River Valley Community Church
888 S Edgelawn | Aurora, IL 60506 | 630-844-9115
Sunday Worship at 10:00AM

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sawatdee Kaa…Greetings from Thailand

First, I want to thank each of you for your prayers and support for the mission team. We felt your prayers each and everyday. During the 16-22 days that we were gone, we had team members with 3 different itineraries flying between 8-12 flights on 4 different airlines, with a total of up to 22 pieces of luggage on 8 different modes of transportation while interacting with 8 different ministries. At the end of the trip we all got where we needed to be safely with everything we needed. PRAISE GOD! We felt God above us, behind us, before us and beside us.

We started in the Northwest in a Red Karen Hill Tribe village and worked our way South to Bangkok . We slept under mosquito nets in the mountains and in guest houses and hotels in the cities. Our food ranged from rice and noodles to curry and spices to an occasional french fry and coke. I saw God stretching and molding us as a team and as individuals.

We rejoiced with the believers and sang praises to God in several different languages. We prayed with any and all to whom God directed us. We wept for the hurting, for the lost and for those we came in contact with who didn’t even realize the real love they were missing. We ministered to the young and the old, the educated and the less fortunate, the believers and those living with hope in false gods. We taught English to teachers and children, we scrubbed down walls covered with mold, we brought supplies needed by our missionaries and helped pass out toothbrushes and school supplies to those in need, but most of all we prayerfully followed God’s lead and loved and encouraged all He put in our path.

Through all that we saw and experienced, we were encouraged by the passionate men and women of God who are serving and sacrificing for the Lord. Their vision and desire to fill their country with believers in the one true God was inspiring. I hope you will go to our website blog and read our daily encounters with God while in Thailand . http://rivervalleycommunity.org/thailand

I would also like to personally invite you to come and hear first hand what God is doing in Thailand on Wednesday, July 14th at 6 p.m. at River Valley Community Church , 1655 Bowman Drive , Aurora . We came back with specific prayer requests and specific needs for each ministry. We will share these opportunities with you so you can join us in continuing to partner with these ministries both prayerfully and financially.

Thank you again for your prayers and support. Together we can accomplish great things for the Kingdom.

Yours in Christ,
Sherilyn Kingsbury – Team Leader

Monday, June 21, 2010

Travel to Ubon Ratchathani

Today we were up at 5 a.m. to travel to Ubon Ratchathani to visit a team member's Compassion Child. When we arrived at the airport our flight had been canceled. After several phone calls, talking to numerous ticket agents and lots of smiles we were put on a noon flight and had a wonderful afternoon with Ploy. She is 13 years old and living in Isan, which is the area that a large percentage of bar girls come from. It was made evident to us the importance of groups like Compassion providing food, education and most of all Jesus to these young children.

God was so good to take care of all of the details. We have been learning so much and continue to see the struggle of the people of Thailand and the need for our Savior. Thank you for all of your prayers, we have felt them everyday.

We are headed for Phuket and will be back on Saturday. Hope to see you all at our Presentation night on Wednesday, July 14th at 6 p.m. We have so much to share with you.

God Bless - Sherilyn and Allison (Team members)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Team Members are Home Safely

Our first team members are home safely! Thank you so much for your prayers.

The rest of the team spent the day worshiping with The Well of Gospel Church in the morning and The Well of Grace Church in the afternoon. It was great to worship together in multiple languages. It was an encouragement to us to see the growth in the girls, their love for each other and for God. On our way to the hotel, we went to the heart of Bangkok and saw the remnants of the Red Shirt destruction on the city. It was a reality check to realize that this was going on only a couple of weeks ago. We have been battling the heat, dehydration and lack of sleep, but they do not compare to the reward we receive from the relationships with amazing Christians living out their faith each day.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The children of the Well of Grace Church

We spent a wonderful morning with the children of the Well of Grace Church, this is the Sam Rong Tai Church in the slums. We were greeted by 35-40 children with smiles and roses. They sang songs of praise and recited the Books of the Bible, The Ten Commandments and The Lord's Prayer. It was great to see the love of Christ shining through their eyes. We had time to spend with them in small groups and learned that rock, paper, scissors is universal. We also learned that seeing themselves on a digital camera is exciting and making silly noises reaches across the language barrier. Most of these children are without parents and being raised by extended family members, it was great to love on them.

The afternoon was spent with Mike and Kay Killar and their family. We learned more about their vision and needs in their new ministry, Samaritan Creations. We were able to spend time praying over them and encouraging them. We also had time as a team to reflect on the trip and share with one another what God had placed on each of our hearts. The real challenge to each of us is to continue to hear God's voice and see the needs of His people when we return home.

