Fun at missionary conference!
Grand opening of CRICS
Trip to Burma
Jubilee Celebration with the Akha
50th anniversary of the Gospel to the Akha of Thailand
Kenny, Becca, Rachel and Michael (the newest addition to the family)!
Michael and Rachel Fox Serra
New home for Foxes
Keeping dates in mind is an important and necessary part of our work and life! We have been back from Thailand since the end of June, 2011, and after much prayer and time for discernment, we have felt God leading us to return to Thailand for a fourth term. Dates are particularly important right now as we make our plans to leave, as far as visas, passports, and tickets are involved, but also in terms of ways that you can help make this all possible (please read on!).
As we write this journal, we are sitting in steamy Philadelphia where we have spent this past year on home assignment. We have had wonderful experiences with churches, family and friends throughout the year, traveling some 10,000+ miles to visit in 40-50 American Baptist churches and women's groups throughout the United States. It has been a humbling and eye-opening experience as we have not only had the opportunity to share about our work and ministry in Thailand, but also hear about the joys, trials, and challenges that face the churches in the States.
In addition to our work this year, many of you know that our eldest daughter, Rachel, was married on June 9th to Michael Serra. The opportunity to be a part of the preparations and the wedding itself was incredibly precious. We have appreciated the time we have been able to spend with Rachel and each of our other two children, Rebecca (a senior at Messiah College this coming year, majoring in nursing), and Kenny (a sophomore at Eastern University this coming year), as well. Visits with parents, other family members, and friends are also an important part of the time that missionaries spend Stateside, as we take time to evaluate the past term on the field, and assess the goals and direction for the future.
On August 10, we plan to leave to go back to Chiang Rai, Thailand, to serve once again with the Akha people we have worked with during the past 13 years of our missionary service. Our roles may change somewhat, particularly for Ruth, who has resigned as principal of what is now the Chiang Rai International Christian School. We hope to focus on learning the Akha language more substantially, support the ongoing Akha Craft program and Christian education programs, as well as to continue to teach in the Bible training sessions scheduled throughout the year by the Akha Churches of Thailand and other groups, as appropriate. Ruth will still be involved with CRICS on a limited basis in terms of teacher recruitment and development. She also will be helping with volunteer and team orientation and serving as Program Coordinator for the STEP program. We will be able to be more clear about some of these roles as we step back into our setting there.
Relating back to the need to be "date-aware," we would ask for your prayers that our visas and passports would come to us in time for our August 10th departure. There were some bureaucratic issues on the Thai side that have held up the process. We believe these are resolved and that the visa application process is now fully under way.
The other date that is critical to let you know is July 31. Yes, we mean this July 31. There is currently a Mission 3 Matching Gift Opportunity being offered through International Ministries. If you, as an individual, choose to give a new gift or an "over and above" gift to your normal giving, these gifts will be matched 100% if received by July 31. These gifts would be much appreciated. We are continuing to strengthen our support base as we return to Thailand so that we may remain on the field for the duration of our next term. If God so allows, our intention this time is to serve a three and a half year term, ending in December of 2015. If you wish to contribute to our support, please go to the www.internationalministries.org website and you can make your gift there. Please be sure to identify it as a "matching" gift.
We are so grateful for your support to us, in prayer, financially, and in your faith that God is at work among the Akha hill tribe people. Let us all pray that they will continue to come to know and grow in Him. It has been encouraging for us to hear that while we have been away, the Akha Christians we work with have put on their own conferences, using the biblical storytelling techniques they have been taught. The shaman (spirit doctor) from one village came to a saving knowledge of Jesus through one of these events! Other projects also continue to grow and develop as new leadership has been trained and is stepping up to the tasks at hand. Praise God!
May God continue to bless you and keep you in His care!
Chuck and Ruth Fox