‘And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.’ Phil 4: 19
‘The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.’ 1 Thess 5: 24
Surrounded by the noise and mess of our collective children and way past the time we should have put dinner in the oven, my neighbour and I sat and reflected on the past year. I could wholeheartedly echo her statement ‘you’ve made this year bearable’ because being open and vulnerable in relationships has added such richness to our short time in this community. Both of our little families are preparing to move in August and sometimes there is an overwhelming urge to stay. There will be lots of tears this summer but not over the things we’d expected a year ago! What was intended for us as a ‘downsize’ has been, on the contrary, a magnification of God’s goodness. As Jon and I celebrate 10 years of marriage next Thursday, we are grateful for the way this year has shaped us and given us the space to return to some of the hopes and dreams we held to on our wedding day. There’s lots to celebrate!
Thankyou to all those who joined us in praying for school places for Elliot and Samuel. We are thrilled that Bangkok Prep have graciously offered half rate fees and guaranteed places from October 27th! At one stage this seemed almost impossible and it acts as further confirmation that God has every element of this move in his hands. Elliot and Sam are understandably apprehensive as the move approaches so please pray that they too can see how much God cares about the details. Another big obstacle for us was leaving our 8 year old border collie Peggy behind and we are thrilled that our lovely friend Celia has agreed to adopt her. We feel remarkably at peace about this and are confident for Peggy that long hill walks will be preferable to being eaten alive by the dogs in the slum!
The military coup has put Thailand’s political instabilities in the spotlight this month. We are saddened by the lack of compromise between political parties and the inevitable fall-out for the poor who feel the biggest impact of curfew and economic dip. However we are challenged to set aside our western world view which automatically sees military intervention as negative and hear the viewpoint of our Thai friends who see it as a sign of returning stability. Please pray with us for for peace as violence can escalate quickly in Bangkok and for the safety of team and neighbours in the slum. Pray that army leaders will use their power well to work for justice and against corruption.
A highlight for last month was a visit from Judy Cook, our church missionary link, who works in Northern Thailand. Judy runs ‘Hope Home’ caring for children with severe disabilities and also educates the Church in Thailand about AIDS issues. We visited her on our holiday in Thailand two years ago and that visit became really significant as we began discerning a calling to similar work. She continues to be a massive blessing to us and a model of humility. Her offer of a bolt hole in Chiang Mai will definitely be appreciated if we need to escape the heat! Another huge encouragement was a visit from Sam Ward who directs the Eden Network (part of the Message Trust which facilitates live-in mission on council estates countrywide). Having grown up in Monkmoor near to where we live, he is helping our church think through it’s commitment to serving this area.
We have booked flights for the 1st October and begun the process of applying for visas. This is slightly scary as we don’t yet have enough funding in place (another £750 aimed for per month) but those with experience of living on support assure us that God will provide at the last minute! We are hoping however that September can be less about practical concerns and more about transitioning and saying our goodbyes well. If you are able to support us financially or know of groups/individuals looking for an overseas mission link it would be amazing to hear from you soon! A start date six weeks in advance can be set for donations on our Stewardship page. Jon will stop earning at the end of August and it is hitting home for him just how much he will miss being a GP. His appraisal went brilliantly but please pray that he can be ‘revalidated’ next year despite being overseas. A big shout out is due to our friends Mark and Jonathan Broomfield who are running the Shrewsbury half marathon on 23rd June to raise awareness of UNOH Thailand!
Our new home in Lok 3 has been vacated this week as the last of the Barker family move out ready for their next phase of life and ministry. We feel blessed to step into the work they have pioneered (though slightly in awe of the legacy they have left behind!) Hopefully the rats won’t completely take over in the months the house is empty! It feels right that there is a gap before our arrival as we want to make it clear that we come as novices. Our baggage allowance turns out to be just 20kg each (although 20kg goes a long way when you are mostly taking soft toys!) so please put our sale on 19th July in your diaries as everything must go! We are all itching to be with our new team and start to uncover what God has for the next season. The boys are actually itching because they have nits. I am tired and should go to sleep… thankyou for reading this June update!
love Jon, Elise, Elliot and Sam