Debby and Kyle serve the Thai Karen Baptist Convention (TKBC) Siloam Bible Institute in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where they work in pastoral education and leadership development. Young people from the Karen ethnic group attend the school with the goal of following the call of God on their lives to be pastors and evangelists among the Karen villages in the hills of Thailand. Kyle is also involved in continuing education with TKBC pastors and evangelists. Debby is providing worship leadership to conferences in the area and helping with the English language program at Siloam. The Witmers continue discipleship with their own children through homeschooling.
They write – [Looking back] Kyle made a trip to Myanmar in October with other International Ministries (IM) co-workers, and he was thankful for the opportunity to encourage and strengthen believers in that country, both those in the local churches and those in leadership positions in the government. It was an exciting new experience, as he participated in workshops designed to strengthen local congregations and also met with several members of the congress in order to pray for them.
November brought a wonderful celebration as the kids’ Thai teacher was married. We enjoyed our first Thai Christian wedding, and Debby and Julia were blessed to be asked to sing during the ceremony. We are thankful for our Thai teachers – mother and daughter – and pray that as the daughter and her husband embark upon married life, God will be at work in and through them to bless each other and those around them.
In December, we celebrated Brennan’s graduation with a few friends here at our home and many friends and family via Facebook live. It was a wonderful event, and we are thankful both for our son and his accomplishments as well as for modern technology and the ability to share our joys with loved ones around the world.
And now, as the year comes to a close, we enjoy our final few days with our daughter, Hannah, visiting from the US for the holidays, and we thank God for this time we have together to celebrate the season and count our blessings as a family.
And finally, dear readers, we are thankful for you, who follow our journey and support us in so many ways.
Looking ahead with hope…
2019 will bring with it some big changes in our lives, as our US/Puerto Rico assignment (formerly known as “furlough” or “deputation”), when we return to the US for one year, begins this spring. There are many arrangements still to be made, and though we are tempted to give in to the anxiety and stress, we daily look to Jesus to be our guide and find our hope in Him.
Although it will be difficult to say good-bye to the students and staff at Siloam, as well as the other friends we have made here in Thailand, we are looking forward with hope to the opportunity to spend time with family and friends in the US, as well as visiting many churches and other faithful supporters. The coming months will find us making plans for where to live, what cars to drive, what belongings to pack for storage in Thailand, what things to pack to take with us to the US, and so much more.
Please be in prayer for us as we face all of these challenges, specifically for decisions to be made about where to live during our year in the US and what would be best for our sweet dog that we have here in Thailand (whether to try to bring her with us, or find another home for her during our time away). In addition, if you have any ideas for housing possibilities – including mission houses, church parsonages, or private residences that might be available for rent – please let us know.
There are other travels on the horizon as well, as Kyle will be making two visits back to the US before our home assignment begins, in order to fulfill his role on an advisory board that is reviewing the missionary support process. We are very hopeful as this group works together to find the best ways of ensuring the work of IM continues through the coming years in the best possible way. In addition, March will bring with it a special graduation trip for Brennan and Kyle, as they head to Israel to explore the land where Jesus was born, lived, died, and rose again to give us everlasting hope. Please be in prayer over these upcoming travels, the first of which begins on January 13.
And now, dear friends, as we greet the new year together, we pray that you, too, will be looking forward with hope. We pray the words of Paul from Romans 15:13: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Let us know how we can pray for you.
Read the Witmers’ full journal at https://www.internationalministries.org/pressing-on-to-know-him/