It’s been an amazing couple of months. Our family seems to always be in flux even if we are in one place, it sure doesn’t feel like it.
In May, Austin was also able to send a tractor down to Hskay Village which will be used by the new Christians there to work in their fields and also help move the evangelism teams faster around the area. It’s so wonderful to see how these new believers are going out and sharing their new found faith with other villages in the area. We also made an agreement with the church there that we would pay for the tractor and that over the next three years they would pay off 50% of the tractor in annual installments. Which they have already started doing. We’re grateful to help them with this gift as they go about building God’s kingdom. Also, practically having a tractor will make their difficult life subsiding mainly on rice farming a little easier. On a side note, Austin is looking forward to cutting back on some of his evangelism walking time on the jungle trails and instead spend it doing visitation in villages in that area. A win-win for all!
In June, Austin’s work at McGilvary College of Divinity commenced with him serving as a professor in Church History to Thai MDiv students and Evangelism and Mission to the Thai Bachelor of Theology students. He feels sorry for all ofhis students as his Thai is still inadequate, and they have to grin and bear it. But they are students full of grace and obviously have the gift to interpret tongues (or at least the tongue of a westerner speaking poor Thai). Austin does work extremely hard though and spends long hours preparing his lessons in Thai, as he wants to ensure his students understand what he’s teaching. Sinte and his kids are key in this too, without their support Austin simply could not be doing the ministry work he’s doing.
In June and July our family has also been hosting students in our home quite often. This has us diving right into doing some counseling, mentoring and discipleship with some students. Austin is trying to find his niche in ministry among the faculty and students. Being a relatively recent graduate of the International Program allows him to have a perspective that the professors have not had. It also puts him in a position that allows the students to feel comfortable to talk with him and Sinte. Sinte also being able to speak Chin and Burmese certainly is an added plus for many of the students from Burma.
We also continue to do ministry among the Chin community in Chiang Mai. Chin friends visit often and we have Chin worship usually in our home, once a month (see video above). Many of the Chin are now calling Sinte and Austin the mother and father of the Chin community in Chiang Mai. Truthfully, we’re both not sure how we feel about being called mother and father by these brothers and sisters, we’re not that old are we? But we’ll take it as a compliment.
Austin and Sinte were recently asked to be the voices in a Chin audio bible. Sinte was the voice of Mary the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. Austin not to be outdone was asked to be the voice of the Ethiopian eunuch (a part he felt perfect for). Unfortunately, it seems Sinte won that bout!
Just last weekend, Austin did another trip to the border alongside Rakchat. They met with Eh Shee who is now working on the farm and at Happy Home. He’s working extremely hard maintaining the paddy fields which were yet again expanded this year. So far the rice transplants look great and we’re hoping for an even greater harvest this year. The pictures below show all the hard work being done.
As for us, our family continues to grow. Eliana is just the sweetest of babies (now 6 months old). She sleeps through the night and has the sweetest and loveliest personality during the day. She doesn’t care much for strangers though, but loves her immediate family. Ewing finished his first year of preschool, which is crazy! He’s still a little rambunctious (genes from his father, we’re afraid). But he has a pure and loving heart. Eliana and Ewing bring joy and laughter into our home all of the time. We’re thrilled to have been blessed by our Lord with two amazing children.
We are looking forward to visiting many of you all next year. We should be on Home Assignment from January-June 2014. However, a great deal of our time will be spent in Portland, OR (January-April) with Austin doing his doctoral studies. So please continue to pray for us as we work on this chapter in our lives. Austin is especially looking forward to the day when he can close this chapter of doctoral study in his life.
That does it for us here. As alway we greatly appreciate your love and prayers for our family. We are humbled to be your gift to the church here in Thailand and Southeast Asia and we pray God uses us mightily to build His Kingdom, wherever he leads us. To Christ be all the glory!