Ric and Sharon Bruce

On a journey with you to Thailand

The Harvest

Posted by Ric and Sharon in News Article on Nov 20th, 2014 | 9 Comments »

During our first few years in Thailand we lived in the city. We didn’t have the chance to see and experience the rice harvest. It’s a hoot! People use the time cutting stalks of rice to chat, laugh and get to know each other better. The work itself isn’t particularly difficult but the sun is certainly hot so people take frequent breaks. Harvest is truly a joyful time of the year in the village.

We don’t engage in activities like this mindlessly. We are in a phase of our work called “pre-evangelism.” During this warm-up to sharing the gospel we frequently ask our friends questions like, “Who made the rice?” We may express our surprise that when we plant rice kernels we never get a papaya tree or vice-versa. These questions are designed to get people to start to think and begin to question their assumptions about how the world works and who made it. The rice harvest provides a perfect opportunity to ask these questions. Please pray for us as we prepare the soil and toil in the sun to save the people God has placed in our lives.

We’re looking ahead to another harvest in the near future: a harvest of souls.

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What’s Keeping Us Busy

Posted by Ric and Sharon in Ministry on Nov 18th, 2014 | Discuss This Post

October and November have been crazy. It all started in October with “Conference,” which is where we got together with other people from our organization for a week of meetings. Since we don’t live in Chiang Mai anymore, though, we drove out to Chiang Mai early to take care of medical and dental stuff and to relax for a few days. We didn’t get back until a couple of weeks ago and Ric had to prepare immediately for a language evaluation. The language evaluation took two days and we went right into fixing the car, celebrating Thanksgiving and a “curriculum development” kickoff.

But the details don’t necessarily matter so much. Here’s what important about all this:

  • Ric is progressing well in learning the language and culture of the Phu Thai people. His language consultant was pleased with the progress he has made so far and commented, “I’m very pleased with Ric’s CLA (culture and language acquisition).  His language and culture abilities as well as his relationships are at a good level after only being in the village for 9 month.”
  • Sharon is also making good inroads with ladies in the village and is learning a lot of Phu Thai along the way. Although her primary role right now is to be a mommy and a wife, her involvement in what we’re doing is so critical.
  • We have enjoyed several profitable and refreshing times of fellowship and mutual encouragement while meeting with other members of our team.
  • As a team, we’re making good progress in lesson development and in other areas that give us hope that we will soon be able to share the gospel with our friends for the very first time.

Please continue to pray for our team and for our family as God gives us the strength to continue to be His ambassadors here in this very needy area.

Ric, Sharon and Rye

Enjoying the pool at conference

Enjoying the pool at conference

The meeting hall

The meeting hall

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Our little villager

Posted by Ric and Sharon in Family on Sep 20th, 2014 | Comments Off

Our little villager has had some unique experiences here, to say the least. He loves to swing in hammocks, play in the dirt, swim in his little pool and pretend like he’s all grown up and eating spicy laarb salad for breakfast. He hears at least 4 languages on a regular basis and gets held by at least 10 different people every single day. We love seeing him grow and learn but he serves another, very practical purpose here as well: he breaks the ice with people we would never get to know and he opens conversations about topics that we would never cover otherwise. For example, did you know it’s common for people in our area to swing kids in hammocks to put them to sleep rather than laying them in a crib like we do in the States?

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Thankful for God’s Protection

Posted by Ric and Sharon in Uncategorized on Sep 18th, 2014 | Comments Off

We’re thankful for God’s protection all the time, but there are times when He reminds us just how vulnerable we really are and how much we need Him, even in the small details of our lives. Today I took a shovel over to the local mechanic/farming shop to get it welded (the blade was falling off). I’d been keeping the shovel in my truck to remind me to take it to the shop but had been forgetting for a while. Finally, today I grabbed it and carried it down on my motorbike. As I sat in the shop staring off across the road to avoid the blinding light of the welder, a poisonous snake slithered out of the hollow metal handle of the shovel and plopped down right beside my foot. Fortunately, the mechanic’s wife happened to walk by and see the thing about to strike my little toe and screamed for me to run. The mechanic used my shovel to bludgeon the snake to death and throw it out in the yard.

Several people ran over to see what the commotion was about and they all said I should go buy some lottery tickets. They insisted I must be pretty lucky to have avoided getting bitten. Of course, we know the truth. I’m thankful for God’s protection today.

