For those of you not on our Facebook page we would like to introduce you to Joseph Bartholomew Atwell. Born Aug. 15th at 7:55 am local Bangkok time. Weighing in at 8lbs 3oz, (3.7 Kilos) and 20.6 inches (52.3cm) He and mom are both doing well and adjustments to a new member are taking place. Asher loves having a little brother which he calls “Jofess” and wants to show him everything that he does. Delivering in a hospital was an experience we would never do again and don’t plan to as we feel 2 is just enough. In connection with that announcement comes the need for a huge THANK YOU! to everyone that rallied around to support us in covering that expense. On July 30 we didn’t even have enough money in our account to pay the rent, let alone a $2000 hospital bill. By Aug. 10th we received a transfer that not only covered the rent and hospital bills (with extra expenses) but also the expenses we will have in registering Joseph with the U.S. Embassy and getting him a Passport and visa as well. We are overwhelmed with gratitude for God’s faithfulness and your generosity.
As the title indicates there is also a new plan. I know this one will be successful. First a little backstory. I mentioned last month about the challenge I (Brian) am having with being ‘idle.’ While I am doing a lot it just seems like busy work and we haven’t been able to move forward in much else for lack of funds. Well, as I knew it was, this waiting time was required to learn a lesson, and one of eternal value. As I was wrestling with God in prayer one day I had a clear thought come to me. “I am content.” If I looked at my life and compared it with scripture, in my mind, I was doing the right things. The easier thing to do though, and what I had been doing, was to simply focus on my life and look at all the ‘good’ “I” was doing and how much better I was than I used to be. When I did that I felt pretty good about my life. Now when this thought came to my mind it scared me. Scripture shows us that the closer we come to Christ the more sinful we will appear in our own eyes. Like all who entered the presence of God and fell on their faces fearing death because they were so unworthy. But me, I felt ready to go as soon as Jesus came back. I somehow felt that because of the actions that I was doing I was ready and like the Pharisee in Luke 18 I was totally blind to my own condition. Living in a land where everything is a balance of karma and merit; good works and bad works, with my desire being to bring hope and deliverance from the bondage of that system, I found my religion was not much different. I could show all sorts of texts that proved that I had placed myself in God’s will, but the thing is we can’t place ourselves in God’s will. We must place ourselves in His capable hands and allow Him to mold and shape us into His will. I now realised just how self-righteous my heart was. But God is so merciful and so faithful. As I recommitted my life to Him and opened His Word, He shared blessed promises with me and gave me peace in His presence with us.
Now for the plan. We decided to surrender everything to God and let Him lead. Told you it was a good plan. I had been dodging the lawyer since we had returned for the simple fact that we had no money to move forward in renting a place and setting things up and I didn’t want to tell him that. Well I decided that God wanted us to move forward in faith and so I contacted Him. He shared the story of a man who registered his company at the same time we did. He started operating right away though so had been in business for a year already. He “didn’t make a lot” the lawyer said 750,00-800,000 Baht (around $21,000) and when he went to file for a visa extension they gave him a hard time asking why he didn’t make more last year and wanting to see more tax reports. I don’t know if he was approved for the extension or not but the lawyer said for us, being registered almost a year and having done nothing he wouldn’t recommend trying to get an extension in Dec when our visa expires. He recommended going abroad and getting another visa that way and operating under it for the next year before filing. That gives us a little time to get things in place with the government. The next step though, which he said we need to do right now, is to do the tax filings for the business so we can begin paying taxes (what the government really cares about) and apply for the work permit. The only hold up to that is before we can file any of those things we need to register an address for the business. To register the company we just used the lawyers condo address but now we need a real one they can visit.
All of this seemed so overwhelming but then I received an email, 2 of them actually, from different people sharing a sermon they heard that really impacted them. I was up at 5 making breakfast and decided to put it on and it had an incredible impact on me as well. I won’t go into detail but rather link to it HERE and let you be blessed as well. What I came away with was a renewed faith in God’s faithfulness and His ability to carry us through when everything seems impossible. I would never consider signing a lease on a building if I didn’t know that I would be able to make the monthly payment, but today I have faith that God is faithful and if He has called us to something then He will work out the details. I have a greater understanding of the verse in Matthew 6:33 to seek the Kingdom of God first and let everything else fall into place. The Kingdom of God is not something we will find here, it is something we must continually strive for until Christ comes back for us. That’s what I had lost sight of. I was acting as if I had the Kingdom of God and now I needed to shift my focus to the pressing matters at hand. The focus of everything needs to be uniting with Him and following as He makes the way clear before us. Sometimes all we can see is the next place to put our foot but thats ok, if we are holding His hand we can be assured that we will not fall off the path.
Currently we are looking for a location. I have found a few online that look promising but
going to visit them is where you really find out. Just waiting for Jessica to recover a bit and for us all to settle into our new routine before trying to investigate. Hopefully by next week I will have a few solid spots that we are praying about.
Thank you again for joining us on this journey. When you are in ministry life can be so challenging. Working for the church was one of the hardest things i have ever done. But there was always a meeting with the other Bible workers or a visit from the outreach director. Here, so often it feels like you are all alone in this vast sea of people with barely a board to hold onto to stay afloat. It seems like you are working by yourself for the 15+ million other people that live all around you. But then we get a note or email from one of you and it reminds us that we are not alone. There are others with us. Maybe not physically but in prayer, encouragement and support. I know we don’t always respond right away (or sometimes at all) but please know that your messages mean so much to us.
In closing I am realising we haven’t shared this promo video with you that was shot a few months ago. Jesus for Asia Foreign Mission Correspondent Jonathan Hill did a great job putting it together. I know we focus heavily on the rock climbing aspect of things but it will be a fitness/lifestyle centre with smoothie/snack shop, exercise and health lectures as well. We need much prayer; please note the requests below and keep us before the Lord continually.
- For God to show us the right location
- God to direct us to Thai Christians that love Him and have a desire to share with others to staff the centre
- That God would bring the people whom He has prepared to receive Him to our centre
- For the resources to pay the lawyer and also the necessary start-up funds
- Lawyer fees: $1589.
- Deposit for building: $2600
- Monthly building rent: $865
- Monthly staff salary: $1500-$2000 (minimum wage, 4 employees)
- Business utilities: $300
- Most importantly we need prayer for our hearts to stay humble and needing of His grace and that we not run ahead of the Lord’s leading.