Hello from Thailand!
These last two months have been life-changing to say the least. We came here with little expectation of what it was going to look like; yet we pictured extraordinary dreams of what it could be.
Shawn painting all day every day, diving into his passion. Selling his paintings to the perfect homes in which they belong- changing lives through his art. Stephanie taking her son to the beach and having play dates with Thai moms and children. Giving guests tours of this beautiful country and helping them enter into rest with God.
To an extent, this is what it has been, but moreso, it has been humbling and simply ordinary. Off in the distance, when we were back in America, moving to a foreign country seemed like a dream- with the all-inclusive miracles, people being saved, tangible changes in the atmosphere, etc. The typical picture of a missionary.
Now that we are here, we are simply living life. We are just being. We are present where we are. We are walking through the day-to-day life, just like the average person. No one has been saved on our count, guests haven’t come and left blown away with new inspiration for life change, Shawn hasn’t sold any paintings, etc. But what we’ve seen is that even with none of that happening before our eyes, there has been a change in the atmosphere. Simply by us coming and being.
When we first arrived at the airport, we were welcomed by our ministry leader, P’Pan, with “Welcome to the Promised Land”. He said this because God put it on his heart to say. At the time, he wasn’t quite sure why, but as we met as a team, God revealed an amazing reason why we were welcomed to the Promised Land. P’Pan told us that he was impressed by this little family selling all of their possessions, moving to a foreign country with their “first fruits” (Elijah), and coming under a Thai leader in his ministry. In his 17 years in ministry, he had never led foreigners before.
As we dove deeper into this topic, we all realized that very few westerners come under Thai leaders.
Let’s take a step back. When you picture the average missionary going overseas, you picture someone planting a church or starting a ministry, right? From there- maybe locals are appointed into leadership positions, but they are often still under some sort of missionary leader. I’m not saying that this is the only type of missionary, but in some ways, this is what we picture as a missionary, so maybe it’s what you picture as well.
I say this to make a point. By our family coming to Thailand and coming under a Thai leader, we are doing something that is typically not seen in this country. God is showing us that by simply obeying Him and coming here, we are allowing Him to make a change in the atmosphere of Thailand. It might not be tangible to us, but He is doing something.
We originally began writing this blog with the intent of showing people (our supporters, friends, family in Christ) what we are doing, and putting the need out there for monthly support. We have struggled with thoughts of needing to show people how productive we have been, providing tangible successes and showing all that we have effectively done in our two months here. But God is showing us that it’s not about what we DO. It is about Him. As we follow Him and trust Him, He is going to provide for us, above anything that we ask. We don’t need to strive to convince people of how many things “God is doing”.
Last night I (Stephanie) had a dream of His provision. I dreamt that Shawn and I found five really old, historic pennies. We sold them to McDonald’s (random) for $2.6 million! I feel like God is showing us how creative He is. That He is going to provide in a way that we might not expect.
So, I can sit here and tell you all the numbers, how much monthly support we already have, how much we need, our budget and specifics, etc. But instead, I will simply say this. If God puts it on your heart to be a monthly supporter, we will gladly accept. But above all, we trust that it will be Him that chooses to put it on your heart, not us. And it will be Him that provides for us- in whichever way He chooses.
Jehovah- Jireh! The Lord our Provider!