Marine Reach DTS, More Speaking, 10 years in Thailand

These are some more stories that I have meant to update you on.

Marine Reach DTS Team & Shan Project DTS Team
We at YWAM Borders have such an amazing staff team. I am so blessed by them. Aum and I had already committed to going to teach down South but we had 2 teams that wanted to come to us to do ministry. Our staff team prayed and they all felt like it was going to be so much work but that God was saying to take the team and that it was actually a special opportunity to lead a outreach group while NOT having Aum and I here 🙂 Which is awesome because Nirut and I usually have to take care of so much with teams that come. And of course Stephen, Angela, Max and Tom did so Awesome!  I’m so impressed and so thankful. Nirut made it back to be with the team the last week they were here so that was fun. We also had one of my past students in Bangkok named “Beer” come up for that week to help cook for the teams and for the camps that they ran. I think it was fun having him. He loved it so much that he decided that he wants to come back on as Staff for Borders. 🙂
We had 22 people staying at YWAM Borders at the same time. Which makes for a pretty crazy time. The Shan Project DTS is a DTS from our good friends here in Mae Sai that we are starting to do more and more with. They came and spent the week at YWAM Borders and worked with our team and with the Marine Reach team.
The teams together did an “ART” camp for the kids. Teaching them how God is the Creator and how we can create with Him. They taught the story of creation and taught painting and a day on Music. It sounded like it was SO much fun. The feed back from everyone was so good.

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Teaching in the Shan Project DTS
The day after I got back from the Myanmar Conference I started teaching in the school I just mentioned above. I only had 3 days with them but I felt that it really was a good time. It has been special to go deeper in our relationships with the crew over there. It seemed like God was working on peoples hearts while I shared. I had fun anyways 🙂 I pray that God used whatever I shared for His glory.

10 Years in Thailand
We have a new team here right now and have had an AMAZING weekend that I will write about later but I keep thinking about how crazy it is that I have been here for 10 years now. Thinking about what God has done and the excitement for what He is doing. I decided to start reading my journal from 10 years ago and it is amazing to see my prayers in that as a 23 year old.  Tonight one of our friends was over at our house and I was sharing about the picture I had 10 years ago so I got one of my journals out and showed the picture that I drew. It was neat to see that it has really been happening and that Gods love is reaching out to the people of the Golden Triangle. He is sooooo GOOD!

The picture on the left is from my journal in 2005 on the right is an ASEAN 2015 guide. Looks like it picked Mae Sai as a hot place for all kinds of activity. But we are believing it is the launching point for God to use to reach the Nations.

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Awesome times!

Teaching
I had the amazing privilege to be invited to speak for a week at the Discipleship School in Southern Thailand. I am always so honored but I felt so strongly that I want to use these times to accomplish some of our goals too. One goal we have is to see our Thais be training in their leadership. So I invited Nirut to come and teach with me. He definitely has the gift of teaching. He was nervous that I invited him and the thought of being the special speaker brought in to teach all of the students worried him but he prayed and actually had a dream of himself speaking there and he was shocked and came back and said yeah Brandon I think I am supposed to go! So he traveled with Aum and I and he did such a good job. I was so proud of him. The last day I drove him to the airport so he could get back fast and it was his first time flying by himself and I felt like a proud father saying good bye to his son. It was kinda funny.

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BDAY
Aum and I then stayed in the South for 4 extra days to celebrate my 33rd Birthday. We had such a good time. We stayed in the same hotel that I stayed at for my 23rd birthday 10 YEARS AGO during the tsunami time. It was so special being back there and thinking about how much has happened the last 10 years and thinking about 23 year old Brandon compared to 33 year old Brandon. I’ve changed a lot! It was so neat to think how much has happened and how far I’ve come and even to reminisce about the time in the Tsunami camps.

