A Beautiful Promise...

A Beautiful Promise...
"For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations."
Isaiah 61:11

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

New Website!

We are excited to announce that we now have a website!  

We've put our ministry updates, photos, blog, and more all in one place!  

Check it out at: PKBookhamer.wix.com/Thailand

Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Dream on New Year’s Eve

I woke up this New Year’s Eve morning after having a dream.  In the dream I was asked to speak at a conference.  It was a real honor to be there with so many highly educated people.  But while we were there a bunch of troubled kids, orphans and foster kids, came in and were stealing our things as we participated in the conference.  Somehow, I ended up walking in on them stealing from us.  At first I was really mad.  My anger seemed to have no effect on these kids.  They didn’t care that I was mad; they didn’t even seem to care that I had caught them.  And then they had a song that they sang, and I don’t remember all the lyrics, but it was about all of the advantages that I had in life that they didn’t have: education, connections, money, opportunity, and the things that separate the people who succeed in society from the people who don’t; the things that separated me from them.  There was one line in the song about grace, about how all of these social advantages that I had paid the price for grace in our society.  Because I am educated, I get opportunities.  Because I have money or connections I get things in society that they don’t.  There is no grace for them because it is assumed that if they mess up it’s because they intend to. The hammer comes down harder on them than it ever would on me. 

At that moment, I felt that the Lord opened my eyes and showed me that each of these kids had been hurt… mainly by parents.  Some of them had been abandoned, or intentionally hurt, or abused, or just didn’t have parents at all.  I felt like God showed me that he is our heavenly Father, and he has a love that will never disappoint them, will never let them down, will never hurt them.  Also, that he is the only one who can heal them, and that his grace is completely free and is given equally to everyone who follows him.  Then I felt like God said, “You need to tell them about me.” 

Somehow, I got them all to sit down, and I was able to meet them where they were at, being honest about where I was at: I am educated, I have a loving family, I’ve never gone through a lot of the things that they have gone through.  But, I still have hurt in my life and that hurt affects the way I interact with others.  Then I got to tell them who God is: that he loves them enough to not leave them where they are.  That he is the perfect Father who will never hurt them, will never leave them or abandon them, and that his grace is free. When we mess up, he loves us enough to not leave us there in our mistakes.  He loves us enough to changes us, and give us his Holy Spirit, and make us new.

Then I got to tell them that for some reason God chooses to demonstrate his love for us through each other.

In some way, each of us can relate to one of the positions in this dream.  Honestly, each of us at least started out like the kids in this dream; maybe we’re still like them.  Either way, we need to decide what we’re going to do about it.  If we are following Christ, God wants to use us to show his love to those around us.  There are so many people who don’t yet know him; people that he loves dearly, lives he wants to change.  We need to be obedient to God.  Who are we sharing him with this year?  Who’s life does he want to touch through us?  In what ways do we need to submit to him by obeying the call to share his truth with others? 

Happy New Year!  Let’s make it count for God’s kingdom! 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Not Home Yet

It’s your first glimpse into a new world, a world that is home for many people but altogether mysterious to you.  A far-away feeling is a close companion much of the time.  Are you lost?  Here by mistake?  No, you have been brought here by One whom you love so deeply that you voluntarily become a stranger in order to offer many estranged loved ones a renewed relationship with the greatest Love of all.  This Love is also a new world, a mysterious Kingdom, and the King, Himself, has invited us to live with Him.  

"But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.11-12 Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives."
1 Peter 2:9-12 (MSG)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Re-Thanking God for the Ants...

Our neighbor got some free entertainment yesterday as I flung the sandals off of my feet and hopped around frantically in front of our house.  Hundreds of red ants were pouring out of the soles of my sandals and attacking me for disturbing their new colony.  This left me dancing about desperately trying to brush them all off.  Our neighbor sat calmly and watched, but I know she must've had great stories to tell over dinner that night about the crazy "farang*" who lives next door.  

Today, the ants launched a second attack.  As I sat in a coffee shop attempting to study Thai, I noticed a burning sensation on my neck.  Itching and burning, I could feel the heat and swelling of mysterious bug bites.  Mysterious because the bites continued to appear but no bug could be found.  By the time I found my way to a mirror to investigate the situation, I had a least six red, swollen bites on my neck.  And then I saw him... a little red ant swinging like Tarzan from a strand of my hair, biting my neck with every swoop!  First, I felt like could've killed him!  Then, I did kill him.  And then I started thinking.  

Recently, I've been letting small things irritate me.  Exhibit A: Ants, very small and very irritating.  I have not been patient and my attitude has been terrible.  But I have been increasingly aware of my need for a more Godly perspective in day-to-day life.  These are the same ants that I have been at war with for the past six and a half months.  At the very beginning of this war I wrote a blog post about Phil's absurd prayer thanking God for the ants.  That was very humbling for me.  This afternoon I reread that blog post.  With my own words staring at me, I was once again convicted of the same sinful tendencies that brought about this confession the first time.  

I guess review is one of the keys to learning.  So here goes once again... 
Lord, thank you for the ants.  Open my eyes to see life from your perspective.  Teach me to walk in your peace, not swayed by everything that doesn't go my way.  I praise you that your grace is sufficient for me (2 Corinthians 12).  Amen.

