Tom & Candice, Workers in Asia
In our last newsletter, we said, “Things are looking so much better and more hopeful in Thailand. Life is back up and running.” Well, now COVID-19 is back again and spreading in Thailand, and we have returned to online school. Tom is learning to teach Bible online and our kids are all in separate rooms, on computers for much of the school day. It’s a disappointment for them to miss friends and have school trips cancelled, and of course it’s worrisome to see the spread of Covid happening again. In all of this, we are learning to adapt and find contentment in all circumstances.
Overall, I (Tom) have really enjoyed teaching online—some students are more open to talking this way, and I’ve been able to do activities with small groups that would be more difficult in the classroom. Pray for creativity and wisdom, and continue to pray that God would lead me to students who are seeking him.
I (Candice) am continuing to teach two families of refugee children—please pray by name for Daniela, Aaron, Anaiah, Aimen, Shalu, Surej, and Aby. Please pray for them as they look to the future. Pray that God provides opportunities for them to live a free life and attend school.
In a huge answer to prayer, Rais, the brother of the children mentioned above, was released from detention! It was a result of many prayers and God working that he was freed. He has shared about the many opportunities that he had to share about God while detained. Now we are all praying for the release of his father George, who has been detained for more than four years.
I (Candice) have also had the joy of being a part of a Bible Study Fellowship. The group is very diverse, which brings a lot of new understanding to the Scriptures and helps me see the Bible through the lens of other cultures. I love how it speaks to all of us and brings so much conviction and encouragement each week.
We put our hope in Jesus as we look ahead to hopefully spending time in the States this year, as we trust in Him for Claire’s future, and as we look at the future of our small team in South Asia. We are aware that we can only offer our small barley loaves and fish to Jesus; he is the one with the power to multiply it into a lunch for the crowds. We want to keep open hearts and hands, and be a light in every circumstance we are placed in, no matter how limiting they feel at times. From a Scripture we are memorizing: “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:17, NIV).
Raleigh & Opal, Workers in the Mediterranean
It’s been a very fast six weeks for us since we re-entered the country. We returned in time for Ramadan, so the past month has been a time of fasting for our friends and neighbors. We’ve also been struggling with some sickness for much of the month, so we’re desperate for a return to life as usual—back to normal school and life rhythms.
But these quick weeks have been full of goodness, too. Our neighbors welcomed us back so kindly, inviting us into their homes for meals and tea, and warm life-filled, God-centered conversations. We’ve gotten to walk with one of our elderly next-door neighbors and his family through sickness, and we’ve re-entered other friendships cultivated over the past few years in this town. One evening, I (Raleigh) was invited to bring Robbie and my guitar to sing worship songs and explain their meanings. It was a beautiful time. I hope to do much more of this in the future!
This past weekend, we drove to a large city to interview some friends who have a business much like the one we would like to start—one that combines our interest in teaching English, creating cultural bridges between local cultures and visitors from abroad, and drawing friends and tourists toward the people of the mountains whom we love.
In the next few weeks, we will be exploring the possibility of obtaining a long-term visa in our town, which has been elusive so far. Please pray with us for favor with the government here—the local police seem as confused as we are about why we have been denied access to visas from those higher up. This is our neighborhood; here are our friends; at the end of the street is where our girls go to school. We recently signed a four-year contract to live in our house and would love to far outlast that contract. We have many hopes and dreams attached to this town. May God make a way!
Partners in Asia
Our team is finally able to do more traveling due to a slow easing of the pandemic restrictions here. In an exciting development from early in lockdown, a young boy from a Hindu family came to faith while staying in the hostel. When he went back home, he began sharing his faith with his relatives. They were open to hearing more, and now our team is visiting with them and seeing lots of interest.
Amos & Alice, Workers in the Mediterranean
Life in 2021 looks much like the end of 2020 as our country continues to operate under a State of Emergency. Some of the restrictions are unclear. We desire for love and wisdom to lead all of our decisions in the midst of this ongoing pandemic.
We now have eight girls living in the house, with a ninth set to come in the next few months. The girls are doing well—we’ve been able to continue some good conversations, and are a continuous redemptive presence in their lives. End of the year testing is right around the corner, but between fasting during the day and the summer heat creeping in, there’s not a whole lot of motivation happening in our home. Please lift the girls up, as well as our staff—we’re all feeling it!
Our study groups are growing and doing well! Two young men have recently decided to join. They are in a pretty desperate economic situation; please pray that we would have the wisdom to know how to come alongside them. Right now they’re spending one night a week at our house, where they have access to a shower, can wash their clothes, and eat a hot meal. They are very excited about studying the book, and they love to sing!
Thank you all for your continued prayers and support. Amos is doing some traveling to encourage isolated siblings and share with those who are interested. Please lift him up as he does so!
Cora, Worker in the Mediterranean
Life has felt full and busy the last few weeks, but also very good. So much has happened that I continue to ask, “Has it really only been a month since we got back?”
I have been collecting all the necessary paperwork for my visa, and hope to hand it all in in the next coming weeks. There was a bit of setback today with some of the paperwork, so please be praying against discouragement. But in general, things have come together much quicker than I imagined, and I am so thankful for those who have helped me along the way. I now have a local bank account and my own rental contract. These are both major things needed for a visa, and give me a feeling of being settled and at home. I am incredibly grateful.
I have started working with Robbie every morning, and Raleigh works with him in the afternoons. This shared responsibility for therapy is such an encouragement to me. Robbie is making some great developments and rising to our expectations. Every step is a big celebration around here!
I will be starting university classes next week. Since it is a summer term and I am only part time, I will start off with two classes. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be working on my BA in psychology while living here. Please pray that I would know how to balance my time as I settle into this new routine!
Life here is a joy, and this time here is a privilege! There continues to be uncertainty, and life is not always easy, but my community, and most importantly the God I serve, makes it all worth it! Thanks for joining me through your support and love.