It has been quite a long time since our last update and so much has happened. The past four months have been an incredible whirlwind for our family, so we’ll just give an update of all our ministry’s happenings.
In mid May to early June our family was in Myanmar (Burma) visiting ministries, family and also working on some farmland we have there. It was a busy three weeks (as shown in the above pictures). Austin typically worked everyday alongside his two brother in laws sun up to sun down putting in new fencing by hand for about 3 acres of land. He loved getting to do some outdoor work after spending so many months this year doing research for his doctoral work.
Unfortunately, after our last visit and all of this work we experienced a great heartbreak. In August, Sinte’s hometown as well as many parts of Burma were hit by Cyclone Komin. This resulted in the worst floods that some of the northern parts of Burma have seen in over a hundred years. Massive flooding occurred which killed over 100 people and displaced about 300,000 people. Sadly, our son Ewing lost one of his good friend’s Lal Rin San and we personally know of others who died in the flooding as well. While this disaster really impacted our family a great deal we can be somewhat thankful that the floods did not reach Sinte’s home (only our farm land). For a few days there in early August, we were very concerned for Sinte’s family, as dams in that area started to become over capacitated and the waters continued to rise. Thank you so much for so many of you lifting up Sinte’s family in prayer.
Over the past month, more reports are coming out about homes, fields, roads and all types infrastructure which have been destroyed. The UN recently pointed out that this crisis has repercussions which will carry on into at least next year. A great deal of rice whether planted in fields or in storage from last year’s harvest was destroyed. When the floods did recede the irrigation canals were left full with debris and mud. So for many farmers whose fields were not impacted by floods they are now witnessing their rice crops wither away because ironically they can’t get water. This has increased fear for many people if they will have enough food for next year. In some areas rice costs have already quadrupled! Farthest Corners has already sent in support to do some relief in two states in Myanmar. We’re also looking long term wise on how we can be of more help and we will keep you our community of supporters informed about what is happening.
When our family returned to Thailand in June (after our Myanmar trip) we learned that a house on campus on the seminary was going to become available. We made a request for this home and after a great deal of conversation, prayer and meetings a final decision was made to allow our family the use of this home, but only temporarily for one year. While this wasn’t the most ideal outcome for our family, we’re very thankful for this blessing. We’ll keep praying and seeing what the Lord’s will is and we plan to use this home as much as we can for ministry purposes. Many friends, faculty and students have come over to use our home for meetings, fellowship and to worship together.
In August, Sinte and Ewing both became full time students. Sinte is now starting her studies in a MA TESOL program. This program will take about two years of study and is challenging Sinte to be sure. But she’s loving her classes so far and really believes that this degree will be beneficial in our future mission work. Sinte’s also been able to share her faith with many of her classmates that are from multiple religious backgrounds. Please pray she can continue to be a great light of love among her classmates. Ewing has started his first year of Kindergarten and Eliana now attends a Burmese pre-school. Both are loving their times in school and appear to be doing well. Ewing’s school is only one block away from where we are staying now which makes it also an ideal place. We’re extremely thankful to all of our supporters who give regularly to Farthest Corners and The Antioch Partners. Without your support our family would not be able to study as we are doing. We do hope this support is an investment for great ministry work now and in the future.
Austin is teaching two courses this semester: Evangelism and Missiology and Asian and Thai Church History. He continues to hammer away at his doctoral research, which keeps him very busy. He’s already taken his Asian and Thai Church History students on two trips outside the classroom and he is hoping to take the Evangelism and Missiology students on a one week trip to the border in early October. Also in October we will have many mission partners from The Antioch Partners attend a gathering and retreat here in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Austin has been on the planning committee for this retreat and has been very busy with all the preparations needed for hosting the 100 people coming. Prayers for this retreat would be greatly appreciated.
Rakchat in May finished his Master of Divinity studies and in the past few months has already made two trips to Happy Home. At the end of May, he took a team of Karen-Thai college students with him to do a short-term mission trip to Happy Home. It was a great blessing for everyone involved and all of the Karen-Thai college students were impacted seeing the poverty and issues their brethren face there. My prayer and hope is that it will lead them towards a recognition of the responsibilities they have being followers of Jesus Christ.
The second trip Rakchat took was in July to go and help get the rice planted in time. The weather in this part of Myanmar (Burma) has been very strange this year. In some places we’ve had extreme flooding but strangely, we had a difficult task in the Happy Home area which was facing some drought like conditions up until July. But over the past couple of months we have had enough rain to water our paddy fields. Others close by our farm have not been as fortunate. Please do pray that the rains are steady and that we have a good harvest this year.
I hope this report updates you all on some of our happenings here in the mission field. Please do know we wish we could write more. We’ve had so much happen to our family the last few months, that it’s been a trying time for us. Your prayers, love and support are so greatly appreciated and we are thankful to be sent by so many wonderful supporters. May our Lord’s grace continue to be known in your life and witness.