What? Really? Did I read that right?The Martinez family (SMx2 stands for Shawn and Stephanie Martinez) is moving to Thailand! Shawn, Stephanie and baby Elijah, too. The Lord has been doing big things with us since Elijah has been here. Let’s start from the beginning.
Before we met, Stephanie and I individually had Thailand on our hearts. It was actually one of the first things we ever talked about and it was amazing to see how we connected on this topic. Five months into our relationship (August 2011), Stephanie went to Thailand and joined a DTS (Discipleship Training School) with YWAM (Youth with a Mission). While she was out there, I went and met up with her during her last few weeks of DTS, What was already on our hearts was confirmed by us being over there.While there, I had the opportunity to paint with an amazing artist named Pan. Little did I know, at that time, he had a vision for a ministry that he was going to start up. So while Stephanie and I were back in the States planning our wedding, Pan was starting a ministry in Hua Hin called The Contrast House. The mission of the Contrast House is “to provide a place of artistic character, rest, and a comfortable atmosphere for the Christian worker to get away from their everyday work. The Contrast House is a place that intentionally provides physical and emotional rest through heart-lifting artwork and the beauty of seascape. So that they are re-energized and can be focused on God’s calling for their lives.”
As Pan’s vision began to grow into a ministry, our desire to be there partnering with him also grew. Now, two years since our first time in Thailand, we are beginning to see God’s plan to get us back over there. It’s important to know that these past two years we knew that we would one day move there long-term. We just didn’t know God’s timing in it. Until now.One week after Elijah was born, I (Shawn) lost my job. Initially, my plan was to be in that position for a couple more years before taking a step into something new. However, losing my job has provided the opportunity to step into where God is calling us to next. It’s really pretty amazing that this ministry is where we are headed because if you were to ask me if I could do anything for the rest of my life I would answer: paint. My dream is to be able to make a living as an artist, to wake up every day and do what I love. For Stephanie, her dream is simply to take care of her family, impact her community and for that community to be in Thailand. This ministry is the perfect combination of our dreams. God will be able to use my art to speak into people’s lives and Stephanie will be able to help create a peaceful place for people to rest and spend the days with Elijah and those who stay at the Contrast House. Our goal is to join this ministry in April 2014. We are trusting God to provide for us over the next five months that we are in the States and to provide for us once we get there. We are so excited to start this journey and we are inviting you to join with us in our mission to get there! We look forward to updating you all each step of the way. So stay tuned for the next phases of our adventure!
Shawn and Stephanie (and Elijah too)