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Y MYANMAR!!
We then flew straight up to Mae Sai (flying with 2 kids is a whole other ball game!) but we made it and I had one day to meet the team and try to connect with our staff before I left to the YWAM Myanmar National Conference. I actually traveled alone for this one and just got back to Thailand today. I miss my family! At the conference it was so special because we work a lot of with peoples from Myanmar so we are trying to identify with our YWAM Myanmar family more as we continue to reach out to the people groups from there. We even got released as a ministry to reach out in the Eastern Shan state area. I was honored to get to share a little there to the staff and even get to lead the end portion of the conference and lead us in communion. It was a special time where I feel like our roots went down further in our relationships with the staff working in Myanmar.

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Happy New YEARS.. Thai Style (last week)

HEY EVERYONE!
It has been a wonderfully crazy month of April. I am gonna start updating you about it. Below is a blog post from Stephen and Angela some of our staff here at Borders.  It has been AMAZING to see what has been happening. I love the way they wrote from their experience of this crazy National Water Fight celebration. Read on:

 

This week Thailand celebrated Songkran, which is the Thai New Year. It is celebrated by three days of a nation-wide water fight! This is by far one of my favorite holidays and I love being in Thailand during this time! We had the privilege of being invited to eat with some of our Loy friends at their house on Tuesday morning. We had flower noodle soup, sunflower seeds, traditional Loy rice snacks and Coke & Fanta. Little did we know that this meal would become very familiar to us over the next two days!

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As we left their house we passed another family who said we needed to come back and eat with them too. They said it was only fair, because we had eaten with these other families… we couldn’t refuse! We promised to come back later that afternoon. We then went to another neighborhood where other families had invited us to come eat because their sons had become monks for a day (this is like a coming of age type thing and everyone was celebrating). We had flower noodle soup, sunflower seeds, traditional Loy rice snacks and Coke & Fanta… not even an hour after we had finished the first round at the previous house!!

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 We had a little water fight with the kids then went home to digest for an hour. The guys and I rode through town in the back of Brandon’s truck (check out the video) and got absolutely drenched! It was great!! 

 

We then went back to our friends house that we had promised earlier that day. We had noodle soup, sunflower seeds, traditional Loy rice snacks and Coke & Fanta… I was about to pop! We couldn’t refuse, so we just kept eating and praying we wouldn’t get sick in front of our friends who were blessing us so tremendously! That was Tuesday… 

Even though we were soaked, we had a great time!

Wednesday we woke up and went to another family’s house who had invited us to come eat! We had noodle soup, sunflower seeds, traditional Loy rice snacks and Coke & Fanta. At this point I don’t think I can ever look at noodle soup again! I knew God was doing a miracle in my stomach to make room for more noodles! We had more water fights here with our friends and iSaow, the father, had a blast chasing the kids.

While we were at iSaow’s house, our good friend iKam came by and said, “When you get done here, come by my house to visit us!” We went to iKam’s house, sat down and they placed sunflower seeds in front of us and traditional Loy rice snacks! I thought, “Oh no!!” You guessed it: We had flower noodle soup, sunflower seeds, traditional Loy rice snacks and Coke & Fanta!! As I finished my 5th meal in a row of soup I was convinced that I would never be able to eat flower noodle soup again!

Noodle Brunch at iSaow's house!

We then went to the very last house that had invited us to come visit them. We as a team made a pact that we would not sit down and we would not eat anything! We knew if one of us did, then it was all over! Once you meet our Loy friends though, you will know that you can’t really say no to them when they are trying to bless you! I don’t know who gave in first, but one of us was forced inside and sat down. They pulled out pictures to show us their families and out came the Fanta and sunflower seeds!! The mom pulled out her noodles and we all protested and told her how great the Coke, Fanta & Sunflower seeds were! Luckily she had seen us at our other friend’s house and knew we had just eaten 2 meals of soup in the past 3 hours, so we escaped the very last soup!

Eating Soup at iKam's house

I can’t tell you how incredibly blessed and loved we have felt this holiday. We love our Loy friends SO much and we felt so incredibly loved by them this holiday too!! It was such a blessing to see how welcomed we were into their lives and families. Brandon said that last year one family invited our team to their home for Songkran and this year eight families invited us to come celebrate with them! We are so happy to count them as our close friends and be welcomed into their lives!

