Welcome to The Project:Restore Blog!

Keep up with our ministries' latest updates here in Thailand. Enjoy, God bless! -Project:Restore Team

Latest

The Life Center August Update

Throughout the month of August I have had the opportunity to live with and teach the Bible to three returning students, Nikomwee, Fah and Worachai. They have excelled in the program and hope to practice what they are learning in the schools, dormitories and villages in the surrounding areas. I can already see our students gaining confidence in sharing the Word of God with others.

DSC_0092

In recent years, we have sought to integrate sustainable economic principles and practice into our program. We are growing vegetables, herbs and engaging in small scale animal husbandry. Because this is rice cultivation season, we have spent time in my rice field. But it’s not all work! We also have fun catching river eel that make a home in the mud throughout our ricefield. My students have little prior experience in catching eels, so I jumped on the opportunity to teach them and give them some eel catching tips. One day, my students returned to The Life Center with over 1 kilo of Eel! Then, together we cooked the Eel, added spices and chilies and had a feast! Unfortunately, we don’t have too much free time, but the students are excited and have been talking about fishing eel.

DSC_0069

The other day, I had the opportunity to go preach at MaeLaOop Church. Due to the fact the village is more remote, many in attendance came from other areas. The topic was mother’s day, and we had a gift exchange. Please continue to pray for us in our small scale sustainable agricultural initiatives, as well as the new cohort of students arriving in mid- December.

Thank you and God bless you all!

Tatupa and Tatumo

“Talk Doesn’t Cook Rice!”

We are so thankful rain this month. The rains have allowed for the villagers to plant according to the annual cultivation period. At times, Thailand can be inconsistent in terms of when and how long the rains will fall. We are excited to watch our crop begin to grow, whether that be corn or any other produce we have planted over the month of June. With all the rain and abundance, maintaining our banana groves has kept us very busy. Due to the weather and the heavy workload, villagers must wake up very early in the morning to go out to their fields. Some villagers live fairly far away from their fields and must adjust their home life to be able to stay in their field in order to keep up with the demands of the season. Everyone is very excited and thankful for the rains, but tired at the same time.

As for our field, we have finally finished planting rice. We thank God that this year we have had no issues with rice cultivation. The color of our field has changed from yellow to lush green. My primary work has been preparing the rice field for cultivation. This month, we hosted two volunteers from America at the center. We are pleased and thankful for their great help with many things at the center, including fixing the main road. But most of all, I am excited that our two volunteers taught my wife, Nayu, some English phrases! As we get ready to move into the month of August, please continue to pray for us as we work to be a good steward of our opportunities and in our capacity to build relationships with those around us.

Love in Christ,
Witoon Daleethong

20160720_171215

 

Transition is Bittersweet…

Firstly, we want to give thanks to the Lord for everything He has done this month. I am having mixed feelings as I write this update, both sad and happy. I am very happy that Jonathan has had the opportunity to return to the United States, to both grow and develop as a man. We know that he will have a wonderful time among both family and friends. His departure is bittersweet, we love him and enjoy him as one of our own. We will miss him dearly.

13664493_10100720005834836_1630806024_n

 

Second, we as a community are rejoicing regarding the rains. We have not seen rain in abundance like this in years. Thailand often has an inconsistent rainfall, leading to drought. In fact, this year was so dry that our village water supply depleted. The Bala village community had to spend 2-3 days implementing a new water system for villagers to have adequate water for their families. Farmers are taking advantage of the rains and hastily planting rice, and corn. We are very happy to see our banana and fruits trees both green, and healthy. Our center and our family miss Jonathan very much, so this is an adjustment period for us, but we must continue to press on. This week we have to cut bananas for our Chiang Mai markets. We sell bananas about 2 times a month. In June, the main task is plowing our ricefield and cutting grass. We are so thankful for the rain, and reminded that God is always on time. We are very grateful for both the prayers and support. Please continue to pray for us through this tough season of transition, for both our family and for Jonathan as he transitions back to America. God bless and keep you all.

