Highlights and Challenges

 Dear friends,

We are in an amazing and pivotal season of our ministry here in Thailand. Our impact in the nation has grown tremendously at the national and international level. We are seeing doors open and new partnerships that seemed impossible before. At the same time, the spiritual battle seems more intense as well. Sudden illnesses of key leaders and ever-changing restrictions by a military government have added to the challenges. But God continues to prove His faithfulness.

OurMinistry.008KEY MINISTRY HIGHLIGHTS –

Please take a moment to view a visual Google Presentation (including the speaker’s notes under each photo) at: http://bit.ly/Porters2016

  • –  Invited key national Thai pastors to a networking meeting asking, “How can YWAM Thailand partner more with the National Plan to see its 2020 goal reached?” Response was overwhelmingly positive, with new relationships and partnerships formed.
  • –  Tripled the number of missionary visas available for our staff through these partnerships and registering 2 new foundations as legal entities.
  • –  First annual ALLC (Asia Leaders Learning Community) leadership summit had 60 participants – half of them from China. (www.ALLC.asia)
  • –  Formed a nation-wide Thai “Emerging Leaders Circle” that is meeting twice yearly. Our goal is to impart to them leadership abilities that will enable them to lead at the national level.
  • –  Launched the Thai language “SourceView” Bible, which is now becoming a nation-wide Bible distribution project. (www.sharebibles.com)
  • –  Formed a strategic partnership with YWAM Salem, OR. They will begin partnering directly with 3 ministry locations in Thailand.
  • –  Raised 60% of funds needed to purchase the NRTC Training Facility. (www.ywamthai.org/nrtc) Still looking for additional partners!
  • –  Led worship for 3,000 pastors from 105 nations at the Global Proclamation Congress for Pastoral Trainers. (www.gprocongress.org)

NTconfUPCOMING –

Cindy will be making a trip to the States in September to assist her parents and ailing family members.

I will be attending the “4K Solutions” workshop in Singapore to provide further leadership to our region.

We are both in the midst of attending and speaking at each of 4 regional staff gatherings for YWAM Thailand. What a thrill to see what God is doing through the various ministry teams around the country! Young Thais coming to Christ; Bibles being distributed; the poor being blessed; healings, discipleship training and so much more! Would you believe this young Thai hill-tribe couple (above) are preparing to be missionaries in Bhutan?!

CHALLENGES –

In the midst of this, we also face a critical challenge to our financial support level due to circumstances beyond our control. And it comes as our need to travel more for leadership responsibilities and family obligations has increased dramatically. If you’d like more details, feel free to drop us an email.

We are confident in God’s calling to ministry here in Thailand, and we know He will provide. But in our case, His primary means is through friends like you who also believe in our calling and are willing to invest in it – knowing that the resulting spiritual fruit is YOUR fruit as well. 

Would you take a moment to pray for us?

And don’t forget to view the visual Google Presentation (including the speaker’s notes under each photo) at: http://bit.ly/Porters2016!

Peace and blessings to you! And thank you for your prayers!

Phil & Cindy

WHAT WE DO

Dear friends,

Sometimes, it’s hard to describe to others what we do. We don’t pastor a church. We’re not preaching to hundreds or thousands every week. But every element of our ministry is strategically pursued to impact this nation and make a difference. A fellow missionary once described it beautifully to me. In a soccer game, it’s the “assist” that leads to a goal. In American football, often the “touchdown pass” leads to a touchdown. The striker or the receiver may receive the glory for making that score, but without that supporting kick or throw, the winning point would not have happened. The Apostle Paul said one man plants, another waters, but only God makes things grow.

