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Back in Bangkok

We are so appreciative of your prayers it's a real blessing for us, and they will boost us spiritually.

Since we have been back it's been a busy time, we had to start the Place of Grace straight away as it had been shut for 3 weeks - it was really good to see the children, even the babies reached out their arms for us! We were really tired from our busy schedule in England, and the girls started school a couple of days later. Since then it has been very hectic as we run all the usual clubs, respond to prayer mininstry needs etc. John has done some prison work in Ratchaburi north of Bangkok which went very well.

Last week, one of the children, Fern, came with a huge cross around her neck and proudly showed us all. Then Jane, one of the teenagers, came to the evening group and picked up 'Nobodys Child' in Thai, that had been given to us by the publishers. She spent the evening reading it, and then asked John how she could become a Christian. He talked about it with her and then asked her if she would like to ask Jesus into her life and she said yes. Praise God! John prayed a commitment prayer with her and gave her a new testament in Thai, please pray for her and for wisdom for us in discipling her, as well as the response of her Buddhist family.

We are still praying for a team to help us. We could really do with some extra people on board, which would help us daily, and also enable us to expand what we do, in making links in neighbouring communities.

We have taken a while to settle back in, as we had adjusted to life in Bangkok as normal, and then you remember how much easier life is in the UK! The stresses of the driving and noise and smells and endless mosquitoes are slowly becoming normal life again.

Thank you for standing with us when the rent money was due shortly after we got back. The landlord agreed to wait an extra week for the other two thirds some of which we were waiting to be transferred from England, and miraculously God ensured we had enough by the end of that week for another years rent.
CMS told us we are still short on our budget, and if that remains so then they might say John has to go home for a time next summer, which will obviously not be good for the ministry at all. So we appreciate your continued prayers for there to be enough in the CMS giving to cover all the costs of us living here. We would also appreciate your prayers for the appointment of the new CMS Asia manager. We really valued Adrian, who was very wise about the situation here, and the appointment makes a difference to us.

We have such lovely memories of our time in UK, of the warm reception we had from absolutely everybody, and all the encouragement you gave us was so appreciated. So thank you, and thankyou for standing with us in prayer.
With love to you all from us all.

Click here to see a few photos taken during our time in the UK.

Post date: Saturday, September 8, 2012 - 06:30
Our UK Visit this summer

John and Gillian will be speaking at the following locations:

Please contact the churches to confirm details

May 27th - St John the Baptist, Chipping Barnet

June 3rd - St Andrew's, Burgess Hill

June 10th - St Peter, Maney

June 17th - St John the Evangelist, Churt, Surrey

June 24th - St John, Woodbridge, Suffolk

July 1st - St Peter, Oundle

July 8th - St Matthew Kingsdown, Bristol

July 15th - St Barnabas Linthorpe, Middlesbrough

July 22nd - St Mary, Tadcaster

July 29th - St Mary Magdalene, Brampton, Cambs

 

Also John will be speaking at New Wine in the North and East of England on Wednesday 1st August 2012

 The Robinson Family at Woodbridge, Suffolk in June 2012

The Robinsons visited Woodbridge, Suffolk in June 2012

Post date: Friday, April 6, 2012 - 07:17
Flooding - an update

I have been going out with the YWAM team and the Thai army. The floods are going down but slowly, some places have really struggled to get basic help such as water food and medication, and the water now after four months is very brown and full of rubbish and sewage.

Flood casualties 615 dead with 4 missing 17 provinces are still affected and 5 million people.

Also we have been using Place of Grace ministry to pack water medicine and food and Christian tracts. Many schools are closed till December 6th

It will take many weeks to clean up and get things back to normal - please would you pray for Thailand.

Some more photos (click one to see a larger version) ......

 

Post date: Friday, November 25, 2011 - 21:18
Water, water, everywhere .....

Thank you so much for your prayers for us and messages of support. This has been a really stressful time in Bangkok as it has been going on so long, with the warnings and the lack of clear information.