If you were to meet them in America you would think that they do not have a lot materialistically – but they are some of the richest people I know! They give extravagantly and have such an amazing sense of community and family! We love these people so much – If we are capable of loving them this much, then I can’t even fathom the Father’s love for them!! Please take a second and pray for the Loy community in Thailand that they would receive Jesus this year!!!

Here is a video from the back of my truck as they got doused with water 🙂

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The Kids are in School!! NEW MOVIE!

Just a quick update to say that Messi and Kamfuu are officially in school!  Such an amazing answer to prayers! We are so happy. So instead of them becoming monks they are on their way to finishing high school and they are sooooooooo happy. We went Monday to register and Kamfuus mom started to cry she was so happy that we were helping them. Then on Wednesday Tom and Nirut took them to take there placement exams and today they went back with the moms and found out they both passed and are in the 2nd level room! They are so happy! Praise God. Also yesterday CONNER became an American citizen 🙂 YEAH!
Below is an AWESOME video from our Loy family day last year. I LOVE these guys so much!

other news:

SO many Burmese are exploited and held in slavery in so many places 🙁 here is one story: CLICK

PRAY for MYANMAR. Still on the verge of lasting change? CLICK

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God is Good! Dreams are Being Fulfilled!

This has been an AMAZING couple of weeks for us here at YWAM Borders. If you didn’t get the latest email update. here is the latest:

IMG_0471.JPGYou never know what you will encounter on a daily basis here. The other day 2 of our closest kids came and said they were going to be monks for 3-6 years! We didn’t believe them. Then on Saturday they weren’t at Kids Club and I found them with their Dads filling out papers to become Monks!! I asked one of the Dads, “won’t you miss him?” and he looked so sad.. We prayed and felt like it was a money problem and spiritual! So we went back and asked if them that if there was an organization to support them to get to go to High School would you not want them to become monks.. They said YES!!! So we felt like this is so important that Tom ran around the next day to see if there was any High Schools still open for more students. He found one! It’s like 150 dollars a year! We went back and told them that they could go for the test next week and they started jumping and clapping. The parents of Kamfuu are so special. They are so so happy that Kamfuu can stay with them. Pray for Kamfuu and Messi.

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This is Nawng Gawt reading his Bible. He is actually not Loy but comes to our Kids Clubs. He is an amazing kid. His Mom and Dad have made some bad financial decisions and we had to have 2 long days working through some of their problems and in the end had to be pretty tough with them. Money issues are tough. So much wisdom is needed. But we were firm with how we felt. The Mom said that Gawt told her about how God changed our lives and He can change her life too!! SO AMAZING! In the end they made it through the rough patch. We helped by buying about 16 dollars of the yogurt they couldn’t sell one day and tried to help teach them good financial decisions.

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Conner just sleeps, poops, eats and cries all day and he is such a good missionary! 🙂 Last week a couple of the Loy families wanted to come visit us to meet Conner and then others started to hear and then others….. Until it ended up being a 2 day event!! Tom, Nirut and Max helped host and cook the food. It ended up being SOO much fun. They bless us so much. These are the 2 groups that came. We then had the kids sing some of their Kids Club songs about Jesus and it seemed like everyone really liked it 🙂

Another close Loy family of ours built their own house and we got to help drive food and people to the House Opening Ceremony. We spend most of the day there and feel SOOO honored to be so close to them. Buddihst culture likes to bless the house and the spirits before they move in. So here is them working on one of the corners. I think the monks were pretty surprised that we were there too. This also is a VERY special family that is very dear to our hearts.

The other day was my Dad’s 70th Birthday.. I so wish I could have been there to celebrate with him. This man means so much to me and has had such amazingly GOOD impact on my life. Such an example. I love you Dad. Happy Birthday!

