A couple of weeks ago, we had the awesome privilege of hosting four friends who came as a missions team to help out our family and ministry. They not only were refreshing to be around with their contagious joy and hearts to serve, but were a big encouragement to our Thai friends - a lot of really new Christians and those who don't know Christ yet. There are good kinds of short term missions trips and bad kinds, and these four made this a short term trip that was truly beneficial and encouraging to us at the same time. So thankful!
Blake sharing his testimony with the youth.
Trent did an incredible job preaching through translation both in Chiang Mai and in Lampang.
It was the first time we've been in the guy's prison, and God really blessed, definitely opening relationships with the guards and future possible opportunities there.
First time for Justin to cliff jump!! The picture above shows where he jumped from!
On one of the final evenings of our time together we got to see a guy that Jay has been witnessing to for over a year receive Christ and be baptized! We've had a lot of opportunities to share the gospel and have gotten to see several people make the decision to confess that Christ is their Savior, but Mack is the first who we've gotten to introduce the truths of Jesus to, watching him make small steps of understanding, and finally seeing him accept that Jesus is His redeemer and publicly identifying with Him through baptism. We're thanking God and so grateful to see Him work!!
After helping serve with our new youth group, the group went to both a young men and lady's prison (teaching on physical strength, then sharing about strength that comes from Christ and God's Word). They spent many many hours working at our new ministry center / house in Lamphun, doing tons of painting and cleaning, changing our large downstairs room from a bright pink with flowers on the walls to a much nicer gray and white, ETC! They were the best!
Many thanks to Trent, Blake, Casslyn, and JuliAnne for sacrificing to be here and serving with such joy! We love you all!
This was mother's day, and my three guys took me out for dinner after church. These two found their place at the table before we could put them where we usually do (one by each of us), so we said we'd give it a try.
And we sat in our literal front row seat, watching them just take care of themselves and each other. It's a massive gift, this motherhood role. Right now as I'm getting ready to have this next little girl in less than a month, I'm reminded that the last time I was this big, we were still traveling around the states in a camper. And here we are now, feeling like those days were lifetimes ago, deeply loving life and ministry here in Thailand, and beginning to get how quickly seasons of life pass.
When we first moved here, I went through a strange stage of thinking about the reality of death a lot. Of how short life really is before we step into our forever reality. It was actually pretty uncomfortable and unsettling, but something about uprooting almost absolutely everything we'd ever known made life in general seem so fleeting.
And though now the gradual filling of life with kids and ministry combined with the gradually building feeling of belonging here pushes those thoughts to the background, still life flies. But it's fun to learn to savor every stage. I'm so thankful for every day we four (five!) receive to forge through this adventure together - watching these two come into their own, and getting to be a part of this beautiful, brief thing we call life.
May these pictures make you smile too!!
And by the way, speaking of wonder, I found a book recently that as one of its many attributes (including: helping me not to take myself too seriously, giving some of the best reasonings for God's obvious hand on this planet, to not fear death etc.) invoked a wonder for all of this life around us like I've never had in me before.. it was one of the books where I was laughing aloud in delight, and my husband got to hear many parts of it in the car, whether he was feeling it or not.. :) here's a bit of it:
Just looking around, I can tell you that whatever is going on, spheres are a theme, and so are insects. We are on a sphere, spinning around a much bigger sphere (which happens to be burning hot enough to singe my face, even at this distance) while other spheres of various sizes do the same thing, and a smaller, sad, little-dead-poet sphere with acne scars spins around us, lighting the night, causing the oceans to heave their bosoms and pant, and increasing violent crime (really). And our blue ball is primarily populated by small things with exoskeletons, no matter how you measure it. Invertebrates outnumber us, outweigh us, out-vary us, and bite us more often than we bite them.
If I were a publisher (which I'm not), and an agent .. submitted a proposal for a fantasy taking place in this world, then I would tell him in no uncertain terms that I only handle .. realistic stories, stories believable in texture and character, and then I would tell him to try .. to target an audience more likely to believe something so far-fetched - an audience less likely to have college degrees. In that pitched fantasy world, the spheres would be so perfectly aligned that when the moon passed in front of the sun, the two would be identically sized. Yeah, right. A bit contrived, don't you think? Perfect balls? Some flaunting tutus? Come now. Show some respect for my intelligence.
What is this place? Why is this place? Who approved it? Was this cosmic behavior expected? Am I supposed to take it seriously? How can I? I've watched goldfish make babies, and ants execute earwigs. I've seen a fly deliver live young while having its head eaten by a mantis. And I had a golden retriever that behaved like one.
There's a story to tell, a world of surprises and questions to explore, a personality often searched for to be unearthed and understood in the reality around us. And there's someone behind it, uncomfortable answers to the hows and whys and whats.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Through Him were all things made.
Welcome to His poem. His play. His novel. Skip the bowls of fruit and statues. Let the pages flick your thumbs. This is His spoken world.
(from Notes from the Tilt-a-whirl by n.d. wilson)