[Please see more photos - click here]

We are still in Hua Hin to the south of Bangkok, and are trying to work out when we should go back. We are still under flood watch, and when the waters come they can come very fast, but the biggest problem is the lack of clean drinking water. The water started to taste funny early last week, and there has been debates in the Thai media about how much truth the government has been telling the people. After the children all had bad stomachs, we put them on bottled water and they all got better, but you can't find any bottled water in shops now. Now the governement has admitted the drinking water has been contaminated and there has been reports from politicians this week saying, don't worry, the water might be brown and have a bad odour but it is now safe to drink !!! needless to say this has been our biggest problem. here, even three hours south of Bangkok the food shortages are now a concern, as well as the fact there is no bottled water to buy even here (though the tap water when filtered is safe here).

It is so strange seeing row after row of empty food shelves and so little to buy. Rice, tins and all the staples are about out everywhere, and now shampoo and nappies and everything is running low.

I think we will never take water for granted again. But God showed us the verse from Habbakuk 3:17-18 today and we will keep on praising him. Joel is much better since being out of the city, praise God, and the girls have looked much less stressed, we realised when we heard them laugh in the pool here that we hadn't heard them laugh for a time.

So please keep praying for us, and for the people here, especially for the water situation which is making us reluctant to return home, even though we desperately want to start normal life again. I think most of the people in Bangkok are the same as us, please just release the water and get it done, rather than the endless waiting and warnings and arguments!

God bless you all, thankyou so much for your prayers.

With love, John Gillian, Leah, Natalie and Joel

Post date: Monday, October 31, 2011 - 17:21
Floods reach Bangkok

Please pray for the people of Bangkok and Thailand. So many people have lost what little they had and some of the children and teens who come to the Place of Grace have been affected by the flooding. Please look here at some photos.

We are OK but people are panic buying and the floods are still coming. It is strangely very hot but there is lots of water everywhere . School is closed for girls but work is going well, seeing lives changed in prisons and at the Place of Grace.

God is doing some awesome things and we appreciate your prayers.




Post date: Saturday, October 22, 2011 - 18:08
Opening of Place of Grace

The Place of Grace opening evening was awesome; we prayed for people to come and they did. Thai and western families came to pray and hear the vision. Two months of hard graft by many people made it a very special occasion. We had 55 people during the evening.

We started with Praise and thanks to God with worship and a representative from the Thailand prison ministry foundation saying a prayer and blessing, the Rev Peter Cook praying for us and the team. The food and fellowship was great and people went around the building praying in each room.

We still need curtains, air conditoning, coffee bar ,chairs and an alarm system as well as a projector, but we are so thankful for Gods provision.

God also has given us a Thai lady Christian who we know from England when she worked there as an accountant who will go through our Finances and books each year (accountability is important).

   

Post date: Friday, September 30, 2011 - 19:58
The Place of Grace and the community work

Wow what a fortnight it has been. First we signed the contract agreement for six months on the Place of Grace, our new building in the heart of one of the many slum communities here in Bangkok. We have no furniture but we as a team are so grateful that we have a building. Then we had the joy of meeting with many children and young people in the local park near our building (go to photos).

This is where every Wednesday we meet with the local community, wash hands, clip nails and have fun and games as well as a gospel message. A local policeman brought his young daughter and said "I know you are Christian and I want my daughter to know God and I want the young men who live near the police flats to come to the Place of Grace because we trust you." Wow what a privilege!

Sadly one of the teenagers in the slum community died from dengy fever. See the photo of one of the families and where they live; they live three families in the space you would park two cars, so sad, and the sewage under their hut is very dangerous. They really do have nothing but are so welcoming to the team.

Monday is a full day in one of Thailand's biggest prisons, with over 5000 English speaking prisoners and Thai political prisoners. We go in and share testimony, Bible study and worship. To hear 100 male prisoners singing Amazing Grace really does bring a tear to your eyes - fantastic!

We as a family were invited to the Thailand Cultural Centre for a prison choir concert in front of a Thai royal family member. It was amazing seeing all these young men and women who have given their lives to God sing with passion and be out of prison for the day (photo below, with photo of side of the prison).

We now have many people booked into the Place of Grace who want prayer ministry and a safe place to come on an evening and in the daytime, so please will you stand with us in pray for:
 
Peace and God's love to the family who have lost a daughter.
 
For health, food and jobs for the slum communities.
 
Please pray that we can get furniture and office equipment, toys and chairs for the Place of Grace.
 
Please pray for relationships with police and other community officials as relationships are so important in Thailand's culture.
 
For Gillian, Joel, Natts and Leah as we are all involved in this ministry.
 
