October 2023 Newsletter
Anyone who has worked in any kind of ministry or nonprofit knows that the work is often very seasonal. There are seasons, like Christmas and the end of the year, where there is a lot of activity and fruit. We had a month like that back in July where we saw literally dozens of Thai people come to faith in a single month. Then there are slower seasons, where life seems to become routine. I will admit that I don't like routine, but I also understand that it's good for my soul. Without routine, there would be no opportunity for true rest, mixed into the rhythm of hard work.
If you are just now finding this out-- Liz is pregnant! We announced on Facebook and Instagram at the beginning of the month, but I know we have friends on this email list who aren't on social media. We are very happy to make this announcement, especially because we haven't been certain over the last 2 years if I would even be able to have kids after going through chemo a few years ago. However, God answered the desires of our hearts in an amazing way, and we're very excited to open our home to another child. Mary Ella is really excited too. If you want to watch her reaction when she heard the good news for the first time, skip ahead to the end of our latest show together.
We're going in to do an ultrasound this week, and if all goes as planned, we'll be able to find out if baby is a boy or girl!
We held our annual Halloween block party this week, and it was a night of magic and memories. Mary Ella was the most beautiful Little Red Riding Hood, Liz was the wolf in grandma’s clothes, and I was the lumberjack. As always, I shared a short message about the Christian history behind Halloween (in both languages), and then we visited houses that we had coordinated with ahead of time all around the neighborhood. There were actually more kids than are in the picture since we forgot to get one until after we finished trick-or-treating.
Afterwards, we had one final late dinner with Liz’s brother who was back in town for the first time in 6 years, and just got to meet Mary Ella for the first time this week.
Props to my beautiful wife and best friend, who organized all of this for over a month in order to make it happen— all while fighting off morning sickness during her first trimester.
I love throwing parties, and in this case, it's not just because of the rich Christian history and thought behind Halloween. It's because I truly believe that if we want to change the world, we must throw the best parties. I also believe that investing in the lives of kids is one of the most powerful things you can do.
Preparing for "A Night of Thanksgiving"
If you've been following us since last year, you might remember that we had a big worship night close to Thanksgiving for the whole community (including a few other churches). We've been hard at work for weeks now to make the next one happen this year. Just like last year, we've translated some songs ourselves, but unlike last year, Liz will be playing piano and singing, which is good, since she'll be almost 5 months pregnant! Here's the video from last year:
Trip Cancelled/Moving Houses
Last month I announced that I would be taking a trip by myself to America to build potential new partnerships. However, I didn't feel right about taking this trip. I don't play the "God told me" card very often, but this time I have to admit that I don't fully understand all the reasons-- I just did not feel at peace about going door-to-door like I had planned. And if you know me, you know it wasn't because I don't think I can talk to strangers. Something just didn't feel right about it. That being said, we just moved out of our rental house this week. Not only are we running on a tight budget right now, but we found mold in the walls in several places in the house. It didn't cause us any problems until monsoon season, but for the past several months, we've all been sick way more than normal, including allergy issues on almost a daily basis. So we will stay with Liz's parents again at least until the summertime. This has been an emotional move for all of us because we've made great memories as a family in that house.
Our old church in Bangkok is currently getting ready to move into a new building. Pray for a smooth transition for them.
The students we've been meeting with for midweek Bible study have all started their internships.
Mary Ella is struggling this week with the amount of change going on right now (Halloween parties, mommy being more pregnant, moving houses, one of her best friends in the neighborhood going to daycare during the day).
During the move yesterday, I rammed my toe into a step on the stairs. I'm not sure if the toe is broken, but the whole nail is dead, and I've been bleeding all day. I'll go see a doctor tomorrow as of the time of this writing. I really hope my first story of breaking a bone in 30 years of life is not me breaking my big toe walking up the stairs-- that's a lame follow-up to having beat cancer.
My friend and brother from Pakistan is moving to Dubai to work. Pray for him and pray for Pakistan. They've had it rough these past few months.
Pray for the nation of Israel, the civilians of Palestine, and peace in the Middle East. Here are some great resources for understanding what all is going on; you may not agree with every singular point, but I think these will give you a well-rounded perspective of the political, moral, theological, and religious details of what all is happening right now:
Ben Shapiro's Channel (Ben has been reporting extensively on all of this since it first started. If you are unfamiliar with him, he's a Jewish political commentator.)
How Should Christians Respond to the Conflict? - Michael Brown & David Wood
Islam and Hamas - John McCray & David Wood
They're LYING About the LAND?? - John McCray & Robert Spencer
Hamas, Israel, the Great Tribulation: Are They Connected? - Apologia Studios
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.