On Monday, the husband of the couple who were the first Akha to accept Christ in Thailand passed away, he was 77 years old. Abaw Tsa made a bold decision many years ago which paved the way for the Akha church to grow to the place it is today.
Please take the time to read this wonderful article by Rusty and Lynette, who work with Abaw Tsa’s son Luka, recounting Abaw Tsa’s last days and celebrating his life: A Life Well Lived
Here’s an excerpt from their post:
Apee Pae (Luka’s mother) sang songs in Akha while weeping…she was going to say good-bye to her best friend…her husband of 58 years. They married when she was 16, he was 19. Two Akha orphans, migrating from Burma to Thailand–and the first Akha christians in Thailand. Abo Tsa was an amazing hunter. A small humble man who could chase down a jungle pig and kill on his own two feet.
On October 13th at 6:55 am we welcomed Izabel Ruth into our family. She was born weighing 3.9 kilograms (8 lbs. 10 ounces) after about 2.5 hours of natural labor and childbirth. Both Izi and Lori are doing great. Thus far (she’s only 5 days old as I write this) she’s been a wonderful baby; she sleeps well, she eats well, and we’ve never seen her cry for more than 15 seconds. She’s already using the toilet a couple of times a day as we are continuing with our EC practices. Abigail loves her little sister and making the life adjustment well.
Our family has been staying in our city home in Chiangrai for all of October and we will probably remain here until the month is over as we adjust as a family to our new addition. We’re excited to get back into our normal ministry pace, but have really enjoyed this time in the city preparing for Izi, spending time as a family, and working on our city-side projects.
We have been tumbl’ing images of Izabel over on her own blog – Our Izi Ruth – rather than fill up this blog with tons of kid pictures (actually we all have Tumblr blogs if you would like to follow our lighter and more personal posts: Izi Abi Lori Paul) but wanted to share a few pictures here as well:
There were two voices of worship that uniquely challenged and shaped my views of life and God during my impressionable years. Truthfully there were more than two voices, but I highlight these two men because of their international recognition and the similarities in their lives. The first similarity is that both men lived lives of honesty, devotion and abandonment in their worship of God. The second similarity is that they each impacted generations of believers around the world, the first man impacting my father’s generation and beyond, the second man impacting my generation and beyond. The third similarity is that they were both taken from this world through tragic accidents in the peak of their ministries.
The first man was Keith Green who sang the following words at a club in LA shortly before his death in a plane crash (written from the perspective of God speaking to us):
For when I hear the praises start
My bride, I want to rain upon you
Blessings that will fill your heart
I see no stain upon you
Because you are My child, and you know Me
To me you’re only holy
Nothing that you’ve done will remain
Only what you do for me
The other was Rich Mullins who, like Green, had a psalmists connection with the Lord and who, also like Green, died tragically in an accident (this time in a car). Beautifully, Rich penned and sung these words before his death:
But the Jordan is waiting
Though I ain’t never seen the other side
They say you can’t take in
The things you have here
So on the road to salvation
I stick out my thumb
and He gives me a ride
And His music is already falling on my ears…
When I leave I want to go out like Elijah
With a whirlwind to fuel my chariot of fire
And when I look back on the stars
Well, It’ll be like a candlelight in Central Park
And it won’t break my heart to say goodbye
Each of these men had an eternal perspective that I, in my stumbling attempts, have not yet attained. I’ve often wondered if these two men had each grown so intimately connected with the Lord that He just had to sweep them home, that their spirits simply couldn’t be contained any longer by this world.
I want to clarify here that I do not believe that Keith Green and Rich Mullins had reached some new-age, zen-level oneness and were resorbed into a cosmic Nirvana.
I am talking about a real connection with the Living God. I’m talking about Enoch, about Moses, about Elijah and how we have the same access to God as these men did because of Christ. Neither Green nor Mullins were perfect, but intimacy with God is not based on our perfection, after all it was an adulterer and murderer who was called a man after God’s own heart.
I’m grateful that these men were willing to serve God and His church, but I am amazed that years after these two men left us we can see that we the church have lost nothing. In this day the worshipers, the men and women who are truly seeking after God’s own heart and are leading the church into an intimate connection with the Lord, cannot be counted on one hand (or blogged in one post). Today there is a mantle of worship, a vibrant connection, a movement of abandonment towards God that again challenges me daily in my view of life and God.
