What if They Only Remember the Elephants? (SE Asia 2019 Report)
“It might be that some people only remember the elephants.”
My daughter Kailah sniffed and looked up at me. She smiled and wiped her eyes with the back of her hand.
“I know, Dad, its true…” she lifted her head, leaving a wet mark on my shoulder where her eyes had been, “Do you think we should even post the pictures if that’s all our friends will remember?”
“Of COURSE we should still post them – they’re epic. We can’t NOT post them, right?”
“Yeah, but everyone will remember the elephants, and they’ll think we’ve just been on vacation, and they won’t know about all the travel days in the heat and the buses and the planes and the dirt and us trying to figure it out not knowing the language, and all of the days we hardly got to sleep at all and then had to go up and play in front of all those people even when we felt so tired…”
“Totally,” I smiled back at her, “and the brutal sound-checks in the heat of the day, and the times when most of us were struggling with sickness in that one super hot hotel with the broken air-conditioning…”
“And all the people who said yes to Jesus, and the awesome things that God did, and all of our friends…” she buried her head back into my shoulder and I had to strain to make out the rest of her muffled words, “… all of our friends who we just love so much and we have to say goodbye to them now, and I’m just gonna miss them Dad…”
“I know, little one. I get it…” I stroked her head for a minute. “It’s gonna be okay – we’ll get a little rest and then we’ll just keep getting after it, okay? You’ve got this, little one.”
“Yeah Dad, okay. I know God’s got this…”
To be fair, it had been a crazy few months…
And we were really, REALLY tired.
We had just completed the last few shows of our three week tour of Southeast Asia – several nights in Ormoc City, Philippines and Pattaya Thailand, followed by several performances at an undisclosed location in the small Muslim nation of Brunei. Prior to Southeast Asia, we had performed in Kenya and the Dominican Republic, where Kailah had been the primary speaker for her first city-wide festival.
On our final day in Thailand, we had enjoyed our first full rest day in nearly a month – the team had toured an elephant camp and taken a few undeniably epic pictures, and then come back to our small hotel room, where several weeks of strong emotions had suddenly come pouring out.
The emotions were strong, raw, and real, but underneath the turbulence, something was happening – it was as if our resolve was shifting and strengthening somehow.
“We’re going to take a breath, okay? And then we’ll just follow Jesus and keep sharing the Gospel, and I really believe we’re going to see our friends again soon. This is what we’re made for, right?”
“Yeah Dad,” her eyes were still red and watery but there was a clear intensity in them that was undeniable, “…We were made for this.”
I’m convinced that this job isn’t for everybody, but I’m equally convinced that it IS for us.
The work is hard, but the payoff… indescribable. During our three weeks in Southeast Asia we watched God transform the lives of so many beautiful people – thousands responded to the offer of new life in Jesus, and many experienced genuine emotional healing and freedom.
In Ormoc City, Philippines, we were sent by On The Go Ministries to partner with the Reid Saunders Association. Our advance team performed in dozens of schools and churches, and we ended the week with a three-night music festival in the Ormoc City Superdome. Many thousands gathered in the streets, and thousands of people responded to the love of Jesus.
In Pattaya, Thailand, we partnered with IGMF (International Gospel Music Federation) and several bands from across Asia. Pattaya is internationally known for serious drugs, alcohol abuse, prostitution, and sex trafficking. In the midst of this environment, we held a large, well-produced Gospel concert in front of the most prominent shopping mall in the city. Thousands stopped to watch and participate during the three night event, and we watched broken, formerly hopeless people experience new life in Jesus.
The country of Brunei is a small Muslim country under Sharia law. Alcohol is illegal, drug possession and adultery are punishable by death, celebrating Christmas is illegal, and sharing any non-Muslim faith is strictly prohibited. That said, we were amazed by the kindness of the local people, their love for their sultan, and by the incredible courage and generosity of the local church. We spent time praying and meeting with local believers, and had the miraculous opportunity to hold two underground concerts, where many young people responded to the message of Jesus.
Throughout the entire three week tour, we worked with our dear friends HISPOP from 0316 Records in Bangkok. As usual, we were blown away by their incredible stage show, their uncompromising outspokenness for Jesus, and their genuine Christlike love and humility. Probably the hardest part of our trip was saying goodbye to this team which has become like family to us.
Our mandate is to share the love and message of Jesus in every nation on earth, and we’re serious about reaching as many people as possible. Over the next few months, we’re scheduled to release our LATEST CD (Woohoo!!), and travel to BELIZE, PERU, and across the USA to share Jesus, and hopefully complete our latest K-Pop collaboration with HISPOP as well.
Please pray for focus, courage, and faithfulness to share the love of Jesus with excellence, humility, and boldness. Also consider praying for favor around the world – that God would continue to open doors for us to share Jesus, and that we would continue to step through them.
Our mission is funded in large part by like-minded people like you. If you’d like to partner with us financially to reach the world with the message of Jesus (and you haven’t already joined our support team) simply click HERE to help, and THANK YOU for your generosity! If you’re already a part of the team we want to say a special thank YOU for your amazing kindness.
Also, if you haven’t heard LIFELINE (the latest song from our upcoming CD) you can listen on SPOTIFY, (please follow us if you haven’t already!) watch the official music video on YOUTUBE, or purchase/stream in ITUNES. Let us know what you think!
God bless you friends – we can’t thank you enough for standing with us!
Zach and White Ribbon Day