Some of the team left around 9:30 p.m. for their flight home.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Day With the Killars

Yesterday we arrived safely in Bangkok & spent the day with the Killars at Samaritan's Creations. We were greeted by the women at their center with warm smiles, roses, and singing. After eating lunch together and buying some of their beautiful jewelry, we had a time of worship and sharing testimonies. It was amazing to hear what God has done in the lives of these women, as well as how God is working in our own lives. We also played a few fun games to help us all get to know each other and remember each other's names. Thai names are hard to pronounce & remember! (For me at least) Anyway, Mike prepped us for the night, since we were going to go to the red light district. Many of us had no idea what to expect, so this was very helpful and relaxed us a bit. After a trip on the sky train, we broke up into groups and walked through red light district. Some of us chose to do a prayer walk, while others went into the bars to talk to the bargirls. It was heartbreaking to see these girls in this situation, but it was encouraging to know that Samaritan's Creations is there to show them the love of Christ, and offer them a way out of their lifestyle. Thank you for your prayers, I look forward to seeing what God will show us throughout the rest of our trip!

Leslie Girk (Team Member)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God

2 Thessalonians 3:5 says, "May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Jesus Christ."

That was my prayer today as we toured one of the largest pilgrimage Bhuddist temples in Thailand, a mountain called Doi Suthan. Once we reached the top we were pressed to buy bells and incense to offer for our relatives and to help us find peace. None of us purchesed any, and it became immediately apparent that this was a place filled with souls wrestling with truth, trying to find comfort where there is none.
We prayed.

We were broken for them.

As we walked and prayed we noticed immediately one of the main temple buildings under construction, and I thanked God for His simple reminder to the worshipers there that these buildings and idols are indeed wrought by human hands, unable to speak, unable to understand their many prayers, unable to grant them the peace they seek and incapable of the immeasurable love God desires to pour out upon them. For that we gave thanks.

One of their Bhuddist sayings, which was carved on a post near the entrance to the compound, is "May Peace Prevail upon the Earth." They are searching for peace; they long for comfort. Five Thai people attempt suicide every day and they are hungry for the truth. Jesus told the world that He was leaving with us His peace; not as the world gives. Pray for the Bhuddists in Thailand that they would come to know Jesus Christ as the Prince of Peace.

As we left that place we took stock of our surroundings. Atop a magnificent mountain peak surrounded by trees amid the clouds, we could see the mimicry at work. Every temple designed to look like a mountain; every spire crafted after the trees; each bell chiming the same pitch as the birds; and people trying to be gods unto themselves. It was a long, somber walk back down the mountain; one filled with constant prayer for a people whom God desires for Himself. Imagine what unique worship the Thai Bhuddists would bring to the God of heaven and how pleased He would be to claim this nation for His glory.

Join us in our intersession for the Thai Bhuddists. They are eagerly seeking; they simply need to be shown the Way.

Praise be to God and all glory to Him for every heart that turns to Jesus.

Eli Suddarth (Team Member)
Director of Worship and Discipleship
River Valley Community Church

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Silk Factory in Chiang Mai

Today Peter and Ochie took us to the silk factory in Chiang Mai. Saw the whole process from the moths to the caterpillars to the cocoons on to boiling the cocoons to removing silk threads and spinning threads and then using looms to make the patterned material. Quite lovely. And then guess what? We shopped at their store, really beautiful garments - 100% silk.

Then we went to another type of mall, an outdoor 3 story, the first floor was mostly food items, the second and third floor were mostly clothes - everything was packed in so tight you could hardly walk through it. Eli made a fine purchase and shared with Phil and Anna, he bought an assortment of creepy, crawly worms and insects, etc., etc.,etc. All the younger girls bought some cute outfits.

After lunch we drove to the Agape Orphanange to do some painting. First, Kathy their nurse, took us on a tour and explained about the HIV+ babies and children staying at the home. I think we were all pleased with the set up. The building was built by Agape so it was set up the way they needed it. The team spent the afternoon washing walls in 3 rooms, removing mold, washing screens and preparing the walls for paint. The school director and founder said they make school bags for Samaritan's Purse and they really needed more help with their sewing. The team volunteered me, because of my abilities and Mary Alice joined me. Who would believe I would get to do this in Thailand. I loved it! God is really blessing this ministry, we left a donation for the purchase of all of the paint. Please pray for these children and the staff -80 children.

After supper, we went to the Night Safari. What a beautiful park. We rode a tram through the park to see the animals, some came right up to our tram. We saw lions and bears and tigers, oh my. Afterward, they had a beautiful light show with wonderful music.

Another full day...wish you were here - Pat Smallwood (team member)

This was my day

Greetings from Thailand...