So it is with our roles here in Thailand. We will never be Thai, so we will always have limitations. But it seems God has given us the ability to strategically, sometimes prophetically, see the bigger picture and who or what is needed. We then support others by connecting people, dreams or resources in the right place so that Kingdom fruit will multiply. Here are a few ways that that has happened lately . . . MSKA trip to YWAM Salem, Oregon, two years ago led to their leadership team coming this year to survey various ministries in order to partner long-term with some. I used it as an opportunity to visit one of our ministry locations I hadn’t yet been to. I was so impressed with our local Thai leaders there who are bringing many Thai university students to Christ. In addition, they are running a tea shop business to generate ministry funds, and developing some land for a ministry center.DeBoorsWe hosted our friends, Craig and Emily DeBoor, who were visiting Thailand for the first time, praying about how God may want to use them cross-culturally in the future. It was a delight to introduce them to some of our Thai “heroes” who are reaching the “least of these” with the love of Jesus.IMG_9190It was inspiring to spend a couple of days with the Thai Emerging Leaders group we’ve formed. Our goal is to equip them to lead YWAM Thailand at a national level. But we learn so much from them as well. Especially as the majority of them are the first-ever Christians in their Buddhist families.RetreatCindy helped organize our annual YWAM Thailand National Office staff retreat, where we gave our office staff a much-needed break filled with lots of fun, affirmation, prayer and good food. Being spiritual parents in this way always brings us joy.IMG_9315We hosted a mini-seminar for 70+ Thais and missionaries from various churches with Dr. Larry Persons who has just written an excellent book, called “The Way Thais Lead”, on the subject of “face” and how it affects leadership within Thai culture. We all realized how much we still have to learn.IMG_9312special highlight has been seeing Derek thrive in ministry. I recently had the privilege of preaching in the bilingual house church he is helping to lead. It was my first time to preach in Thai with Derek as my translator.NokBillThere have been some battle losses lately as well. This week, we lost a dear friend in the States, Bill Hobbs, to multiple myeloma cancer. He had impacted our lives since before we were married. The next day, very unexpectedly, Pastor Nok, here in Bangkok, died of a heart attack. He was not only a friend, but possibly the most influential pastor in Thailand. He carried such a burden and passion for seeing his nation transformed by the gospel. And he had opened many doors for us to have national influence in the Body of Christ as well. 

Both the losses and the victories remind us that we are in a battle for this nation. But we know Who ultimately wins! Thank you for your continued prayers and support. We are so grateful. It is a privilege to serve together with you.

Much love,

Phil & Cindy

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Our ministry is supported entirely by donations. 

If you would like to share in the fruit by investing financially, please send checks made out to “YWAM” to:

YWAM, 501 Blacktail Road, Lakeside, MT 59922

(For IRS purposes, do not write our names or project # on the check.

Instead, enclose a separate note designating the funds for the Porters – Project #2887.)

Or donate via PayPal at phil.porter@ywamthailand.org

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Multiplying Leaders in Thailand and Beyond!

Dear friends,

We live in challenging and exciting times! Although we daily hear of war and injustice, there are also beautiful things happening in God’s Kingdom. Never forget that we know how the story ends – “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” (Rev. 7:9) And that is what is happening today!

LTWcollage

In November, we hosted a “Leadership Training Week” led by Lynn Green, one of the global elders of YWAM. Although we planned to limit the number of attendees to 80, the response was so great that we had 135! Emerging leaders from Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia all eager to grow in their spiritual leadership and maturity. As a different nation led the worship music each morning, we experienced a small taste of what it will be like for every nation to be represented in heaven. 

This week, I have been helping with another leadership training that included many from China as well. I was so impressed with their hunger to learn and grow. Not only did I make some new friends, I began to see practical ways that we can partner with what God is doing there. The Chinese church is 100 million strong and determined to send out thousands of missionaries. And WE (you and us) get the privilege of helping them do that! 

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One of the tools we are using to multiply leaders is the Nancy Ross Training Center (NRTC). Fifteen years ago, God led us to have YWAM Thailand purchase a section of a building in order to create a National Office in the Ram 2 University area where we have ministered since 1994. “Jimmy”, the non-Christian Thai owner, sold it to us on a 5-year, lease-to-own, zero interest agreement – just because he loves what we do! At the time, Cindy believed the Lord would eventually give us the entire building, but that seemed like an impossible dream. 

5 years later, the Lord led us (YWAM Thailand) to purchase another section of this building in order to create the Nancy Ross Training Center – which now hosts 100+ outreach teams per year, numerous workshops and seminars, and is a discipleship training ground for dozens of young Thai Christians. 

NRTC Fundraising Proposal USA pg1

This year, Jimmy came to us and said, “I want you (YWAM) to have the rest of this building”. So as our team prayed about this, we felt the Lord confirm with a clear word from Deuteronomy 15:4-6, that we were to complete the dream and commit to buying the remaining 3 sections. Jimmy again offered it to us on a lease-to-own, ZERO interest agreement – with the balance paid over 3 years. And if that wasn’t enough, the price per unit is the same as 15 years ago – even though the market value has increased considerably due to our strategic location! Jimmy just really appreciates what we do and we believe the Lord is working on his heart. We have raised more than 60% of the purchase price so far. Please pray with us for the remainder. 

