Jeni serves on the leadership team at the New Life Center Foundation (NLCF) in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Established in 1987, the New Life Center serves young ethnic minority (tribal) women who are at risk for, or survivors of, human trafficking, forced labor and sexual abuse. NLCF residents are provided with shelter, education, vocational and life skills training and legal assistance. Special therapeutic activities for survivors include comprehensive art, dance and music therapy and individual counseling. With degrees in development and Christian theology, Jeni provides administrative support, Christian discipleship and financial literacy training to NLCF staff and program beneficiaries. In collaboration with the NLCF’s senior staff, she writes grants, oversees the monitoring and evaluation of program outcomes and assists with public relations.
She writes – It’s been quite a while since my last journal update, so let me catch you up!
Working at New Life Center: I continue to work full-time to support the local staff on the front lines of trafficking prevention and after-care for survivors of exploitation and trauma. It is my great joy to work alongside these capable, committed women. Showing compassion by turning toward (not away) and reaching out to those who are hurting is our costly privilege. Generally, I am in the office 3-4 days per week, and working outside the office at other times.
In my last update, I mentioned a special project: facilitating a personal finance seminar which focuses on a biblical perspective on stewardship, contentment, debt, budgeting, saving, and giving. This seminar is coming up on April 25. Please pray for me as I prepare to facilitate this seminar in Thai. I cannot do this, but for the help and grace of God.
Home: You may remember that I moved to an apartment in June of last year. I have been extremely happy in this apartment, despite a few inconveniences. I plan to stay in this apartment for the foreseeable future. It is an ideal space for hosting guests, which I have had several opportunities to do! I am enjoying the chance to ‘have a home’ during this season.
Support: Over the past year, I lost a number of supporters. This left me underfunded by 17% when our budget year began in October. I called on a few close friends to pray with me that God would close this gap, and amazingly, God has brought in new (and increased) support that has brought me to being just 7% underfunded. Being underfunded at all can be very stressful. If you have felt the call to support a missionary in the past and haven’t put that call into action yet, would you consider doing so now? The gap right now is just $459/mo.
Spiritual and Physical Health: Many of you know that I experienced a very low season personally during 2017. It was extremely difficult. Your prayer sustained me as I fixed my eyes on Jesus and put one foot in front of the other. I believe that times like this are to be expected, and not avoided. Seasons of darkness, suffering, doubt, and loneliness are extremely important, allowing the roots of our faith to be tested and grow deeper still. We learn more in these times about our weakness and the all-sufficiency of the One who claims us as his own, than at any other time in our lives. I am convinced it is God’s love that leads us into difficult times, just as the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tested (Mt. 4). I know I can trust God’s love for me, so I will always follow where he leads, even when the way seems dark and alone. You, too, can trust God’s love for you as you walk through suffering, doubt, or an unknown future. Put one foot in front of the other. You will find God faithful. Don’t give up. (Galatians 6:9, Hebrews 10:23, Romans 4:18-22)
If you are going through a difficult time like this, I would be honored to pray with you. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.