Happy Birthday Servants Aid!
Back in January of 2008 I was living in Chiang Rai, Thailand, for Christian missionary training. I had also applied for a disaster relief organization, that is based in Switzerland, and was hoping to get into humanitarian aid relief work. Then a month later, in February, the organization that sent me to Thailand had their Tri-Annual world-wide missions conference (also held in Northern Thailand) and I was able to attend.
A much younger looking Paul, eating hail near Lausanne, Switzerland in June of 2008 post disaster relief training.
There were over 400 Christian missionaries in attendance for this conference held in Chiang Mai, which is about a 4 hour south western bus ride from Chiang Rai. It was amazing to see so many missionaries and their families come together. Although it was my first year with Mission To Unreached Peoples (MUP), it was a like a family reunion at the convention.
The week long event in Chiang Mai featured numerous seminars and break-out sessions for everyone to attend. Some seminars included, Security Meetings, Healthcare in Foreign Lands, In-Country Networking and many other sessions.
After the break-out sessions were over, all 400 attendees then congregated back in the main auditorium for worship and guest speakers. Before the main auditorium seminars would start the tech guys would play videos that some of the missionaries had created about their ministries.
The purpose of these videos were to raise funds, awareness and serve as updates for the missionary’s supporters, State-side churches, potential supporters and future staff members.
The problem though, the videos, to be blunt, were horrible.
I remember watching one video where the missionary was telling a beautiful story about his ministry, but the donkey in the background was making so much noise you couldn’t understand what he was saying!
Not to mention, the quality of the video was very poor…even by 2008 standards.
Eating a delicious Thai breakfast in Bangkok the morning of my first day in Thailand back in 2008.
I thought to myself, this man and his family, left the comfort of his home in the United States and started a new life in China just to spread the gospel and no one in the US will watch his video because the quality sucks.
And it broke my heart.
That week the Holy Spirit said to me, “What if you provided free media services to missionaries?”
As much as I loved to work in media, I had almost zero experience with video, websites and any type of coding. But the passion to do this work kept growing inside of my heart.
A few months later, after successfully completing disaster relief training in Switzerland, I started Servants Aid, in September of 2008.
At the bus station, some place west of Lausanne, Switzerland, for disaster relief training in 2008.
I had many wonderful ideas of how Servants Aid would look like back then. We’ll go here, we’ll do this and that. We’ll help these folks and those folks. In 2009, I had a list of about 50 missionaries that requested our assistance with their media needs, almost all of them in Thailand.
So I planned a return trip to the land of smiles. Then I found out I had Stage 5 End Stage Renal Failure. That put everything on hold. Or so I thought.
A few months later, the earthquake struck Haiti and the Holy Spirit told me to go and help, even with Stage 5 and all the side effects of Stage 5.
So I went and my life was changed forever. On a side note: I met my wife because of disaster relief training in Switzerland and the Haiti earthquake. Strange huh! That story is for another blog post!
We traveled to Haiti a few times to assist with the post recovery and we went to film school in Chiang Rai back in 2013. We assisted some ministries and missionaries with their needs when the opportunities present themselves.
After nine years of Servants Aid, I can say two things that contradict each other: I haven’t done everything that I planned on doing, but I’ve done more than I’ve planned on doing.
After getting a kidney transplant a few years ago, I’m currently going through my second round of Stage 5 End Stage Renal Failure so we’re not sure what the future holds (for ministry opportunities), but based on past experience, we know it’s going to be life changing.