NRTC Fundraising Proposal USA pg2

Of course, we face our share of battles too. Apostle Paul tells us to take our stand against the devil’s schemes, because our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces. One of those schemes is to attack those in spiritual leadership in order to limit or destroy their influence. We’ve noticed that more than half of our national leadership team members have experienced a serious illness or loss of a loved one in the last few years. Bronwyn, the wife of our Central Thailand leader, is now battling a rare auto-immune disease that requires careful treatment and limited activity. Eve, one of our Thai leaders, (pictured above) recently discovered she had breast cancer – a year after moving back to her home village to share Christ with her unbelieving parents. Is this coincidence? I don’t think so. Please pray for God’s protection over us and our leadership team.

family collage

Finally, it was a joy to spend Christmas with our parents for the first time in 13 years. Both Derek and Isaac were able to join us. And through the miracle of digital technology, we were able to “put together” a family photo. 🙂 

As always, thank you for your invaluable support and prayers! We are blessed by your partnership in this journey!

Phil & Cindy

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Our ministry is supported entirely by donations. 

If you would like to share in the fruit by investing financially, please send checks made out to “YWAM” to:

YWAM, 501 Blacktail Road, Lakeside, MT 59922

(For IRS purposes, do not write our names or project # on the check.

Instead, enclose a separate note designating the funds for the Porters – Project #2887.)

Or donate via PayPal at phil.porter@ywamthailand.org

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Catching the Wave – Porters Update – Aug. 2015

Dear friends,

There are moments in history when it seems heaven and earth bump into each other. That was the atmosphere during much of our YWAM Thailand National Conference last week. With the theme of “Catch the Wave”, it literally felt like riding a wave to greater and greater heights. From the moments in worship to the speakers’ messages, from the artistic creativity to the strategic networking, each session brought us closer to God’s heart for Thailand and the nations. IMG_7929The first evening focused on worship through the arts, so we dressed up for a gala dinner, were surrounded by beautiful paintings crafted by YWAM Thailand staff, and were inspired by classical musical performances giving glory to God. For a taste of this glory, click HERE IMG_7954Several messages came from some of our emerging Thai leaders, who challenged us to hold tightly to our calling and take the gospel to “where we are not”. YWAM Myanmar’s leader, Saw Peter, challenged us to partner with others in order to reach a broader audience. He was instrumental in getting the SuperBook Biblical cartoon on national television in Myanmar.

mm impactDid you know that YWAM Thailand staff impact the lives of more than 55,000 Thais on a regular basis through showing the love of Jesus practically?! This includes caring for orphans and widows, sponsoring children’s education, and ministering to the “least of these”. One session was spent in what we call “network circles”. By networking around common themes, we are able to make a bigger impact and measure the effect of that impact. IMG_7950Cindy and 3 friends – who’s total time in Thailand adds up to nearly 100 years! – performed a classical Thai worship dance to demonstrate their great love for our Thai brothers and sisters. It so moved the audience, they were cheering with tears streaming down their faces.

On the final day, Mr. Punya, a driver whom we’ve hired frequently over the years for guests and events, finally accepted Christ as his Savior. IMG_5433ON A PERSONAL NOTE – After more than 3 years of recovery from severe burnout, Cindy was able to join with these amazing ladies to co-ordinate and provide spiritual and logistical oversight for our time during the conference. It was good to see her back in action again being “Mom” to our YWAM Thailand mission.

FAMILY NEWS – In the midst of our conference, we learned that Cindy’s father, Joe, had suffered a stroke. Thankfully, he is recovering and we are hopeful he will not be severely affected. Our son, Isaac, was visiting his grandparents that week and so was able to help out in a time of need.

SUPPORT – We are still needing additional funding for ministry travels this year. We would greatly appreciate your prayers and consideration in this matter. YT 2015 THANK YOU! to all of you who continue to stand with us in this ministry. Your partnership is invaluable!

For His Kingdom,

Phil & Cindy

no longer slavesP.S. We had the privilege of leading worship one session with 4 other musicians – none of whom had played together or with us before. The one song I felt strongly to use was a new one called “No Longer Slaves”, from Bethel Worship. One of our young Thai staff led the first verse in Thai, and then I followed in English. Many were impacted by the powerful message of this song. Click on this link to hear the result  – https://youtu.be/-VhzU4S8GDo.