Things just seem to keep coming up to plan and prepare and be apart of. Cooper and I get to spend a lot of time together and Aum spends quite a bit of time at home with Conner. The smoke pollution the last 2 weeks was dangerous so we tried to stay in the AC most of the time. Praise God the rains have come a little!  As you can see this week has been full of stories with the Loy. We so believe that this is the time for them! They are so special and we see the doors swinging open! There is a football picture at the top of Kamfuu, his dad, Messi and Chai. We took them for a special game to celebrate finishing 6th grade. Before we started the kids said, “we need to pray before we start” 🙂 sooo cool!
Thank you for reading. Keep praying for these people and these things..

Love,
Brandon Aum Cooper and Conner

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Our Baby is Here!! Welcome Conner!

8bf2e88b-b72c-4901-a17f-6d46713ebda4Welcome Conner Gordon Fox!

What a blessing to celebrate the birth of our second child!

It has been such a crazy couple of weeks..

No Joke.. I am not a fan of births 🙂 As a husband I never feel so useless and stressed. I hate seeing Aum in such pain and feel helpless to do anything about it 🙂 Aums water broke at 1:30 AM last Monday and after about 8 hours of labor Conner was born healthy at 11 AM at 8 lbs 7 oz and 21 inches. So precious. Thanks for your prayers!!

We chose the name Conner after a LOT of dialog about his name 🙂 Conner was the first name we thought of many months ago but then starting thinking about 1000’s of other names. We really wanted a name that ends in “er”. I am using the definition of Conner with the Conn meaning WISE.. and I thought of the verses in James 3:13-18, but especially 17-18:

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness”

This is the wisdom that we pray over Conner. He is SOOOOOOO peaceful! It is amazing. I have barely heard him cry. If you were here in the hospital with us you forget that there is a little new born in the room. Nothing seems to bother him. Soooo content.
Gordon of course is my Dads name who has had such a big impact on my life. and is an amazing Godly example of a man that loves Jesus. and an amazing Grandpa! We so wanted to honor the impact they have had on our lives.
To see more pictures click on this link:  http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=86deeffe52d4ebc8671085d54&id=ea6a7542a8&e=011dcb1bcc

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Experiencing Loss and Distance.

Hello Everyone,
This has been a hard week for our family. Last Sunday we received one of those calls that I always fear receiving.  The call was to let us know that our 19 year old nephew Anthony had died!! Oh the shock and sadness. Within the day we had changed all of my parents tickets and plans and had them on a flight back home to be there with the family, and Aum and I were left here trying to make sense of what was going on. I know we could not be there and for whatever reason we are not supposed to be there. But in the midst of this week I do feel the closeness and comfort from God. I’ve  been looking at verses in Ps 40 and 2 cor 1:3-4 and thinking about how we do not morn as ones without hope. For sure it is hard to process and gauge the reality of this news being on the other side of the world, but in the midst of this grief I am hopeful. In these times one can experience such a wide range of emotions and questions. Pray for our family and for that all who knew Anthony look to Jesus for comfort.

Anthony was a boy that lit up the room when he was around. His smile, laugh, and way that he lived life on a whim always kept it exciting. He was supposed to be coming to Thailand next month and I am so bummed that we won’t get to experience it with him. Below is the obituary for him. He sure was loved and will be missed.

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Anthony Fox, age 19, of Marquette, entered eternal life Saturday, February 28, 2015.
Born December 11, 1995, in Escanaba, a son of Timothy and Sheryl (Ansell) Fox, Anthony grew up as a young boy in Rapid River. The family moved to the Garden Peninsula where he attended kindergarten through 3rd grade and later moved to Marquette when Anthony entered the 4th grade, where he eventually graduated in 2014.
He enjoyed soccer and skiing, but mostly Anthony simply loved the outdoors, often-bare feet and carefree. He was the kind of boy that would exit a berry patch with no berries, but with a contented smile on his face. Anthony lived life to its fullest and spread immense joy to those in his path and we adored him for it. He made us all laugh and had the most beautiful contagious smile. Anthony was not burdened by things many of us worry about-wearing socks, folding clothes, making beds, keeping gas in his car…
He lived for adventure, lived for laughter with brothers and friends. He was courageous in declaring his love for those closest to him. He was impulsive, daring, mischievous and passionate: a stargazer, risk-taker, animal-lover, and friend-maker. Above all, Anthony had the biggest heart; holding more than most of us could bear.
We will treasure you forever.
“There are no goodbyes, wherever you will be, you’ll be in our hearts.”

