Twenty years ago (think ‘before’) our family moved out in mission with OMF International to join the Thai church planting team, joining with others earnestly seeking to see an indigenous biblical church planting movement among the Buddhist people of Central Thailand.
Twenty years ago we started the life time journey of language and culture learning in order to share with our beloved Thai friends the mercy and grace available to them in Christ.
Twenty years ago we decided to reject the Aussie dream of house, garden and mortgage and trust God for everything we need.
It has been humbling to live by faith and see the generosity, kindness and sacrificial giving of many in the church that has enabled us to live and minister cross culturally. We know that mission is a partnership. It requires the go-ers and the stay-ers, and importantly the pray-ers.
I never cease to be amazed when we receive a letter from someone that mentions praying for a person we mentioned in a prayer letter maybe 18 years ago! All of those children we ministered to in our first term back in the ’90s are now adults! What an honour to have been able to sow seeds of faith in their hearts as children. What a privilege to be the messenger that tells a person who has never before heard of Jesus that there is hope and release from the endless cycle of rebirth and the heavy burden of karma.
And now we present to you our ‘after’ picture and proclaim to you the faithfulness of God to us, and to our children, and seek to remind you of His heart for the world. He has never left us or forsaken us.
This year we have returned to Australia for an 11 month home assignment, bringing newly graduated Samuel back with us to join with Frances who has already settled in Melbourne and is enjoying university immensely. Being a missionary kid is not always easy as both Frances and Samuel can attest, however they are both thankful for their rich cross cultural upbringing, the breadth of their worldview and their faith in God. They literally have friends all over the world, can speak more than one language fluently and have a partiality to spicy food!
Over the past twenty years we have rejoiced and we have wept, we have seen God transform lives and we have seen people turning back in defeat and sin. We have seen the Thai Church grow exponentially and people turn to Christ as never before, and we have seen our ministry change dramatically from pioneering evangelism to caring for the children of other missionaries in a dorm, helping their children get an excellent education while they continue in their vital and remote ministries.
David and I will return to Thailand in May 2014 as empty nesters and enter into a new phase of our missionary journey. We will leave our kids in His care, but that is where they have been all along. The task is unfinished and there is still need for many more who will go.
Thailand is one of the few countries where one can enter on a missionary visa and preach openly yet still less than one percent of the people have believed. The opportunities are vast … all sorts of people and skills are needed. Check out heart4asia.net and see if perhaps God is calling you.