IN MEMORY OF CAROLYN BROWN11701055_10205945694434056_5474803105363064867_n – Only weeks before our national staff conference, we learned that our friend, Carolyn, had passed away from a sudden complication related to cancer treatment. Carolyn was a dear friend and faithful supporter of our ministry for many years. Her heart was to come alongside missionaries through her business to further the Kingdom of God, and in doing so has also supported many of our Thai staff along the way. In recent years, she started a non-profit ministry, (interestingly) called The WAVE Project (Women Achieving Their Vision Through Excellence). We’ve been blessed to have her on our support team. She will be greatly missed.

Expect the Unexpected – Norway to Copenhagen – June 13

Riding the trains in Scandinavia is super-convenient. Most require no reservations. But there can be hiccups along the way. Although there’s typically always seats available, as we changed trains at Trondheim, we discovered that it was completely full. The conductor said there would be no seats at all. With only 5 minutes to come up with a plan B, we had to decide if we would go look for a bus or a flight, or stand on the train and hope a seat would be vacant at some point. But the difficulty was that this would be the longest leg, nearly 6 hours! If no seat was vacated, we would be standing for a very long time! And there were no later trains that day to get us to Gothenburg, where we already had a hotel room waiting. Frantically, we weighed our options.

The helpful attendant talked with the conductor and then suggested that if we found no seats within the first 45 minutes, we could return to Trondheim with the conductor, who would be switching trains at that small town. So just before the doors closed, we hopped on the packed train. Standing in the luggage area, we searched online for bus, plane or other options, but found nothing. Fortunately, within 20 minutes, a couple of seats opened up. And although at every stop we would watch to see if someone boarded who actually had a reservation for our particular seat, we were able to stay seated the entire journey.

 Met this cute American tourist along the way . . .

And then stumbled on this delicious local pastry that tasted like a Snickers bar and Rice Krispies bar combo. Now that’s a win-win dessert!

But the adventure continued. Upon arriving at Hamar to change trains again, we were told that there was construction on the tracks, and everyone switched to busses. It was a confusing situation, using up valuable time as well. So by the time we reached the next station, we had missed our final train to Gothenburg. Now we had to decide whether to arrive there very late at night, or give up our hotel and take a different train straight to Oslo, which would allow us to at least have a relaxed evening. We opted to just go with the flow and take the relaxed evening, found a hotel online through our phones, and changed our plans. 

 

Upon arrival, we were able to walk our bags to the hotel, and then take a look around. A couple of nice things about summer in Scandinavia:  1) It is still light at 11 pm so you can explore the city safely;  2) Many sidewalk cafes provide blankets to wrap up in while you’re enjoying the meal and atmosphere. We needed those blankets!  

The next morning, it was up early to catch the train to Copenhagen, where we would finally board the cruise ship. 

(For a few more photos of this leg, click HERE . . .)

Colorful, Creative Copenhagen – June 14


Thanks to our accumulation of Marriott points, we were able to stay at the beautiful Marriott Copenhagen right on the water’s edge. Upon dropping our bags, we immediately set out exploring this colorfully creative city.  
The first thing we noticed was the thousands of bicycles. This is a bicycling city! Men in suits, women in dresses, parents with babies, they all bike. And the city makes it very convenient. IMG_7229 Cindy was most impressed with these rent-to-go bicycles which even had a GPS system!

Copenhagen also has the longest stretch of no-vehicle, walking streets of anywhere in the world, and they have had for decades. It makes for a very pleasant outdoor shopping, eating, hangout experience. And with pastries like these, a lot of walking is a good thing! IMG_5169

As was our pattern for this trip, we explored a cathedral – this time more than one. Once again, we were blessed to hear beautiful pipe organ music playing as we viewed this one, Church of our Lady.

Besides having an impressive pipe organ, there was a life-sized sculpture of each of the 12 apostles.

But the real treasure was down below – remains of the early church on that site from AD 1000! IMG_7242
IMG_7825Cindy seemed to have Hans Christian Anderson’s attention for a moment, pointing toward Tivoli Gardens, one of the oldest amusement parks in the world.  But we couldn’t leave Copenhagen without visiting the famous New Haven district. The colorful buildings, boats, and shops are just like the postcards! IMG_7255Herring is a must-try food in Scandinavia. Although a bit skeptical, it didn’t take us long to begin enjoying this local delicacy.