Today there is worship in every form: song and dance; art and expression; text and voice; silence and speech; action and stillness. I cannot list the names of every voice of worship because they are in every nation and every language. I cannot even list all the individuals who are impacting me, and honestly I don’t desire to, because it is not their names that I desire to see praised.
I do desire to lift up the name of the Lord, to be exhorted by the chorus of saints around me, and to worship in spirit and in truth… and I hope you will join me.
Inspiration for this post from the Keith Green video and the following quote shared by Pastor Earon James:
“This guy [Green] was ahead of his time. The mantle that was upon his life is falling upon a generation that want nothing or no one but Jesus.”
My facebook and twitter updates have recently been dropping clues of an impending Akha media ministry, but now that we have an actual project in production I thought it would be nice make it official in our Ministry Updates here on the Vernon Journal as well. For years we at Akha Outreach Foundation have dreamed about getting a soundroom / media center up and running in order to create and produce Akha language content: audio teachings, a/v dubbing, worship cds, literacy training tools, and original video (clips and full length features); that would glorify God and advance His Kingdom among the Akha people.
Those years of dreams are now becoming a reality! We have had some very exciting relationship developments with a subgroup of a highly respected linguistics and translation agency (link unavailable due to closed country concerns) that will provide financial packages enabling the purchase of high-end sound equipment, cameras, Mac computers and software to empower Akha leaders with the tools needed to share the gospel through these media in the Akha language. These packages have not yet been sponsored, but we are confident in God’s timing and purpose for this project and are prayerfully waiting for Him to move.
We have also been blessed by a relationship with a wonderful group of believers in Singapore, who have purchased a high-end microphone, hd video camera, soundboard and computer for us to begin our media recordings. (This group has helped serve Akha Outreach in many other ways as well, but this is a media post so I’ll stick to the point). Additionally, we are discussing our vision with church partners in Colorado and Idaho and are considering having a team from America come out and construct a sound room.
But, we’re not just sitting around waiting for our vision to be fulfilled. Using our existing tools, we’re in the process of producing our first Akha Outreach Media project, moving ahead with our vision and without a sound room. We are producing an Akha worship cd and have prepared a room for recording by taking dozens of mattresses and piling them up on the walls and floor in order to have clean enough sound to record a distributable album.
There are a number of Akha cds existing today, but they generally follow the tendency of the region to go with a Karaoke-style format (lead singer, 5 locations, dreamy superstar poses, band in background scattered throughout a field, etc.). While we are accustomed to these productions, and have even grown to enjoy them, the goal for this album is to keep the focus away from the musicians and really stress worship. To accomplish this goal, we are recording four 5-song sessions with 15 voices joining together in corporate worship. We’re using a single microphone and two pickups for acoustic guitars and everyone is simply standing in a circle in the room and worshiping God. It sounds simple enough, but getting 15 voices and a few musicians to sound good together is not easy; and to add a further challenge we’ve chosen the voices and musicians for their hearts for worship rather than for their vocal and musical proficiency.
We’re going to be distributing this cd throughout Southeast Asia to various Akha villages and hope that it promotes, facilitates and ushers glorifying worship wherever it is heard. Recording five songs in one take, using amateur musicians and an untrained production crew (read: me) we are guaranteeing ourselves a large number of technical glitches, but that’s part of the message we’re spreading to the Akha people: Worship God together with whatever you have. We’re thrilled with how things are going and I am taking in too much information far too quickly, but even if all this falls apart we are having a wonderful time worshipping our Saviour together.
Here’s a sample from our sound tests, I’ll make sure to post again when the cd is available. Listen, and join in worship… and while you’re listening, pray for me, my crew and our worship team that God would work through us throughout this process.
Worship Together! Tiqkawv lof-ehr jaceu ma!
Session #1 Sample “Believe on the Lord”
Sound check “Hosanna”
If you have any sound/music/production skills and want to give me some pointers I’m all ears. Or, if you just want to let me know what you think please drop me a note in the comment section below.