Our family has been traveling a great deal the last eight months. We spent about six months in the US, which was probably one of the greatest times in the life of our family. It has made our hearts all the more thankful to have the love and support of our family, friends and so many churches. We’re blessed to call Nokesville, Virginia our home. But in February, we made our way back to our home in Thailand. Our aim was to spend March in our village and do some evangelism and project trips, but our plans changed quickly.
In March, Austin injured his knee on a run which turned out to be a minor meniscus tear. He’s recuperated pretty well (no limp now), but at the time he was strictly told then by doctors, no jungle walks. Sinte also received some bad news in March. Her brother who is a refugee in Malaysia was burned pretty severely in an accident while working at a restaurant. Sinte and Ewing went to be with him and after a month in the hospital having skin graft surgeries, her brother was released. Austin remained in Thailand (mostly moping he couldn’t go on any jungle walks) and instead taught bible to Burmese students at a discipleship school. Which in hindsight probably did greater good.
In late March, our family reunited in Malaysia and spent a few days with family there. We also spoke at a Chin Refugee Church on Palm Sunday.
We then headed out to Australia where we stayed with some of Sinte’s family in Melbourne. Austin also preached at a Easter Sunday Service in another Chin refugee church there.
Our family then traveled to Adelaide, Australia where we visited three churches and were hosted by the Hudson Family and Burnside City Uniting Church for about three weeks. It was a blessing to be able to build a relationship with Burnside and some other churches. We made some great friends and praise God we had the opportunity to share about our ministry.
But our hearts have been longing to get back to our mission work and so that’s where I write this letter now. We’re only one day away from returning to our village. The place we’ve considered our home for about two years. So many changes have occurred since we left. Around this time in 2011, we could hear fighting around our village, now there is a cease fire between the Burma Army and the Karen. There is a sense of great change in our midst and while we have hope, we also wonder what changes lay ahead.
Sinte and I have also been wrestling with an invitation to serve the Church of Christ in Thailand (CCT) in a more strategic way. A CCT seminary has asked if I would take on a job as a professor there. I greatly enjoy teaching but I love sharing the gospel in the border areas too and we’ve seen wonderful fruit from this efforts. My heart is torn. I love living along the border and it’s a ministry I seem to be well suited for. At the same time I have a family with a wife and son whom need more then a border village life. That is just the reality we face. Of course there is a lot more to it then that, but I can’t write a novel, just a blogpost.
So changes are in our midst. We’re not sure where we’ll be six months from now, except that we are prayerfully following God’s call. I am looking forward in the next couple of days to head out on an evangelism trip in the jungle. Sinte is just thankful to be going back to a place that she can call a home for our family. Our journey will continue tomorrow on our road back to our home in Bung Klung village. We continue to cherish your prayers as we move forward to build God’s kingdom, wherever He leads us.