Thailand & Nepal     Tyler Vafakos

 

In preparation for lifelong missionary service, I have been studying at the University of Valley Forge and now pursue opportunities abroad to expand my horizons, traveling this year to Asia- to learn and serve in Thailand and in Nepal, for a total of 8 months.  Starting January 1, 2016 the first stop is to Thailand, on a mission’s trip with my church’s young adults group.  We will minister there for a week, teaching English at the local university, doing prayer walks in key locations around the city, and promoting a local church plant by engaging youth in the parks by playing sports with them.  At the end of this trip, as the team returns home, I will remain in Bangkok to study abroad with the Asia Pacific Student Abroad Initiative (APSAI), an Assemblies of God program designed for Intercultural Studies (missions) majors, studying to be missionaries at AG universities.  With APSAI, I will be taking courses on Missiology, Thai Language, and Thai Culture.  In addition to these courses I will continue taking online courses  with Valley Forge.  We will be working closely alongside the local churches and missionaries to reach the lost in Thailand.  Near the end of the semester, I will remain in Thailand, with one of the missionaries, for ten days before leaving for for Nepal (in early May).  From there, I intend to work with the students at the Nepal Bible College in Kathmandu until I begin my internship.  My first internship, which lasts for about a month, will be in the capital city of Kathmandu.  From there, I travel to the Far Northwestern Region of Nepal to begin my second internship. In the middle of this internship, I travel back to Thailand with the missionaries for an annual missionary retreat.  There I will be able to meet most of the missionaries in Southeastern Asia.  I will then finish out my time in Nepal before returning home at the end of August.

After this trip, I plan on completing my education with The University of Valley Forge (graduating in 2017) so I can be better equipped to serve in Nepal long-term.

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Change a life.  Change the world.

 Changing the world is simpler than you think.  One life at a time, the world is changed.  And changing a life is simpler than you think.  One kind word, one thoughtful deed, one timely gift, one invested moment, one gentle touch at a time, a life is changed.  Oftentimes, we get too caught up in what we're not, to focus on who we are; we become too focused on what we can’t do, to consider what we are able to do; we concentrate more on what we don’t have, to realize how much we have to offer.  It’s a tough battle.  It’s a battle every one of us face, in one way or another, on a regular basis.  You see, to change the world, to change lives, you don’t need the perfect words or the best ideas.  You don’t need the great talent, the perfect grades, or the financial success.  You don’t need the most charming personality or the best looks or the most influential contacts list.  You simply need the willingness to be used by God, a little courage, a little faith, a little love, a little prayer, and God will grow and multiply your little sacrificial gift. 

With this willingness to be used by God, I have answered His call on my life to be a career missionary.  In the summer of 2008, at the conclusion of my 6th grade year, I first sensed God’s calling to ministry at kid’s camp.   After a powerful service on reaching our lost classmates for Christ, the speaker told us that if we were willing to commit to making a difference in our school, to shout out the name of our school on the count of three.

I go to a small school.  I want to reach more people than that...  “One!” 

I live in a small town.  I want to reach more people than that…  “Two!” 

I live in a small state.  I want to reach more people than that…  “Three!”

“The world!  I want to change the world!”

Since that night, God has been preparing me for ministry- molding me, shaping me, chiseling away some of my rough edges, and teaching me what it means to be a servant of Christ. 

In preparation for lifelong missionary service, I have been studying at the University of Valley Forge and now pursue opportunities abroad to expand my horizons, traveling this year to Asia- to learn and serve in Thailand and in Nepal, for a total of 8 months.  Starting January 1, 2016 the first stop is to Thailand, on a mission’s trip with my church’s young adults group.  We will minister there for a week, teaching English at the local university, doing prayer walks in key locations around the city, and promoting a local church plant by engaging youth in the parks by playing sports with them.  At the end of this trip, as the team returns home, I will remain in Bangkok to study abroad with the Asia Pacific Student Abroad Initiative (APSAI), an Assemblies of God program designed for Intercultural Studies (missions) majors, studying to be missionaries at AG universities.  With APSAI, I will be taking courses on Missiology, Thai Language, and Thai Culture.  In addition to these courses I will continue taking online courses  with Valley Forge.  We will be working closely alongside the local churches and missionaries to reach the lost in Thailand.  Near the end of the semester, I will remain in Thailand, with one of the missionaries, for ten days before leaving for for Nepal (in early May).  From there, I intend to work with the students at the Nepal Bible College in Kathmandu until I begin my internship.  My first internship, which lasts for about a month, will be in the capital city of Kathmandu.  From there, I travel to the Far Northwestern Region of Nepal to begin my second internship. In the middle of this internship, I travel back to Thailand with the missionaries for an annual missionary retreat.  There I will be able to meet most of the missionaries in Southeastern Asia.  I will then finish out my time in Nepal before returning home at the end of August.

PRAY  First and foremost, I ask for your prayers.  Above all else, prayer is the most valuable thing you can offer me while I am away, as it is key to success on the missions field.  I will certainly face dangers, battles, struggles, and trials aplenty while I am abroad.  In those times, I will need a little extra faith, wisdom, and love.   As needs come up, I will share with you more specific prayer requests.  I ask that you say a prayer for me as often as you think of me.  If you support me in no other way, please support me in prayer.

As a part of my support team, I want you to know that I am praying for each of you individually, by name.   No matter where I am or what I am doing, I will not be too busy to concern myself with matters back home.  As such, I ask that if you ever have any prayer requests at all, big or small, please share them with me.  We don’t have to do life alone! 

CONNECT  As friends and supporters, I want to keep you as informed as possible.  I will be sending out a weekly newsletter detailing the week’s events, sharing successes and struggles, praise reports and prayer requests; if you are interested in receiving a newsletter, please email me at tvafakos@gmail.com and let me know you are interested.  Also, if you prefer, I can send you a paper newsletter in the mail- just be sure to let me know.  I intend to send each of you at least one hand-written letter, as I am able, while I am away.  I would also love to hear from each of you back home.  I want to stay in touch with each of you and stay up to date with everything that is happening while I’m away.  Please feel free to email me or send me a message on Facebook and let me know how you’re doing and what you’ve been up to.  Anyone who is on Facebook and is not my friend, please feel free to send a friend-request to “Tyler Vafakos.” 

SUPPORT  Finally, I ask, humbly, for your financial support.  Being Jesus’ hands and feet is not without cost; sometimes, being the hands and feet of Jesus costs an arm and a leg.  I’m ready to pay whatever cost for the lost.  I’m ready to live and die for the Gospel but I require the partnership of faithful supporters as I labor for the Lord. Before anything else, I ask that you take some time to pray about supporting me financially.  If you feel led to support me, I ask that you take some time to pray about how much God is prompting you give.  I have felt impressed to ask that you, over a period of four months, give $100 in support of my ministry.  This investment of $25 a month for four months will prove invaluable because of the experience, knowledge, understanding, and relationships I will be able to build and develop in this time, as I prepare for my career as a missionary.  Now, I certainly would not object to anything less, nor would I reject anything more.  This is simply the number God has laid on my heart as I have prayerfully pursued His wisdom and guidance on the matter. 

            Thank you for all your prayers and support.

With All My Love and Prayers,

 

 

 

 

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