And for God to change lives and set people free.
 
God Bless you and thank you all for standing with us.
 

Post date: Saturday, August 20, 2011 - 06:26
A Place of Grace

Views some photos here

We have a dream, and one that God seems to be opening doors for. The problems for those coming out of prison as well as for those living in the huge slum communities are so big. YWAM is working with a number of families and children in one huge community and has asked us to partner with them to reach more people.

 

We have a number of aims:

1. Children are so very vulnerable in some of the slum communities where some of the parents are dependent on drugs or work long, long hours and they wander the streets in run down places in a country where child protection is hard to put into place. We want to work towards a place of daytime safety for these children, some only toddlers looked after by other small children.

2. The lack of purpose and hope leads some teenagers so easily into drugs- we want to do Christian outreach to these vulnerable young people, and to befriend the families with our story of hope in Jesus who changes lives.

3. We have found a building bordering a large slum community which is perfect, with a huge room for outreach downstairs, a training room on the second floor for discipleship classes and mentoring for those prisoners and others who have come to faith from such a different belief system, and space to do prayer ministry and have an office on the top floor.

Please will you pray for us, and consider supporting us for God to provide all that we need to start this project. He gave us the name, Place of Grace.

Please now take time to view a slideshow here.
[When viewing the slideshow press enter/return key to move to next slide].

If you are able to help financially we have set up a bank account in Thailand. The details are:
MR.JOHN ROBINSON
Account no 1752197874
SCB - Siam Commercial Bank Company Limited
Branch Nueng pan

2nd Floor
Paradise Park
61 Srinakrin Road
Sub District Nongbon
District Prawet
Province Bangkok 10250
SWIFT CODE SICOTHBK 0175

Home address: 88/13 Muu 15 ICT Town House Bangna Trad Soi 37 Samut Prakarn 10540

Post date: Sunday, June 26, 2011 - 19:00
One year in Bangkok!

Can you believe that we have been here over a year now?! It’s been an incredible journey, and so we thought that it would be fun to compile our (publishable!) list of the good, the bad and the ugly about living here!

The good, the bad and the ugly…

The good
The Robinson familyLots of nice fruit; sunshine; friendly Thai people who especially love children; experiencing a completely different culture; being where God wants us to be right now as a family; experiencing the sheer beauty of Thailand.

The bad
The seedy side to Bangkok (and what it is famous for) is all too obvious sometimes; homesickness; Thai superstitions; the Thai language, which is famously hard to learn; the poverty of so much of the population; corruption.

And the ugly
The traffic and the driving; the hygiene in food preparation – several bouts of food poisoning and infection later…

Work, work, work...

John has now finished full time language study but will be continuing part time to allow him to do more networking, prison ministry and other things that God leads us into. Gillian continues in part time language learning for the time being.

We have had a busy few months with speaking and ministering in different places. John has spoken at prisons in other regions where the response once again was amazing. He also taught with a YWAM school for Asians, where he met many from all around the region, set on serving God.

We were both asked to go to a place that works with girls and boys on the street, and had a moving time sharing testimony and ministering to these Thai people, largely from the very poor northern regions. 

Learning about grace

Teaching at the House of Blessing Halfway HouseJohn continues to work, worship and teach with the Thailand prison ministry, where he and the team speak in the prisons; he then teaches those who attend the services, including refugees from the border countries around Thailand. Those who come to faith in Christ after having grown up in Buddhism are very enthusiastic but they do need a major shift in perspective. Buddhism embraces all religions and is very much a pick and mix religion, as seen from the many statues of Hindu gods in shrines, and the inclusion of much of Chinese religions in Thai Buddhism, such as with ancestral worship.

Learning about grace after a lifetime of believing you have to earn merit is also a significant shift. Some of the class attitudes remain entrenched, however, as Thai Buddhism believes that people are poor because of things done in a previous life, so ex-prisoners and prostitutes who become Christian have a hard time finding acceptance in churches, even as Christians.

Earning merit over New Year

New Year is a time in Thailand for special visits to the temples to earn merit, and Buddhists pay to release fish and birds into freedom that the monks keep at the temples, so that they can earn extra merit. In this deeply superstitious society, Thai people pick a bird or fish for the extra meaning that they apparently have, such as releasing an eel to ensure a smooth passage through life.

