Not to us, LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.
(Psalm 115:1 NIV)
The new year started with a bang for us: we spent almost a month with colleagues and partners in northern Thailand. We are grateful to God for the privilege of being able to travel once again to support colleagues and partners since our last ministry trip was in late 2019 just before the pandemic. International airfares are much more expensive now, so we packed a lot into our time in and around Chiang Mai. Praise God with us for many unexpected blessings during our time with them.
We started with a 5-day conference for IM Global Servants who serve in SE Asia and Japan and ended with a 5-day global conference organized by the World Evangelical Alliance’s Mission Commission. Between the two conferences, we met with and encouraged many IM colleagues. We also consulted with and encouraged Thai partners from Payap University, Thai Village, House of Love, New Life Center, Mekong Minority Foundation, Siloam Bible Institute (Thai Karen Baptist Convention), Micro Enterprise Development Foundation, Lanna Coffee, and the Thai Lahu Baptist Convention. We even hung out with a short-term mission team from FBC Plainfield, IN. So many blessings! Here are just two highlights.
Staying with colleagues Alise & Mark Juanes and their kids was an unexpected blessing during our time in Thailand. This was our first opportunity to meet them since the Juanes family was commissioned for IM global service just before the pandemic, and our paths had not yet crossed. They serve as leaders of the House of Love and the House of Blessing in Chiang Mai with co-director Yuleybeh.
God is using Yuleybeh and the Juanes family to guide this organization on a new ministry journey to equip at-risk ethnic minority families to care for and support their children. The Thai staff of House of Love/House of Blessing provides educational support, family strengthening, and a residential youth home for families that struggle from the effects of social exclusion, poverty, drug addiction, and trauma. We were blessed to be able to provide some coaching and encouragement in organizational development and financial management for this ministry expansion. Mark wrote as we wrapped up our time in Chiang Mai: “Thank you, guys! So glad we had the opportunity to meet you as well. You two were a blessing by your personalities and wisdom, advice, and insight.” Very nice to hear!
We had a joyful reunion with the leaders and staff of Thai Village in Chiang Mai. This is one of the eight faith-based social enterprises Bruce studied during his Ph.D. research. Thai Village trains and employs low-income ethnic minority artisans and supports Christian outreach and education by producing custom-designed handicrafts. They invited us to lead two Biblical-theological studies for the English-speaking and Thai-speaking staff on how social entrepreneurship is part of God’s holistic mission to rescue, redeem and restore all creation. Liz, one of the founders, wrote: “Thanks so much for gracing our team with your presence and wisdom!
We and all these partners are grateful to you! Your notes and emails of encouragement, prayers, and financial support through International Ministries allow us to come alongside and equip them.
Together in God’s mission,
Ann & Bruce
Praise God for: