Dear Friends,Greetings from Shangri-la once again! We have finally welcomed winter here in our mountain paradise with our first significant snowfall on Sunday night. However, the blazing sun returned faithfully and melted the three or four inches within hours again. We really enjoy the beauty of winter here. Yes, it is cold and our house has no central heating so we use our electric space heaters strategically. But the outdoors is incredibly beautiful at this time of year. The sky is clear and blue beyond description. The sun beats down relentlessly and almost blindingly so the ambient temperature outside is quite pleasant in the daytime. We do get some foggy, cloudy, completely overcast days here but really for the most part, the weather is amazingly warm for a place that is 11,500 feet high.Thanks for your prayers last week for the two special requests we shared. First, Steve had a great meeting with a couple of men from Lexington, KY who may be able to assist us in filling for Steve in his English classes while we are on home leave. And secondly, Steve had a couple of great meetings with the local man whose wife and children are the only believers in his entire village. The two of them were able to cover a bit of the historic significance of the Old Testament as well as some Christian living topics like assurance, forgiveness, temptation, prayer and Bible study. We hope to continue to meet with him when he has opportunity to visit here or as we have opportunity to visit his village. Continue to pray for this dedicated and young yet incredibly mature believer and his family.We have a very special and somewhat more urgent prayer request and opportunity for involvement to share with you. Each year around Chinese New Year all of the workers with our m. board meet for our annual conference in Chiang Mai, Thailand. We have a special speaker (typically a pastor) come and minister to us through teaching the Word, we have training sessions, prayer times and times of sharing what is working or not working in the various locations in this country.There is also always a group of volunteers that come to provide childcare and programs for all of our kids, toddlers through teens (approximately 40-50 kids total). This year, the team that was scheduled to come from Pennsylvania has had to back out just this past weekend. There are still four people coming to lead the kids’ program and have a structure and plan in place but they definitely need more workers to implement the program. The childcare program is one of the highlights of the entire year for our four kids. They absolutely love the time that they get to spend with their friends from other parts of China and they build special bonds with their teachers and leaders that come from America to run the program. And of course it would be next to impossible for the parents to have our meetings and teaching times with all of our kids in the meetings. So the childcare program is a HUGE blessing to the parents.So the opportunity that I want to present to you: come and be a part of the childcare program from January 31st to February 4th in beautiful Chiang Mai, Thailand. Ideally, we are looking for four people, perhaps two couples but not necessarily.The volunteers would be housed at the same resort where we have our meetings. It is not exactly luxurious but it is VERY nice by any standard. Your room and meals would all be covered by those of us attending the conference. You would need to pay for your own airfare from the US to Chiang Mai and back again. You would also need to cover any hotel or meals before or after the conference if you would like to enjoy a day or two of sightseeing in Thailand. The kids’ program typically starts around 8:45 a.m. after our corporate morning worship time, there’s a break for lunch (parents are responsible for their own kids during meal times), and then there is an afternoon session when the parents are back in meetings. The afternoon is usually a fun time for the kids to swim in the pool or take a fun field trip to the zoo or miniature golf in Chiang Mai.If you are interested in pursuing this opportunity and want more details, please contact ASAP. Again, you would need to be in Chiang Mai by January 31st at the latest and could depart on February 5th.For the least-reached,Steve and Patty Sark
You would be a tremendous blessing and a very practical help to many workers who are trying to reach the least-reached throughout many locations in China. And you would get to experience the unmatched hospitality of the Thai people, the beauty of Chiang Mai (perfect break from the miserable winter weather of the US!), and the most delicious Thai food you have ever had!