At the Chinese New Year there were extra tables put at the shrines in every place to hold all the extra food and drink offerings, and the tables were weighed down. Offerings are only left in the mornings as it is believed the spirits sleep in the afternoons.

Christmas

Christmas entertainment - traditional Thai dancingChristmas was a very interesting time in Thailand. The Thai people celebrate our New Year as well as the Chinese New Year, but they don’t celebrate Christmas at all (despite some of the malls having “Happy New Year” signs with Father Christmas and snowmen next to them).

Gillian’s Thai teacher read some of the bible for the first time when they had a discussion about creation. There is no theology of creation in Thai Buddhism; Thai people live for today and hope to still be here tomorrow, so Gillian showed her the account of creation, which she was fascinated by, especially its detail.

On Boxing Day, John was asked to speak at the Thai language service of the Anglican Church, where they had a Christmas festival, and five of the Buddhist teachers from his language school came to church for the first time in their lives to hear him and were very moved.

Then we rushed to the House of Blessing for their Christmas celebration there. They had a Chinese feast for all the residents and church members. We were sat with a Thai government education minister, and did our very best to eat the delights of jellyfish and all sorts of food that were put before us in order not to be rude! We also enjoyed the Thai dancing although the children’s favourite game – throw the cockroach to each other – was a bit much for Gillian!

Touched by God

John has been asked to speak in many different places, but one which was extra special was to the parents of the pupils who attend our daughters’ school, most of whom are Buddhists. At the special Christmas event, he had a discussion and a prayer with a Buddhist dad after the talk, and the father decided to pray to ask God into his life.

Trusted prisoners at Rayong thrilled to see John and moved by his messageThe translation of John’s first book, ‘Nobody’s Child’ in Thai, and the comic version of his story in Thai, has been such an amazing resource. All the time we hears stories from prisoners, from Thai people and those who work with people on the edge of this society about the amazing response to them, and how much it has helped people to know God. A friend’s Buddhist maid that we had come to know approached Gillian one day really excited and told her how reading ‘Nobody’s Child’ had helped her to know God for herself.

She said with a huge grin that her heart had been so touched that she now knew God. She was baptised at church a few weeks ago which brought a tear to our eyes!

Often, it’s sowing seeds in other people’s lives who we might never know about; many others have been delighted to receive John’s books, such as our landlords. The Thai publishers have been so amazed at the response to ‘Nobody’s Child’ that they have decided to translate ‘Somebody’s Child’ into Thai too, and with John’s third book ‘Streetsmart’ having just come out in the UK, we are thankful for these opportunities to share the gospel.

The girls…

The girls continue to be busy at school, and appreciate the Christian content at their school, as well as the sports. Both of them try their best to be a witness to their friends, both Christian and non-Christian, and are learning so much about how to trust God and serve God in a culture dominated by another religion. Both have been nominated to the student leadership council this year, and will take leadership roles in various ways, including sharing their faith.

Joel

Joel is growing up fast, having just had his second birthday and is speaking more each day. He can speak some Thai words as well as some English words, and loves Thai people speaking to him so much. He manages to make friends with Thai children, and communicate somehow!

Gillian

Gillian continues to help at the church where she can. She now leads the children’s ministry on a Sunday, and helps out with preaching and all age services. The isolation of living in a big city is sometimes very hard, without easy access to transport, and there are practically no British women around, and no facilities such as libraries and playgrounds where she can take Joel. We are all excited as a family, though, at the doors that seem to be opening to minister and work in a slum area near to us.

Prayer points

  • Praise for surviving a turbulent first year in Thailand!
  • Prayers especially about the future, as we look to do other work alongside the prison ministry. Please pray that God opens the right doors and shuts the wrong ones –
  • the needs are so many and we have been asked to help in many things, but we need to know what God’s plans are.
  • For safety in travel.
  • For the girls to be able to study well at school, and to be a witness to their friends.
  • For good health for all five of us.
  • For spiritual protection.

Thankyou, our amazing prayer warriors and supporters; we thank God for each of you!

With much love,

John, Gillian, Leah, Natalie and Joel

 John finishing full time language school

Post date: Monday, May 9, 2011 - 06:13
A few new photos

Read John's blog to see a few new photos.

Post date: Friday, May 6, 2011 - 05:45