 

With great love in the Lord,
Witoon Daleethong

Planters of men…

This week, I spent much of my time cutting grass at The Life Center. Due to the fact that we have so much land, it takes a while to actually cut the grass. Because it is rainy season, we have planted many kinds of fruit such as avocado, plum, and mango. We have planted flowers and continued to raise our animals. It has been raining almost everyday, so we have begun plowing our rice field for cultivation.

DSC_0182

 

Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to be a guest speaker and trainer on the topic of the Christian family at a nearby church in Huay Thong Village, about 45 minutes from The Life Center. Approximately 60 people joined the seminar, and we spent time talking with each family. We had alot of fun and everyone was challenged! Last Sunday, I had the opportunity to preach at my home church of Nong Jet Nuay. About 300 people from our village showed up for worship. The church members were very active in the service, and we all laughed and had a wonderful time together. We could definitely feel the presence of the Holy Spirit throughout the service.

DSC_0171

Tatumo and I have been busy on our farm and at the center. Please remember us in your prayers as we plan to open up The Life Center for a special program this July. Some students from our previous program would like to spend some additional time together. So, I will be teaching the Bible, but at a little more advanced level for these students. Pray for us, as we cultivate men.

Current Needs:

At the moment, we don’t have very good chairs, so we are hoping to purchase at least 100 new chairs for The Life Center.

We are blessed to serve together! Continue to pray for us as we pray for you!

Tatupa and Tatumo

And then came the rain…

Its June, and the villagers are preparing their lands to cultivate corn on the steep mountain sides. For those of us who have fruit trees, we are enjoying an excellent harvest of Cherries this year. They sell at market for between 7-15b per kilo. Sale from Cherries have allowed villagers to be able to make a small income in another way. At this time our bananas are not very beautiful due to the intense heat of April and May. In fact, many of our bananas burned and few trees actually toppled over under their own weight. This month we spent alot of time and money cutting grass in our field. We have many acres of land to care for, so this was a full time job for a number of days. We also have began plowing our rice fields to prepare for rice cultivation. This year, the rain has begun to fall early, so we have adjusted to the rains. Our pond and newly dug out reservoir are beginning to collect rainwater from our mountain water source.

13396805_625929497563775_920262561_o

We thank God that although this year was hotter than most, the rain came early. Villagers in our banana cooperative were excited to be able to sell our bananas, even though our bananas are not very beautiful this time of year. The villagers say that although their incomes may be low, they are glad to know they can have at least one consistent stream of income through bananas. They can use this income to help pay off the electric bill and cover monthly food expenses.

This month we have watched our rabbits grow, and our aquaponics lab thrive. We also had a chance, this past weekend, to welcome and enjoy two Interns from Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia to our farm, Katie and Emily.  We are very grateful for their visit and to Abigail for connecting us!

Finally, we would like to thank God for His perfect plan. We are growing confident day by day in seeing His plan unfold. We believe that God has, and will continue to bless both our family and our neighbors around us. May God bless each and every one of you.

 
Witoon and Nayu

 

 

 

 

Aquire Peace and Thousands Around…

What an incredible four months it has been. After living through the cool Thailand winter together for the last few months, we have all gotten to know each other quite well here at The Life Center. As we enjoy our last week together before graduation, I am reflecting on what I have learned this year.

Even among such a wonderful group, I have found myself asking for forgiveness, and retreating to my home on more than one occasion. I have learned more about myself, and more about those around me through this group of students. We have no former drug dealers, no current drug users, and no thugs. Only students. However, after a few weeks, its easy to see one another flaws, and shortcomings. Although very few words are spoken there is a code of conduct in terms of disciple and devotion. In this world, washing the dishes can even becomes a competition in showing worthiness to carry on the tradition being established among these students.

third

Although at times words are exchanged, the students do their best to be attentive in both mind and deed. As a North American man, its easy to see competence a common cultural value. The pressures to show thyself approved in both word and mind. However, the deep pragmatism of the people here tend to focus their attention towards actions and deeds over words and philosophy. Although any religion can be highly theoretical, the average individual is focused on the day-to-day regiment.

