at 10am. The basement of the church was packed with people that wanted to pray the "Abba prayer," before prayer started, there was worship and a short word. Our team joined in worship even though it was in Korean. Here's the hymn Glory Glory Hallelujah

YouTube Video

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Location:Jeon Ju Antioch Church

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Friday, July 1, 2011

Team Picture at LAX

We are about to take off to Incheon Airport, South Korea!

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Location:World Way,Los Angeles,United States

Thursday, June 30, 2011

We're off to Asia

Introducing Team 6 and a Half. We are totally excited, as we leave tomorrow morning at 11:30am from LAX. First stop South, Korea, we will be going to Antioch Church of JeonJu to learn and train in their prayer meetings. 2.5 days later we will be headed off to our main destination, Bangkok, Thailand! we will be in Bangkok until Aug 5th, and will be back in the States Aug 6th. Please pray for team 6 and a half. Mike Fukuda, Josh Yu, Rebekah Lee, Kiana Perez, Annette Park, Abe Park, (&Baby Park) we'll be back in 5 weeks!

for more info on our trip and to support us:

Missional Leadership Development trip to Thailand

Mainly serving and learning from Newsong Bangkok and engaging in community development partnerships with orphanages by border of Myanmar, possible Fish farm ministry work with SDRF (sustainable development research foundation) in northern Thailand, & slum ministry in Bangkok.

During this trip, we will mainly stay in Bangkok but will travel to different locales to learn and serve along side different ministries and non-profits. Living life with Thai and expats who are part of Newsong Bangkok for leadership development and life on life discipleship.

Please support us with your prayers: for safety & for team unity.

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