Brian updated everyone last month on the success of the F5 Challenge Center’s grand opening bouldering competition. The miracles God performed through the past year and a half of preparation are astounding to reminisce over. We are learning what a blessing it is to have memories to remind ourselves of God’s faithfulness before entering the desert. Find out what I’m talking about.
We opened officially for full time operation two weeks after our bouldering competition.
With all of the success and buzz about the Center we were really hoping for lots of new
memberships and people to visit. Sadly we have to report the truth, we’ve had very few customers. Advertise you say? That costs money. The Center is really like 3 businesses and a church plant wrapped in one. We’d like to continue rolling out the other aspects of our center but are restricted at times with funds. There’s also the salary of 5 required full time workers, rent, and electricity of the building constantly looming over us, not to mention our own finances. Simply put, we are earning our grey hairs honestly.
So here we are. Right after signs that God is amazing, we are tempted. The devil comes to attack with discouragement and doubt, “This location is horrible, nobody is ever going to come.” “It’s going to fail. What a waste of hard work, time and money.” The enemy is really good at speaking his lies in first person too, “We never should have done this.” “We were crazy to think a business like this was going to work.” He even likes to get accusatory, “Brian should’ve done this.. Or that… If he had there’d be more customers.” Top it with the financial stressors and you hear the real motive quite clearly, “Maybe this isn’t God’s will after all?”
Recently Brian and I both listened through the audio book ‘A Thousand Shall Fall’ and read through a book full of mission stories from communist Russia times. Asher and I finished up our borrowed blue Bible story book about the children of Israel being
delivered from Egypt and their following desert trials. God was preparing us for our own desert trial and encouraging us that He would provide just like He has for countless others outside Bible times. What a merciful God we serve to understand just what my heart needed for this trying time. The stories from modern times were relatable and remind me that we aren’t suffering that badly at all compared to what some families have endured for Him. God can and will provide just like He did for those people in His own special way, in His own timing, which seems to be always last minute. Maybe it will all be in one day like He did with the ‘Seventh-day Ox’ (find and read that book if you haven’t!). Just like the Israelites coming to their first trial in the desert and seeing no way out, we can choose to complain and question why God would bring us to this point only to abandon us, or we can recount His countless provisions and mercies reminding ourselves that He is faithful and able to provide. It’s like Elijah on Mount Carmel, after the incredible display of God’s power, an immediate test of faith follows. God has allowed us to experience how He leads, guides, and provides, to prepare us for times like these.
And you know what? I refuse to question or doubt or complain about God’s leading. He knows best. This has been His project from the beginning and still is. We can not fail if we trust God because God does not and can not fail. We will do what He wants us to do. One foot in front of the other, every day doing the tasks at hand. Some farmers work with no sight of a developing crop (thinking of potatoes) but they still faithfully tend to the garden, hoping and praying for God to provide the harvest. We choose to trust God. We choose peace through the crazy, attacking, overwhelming storm of doubt and fear. This is the exciting part of being a Christian. Logically everything in life is about to unravel but we believe and wait for the miracle and when it happens, what joy! I’m glad my mom taught me to love rollercoasters growing up! I’m thankful for this adventurous life God has given us. One thing’s for sure, we aren’t going to die bored. During this time I’ve involved Asher in what’s going on because I want to give him an experience with faith. It’s been beautiful to see him catching on to what it’s like to trust God and sacrificing with us. God is so good.
We’ve been told in the past to only report the happy, positive sides of mission life and we could’ve chosen to do that this month. It’s much easier. But it just didn’t feel honest. And I’m not sending this out to manipulate or guilt you to donate. God loves a cheerful giver not a resentful one. I asked Brian if I could write July’s update because I wanted to share what it’s like to trust God. Most of this newsletter is excerpts from my prayer journal. It doesn’t get more honest or vulnerable. My prayer is this newsletter encourages you to trust God with whatever you’re going through. He is faithful, loving, and understanding beyond words. He wants to replace the turmoil, fear, anger, frustration, sadness, and pain into peace, joy, fulfillment, contentment, love and security like you can only imagine. Give Him permission to work in your life. You won’t regret it.
Sign up and be ready to read the next newsletter with an update on the miracles God performs to keep the F5 Challenge Center and our family going.
I, Brian, am going to jump in here briefly. We listened to some of the Faithcamp videos online and were impressed with something that a couple who is very dear to us said. They referred to the responsibility that we as missionaries have to the ‘sleeping church at home’ (their words) and that if we don’t share what needs we have then how will people know to help. In our time here I have in a sense idolized George Muller for doing all that he did while never asking anyone but God for financial help. I just realized this last week that satan had placed a lie in my head that I had believed for quite a while now that to ask for help or share needs was a lack of faith. If I actually trusted God my actions would show it. Well after receiving council to the opposite I have decided to share what our current needs are in more than just the prayer request section and list all of them not just the big ones. With the opening it seems like we have ‘arrived’ but in reality it has only just begun. Our budget forecast had us breaking even in the 2nd year but it was all a guess as we didn’t really have any other Center like this to get figures from. Our costs are actually a bit higher now as we have more staff salaries to cover, higher electricity bills, etc. Please know that you don’t have to give $10,000 to make an impact. We have ongoing monthly expenses; an electricity bill for the Center that is roughly $200/month or the internet phone bill that is $30. Every little bit helps. These are our monthly and yearly expenses.
Thank you all for your continued prayer and support. This work would not be possible without each and every one of you. Here is a recent update video that Jesus 4 Asia foreign correspondents Jonathan Hill and Hannah Hill have put together for us.
In His service, by His grace,
Brian, Jessica, Asher and Joseph Atwell
- That we can find the right workers with a heart to serve the Lord (Praise God we had a new member join our team who is really helping with promotion and computer work)
- For extra protection over our marriage and family as the enemy seeks to discourage and destroy Christ’s work
- For our climbing couch and friend Chris. His wife just had a baby that had some complications and incurred a bill of roughly $6,000. They are unable to cover the expenses and are not sure what to do. He has dedicated so much time into this Center and much of this wouldn’t have been possible without him and he has done it all for free as we had nothing extra to give him. If any of you are able to help it will be greatly appreciated. (Praise God someone sent $1000 to help toward this!!)
- God has impressed us that we need to open an official call for someone (or a family) to come and join our team to help with the baking/pizza cooking. We are looking for a vegan chef/baker. If you know someone with restaurant experience, or restaurant quality skills please send them our way for an interview.
- For our website development. I have very little experience with this but God has been guiding and it looks pretty good. You can view it here F5BKK.com If you have WordPress skills or could offer some suggestion as to what could help this to be better we would really appreciate it.
- For guidance for Josh and Chitlada (Directors of Jesus for Slum Kids project) as they seek to know what God is wanting them to do. If you would like to find out more check out their website here http://jesus4slumkids.org/ or email the Project Director Joshua Bauder at Joshuabauder@hotmail.com.