August 2021 Update

Empowering Thai pastors... plant Thai churches...
          ...that reach Thai people.

Greetings from Thailand!

Our family is coming to the end of a very busy, often challenging summer.

We were blessed to host our very first intern, Lindsey.  We are so thankful for Lindsey’s willingness to go through some pretty difficult steps to even be with us, including 2 weeks all alone in a Bangkok quarantine hotel.

After she arrived in Chiang Mai, she helped us by teaching kids’ Sunday School at church, buying and collecting relief supplies for war refugees in a country near us, building a number of months worth of social media marketing for our business for transformation (B4T), and much, much more.

COVID created many challenges for Lindsey’s internship, much like it has created challenges for our regular ministry.  We planned to take Lindsey to Chayaphum to see the church we’ve been working to get off the ground but a spike in COVID cases kept us from being able to travel outside Chiang Mai province.  We hoped to take her to the mountain village of our ministry partner, Pastor Boonchu, but most of the villages in the mountains have been refusing entry to anyone but local residents for fear of spreading COVID.  So we had to be creative in coming up with ministry that would have a real impact on the work we are doing, but could also be done from Chiang Mai.

We are very thankful for Lindsey and the time she spent with us!

While hosting Lindsey, we have also been getting ready to welcome our first teammate Julia!  Julia is scheduled to arrive in Thailand at the end of August.  She will need to spend 2 weeks in quarantine before she makes her way up to Chiang Mai.

Julia will be teaching 4th grade at Grace International School.  Because she is arriving a few weeks into the school year, her arrival in Chiang Mai will be a whirlwind of getting settled into her new home, getting adjusted to local culture, and jumping into teaching a class that will have already been going for about a month.  In addition, because of COVID, school has begun online.  So she will need to deal with the challenges of teaching 4th grade kids via computer!

Speaking of school, our family is adjusting to the new school schedule as well!  Elie is beginning her senior year at GIS!!!  We can hardly believe she’s a senior already!  Lizzy is starting high school as a 9th grader.  Sam is beginning his final year in elementary school in 6th grade.  And Miriam is starting 3rd grade.  Becca has also decided to continue filling in at GIS as a long-term substitute Spanish teacher for this year.

Despite COVID forcing Cool Shade of Life to return to worshipping online, Ben continues to teach monthly through the gospel of Mark.  He was recently able to preach from Mark 9 on the disciples fighting over who is the greatest.  It was fascinating to see this text from the perspective of an honor/shame culture.  Ben was able to share that while God created us with the need to be honored, as followers of Jesus we don’t need to concern ourselves with being honored by other people.  We already have Christ’s perfect righteousness and the honor that comes with it.  As a result, we are set free to serve the least honorable people in society!

Prayer Requests:

  1. Julia: Please pray for Julia as she makes final preparations to travel to Thailand later this month. Pray that she is protected from exposure to COVID as a positive test result could extend her time in quarantine.  And pray for a good time of adjustment to a new country, new team, and new school.
  2. COVID: Please pray that God would provide relief from COVID. The economic impact of the pandemic in Thailand continues to get worse.  Pray for wisdom to know how to do ministry well in the midst of COVID restrictions.  Getting vaccines hasn’t really been possible for us yet.  Pray for opportunities to get vaccinated and for protection from the virus.
  3. Ministry: Please pray for our ministry partners and the ministries we do with them. Each of them has been challenged by COVID restrictions in different ways.  But it is having a significant affect on their/our ability to do ministry in a country that isn’t really built for “online life”.
  4. Thai Leadership Grant: Our team has a program to help empower Thai pastors’ ministry while working to improve the self-sustainability of their ministries.  We are currently using the grant to help Pastor Ogaat Soiraya.  Support from the grant is helping him keep Cool Shade of Life’s worship services going online during the COVID restrictions.  We are in need of funds to keep this grant program going.  Please pray that God would provide for the grant.  For more information about the Thai Leadership Grant, click HERE.

Thank you so much for your prayers and support for the exciting work we have the opportunity to do here in Thailand!


Ben and Becca

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