This was my day. We visited Kotchanan, my Compassion child. We left on our journey at 8:30 a.m. by van for 2 1/2 hours and then transferred to 2 pick up trucks and drove another hour up red dirt ruddy roads with lots of gullies and bumps - whoa! We arrived in front of the school and Kotchanan was waiting. We all went to the Compassion office/church on a top of a hill with beautiful scenery. They served us lunch and we then went to Kotchanan's home. It was beautiful with ornate staircases and neat. Her father, mother and paternal grandfather were present. They explained her 15 year old brother is apart from them (the mom had gone away to work for 7 years for money for the home when he was young and that had a lasting effect). The father suffers with alcohol addiction and the mom is not happy in the marriage. These are all prayer concerns. Even though the family members are not believers, they allowed us to pray for them.

We gave them their gifts and headed for the school where we taught her kindergarten class of about 12 students. We back tracked with the same transportation and returned to Chiang Mai about 6:00 p.m. In the evening we went to the night bazaar and "shopped till we dropped." All in all it was another adventurous day of serving our Lord in Thailand. We are really feeling your prayers...thanks for your faithfulness.

Mary Alice Gin (team member)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Compassion Child

Hi all...

We are in Chiang Mai. Today we visited our Compassion Child. It was an amazing experience. The Compassion staff drove us from our guest house to our child's village about 2 hours away. We met the staff and talked with them about Compassion and we also talked with the pastor. Then we went to our child's school and taught English to 100 students for 90 minutes. It was so much fun singing songs and playing games. Then our child, Chinnakrit rode back with us to the village and we all ate lunch together. He prayed for our meal. It was delicious. We then were welcomed into the home of his family. We talked and prayed with them (through an interpreter). We also presented them with gifts and food. They presented us with handmade clothing articles for the whole team.

It was great to hug our little boy, see his smiles and talk with his mother face to face. We have supported him for 5 years. His parents were very grateful for our visit and appreciative for the prayers and support.

Continue to pray for our health and safety. We are off to another village tomorrow about 90 minutes away to meet another child and teach at another school.

More to come...Sherilyn (Team leader)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Leaving Mae Hong Son

Hello friends and family,

We are busy packing up and getting ready to leave Mae Hong Son, we will be going to Chiang Mai. This week has been absolutely amazing! We are so blessed to witness God's work on the other side of the world. Yesterday, we were able to visit a different village, where Thopsok has been doing an outreach. It was a bumpy one hour ride. We were able to meet the headman who has recently become a believer and pass out toothbrushes and toothpaste to the people and some candy for the children. It is amazing to see how God is using Peter and Ochie, and to witness the hearts of the new believers as they minister to others and continue to be followers of Christ even through hardships and persecution. The people have a strong faith and are so giving and loving to us. We have formed some relationships with the believers here and we hope to be an encouragement to them.

Yesterday, we were able to teach English to highschool students and women of the village. We will be sad to leave, as we have had such a wonderful time here. Peter and Ochie have shown us their life, and we have been blessed and encouraged by such great, faithful leaders. It is also wonderful for me to have been able to return to this village and see how the work has grown and the believers leading and taking ownership of their church. We have been able to talk with the people and learn more about their needs and how to pray for them. It is hard to leave, but I am looking forward to continue seeing more of God's work and my heart continues to be touched by the people of Thailand!

Please continue to keep us in your prayers, thank you for your support! God has been so good!

In His love,
Allison Kingsbury (Team Member)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Fish Cave

Hi All!

Yesterday was another blessed day in Thailand. We went to the Fish Cave and saw all of the Thai peoples' deceased relatives-they believe in reincarnation. Yesterday was our last day in the schools. Everyone was sad to leave and everyone kept asking when we were coming back.


Anna, Allison and I played with the village children. They are too cute. There are so many things that you can do with a jump rope, we will have to show you all when we come back. This morning all of the village children were waiting by Peter and Ochie's house for Allison, Anna, and I to wake up and go outside to play with them...they are still waiting but we have other priorities to finish.

Someone in the village has passed away. If you could please pray for the family and the friends that were surrounding them as they left this place. Please pray for us as we continue to God's work here in Thailand and pray for all the people here.

Alexis (Team Member)

Friday, June 11, 2010

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God

Psalm 42 "As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God."

Last night we worshiped with the Red Karen believers and we were able to sing the same song in praise to God, only in different languages. This morning, Eli led our devotion- Here in Thailand , and even when we are back in the states the most obvious display of God's love overflowing in our lives is visible in our countenance. Having a joyful countenance is our greatest tool of evangelism here. The students may not understand anything that comes out of our mouths except for "Hello, my name is ____, how are you?" but they can see the love in our hearts by the smile on our face and our cheerful attitude.

First we drove to the King's garden and zoo. The garden is run by Christians who are friends of Peter and Ochie. There were not many flowers in full bloom but it was still beautiful. Next we drove out to a Chinese village for tea. The drive there was magnificent, around every turn there was another breathtaking panorama. I'm not a big fan of tea but it was mighty tasty! We enjoyed a hearty meal prepared by some friends of Ochie. We got some goodies at the shop for friends at home and I learned I have a lot to learn when it comes to bartering :) We could see the Burma border.

