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Derryl and Karen Friesen

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Derryl and Karen Friesen's Blog


The Miracles Just Do Not Stop!


The Miracles Just Don’t Stop!

A full decade ago we held our first ever winter Race to 2025 event in the rugged Canadian Rocky Mountains. Our dream was to help foster a mission’s hearted community of young adults across Canada, raise a heap of money for global Bible translation and mobilize dozens of young men and women to join God on his great rescue mission for mankind. On that occasion I wore a jersey representing the “K” people of SE Asia. The only thing we knew about this people group was they were completely unreached in a closed communist country in SE Asia. No Bible. No church. No known believers. Not even an alphabet!  Five years later when Karen and I arrived in Thailand we heard of a great move of God among these very K people. Amazingly, a young Thai linguist and her husband responded to their cry for help and in just a few short years the K New Testament was complete and in the hands of the “K” people! Incredibly, Karen and I have had a tiny part of this amazing miracle of God!

Team Thai Connection with a copy of the new “K” Bible!

Miracles simply don’t stop! Just a few weeks ago I found myself racing once again in Race to 2025 on a blustery cold -20C Family Day weekend. This was the 10th anniversary of that distant, first-ever winter race and miraculously in my backpack, I carried with me copy that very, New Testament, just dedicated weeks before in Thailand and in the “K” homeland! And who was on my team? Ying and Saro, the two Thai girls who are here in Canada for six-months studying English to train as Bible translators in Asia! Both these girls are wonderful friends and we are thrilled to be part of their journey into God’s heart for the nations from the very beginning. Ying and Saro are like tigers, passionate, bold and courageous. God’s calling upon their lives is leading them towards unreached people groups in some of the most dangerous, difficult-to- access countries in the world. Standing in solidarity with the Bibleless peoples of the Africa, these two tigers chose to brave two days of blasting cold winter adventure racing, competing against 11 other teams. Together with 46 other young racers they helped raise over $53,000 for Bible translation in Cameroon—the highest amount ever to be raised in a single Race to 2025 event!    

Descending the mountain.

Yes, we did come in last . . . VERY last! More than six hours slower overall than the fastest team! But that is OK. Our team goal was to have more fun than any team and get across the finish line alive, happy and warm. Well, praise God we did all four AND as a team helped Ying to win the second highest individual fundraising prize. We worked stinkin’ hard to help Ying and Saro win top scholarship for their studies but alas, at nearly $3,000 another guy slipped by us and took first prize).


Coming VERY last!

I will never forget the struggle, the cold and the fatigue the girls felt slogging up through knee-deep snow towards a distant mountain peak, then the bursts of exuberant joy as we bound footloose down through the ravines . . . their looks of anticipation mixed with heavy doses of trepidation as they leaned backwards over a sheer cliff, held only by a harness and a rope as the rappelled to the depths . . . and the awakening in their souls of a fresh vision for God’s heart for the world as we struggled through a frosty Bible translation challenge on the side of a mountain, fingers barely functioning enough to hold a pencil to a piece of paper.  

A frosty Bible translation challenge.


I will never forget six hours into the trek on the second day, Ying trudging in a daze along the trail through the forest. “Oh, I miss spicy Thai food. Oh, I miss spicy Thai food.” An hour or so later she looked at me and declared blankly in Thai, “Sleep has entered . . .” Her body was moving, but her mind was done. I asked her what her favorite Thai song was and for the next half hour we sang and laughed and kept one foot moving in front of the other right to the finish line!

Staying warm with the penguin dance.

In the end, Ying and Saro shared with me important life lessons learned through the race. “We do not yet know to where God is calling us, but through this race we have learned we will face many trials. We did not train hard enough and as a result we missed some of the important events. In life and ministry we must identify potential challenges we will face, like linguistics, language learning and cultural stress, then prepare ourselves and train hard to succeed. We never knew missionaries had to go through so much preparation and face such difficult situations in their service to God. We appreciate so much more those first missionaries who came to Thailand so long ago to bring us the gospel. We were amazed at how our team worked together and supported each other. Together we faced every challenge and we were able to finish many things we could never have done by ourselves. If we are to succeed in our missionary calling, we need to work hard to form a strong team to stand with us in prayer and encouragement”.     

Rope work on the sketchy rocks.

Who would have envisaged ten years ago what could become of a bit of a silly idea of a missions adventure race for young adults . . .  nearly 700 young adult over the years ripping it up in the Canadian Rockies and raising well over three-quarters of a million dollars for global Bible translation? Who could have conceived that vision would extend to the translation of the Bible for 110 “K” people in SE Asia in less than 10 years? Who would have dreamed on the 10th anniversary of Race to 2025 two young Thai women would be gritting their teeth before a giant wall of ice, gnarly steel spikes strapped to their feet, ice picks in hand, ready to tackle a challenge they never could have never imagined in their wildest dreams in their tropical childhood. And now . . . now inspired to press on, knuckle down, work hard and be faithful to an impossible calling God is placing before them.

Gritting teeth, gnarly spikes!

Indeed, Ying and Saro are only two of only four in giant population of 69 million Thai people who have ever ventured down this path of becoming cross-cultural Bible translators to serve in the hard places of the world. They are treading where few have trodden. The path ahead is undefined yet what is clear is this . . . great challenge and difficulties await. And here, in this great mysterious expanse of ice and snow God has used an adventure race to deeply deposit a truth deep with their souls. “When life gets tough and hits you hard you start to long for home . . . when everything is strange and your world begins to spin and swirl around you, you are going to miss hot, spicy Thai food . . .when ‘sleep enters’ and weariness smothers you like a wet blanket and you feel you simply cannot take another step . . . your team is there. Your family is there. Your God is there”.   

Team prayer in a snow cave we built specially for Ying and Saro!

Jesus encouraged his disciples, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (Matt 16:33).

In just five days, Karen and I return to Thailand and soon life will be swirling and spinning around us again. We don’t yet have a home organized in which to settle. Yet within just a week and two days we will begin hosting young missionaries and then a small tsunami of CanIL students coming over to seek out long-term service opportunities. After nearly nine months of a famine of Thai language, we will instantly be surrounded by familiar sounds, yet torrents of language we simply don’t know and understand will wash over us. Seven of our literacy, Scripture engagement and Bible translation projects that we help manage are just beginning their annual strategic planning process and budgeting cycle. Hundreds of emails are swirling around as we prepare for planning, reporting and implementation.    

Slogging upwards . . .

Like Ying on the trail exhausted and a bit delirious, ‘sleep will enter”, we will miss our family and grieve deeply not being near our precious grandchildren. But take heart! Our team is there. YOU are there. Our God is there. Jesus has overcome the world. And in Jesus, we will overcome the world. In Jesus, Ying and Saro will overcome the world. In Jesus, the “K” people are overcoming the world with their new Bible. And in Jesus YOU can overcome the world!            


Facing the future with confidence in Jesus.

















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