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SOUTHEAST ASIA Difficult—Not Impossible By Al Allshouse Learning a second language at any age is difficult for most folks. I remember trying to learn Spanish in high school. It was no easier in military language school. One either uses it or loses it. While serving at Maranatha Baptist Church in Okinawa, Japan, I had to learn a little Japanese in order to work with local businesses. But in the church everything was in English. The Lord led us to move to Thailand—NO one speaks English! Thai is one of the hardest languages for an English speaker to learn. While serving the Lord on Okinawa, I saw there was a scarcity of young men to take over the ministries in Japan. Most of the pastors were older than I, and I was in my late fifties. Older men were still serving. Our youngest son asked when we were going to retire. That made me ask, “Do I want to retire?” The answer came quickly. How can I retire when the Lord has done so much for me? But learning a new language at 67 is difficult. Learning Thai is even harder. My instructors, the Thai people and my wife, have been patient with me. My commitment is to continue to learn and use whatever I can to be a witness for Him and an encouragement to others in the work in Thailand. The Thai people are a blessing. I remember once talking with a store clerk and getting a funny look. The words were correct and pronounced correctly but they were not in the correct grammatical order. God asks for willing vessels. I am learning the language. I may be a little slower than the younger folks but I am learning. I remember the first devotion I gave just after being saved in 1976. Isaiah 40:31 says, They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. I have been through the eagle stage and have run a race. Now I am in the walk and not faint stage, not only in my life but also in my ministry. He keeps me strong so how can I quit because I have to learn another language? If I can say nothing else, at least I can say, ขอบคุณ พระเจ้าม (Thank you, Lord) for using me. Jesus saves no matter what the language. W Al and Lai Allshouse serve with BIMI in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Lai is Thai by birth and speaks the language.