On the way back to Thopsok we drove through acres of tea plantations where we saw some water buffalo! We pulled over to sing to them "everybody has a water buffalo, yours is fast but mine is slow..." -thank you veggie tales.

Then we were off to the schools to teach! Katie is a celebrity in the classroom with the 9-12 year olds. Before she came in the room they started chanting, "Katie, Katie, Katie!" It was adorable how their faces lit up as they cheered when she came in to sing and play her Ukulele. At the King's school we continued preparing the students for their test on "How to make a salad." After teaching, we were given a quick tour of some classrooms and the garden where the students grow their own vegetables.

Peter took us to the water hole to cool off after teaching :) I can't wait to show you all pictures, it looked like it was right out of a dream or a magazine. A small waterfall hidden behind massive rocks, perfect for jumping off of :) A man from the village set up nets to catch some fish and said we could swim over them as we played. Alexis, Allison, Leslie, Mr. Kingsbury and I had a great time diving in and splashing around!

After dinner we were off to the night Bazaar. It was almost empty because tourists have been steering clear of Thailand since the Red Shirt stuff. The street is usually lined with carts but there were only a few out tonight. So we helped boost the local economy.

I hope everything is going well at home :) We heard the good news about the Blackhawks! Woo hoo!

Please keep praying for us to be an encouragement to the Christians in Thopsok and also to Peter and Ochie. Each day I am honored to witness the love Peter and Ochie have for these people. Please pray that God keeps our hearts soft and teachable, open to whatever He has to show us. Thank the Lord we are all happy, healthy and eager to teach and love the students everyday :)

Anna Morgan (Team Member)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Hello prayer warriors!

Yesterday was our third (?- hard to tell with the time) full day in Thailand with the Bangcongs. We started our day as a team with devotions and prayer, led by Peter Bangcong (the missionary we are staying with). Eli played guitar and we worshiped together, and Peter read from Deut. 3:1-12 about giants that may be in our lives, but God has given us the victory over. It was wonderful to worship together and fellowship, to hear Peter's stories.

After that, we hopped in the truck to ride to a place where they do elephant rides. We went specifically to a site run by Red Karen people to support their work, as Peter and Ochie desire to continue expanding their ministry with that people group to surrounding villages. The elephant rides were amazing- there was even a mom and dad with their 6 month old baby walking along with us! Many of us got off the seat resting on the elephant's back in order to take a turn sitting on their head! The trail we were on was incredibly beautiful as well. In the afternoon, we did more teaching with the children, and teachers at the school. I (Katie) borrowed a ukulele from Peter, and used it in teaching with the kids, which helped everyone pay attention and stay engaged (especially a few of the rowdy ones).

In the evening, we visited a church service, led by the local believers. There were about 15 Red Karen people there. We sang some familiar songs that they knew as well, and also listened as they worshiped in their own language. Peter and Ochie did their best to translate the message for us, and we also sang a song or two for them, per their request. :) It is always an amazing joy to see God's people enjoying His presence in all languages all over the world.


  • We are all healthy and in good spirits (and getting more used to the heat)
  • Pray for our relationships with teachers at the schools- to grow and build, with possible opportunities to share Christ with them.
  • Please pray for the pastor of the Red Karen village church- His son recently fell and hit his head, and is now having many seizures.

Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers- we are honored to see Christ work here. Hope you
are doing well.

~Katie Suddarth (Team Member)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Yesterday was incredible

Yesterday was incredible. We are super blessed because of our super God. Our day started with breakfast together and prayer. And if that wasn't blessing enough, we took a long, flat boat to the Long Neck Village and did a little shopping with the locals.

Lunch was next. A roadside cafe graced us with local cuisine of fried noodles and icee drinks made with fresh fruit. Teaching at two schools in the afternoon allowed us to be part of the Thai educational system where we learned how sweet, gracious, and very appreciative the children and adults were to learn English. The trip home took us to the King's Palace and through his gardens.

We crashed at home about 6 pm. Dinner was served by Ochie-delicious!!

More to come....Gail (team member)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

After 43 1/2 hours we are in Thopsok

Hi all,

After 43 1/2 hours we are in Thopsok, the Red Karen hill tribe village. We have so many answered prayers already. All of us are safe, healthy and happy. All of our flights were on time and our luggage arrived with us. The Bangcong's are overwhelmed with the generosity of all of you and all of the supplies we were able to bring them. We toured the village yesterday and all got a good night's sleep.

We are visiting the Long Neck Village today and will start teaching this afternoon. Please continue to pray for health and safety. We also need prayer that the weather will allow us to do all that the Lord has for us. It is very HOT and HUMID!

Thanks for your prayers...more updates to come, Sherilyn