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I crashed!!! And other news!!

First thing before doing anything you HAVE to go look at this blog article that I just found!! It is from someone who went to some similar places to where we went last month. It is from the hill tribes areas close to where Aum is from. It seriously is one of the most diverse amazing places in the WHOLE world 🙂 Look at these pictures!! click here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-wallace-md-jd/the-hill-tribe-people-of-_b_6717988.html?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000592

THE CRASH!!
Well on Saturday after a really long meeting I left to join the rest of the YWAM Borders staff at kids club but I didn’t make it there….. Because I had something happen that I haven’t ever had happen in my life… I got into an accident on my motorcycle. 🙁 Really it could have been worse but I am fine and so was the other driver. His moto got a little banged up so I had to pay some to fix it. I so see how fast it can happen and am so thankful for God’s protection. All I got was this scrap on my arm and a bruised leg.

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In other news here are some news articles that can help you pray and learn more of what is going on in our region..

Buddhist Muslim conflicts: CLICK HERE
“THE LADY” Aung San Suu Kyi and some of her story: CLICK HEREFighting in Northern Myanmar: CLICK HERE

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The Nations Have Come!!!

I realized the other day that we haven’t shown very much of our ywam borders ministry center. Today I will try to get a video of where our staff and teams stay and where we have worship times, run trainings etc.

Having the South Africa team here now completes something I wanted to see here one day which is teams from every continent(except Antarctica of course)  coming to serve here. It is amazingto think about all of the incredibl people that have come through here and the people touched through these lives. We started a map on the wall upstairs for teams to put a picture of their team and their prayers over our city and this area. I love going and just looking at it. It is so neat. Yeah it is a lot of schedule planning but now people from abound the whole world carry a love for this place with them too! Stay tuned for a video of the ministry center also.

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Our Borders Team and South Africa DTS Team

(this is a continuation of a week of posts, go back and read the last 5 days to get caught up on whats happening:)

So if your keeping up with the last 5 days it has been a pretty busy month and a half since returning!!! I am excited about the direction we are going and so excited to see our staff grow. We are starting to practice small group/church planting more and making the Loy a very high priority. I feel also that need to pour into our staff as much as possible. Sometimes that means hanging out fixing bicycles and other times it is going to the villages or reading the Bible or having one on ones. But I am so honored to have the team that we have and I actually learn so much from everyone on our team. The last 3 small groups  I am soooo amazed at how God speaks to them through His word.  When we did our teams personality tests I heard that it is sometimes normal to have a group of people that have all the same personality types, but with YWAM Borders we really compliment each other well with a wide arrangement of giftings and personalities. So pray that we would sharpen each other well and not just poke each other and irritate each other 🙂

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South Africa Team
The last 3 days of the China teams outreach we also welcomed a team from South Africa. So far their schedule hasn’t gone quite according to plans. When arriving they had been pretty tired from a long month in a different town and needed to have some team time. So we gave them a couple of free days. During most of the their outreach the married couple on the team was having difficulty in the first trimester of their  pregnancy. They are such a neat couple but the pregnancy has been REALLY had on the girl. She has lost so much weight and has been soo sick that the decided last week that they should get back home to the USA. I think it was for the best, but please pray for them and for the rest of their team that is here because it changes the teams dynamics so much. They still have around 2 more weeks here so pray that they really go for all that God has for them while being here and that they can be super unified and obedient to Jesus. And pray for the couple that God would give them peace about the changes and grace for travel and for the rest of the pregnancy!

 

These are some pictures from a Hindu festival that is practices some in Southern Thailand and Malaysia, India and others.. I am sure glad Jesus paid the price. Still so many don’t know. That they go do stuff like this. May the Lamb of God receive the reward of His suffering!  Look at pictures from the Thaipusam Carnival here:   Keep praying for us. Thanks.
Brandon Aum Cooper and Baby #2

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