The challenge is on to present oneself as competent by way of resourcefulness, adaptability and mindfulness. How to acquire competence?  By finding one who demonstrates and champions these disciplines. In our North American white collar world, we tend to pass on knowledge, information, critical, and analytical skills through books, education, meetings, training and seminars. However, personal access and proximity does not always have a high priority on the value scale in our culture, but the need and the expectation of competence remains. This reminds me of the universal value of mentorship and asceticism. These are issues of epistemology and vital for those who desire to do any kind of work among people.

two

I constantly run into this fact as I tend to bring in my North American values and traditions with me everywhere I go. Recently, I was teaching English, and we came across a lesson I had prepared years ago on religion. As we reviewed new vocabulary, I couldn’t help but go on and on about Christian history associated with certain words, denominations and events. As questions regarding Christian history arose, so did my excitement about the subject. So, I decided to prepare a set of new lessons specifically focused on Church history starting with the early church, through the persecutions to the ecumenical councils etc.  It was 2am, and I finished my lessons. I woke up at 6am to exercise with the students. I was ecstatic, finally, I found something that I enjoyed and the students enjoyed. Usually, I have to be interested in whatever they are interested in, even if I don’t find a personal interest in the matter. After breakfast, I drove up to Temekerlah village to print off the lesson for the day. I made it back to the center just in time to teach at 9am. I ran to the pavilion where the students eagerly awaited. I started teaching about St. Ignatius, Nero, Trajan, Rome, Martyrs…etc After about 15 minutes the students where talking and laughing amongst themselves. My patience started to thin. Students would raise their hands, ask to go the bathroom, wash their face, get a drink of water…etc. Inwardly I was furious, but I tried hard to keep my composure. Defeated, I finally asked in if the students enjoyed the teaching. One student spoke up and said, we don’t understand. I realized, it was not of interest to them. I quickly closed the lesson and returned to my home, feeling defeated, and tired. The reality sank in, that in order to be appealing, I would have to teach in a way that was important to the day to day, stories, parables, and situations.

In the end, I am learning to not focus on what I can’t control, and to focus on today. I am sure I will spend the rest of my life on the journey, but it seems like the people here have a bit of a head start.

As St. Seraphim of Serov once said, “Acquire peace, and thousands around you will be saved.”

One

As we close out in our last week together, a number of students have committed to return to The Life Center in June. About six students will live here in community in order to worship together, eat together and farm together. Three other students will go on to study the Bible in Chiang Mai at various Bible schools. Others will return home to work for Compassion International, or with the Royal Project of Thailand. It’s difficult knowing all these new, budding relationships will end in a vital way. Although we remain friends, the substance found in mentorship, community and life transformation. It’s a bit sobering for me. As a comfort, I am reminded of the words of Jesus Christ,

Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Matthew 6:31-34

Jonathan Adam

 

 

Bala Village: January 2016 “Aquaponics and Local Veggies”

Jan 2016,

Our farm has finished the Aquaponics house. The purpose of this project is to protect local vegetables. Nowadays, it is hard to find local/wild vegetables because a lot of chemicals are used for farming.  Especially wild vegetables that grow along rivers. Villagers know these vegetables very well and really enjoy eating them.  If we just eat and don’t protect them, someday these varieties of local vegetable will lost.  Moreover, the next generation will lose their traditional knowledge and not recognize or even see the wild vegetables. “I have provided all kinds of grain and all kinds of fruit for you to eat.” (Gen 1:29) God created nature so we can cultivate it and guard it, and praise Him by caring for creation.

-Witoon Daleethong