Thank you so much for all of your prayers and encouragement in this season! We have had a lot of people asking whether the Coronavirus has impacted our plans. In short, it hasn’t…other than potentially our departure date. At this point we are still prayerfully working out those details. We will keep you all looped in as best as we can.
At the end of April, Nick will wrap up his nearly nine years at Epipheo. We are transitioning into our final stage of preparations before the big move overseas. Both of our upcoming trainings (in May and June/July) have been canceled so our team leader in Thailand has asked us to consider moving sooner than August. Among other things, this is dependent upon us reaching full monthly support as well as Thailand reopening its borders to foreigners entering.
We sold our house this week! We know many of you were praying toward that. It’s hard to believe that it went through with everything going on in the world these past weeks, and we thank the Lord that He allowed that process to be as smooth as it was. We are now officially debt free!
Our friends in Northern Kentucky have graciously taken us in. It has been an even sweeter blessing to be here over Holy Week, given the social distancing currently going on. Their house is large enough to comfortably accommodate their family of nine AND our family of six. Yes…you read that right. We have four adults and eleven kiddos (ages 2-10) all happily quarantined together. All in all, our experience has been relatively smooth, but we know not all of you have had as simple a time, and we ask that you let us know the things on your hearts and minds so that we may be praying with you.
Choosing christ in thailand: noi’s story – part 2
This is a continuation from our last newsletter. If you would like to read Part 1 you can do so HERE.
Some years passed since Noi’s graduation from ACU and one of her professors from there came to Thailand. They met up and he asked her how after all this time and learning about Jesus, why she still never chose to follow Him or believe in God. “I don’t see the point of why I have to become a Christian. I’m a good person; I [haven’t done] anything wrong—I don’t steal, I don’t lie.” He went on to tell her that being a Christian is about love—because God loved us first we are able to love others. That was where it began to click for her. She thought back on her friendships from college and how they cared for her and loved her well. “They showed that love to me. I can see the difference between [real] Christianity and Buddhism. When you go to church it’s kind of like you have a relationship; if you go to temple it’s kind of like you are alone. You spend time with Buddha on your own.”
More time passed and some students came from Texas and put on a program throughout the summer. When they left Noi was very sad and realized, “I want to be one of them too. I want to be one of their brothers so I can be like them—enjoy life and do for others.” That is when she made a decision for Christ. It was not easy for Noi once she made that choice, though. In particular she experienced a lot of distancing from her father. When she made a decision to follow Christ, he stopped showing his love toward her. Sadly, he never relented in his anger and disapproval even to his death. It was hard for her, but she still grew in confidence in her faith. Noi married a Christian man (who served as a Thai Bible translator for many years) and together they raised two daughters who both love and serve the Lord in full-time ministry at Grace International School. One is even on staff with Cru.
It’s difficult in Thailand for Buddhists because parents tend to control their kids in every area. So when something conflicts with what the parents believe, you are no longer a “good” child. This plays out heavily in this honor/shame culture. Youth and even adults do not want to endure the disapproval of their parents or peers, and when they do come to faith, it can be quite isolating. This is why discipleship is so important in Thailand. It allows the new believer to be immediately plugged into a growing relationship with Christ as well as other believers. Please pray for new believers in Thailand—that they would have the discipleship and fellowship that is so necessary.
Prayers & Praises
We are still building our partnership team and utilizing video conferencing to continue to share about the ministry. (If we haven’t been able to directly connect with you already, we’d love to set up a video conference. Simply hit reply and let us know or even throw out a few dates/times that work for you.)
We ask that you would pray for discernment and wisdom [for both us and our leadership] for all of the decisions to be made in the coming weeks/months.
Pray for the people of Thailand. Their borders are closed for the time and tourism accounts for roughly 50% of their national economy. In addition to being under lockdown for Coronavirus they are also dealing with widespread drought and fires. All of this puts the country in a very precarious position. May this be a time when hearts are open, the gospel is heard, and more lives are given to Christ.
We are getting down to the end of our initial ministry partner development phase, but we still need about 15-20 more individuals or families to join us financially in order for us to purchase our flights to Thailand. Please pray that the Lord would lead us directly to those that are eager to partner in this ministry.