The Leaves are Already Falling, Sven it Feels Like the Future is Calling
As always, I hope this letter finds you doing well. I was encouraged by a conversation I had with a friend from college this week; it reminded me how practical the promises of God in Scripture are. Even those topics that we feel are too abstract and esoteric can become a great source of encouragement and a foundation for joy and security when we devote ourselves to understanding what God has really said throughout redemption history. That has been my experience over the last year or so as God has shown me many new truths in Scripture that I had often overlooked when I was younger (or that I believed when I was younger but lost over the years).
I thought today would be a great day to drop in and say "hi," as well as let you know what's going on in our world.
A Few Steps Closer
I have tried to temper my level of excitement about going back to Thailand for many reasons, but I would lie if I didn't tell you how happy I was when our visas finally came back in yesterday, approved this time rather than rejected like last time.
As soon as we got our visas back in the mail, we drove up to Jackson and sold our car at CarMax. We had already been there to do an appraisal and they offered us exactly what we had left to pay off the note on our car (we ended up getting $43 back). This was another confirmation for us, because even as we were driving there, we asked God, if he didn't want us to go back to Thailand, to close these proverbial doors (selling our car and getting our visas approved) to make it clear. He has yet to do that, so we are continuing to move ahead with confidence, despite knowing the frustrations (mostly having to do with the government) that await us when we land in the kingdom.
If all goes as planned, we will leave Tennessee on September 21st (Tuesday), get to Raleigh (to visit Liz's sister and crew) and leave for Thailand on September 24th (Friday). We will fly through Doha airport (praying the Taliban doesn't decide to visit Qatar with all that shiny new equipment they now have) and arrive in Phuket on September 26th (Sunday) where we will have to quarantine for 2 weeks. Depending on how the situation goes in Thailand, we might try to go to Bangkok before we head up to Chiang Rai so we can get the stuff we left there last year and send it up north. Either way, that puts us in Chiang Rai in October.
Fundraising, Network Building
This has been the first time in our lives that we have really had to fund-raise for our salaries. I would lie if I said I wasn't intimidated going into this, but I would also be lying if I said that I haven't enjoyed it. When God calls you to a lifestyle where you are dependent on the generosity of others (and I emphasize God's calling because you would be a fool to choose to do this without that calling), it can be amazing to see the ways in which he works. There have been several times that I have put my face in my hands and asked how in the world this was ever going to happen, and then that very day someone that I didn't even know, sent us some money. We are still far from being where we need to be, but we have come a long way from being at 0% just a few weeks ago.
Over the course of this journey, I have been invited to speak at a few churches, and we have held our own benefit concert in Adamsville.
School is going well and Mary Ella keeps growing like a weed. She has officially entered her Frozen phase and has 3 songs from the Frozen movies that she listens to over and over again. If you are in Tennessee and would like to visit with us before we leave, please let me know and we'd love to hang out. I just got a lead on 2 Thai students from Bangkok that are studying at Union University right now, and we are trying to get their information so we can at least take them out for a meal and encourage them a bit before we leave. (It's hard to find Thai people around here.)
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