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Song Dao Church

Posted by Ric and Sharon in Ministry on Jun 22nd, 2014 | Comments Off

In the next district to the west (20 minutes and 22 km from our house) lies a church. Ten years ago Pastor Wirak and his wife brought their young kids to a district with no known believers. They started a Compassion program for kids and hoped to engage the parents in conversations about Christ as they brought their kids to the church each week. Now they number 30-40 on a Sunday, mostly kids that have grown up hearing the word of God each week at Song Dao Church. All that youth translates into great music, which is a bonus! There’s a few things that strike me when we go to this church on Sunday:

  1. Heart for closed countries: The pastor regularly goes to meetings with believers from closed countries, stays in closed countries for extended periods and constantly encourages the church to pray for brothers and sisters in areas closed to the gospel.
  2. Unique ministry: Rural church planters often face demographic challenges as most able-bodied people between 18 and 40 head to the cities to find work and money. Pastor Wirak has a program designed to teach believers how to raise pigs. He will give believers 2 pigs to raise if they agree to attend a one-month intensive training course that focuses on Bible training and pig raising.
  3. Bible preached: Pastor Wirak has 20 years of experience in discipleship, church planting and evangelism. He and his family are committed to seeing people in the Song Dao area reached with the gospel.
  4. Humble pastor: read #2 again. This pastor raises pigs. If you’ve been around pigs much at all you know they have a well-deserved reputation. They’re disgusting. But Pastor Wirak is willing to drive an old farm truck, sleep in the woods with the pigs and cook nasty concoctions of fermented fish, fruit and veges to show the villagers that anyone can raise pigs.

Is the church perfect? No. But if we found a perfect church we wouldn’t want to go because we would just ruin it. Below are some pictures. Please pray for us as we seek to engage with and learn from this body of believers.

Wirak's son Big leading worship

Pastor Wirak preaching

 

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Phang Khon Church

Posted by Ric and Sharon in Ministry on Jun 21st, 2014 | Comments Off

In the next district over (14 minutes and 16 km from our house) is a church. An Assemblies of God church in Indiana gave money to start the church in the early 80’s and now it’s been there over 30 years. The young kids that grew up in the church are now in their mid to late 40’s and early 50’s. They number about 60-70 on an average Sunday and they like to sing somewhat inharmoniously and out of key, God bless them. I don’t think He minds. There’s a few things that strike me when we go to this church on Sunday.

  1. Giving hearts: people in the church give. According to statistics published by the church and posted disclaimers, the church does not receive any money from out of the country and yet they bring in an average of over 100,000 Thai baht per month (about 3,300 US dollars)
  2. Committed people: Some people drive over an hour to go to this church each week. They show up early for Sunday School (starts at 9:00 AM) and stay through the service (ends between 1:00 and 1:30 PM).
  3. Bible preached: The Bible is preached from the pulpit and the average person seems to own and be able to read their Bible. Some of the more involved people in the church have Bibles that are marked up, bent, folded, re-bound, highlighted and written on.
  4. Storied pastor: This guy is working on a PHD in Theology, serves on the board for the overall AOG organization in Thailand and is in charge of all Assemblies of God churches in Northeast Thailand. He’s been with the

Is the church perfect? No. But if we found a perfect church we wouldn’t want to go because we would just ruin it. Below are some pictures. Please pray for us as we seek to engage with and learn from this body of believers.

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Father’s Day Photo Shoot

Posted by Ric and Sharon in Pictures on Jun 16th, 2014 | Comments Off

Wanted to share with you some recent father’s day photos of our family. Enjoy.

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Rye Update

Posted by Ric and Sharon in Ministry on Jun 13th, 2014 | Comments Off

Rye loves food.

It’s been a while since we talked about our family on the blog so I thought I’d give you a bit of information about Rye, the newest member of our family. It’s been said that mothers know every detail about their kid’s lives while fathers are vaguely aware of some small people living in the house. Well I’m going to change that perception by doing my best to update you about what it’s like to live with a very active 9-almost-10 month old. Here goes:

Most days Rye zips across the floor squeaking his fat rolls on the tile as he goes, sometimes dragging a toy or another prize possession with him (bits of plastic never fail to entertain). He loves to stand up and uses almost anything to gain leverage as he hoists his chunky chub chunks up including the cat, his parents and electric cords. Some days he feels a bit like a faithful puppy dog, following us around the house to see what we’re up to and play directly under our feet. Not two feet to one side or the other. Directly. Under. Our feet. We love him to bits and can’t imagine life without him.

Thanks for reading! Check back for more updates about life in Isaan.

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How we learn Phu Thai

Posted by Ric and Sharon in Uncategorized on Jun 12th, 2014 | Comments Off

How do we go about learning another language anyways? During these initial stages we’re focused on the basic sentence/word structure of Phu Thai using simple pictures and images we’ve taken ourselves or found on the internet to illicit words, record them and then memorize them. Our task is made incrediby easier by the fact that we share a common language with people here. Below is an example of a page from a program quizzes us by playing a random audio that corresponds to one of the 20 displayed pictures:

CLAware for tribal language learners

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