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  • Writer's pictureDallas Vaughn

April 2024 Newsletter

You may have heard the phrase “April showers bring May flowers” but here in Northern Thailand, “April showers” bring fresh air and cooler weather. We are finally starting to come out of the smog that we have been living in for a solid 2-3 months now, thanks to the rainy season starting, and I personally couldn’t be more grateful.




Before I jump into the newsletter for this month, I want to share something that I believe God has placed on my heart. 

These days, when I get on social media and look at the news, I see a lot of noise. Yes, it’s an election year, and things tend to get worse around this time during every cycle, but I think there’s something even deeper going on. Coincidentally, I watched a short video this week and someone (I don’t want to name him because I don’t endorse much of what he says) made a really great point. He said that people are starting to lose interest in the war in Ukraine, especially because of what is happening in the Middle East, but also for other reasons (think border issues, American election, etc.) And even though this was a guy that I typically have a lot of disagreements with, he made a point that was so profound that I had to stop and think about it for a minute:


“It’s almost as if wars are funded by our attention.” 


What he meant was, as soon as the people stop caring about a war, the U.S. money stops flowing, so those in power are incentivized to keep us focused on these wars. Have you ever stopped to think “why do I care so much about wars overseas that have nothing to do with me or my family other than by a large degree of separation?” Obviously, we should care about ALL wars in some sense, because as Christians, we should care about justice and what’s happening in the world. But there’s a difference between simply caring in the broad sense– and caring so much that you go out in the streets to wave flags and sound a bullhorn. And more and more, I am seeing Americans– Christians being no exception– caring so deeply about wars that really have nothing to do with them. 


This makes me think of Paul’s words to the Thessolinicans: “aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you.” (1 Thess. 4:11) Obviously, this is in a particular context, and this is not a blanket command that we should ALWAYS be quiet (think, for example, of when pastors were being arrested for opening their churches in the last few years in the name of public health). Sometimes we have to make noise in order to be quiet. It sounds like an oxymoron, but it isn’t. 


However, when we are devoting an inordinate amount of energy towards issues that really have little to do with us, it makes me think that we are missing an opportunity to live the types of “quiet” lives Paul talks about (see also 1 Tim. 2:2). (In other words, I think there is a categorical difference between what we experienced with covid, where the government was refusing to allow us to live “quiet lives” and what we are seeing now.) But going back to the earlier point– there is incentive to keep us focused on these issues, especially wars, because when our focus wanes, the politicians are no longer pressured to provide funding. And maybe that’s why this is happening; we just aren’t wise enough to avoid their manipulations.


This is all concerning to me, but another equally important aspect here is that it’s not as if most people are both managing their own households well AND caring about national and global politics. Unfortunately, it’s usually the opposite way around– the people who spend so much time concerned with national and global issues are very often not exercising and training their bodies, not stewarding their money well, not winning in their relationships, not regularly renewing their minds with Scripture, not practicing confession, not taking extreme ownership in their lives, and not striving towards a clear goal. I think this, more than anything else, is what bothers me most. We distract ourselves from the problems we could actually fix with the problems we can’t. 


I know that was a pretty long intro, and I hope I got my point across clearly (even as I write this, I find it hard to untangle this complicated web of thoughts and emotions). I want to encourage you to be the kind of person that is so fiercely devoted to their own growth and positive impact in the world, that you don't have that much energy left over to involve yourself in all the problems of the world that you probably aren't going to change. Now with all that being said, here’s our monthly newsletter, and some ways you can pray with us: 


Welcome, Baby Theo!



Of course, the biggest news this month is that Theodore James Vaughn was born at a healthy 7lbs/3kg, and has been out and kicking since the 10th. He’s already starting to “coo” and he makes the funniest faces. Mary Ella LOVES having a little brother, and over the last week or so, she has said multiple times, “I feel like this is a dream.” Obviously, it’s not always sunshine and roses and we as parents have to remind ourselves often to breathe and let things go, but overall the family is doing better than I could have ever dreamed. 


Bee and Alo’s Wedding




I love attending weddings. I love the imagery, the hope, the newness that they bring. I love that they promote family and flourishing. Call me sentimental, but when I’m at a wedding, I see hope for the future. So this month I was very glad to get to be a part of the wedding of Bee, who we have known for EIGHT years now. That brings up another important point, which is the unexpected blessing of having been involved in Thailand for so many years. I’m watching people get married and have babies who were teenagers when I met them. In fact, it almost moves me to tears when I think about the fact that WE COULDN’T EVEN COMMUNICATE when we first met because of language barriers. This all just goes to show how beautiful God’s family, the church, is. 


Paracletes Ministry


One of the missionary couples that we have known for years, and who supported us during a very dark time back in 2020 by allowing us to stay with them rent-free for a few months, just sent out a newsletter and celebrated one of their students coming to Christ. Since I like to share good news from other evangelistic ministries, especially here in Thailand, that we are in contact with, I wanted to share their update too:


“We have exciting news from our Tuesday lunch Bible study with our students that has been mentioned in each newsletter: one of the students accepted Christ! This student has been asking questions and diving deeper into his search over the years, even meeting with Dylan at a separate time to read The Case of Christ, and then simply wanting to read the Bible in its entirety, because, as he said himself 'I guess if I really want to know who Jesus is, I should just read the whole Bible.’ He came to Dylan saying he is ready to become a Christian, and is seriously counting the costs-- he was nervous to tell his mother he can't go and be a monk... We are elated by this news, and Dylan is especially excited that they can now read the Bible together with the perspective of that student being able to claim the promises for himself.”


Tom’s Update


Here is ANOTHER great update from a friend and brother here in Thailand:


“Praise God for the honor of baptizing 6 people with Somboon. Of course, I love asking the children, ‘Do you love Jesus?’before I baptize them.”


Cultural Moment:


This month, we celebrated “Songkran” here in Thailand, which is a water festival that is traditionally celebrated to welcome in the “New Year” on the Thai calendar, and is seen as the informal beginning of the rainy season. It’s also the hottest time of the year, so it’s not a bad time to be covered in cool water.



Prayer Requests: 


  • This month, “Pii Arlang” passed away. He is a former long-time member of Baan Athitaan Church, and Liz’s family has known his for many years. My understanding is that he was either in his late 40’s or early 50’s, and had an unexpected stroke while in Bangkok for work. Pray for his wife and kids, as well as friends and extended family, during this time.

  • I have a former student who is in her mid 20’s, and is now living in Sydney. Her boyfriend, who was still living here in Chiang Rai, died in a vehicle accident this last month. It’s hard to even know what this would be like, but please pray for the healing of her heart. 


  • Please continue to pray for us as we keep adjusting to having a new baby in the home. We have lots of NEW this season, and God is also giving us FRESH vision for the upcoming years. Nothing to announce yet, other than to say I am excited about what the future holds. 

 

THANKS FOR BEING PART OF THE TEAM!

By God's grace, we have witnessed many lives transformed, and some family legacies changed forever. But the story is not over yet, and we are anticipating and believing for even greater things moving forward. Consider becoming a financial supporter so you can play a significant role in sharing the gospel, creating Christian resources, and raising up young leaders in Asia.

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