When we were first endorsed by IM last year, we went through a Bible study on the book of Philippians with a focus on the relationship between Paul and the church at Philippi. Paul lays out that a missionary’s relationship with the church has a subtle but important distinction: it is about “partnership with” rather than “support of.” We have very much taken that concept to heart as we have been meeting with churches and individuals these past two years. We want all of you to be with us on this journey: we are the ones physically moving to Thailand but all of you who are praying, financially giving, and staying connected are partnering in what God is doing in Thailand.
At our home church, Crosswalk Community Church in Sunnyvale, the mission statement is “Connecting People to Jesus and to Each Other” and that statement seems to perfectly encapsulate a large part of how we see our role in Thailand. In Thailand, through discipleship and spiritual formation, people are connected to Jesus and become more like Him. Through several different forms of communication, people get connected with each other across the globe. During the days of the early church, the Roman system of roads helped Paul and other missionaries communicate more effectively with churches. Today we have the internet and the many forms of communication it allows: websites, e-mails, videos, etc.
One piece of feedback we have received quite often is that people want to hear back from Global Servants and stay connected. Looking back at Philippians 4:15, Paul says that partnership is giving and receiving. This is why communication is so important. Moving to Thailand is just a piece of partnership with all of you; sharing what God is doing so everyone can stay engaged is essential to the overall health of the ministry.
So I bring it back to you. Right now we use social media, e-mail journals, and the IM website to communicate. Which forms of communication do you value most? Would video-logs from Thailand be something you appreciate? What type of content helps you to feel most connected? Please let us know what partnerships you have experienced which have kept you connected with what God is doing in the world. We are open to hearing different ideas and then seeing which fit best with the context in Thailand.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles…
We have been on the road a lot these past few months. Since May we have spent at least one night in twelve different states. It has been great to experience so many different aspects and parts of America. Last week we returned home from a trip through Northern California and Oregon where we connected with several churches, individuals, and even former Global Servants to Thailand. This past Sunday we spoke at a Iu Mien church. The Iu-Mien is a Hilltribe in Asia and many of the people at the church have lived in, or have family members in, Thailand. Every time we showed a picture of a Hilltribe person from our trip, we would see many smiles and hear “Akha!” or “Lahu!” After we spoke we were asked to kneel and the pastoral team and board members laid hands on us and prayed. Connecting with new churches and people has definitely been one of the best parts of these first two years of global service with IM.
For as long as I have known her, whenever we discuss camping, Alise talks about Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park where her family camped every year while she was growing up. So, since we were going to be passing by the park on our way back from Oregon, and also because the day we were driving by was actually her birthday, we decided to stop to explore a bit. Jedediah Smith is home to the tallest trees in the world: the Coastal Redwoods. It is also the location where the “Endor” scenes were filmed for Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Of course that fact was what really excited the kids. As we walked through a trail the kids would frequently turn a corner and yell out something like “I found it! This is where Leia found the Ewoks!” or “I think this is where the Ewoks dropped the logs on the Empire!” One of the most fun parts of our travels has been exploring and experiencing God’s creation. And Star Wars too.