February 2023 Newsletter
We are finally back in Thailand after a month in Tennessee. This travel time was even longer than usual. We stayed in Nashville for 2 nights, flew through NYC and had quite an adventure getting out to go see Time Square. Then we had two back to back flights— from New York to Qatar, and from Qatar to Bangkok. After that, we slept at a friend's house in Bangkok and flew up to Chiang Rai the next morning. By the time we got back, we were all jet-lagged, exhausted, and Mary Ella had a cold (which she is over now by God's grace). Special thanks to everyone who made this trip possible, from those who drove us places to those who housed us; your generosity and kindness is what continues to inspire us.
After my dad’s funeral in mid-December, we spent a month in Tennessee. It was an incredibly fulfilling trip for all of us, and we are coming back to Thailand now with our batteries really recharged. Here are some highlights from the trip:
We had my dad's funeral 2 days after we stepped foot in Tennessee. I was really grateful for everyone who helped as well as came to visit us. After all the deaths in our family over the last few years, this one felt so much more peaceful. Even though it was difficult to lose my dad-- especially knowing that Mary Ella and our future kids will never really know him-- it was comforting to know that he is not suffering anymore with Alzheimer's disease, which he contented with for 10 hard years.
God even held off the cold front for one more day so that we could finish everything. We woke up the day after, and the temperature had dropped by at least 50 degrees, if not more!
O Holy Night
Liz performed a version of O Holy Night at our Christmas Eve service in Adamsville. If you didn’t catch it on Facebook or Instagram, here’s the clip.
One of my goals for 2023 is to work with Liz on finally recording music and maybe a few music videos as well. We have some very talented musician friends here in Chiang Rai, and I feel like we are sleeping on a great opportunity if we don't seize it now.
During this trip, I was also able to speak to a group of pastors at a local pastor's association. Since I knew I would probably be the youngest person in the room, I thought it might be helpful to speak from my own experience working with both people my age, as well as those who are younger, and to speak to the unique needs that the upcoming generations have. I don't have a recording of that message, but if you would like to see the 7 points I shared, I posted them in an article here.
I also had the chance to reconnect with a number of old friends from youth group and high school. One of those friends was having marital issues-- the kind that leads to divorce if not quickly dealt with. I was honored to be asked to give some "marriage counseling" to both the husband and wife, so we met separately with both of them for several hours. I have nothing but good news to report; both of them have decided to work through the issues and are even getting regular counseling for a time with a pastor at their church. Pray for them as they continue to grow together and praise God for their desire to honor him and to do what is right and good.
Outreach Event in Khon Kaen
Our friends and partners in Khon Kaen, Thailand, had an outreach event in January. Some Korean missionaries came to help with it. They reported that there were 141 people in attendance to hear the full presentation of the gospel, 5 people professed faith in Christ, and 19 people said they were interested in studying the Bible to learn more about Jesus!
Lots of Babies
We were very privileged on this trip to get to hold THREE newborn babies. That has to be a record. Two of them were from friends, and the third was my new niece, Kenzlynn. Please join me in praying God's blessing over these new lives.
A Few Prayer Requests:
- Another one of the friends I was able to reconnect with from high school just became a single dad of two young kids after his ex committed suicide last month. Pray for him as he finds wisdom, support, and as he enters into this new season.
- My friend from Pakistan is taking a trip to Europe for a leadership summit. Pray for him to be encouraged and for him to be an encouragement to others. Let me know if you would like to contribute towards his trip, and I can get the money to him.
- Pray for the Paracletes ministry in Bangkok. You can view their latest update here.
- I was contacted by a church in California who is currently looking for a senior pastor. If you can recommend anyone, that would be great, but please also pray for them in their search.
Thanks for being part of the team!
Transformation Ministries exists to push back spiritual darkness and the effects of spiritual darkness in our world today with the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Consider becoming a financial support team member so you can be a part of helping to create resources, empower leaders, and do "great commission work" in both English and Thai.