IMG_7832Check out the height of these doors at Christiansborg Palace! The old architectural beauty and brickwork of this city truly captivated our hearts. Definitely a place to come back to. IMG_5292“Don’t beam me up, Scotty! I have to stand guard!”

More colorful Copenhagen photos . . . https://goo.gl/photos/u7XDEhBtgZL8NZY78

A bit of pipe organ music as we gazed . . . https://goo.gl/photos/eSbaqhqYyvNLHFgh7

Keep checking in. . . Next stop, boarding the ship!

Fabulous friends in Frosta!

June 10 – You remember having one of those moments when you sit down with a friend whom you haven’t seen for years and it seems as though time has hardly passed, and you just pick up from where you left off? That’s how these 3 days were with Steve and Oddny.  A quick stop by the Partners office on our way to a beautiful hike. We’ve always loved and appreciated what their ministry does in “loving our neighbors”, the displaced and persecuted peoples of Burma. Check them out!     

We love the Norwegian way of “outdoors thinking” – a shelter with firewood and a BBQ grill along the hiking trails.  Nothing like roasted hot dogs and hot coffee on the top of a Norwegian mountain!  Even though it was rainy and cold all 3 days, nothing could dampen the spirit of friendship or the beauty we were immersed in.  

June 11 – Visiting the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim was an unexpected treat! Founded in 1070 AD, it took 230 years to complete, and is the northernmost medieval cathedral in the world. Jaw-dropping beauty!    

 Elise very kindly spent the day with us in Trondheim, and educated us on the cultural intricacies of the “bunad“.  It’s a joy to be around her sweet and gentle spirit. Kristin wowed us with her ball-handling skills and has her sights set on the national soccer/futbol team.    Naomi inspired us with her vocal stylings and artistic talent.   June  12 – A special moment – meeting some of the Gumaers’ local friends at an art exhibit to support the work of Partners.  And finally, a way to end our special time with the Gumaers – delicious, traditional local soup for dinner called “sodd” – warms us up from the cold, rainy weather.  

 

On the way to Norway …

   June 9 – Today we head to Frosta, Norway, to visit our long-time friends, Steve and Oddny Gumaer, whom we’ve known since our first year in Thailand.  First experience in a high-speed train going 200 km/hr. Nice ride!   Cindy was pleasantly surprised to see snow in June!     The creative architecture is a feast for the eyes!   Had to switch trains in Hell! Not something we do every day!   

 
Arrived in Frosta at last! Beautiful view from the Gumaers’ home. 

Happy 30th Anniversary to us! 

 Amazing Swedish breakfast with pickled herring, salmon, cheese, cold cuts, etc.    Spent all morning trying to get our Eurail pass “activated”, only to find out it had to be done at Stockholm Central Station. So we decided to just go with the flow. It’s all part of the adventure, right? Took the train there and back and saw this beautiful field on the way.  

 We got all dressed up for our anniversary dinner at this 80-year-old restaurant with real Old World  atmosphere. It’s part of the ancient defense wall built in 1330!

   Reindeer steak for dinner! So tender and delicious! 

 There are thousands of bicycles in this city. With our detour to Stockholm we didn’t get to ride. But she does look cute on a bicycle. 🙂 

The sun almost never sets this time of year, and this town is so picturesque, we just did the Thai thing and took photos of ourselves everywhere – at 9:30 pm.  

        

              

 Take a glimpse into the life of the people of Uppsala. 

Pinch me! Is this really happening?! – Our 30-year anniversary, extravagant cruise gift….

For our 30-year anniversary, some very dear friends surprised us with a gift that no one really “deserves”, and we could never repay. And yet, here it was, handed to us. Kind of like the extravagant grace of God, his unmerited favor. Today, we embarked on the journey of accepting and embracing this gift with gratefulness and excitement. 🙂    Arriving in Stockholm  Boarding the train to Uppsala  Arrived just in time attend worship service at the 700-year-old Uppsala Church.   Just one of the stunning views from inside. Breathtaking!  Selfie from the castle hilltop looking down on the church.   Love the old architecture, cobblestone streets and building colors.  View of the church from our hotel room window!