*Farang is the Thai word for foreigner 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Our King

After a funny meeting on a country road, a neat, older Thai couple invited us back to their home.  Louis and Need served us chocolate milk and watermelon as we sat in their living room chatting.  They showed us photos of his days in the Thai military and their two kids graduating from college.  They proudly showed us a photo in which their daughter was receiving her diploma from the king of Thailand.  We commented on how special it was that she was with the king.  They pointed to a large portrait of the king hanging on their wall, and the husband put his hand on his heart and said, "He is our king!"  

Phil & Mr. Paitoon in his home and shop,
 photos of the king in the background
Today we met a Thai gentleman who is one of the most esteemed boat building instructors in Thailand.  He is very old at this point in his life and has had many honors in Thailand and abroad.  Mr. Paitoon, the master boat builder, showed us an impressive gallery of  photos of boats that he had built over the years.  Several of these photos featured the Thai king sailing in Mr. Paitoon's boats!  Other photos showed Mr. Paitoon receiving honors and awards from the king and queen.  He proudly told us that the king had called him a "skilled craftsman".  

I was struck by the evident love and admiration each of these people had for the king.  They were honored to have him as their king.  Any encounter with the king was worth boasting about.  Later, I was relaying this story to a friend when it hit me: why don't we feel this way about our King?  

In scripture, Paul boasts a lot.  He boasts about his encounters with the King, about the work the King has done, and about the promises our King has made to us.  Paul even says in Philippians 1:25-27, 
"... and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.  Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ."  

 I want to change.  I want to boast about my King and talk about my encounters with Him.  Let's live lives worthy of the Gospel of Christ, and let's boast about our King!  

In Christ Alone,


Friday, April 19, 2013

Who is Praying for Her?

I took this photo at a market tonight.  When we got home and I looked at this image, I was struck by so many things; one of which was the question that this post poses:

Who is praying for this little girl?

Is anyone praying specifically for the man selling mangoes on our street; the woman in the park; our neighbor who just spent three weeks  making merit at the temple; or for this beautiful little girl?  

Within a culture that has been so saturated by Buddhism and animistic beliefs, who is really praying for the Thai people?  

Who is on their knees, even on their faces, 

for this nation?  Am I?

We serve the great I AM, the Creator of heaven and earth, the God who loves us and sacrifices for us rather than demanding sacrifices of us.  We serve a God who delights in us and longs for us to enjoy Him.  The God we serve answers our prayers with even more than we could ask or imagine.  Our God is a God of forgiveness and healing, which is what each of us needs.  
"...if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." {2 Chronicles 7:14}

In our February update video, we said that we strongly feel that we are called to intercede on behalf of the Thai people.  We want to cover our neighbors in prayer, and those we see around town.  We want this nation to be covered in prayer. 

Please join us on our knees as we wait expectantly for the Lord to blow our minds by His mighty work here.  

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."  {Ephesians 3:20-21}

And please pray for this little girl.  I don't know her name or anything about her, but our Father in Heaven knitted her together artfully in her mother's womb.  He knows and loves her.  He longs for her.  Pray that she would come to know Jesus, the One who gave His life for her.  

In Christ Alone,


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Local Commotion

After one terrifying van ride from Lopburi to Bangkok, which included 25 people in one 12 passenger van, we have been much more inclined to take the train for our travels.  This mode of transportation has a lot of character -- many unexpected things take place that are worth sharing.  Here's a snapshot of your everyday train ride.  

Going Frugal

Third class seating on the Thai train is free for Thai people.  For the "farang" (foreigner) it costs up to 24 Baht (that's less than $1 per ticket).  We like this price, so we always try for third class.  This price guarantees a ride on the train, not a seat.  There is no air conditioning in this class, but there are rotating fans on the ceiling and the windows open offering a nice breeze.  

Dress Casual

The only downside of those nice breezy windows, is that this seems to be the season when farmers are burning their fields.  Don't wear your nice clothes on the train because you usually get powdered by some ashes as you ride through farm country.  

Evidence of a Collectivist Culture

The West is very individualistic in many ways, but here in Thailand that is not the case.  This becomes surprisingly evident on the train when total strangers take us under their wing.  Every time we have ridden the train, those around us have completely rearranged seating to ensure that Phil and I get to sit together.  They also take the time to find out where we plan to get off so that they can make sure we know when we've reached that location.  

Spare Change Pays Off

Don't forget to have 5 Baht (Thai currency) ready to hand out the window when the train stops at the Ban Phachi Junction.  In return you receive a cup of amazing coconut ice cream right through your window!  Brilliant marketing strategy.  (Not to mention that first and second class do not get this because their are sealed in their air conditioned cars).  

Ride Hungry

Aside from the ice cream, there are several dining options on the train.  Vendors walk up and down the aisles selling fresh fruit, cold drinks, and various dishes that are Thai specialties.  

Hot Season Caution for Train Passengers

Have we mentioned that it gets hot here?  Well, let us tell you that it gets really HOT. This past week a train derailed, and the cause: some news reports claim the weather was so hot that it affected the stability of the tracks.  There were only minor injuries due to this accident.  

People Watching

Watching the other people on the train... always enjoyable and a cultural learning experience.  We get to chat with lots of new people, and learn more about how Thai people interact.  We also get to use our language skills which can be great fun, and a good motivator to keep learning.  

One favorite memory from the train was watching an older woman buy a hammock from a train vendor.   She skillfully bartered for a lower price and concealed all emotion during the transaction.  Once the vendor was gone, another lady asked how much the hammock costed.  The older woman's face was priceless as she proudly announced the price of her purchase.  

STAY TUNED for more snapshots of life in Thailand.