Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Swell Up and Die...

Dear Friends,

I would like to update you on our fundraiser and what the Lord has done, but first I would like to share a true story with you.

Acts: 28 1-10 ~ Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. 2 The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. 3 Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.” 5 But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. 6 The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.

On the way to Rome, Paul faced many life threatening events. In Acts 27 he boarded a ship as a prisoner and set sail for Rome with a centurion, guards and other prisoners. The crew decided to sail and beat the weather in order to deliver their cargo in a timely fashion. They sailed into some hurricane like storm. Paul warned the centurion to no avail. After the crew feared for their lives, Paul shared that an angel of the Lord appeared to him and that no one on the ship needed to fear. All 276 people jumped ship and swam to the island of Malta, all 276 men made it alive, just as Paul promised according to his vision.

In Acts 28, once the crew arrived safely on shore, Paul gathered some wood to throw into the fire. But a viper was hiding in the wood and jumped out and bit him on the hand. I love that the Lord had orchestrated that all eyes would be on his servant Paul. Verse 4 says that the islanders thought that Paul must have been an murderer and was getting what was due him, from the goddess Justice, because he escaped death from the sea. But Paul just shook off the snake. Verse 6 tells us that the people expected him to swell up or fall over dead, BUT “after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.

God had all eyes on Paul, everyone watched him, the centurion, the guards, other prisoners and now the Islanders of Malta. Not all of us has had the prospect of sharing our faith through a snake bite. However the Lord has orchestrated the things in lives to be such a witness to Christ. He draws attention to us, our life stories, our up’s and our downs for one purpose, to bring Him glory!

This is the case with a friend of mine living in Uganda. Tonya has been a part of our ministry at The Mission. The Lord moved her and her son Christopher to Uganda and she has been on a wild journey from day one. In just five months, Tonya has had to change her course about five times, move twice, saved a child from witch craft and starvation, has taken three children into her care under the age of nine from different tribes (one tribe being an unreached people group), lost and regained two of her children twice, been sick, feared for her life, been thrown in jail for protecting a neglected child, and has been in two car accidents. There is much more to her story that I can’t go into detail about now but you get the idea, Tonya has been under great pressure and great attack.

Tonya shares a compound with a Muslim couple. They have began to form a relationship and the couple really cares for Tonya and her kids. Just last week Tonya got into a pretty big car accident and had to take care of some personal business. The couple was concerned for Tonya and her family and was waiting for an update once Tonya returned. You see, the Lord has drawn attention to Himself, through his servant. This Muslim family has been watching Tonya get struck by “the viper!” They have been waiting, just as the Islanders of Malta, for Tonya to swell up and fall over dead! How could one person endure such venomous strikes and live?

With all eyes on Tonya, she gave testimony to the one and only, Christ! She has displayed his truths and testified to His name sometimes, without even knowing it. This Muslim couple has been watching. With their gaze fixed on Tonya and the wonder that she has not given up and died, they made a bold statement! “We are tired of this Muslim religion, we want to know about your Jesus!”

This is why we are set on traveling to Uganda and Kenya. This is our heart beat, the nations coming to faith in the one true God! This is why we have garage sales and fundraisers. This is why we ask for your support! Christ glorified is the reason we live! There is story after story of people giving up their “old idols” for new life in Christ. They watch and see that we have victory and no snake bite will take us from praising the TRUE God!

Our sale earned $1097! Praise the Lord! Thank you to all who participated by donating and helping so much. We fought against the rain the whole time, but God is good! We are approximately in need of $2000 more! Will you please pray and ask the Lord how he will use you to “send” us? It is the time of the year where we are all busy getting ready for Christmas and we know that it is the time of the year where finances get tight. Would you please pray and ask God to challenge you in the area of giving, and then trust Him through it?

If only 20 people gave $100, the task would be accomplished! We appreciate all of you. We thank you for your generosity, prayers and love for us and the mission of Christ.

There are two ways to donate, you can send a check to Remember the Poor (with a note “Thiele Travel”)

PO Box 1013
Lynden, WA 98264

Or you can go online to http://www.irememberthepoor.org/ and click the donate button and donate on line. Make sure you add a note to it, saying “Thiele Travel”!

As for the end of Tonya’s story with her new Muslim friends, we will have to wait and find out what the Lord has planned. Tonya can only do and say so much because of cultural barriers between men and women, but her friends are eagerly awaiting Bryan’s (and my) arrival so that he can ask questions of another man, a lover of Jesus

Blessings to you all. Please know that we are praying for you! Please email us your prayer requests, we would love to pray for you as well!

In the Matchless Name of Christ,

Bryan and Andrea Thiele


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