Dear Friends and Family,
We are eager to share with you the exciting things that the Lord has been doing since we have made our move to Chiang Khan. As you know, we moved four hours North from where we have been living for the past 8 months to the area we felt the Lord calling us. The first few weeks were spent mostly working on the house getting to know the area and our neighbors. We have been very blessed with kind neighbors and have had no shortage of papayas and bananas which are brought to us several times a week.
When we moved here, we were under the impression that there were no Christians in the area. Even before we moved, we have been asking the Lord to connect us with other believers, and people of peace. We had heard of a couple churches in the surrounding subdistricts, so we went out to look for them, but to our discouragement, we couldn’t find them, and were told that they didn’t exist. We have always been willing to put in the time, and effort to make the Gospel known where Christ is not named, but we continued to ask the Lord to open doors for us. This last week has been a huge answer to pray and a giant encouragement from the Lord.
We heard that there had actually been a church in town many years ago, and when we found the building, it looked like no one had used it for many years. A few days later, we rode by it again, and found a lady in the church yard. We asked her about the church, and she told us what part of town to go and look for a lady who knew about it. We rode across town to where we were told to look, and the first house we stopped to ask was hers. :) She told us that the church has been inactive for many years and that once a month the believers take a bus into Loei City (about an hour away) to go to a church there. She invited us to come with her, and the next day we made the trip with them in the back of a song teaw (flat bed truck with a roof and two rows of benches).
After church we were invited to eat lunch with the pastors who are very humble kind and excited for our heart to work in these areas. Later that night, we were visited by those same pastors from the larger church at our home (This is a 50 minute drive from the main city). They told us that they look over a few different churches in Loei province, but are under staffed and not able to provide pastors or teaching for all the believers. They have been praying for the Chiang Khan believers, and asking the Lord to bring along someone to come beside them.
Meanwhile, we have been praying that the Lord would open up the door for us to connect with Christians in the area. It would seem that the Lord has answered both our prayers and theirs all in one miraculous, wonderful way. We have been overwhelmed by the amount of kindness, love, and encouragement that we have received in just the past 5 days as we have connected with the believers in Chiang Khan, as well as the ones from Loei City. We are so grateful to the Lord for this open door, and are excited to move forward towards the goal of seeing lives and communities transformed by Christ.
Please pray for wisdom as we move into working along side these believers. We want to see the Isaan people empowered by the Lord for His will, and we want to help in whatever way we can, but we also want to be cautious to not have too much put on us in a way that would limit growth. It is crucial that the Gospel is seen as culturally relevant to them as Isaan people, and not some Western idea that has been translated or copied.
Please also pray for resilience and wisdom as we continue to figure out and try to maintain a schedule of language learning, girls schooling, family time, and forming relations; as well as the two trainings that I (Jonathan) am involved in. So many new connections has created an overwhelming number of “pop in” visits, that we have gotten behind on the girls school, as well as our language classes. As much as we appreciate and love the open doors, it can be can be quiet tiring having long visits unexpectedly that operate completely in Thai. The Lord is good to stretch us, but I know for Juliet especially, this can at times be challenging, though we work to push through with joy.
Please pray that the Lord would be working in the Christians in Chiang Khan, and that He would raise up leaders who have a burden and passion for the people of this area and in the surrounding unreached districts.
We deeply appreciate your prayers and support. We know that we would not be able to be here without it. As Christmas time approaches and we are reminded of the promise of the Messiah. I try to imagine what it must have been like to wait for Him all those years. Here was an entire people group that was waiting for the Messiah; longing to be free, longing to be redeemed. How hard it must have been to wait for Jesus for so long. Yet still today (thousands of years later) there are millions who do not know of the Savior of nations. They still long to be set free, and redeemed, yet they have no idea that kind of freedom and love exist. It does. Only in Him. How we long to make His name known to the people of Isaan. That is our calling. And with your faithful prayers and support, you are a part of that work. We are honored and humbled to have you all with us in this work. How truly blessed we are!
Jonathan and Juliet
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