I have to be honest. I have been homesick for America for months now. I miss my friends and family back in Tennessee, and around this time, I miss candy corn, cool whether, and bonfires. I miss the simple life of being able to speak one language that everyone understands. As the years go by, I am understanding more and more of the sacrifices that missionaries make to live here on the other side of the world. I am not just a young man looking for adventure like I was when we first came to Thailand. I am now a father with aging family back at home, and a new nephew on the way. I am counting down the days to this summer when I can go back for the very needed visit.
Living in a country like Thailand is not always fun or convenient. (Though we have plenty of fun too!) But we are here because God has a plan for us here. We are here because we love Thai people with all our hearts, and we want them to know Jesus and grow in Jesus. We are here to bring encouragement to people like my brother in Christ who was saved recently, and whose mother told him that if he wouldn't recant on his faith, that she would disown him as her son. And as extreme as it may sound, we are here to fight demons and take territory for the kingdom of heaven in this land full of evil spiritual forces.
We want to express our gratitude, as always, to those of you who pray for us regularly, even if we don't talk very often. Just recently, I was asked to preach at our church in a few weeks for our Thanksgiving sermon, and just the thought of delivering such a sermon already brought me to tears. Why? Because even though God has allowed me to see a lot of suffering in my short life, I also have SO much to be grateful for. I am a selfish, wicked, man, and I don't deserve anything more than God's wrath and hell; but God in his grace has poured so much blessing on my head. I think about how blessed I am to have the wife I have and to be able to hold our new daughter soon, surrounded by brothers and sisters in Christ, and it is almost too much for me to take in.
Liz and Mary Ella
I am very happy to report that we are right at week 35, and so far both mommy and baby are healthy with no problems in sight. We have our birthing plan ready and our baby bag packed. We don't have a car, so thankfully we have friends that live close by who have all offered to take us to the hospital when D-Day comes.
Mary Ella responds sometimes to my voice now, and is kicking quite a lot. She is exposed to music all the time, and sometimes will jump when there is a loud bass!
Also, if you didn't see, we had a friend who took some awesome maternity pictures for us recently. Here is the album.
Recently, we went to camp at the beach with our church here in Bangkok. One of the highlights of this trip was getting to witness the baptism of our new brother in Christ, Thor. Thor literally walked into the cafe at church one day and asked if there were any Christians there who could help him know how to know Jesus. He is now dealing with some very difficult transitions in his new life, so please pray for him very seriously during this time.
Noon's Time With Us
You might have seen my email before about how Noon, a girl from the youth group in Chiang Rai, came to intern with us for about 3 weeks in October. She also went to the Lifepoint camp with us, as well as joining us for our Wednesday night Thai small group gatherings. It was very helpful to have her here with us to help us do housework and help with media as well. We loved having the chance to invest in her life for a few weeks, and I pray her time with us will bear fruit in her life for years to come. Thank you for those of you who prayed for her, and we are especially thankful to some very generous members of Lifepoint who helped fund her internship. Please continue to pray for the salvation of her family including her mom and dad and oldest sister.
Ministry and Upcoming Plans
On the ministry front, we are still in a season of processing and planning. We tried to launch a new house church in August, and unfortunately, it flopped because of some factors we did not anticipate. We have learned quite a few lessons from that, which if you and I could sit down and talk, I would be happy to tell you about, but it would be a little too complex to write here in a missions update. However, we feel mostly confident God is going to keep us in Bangkok, despite the fact of how much I miss the simple life in small towns. We are currently praying about plans for next year because our contracts at BCIS will be finished at that point, so we will both have the freedom to either renew and stay there for work or transition to something else.
One thing I would like to start doing even sooner than that, though, is to start doing street evangelism. I am in the brainstorming/planning phase of how to start doing something like that regularly. If you are a fellow missionary here in Thailand and you know any theologically solid missionaries or Thai brothers and sisters who are already doing outreach like this, please hook a brother up, because I am still not finding the kind of evangelistic material that I would like to use. I might have to create my own before I start going out. So, just pray that God will send people my way who want to go out with me and then that we would be safe and also that we could find an attractive-looking narrative-style tract that we can distribute in both the Thai language and in English.
Thanks For Being Part of the Team!