With less than 2 months until the projected completion of the center things are getting busy, and exciting, and stressful, and exciting.
After the last update I visited the building and was a bit disappointed about the progress, or rather lack thereof, that had been accomplished by the workers in 10 days. But they have definitely made up for it over the previous month. Each time I go there now is exciting as something new is finished and something else has progressed. I have so many pictures (though the most recent view is still different) that I will simply attach many of them at the end. The roof has been removed to accommodate the climbing wall and also to provide some much needed airflow through the fitness center.
The women’s locker room has been built and the spin class/Pilates studio is soon to be finished. The church/lecture hall is almost ready for flooring and paint as well as the 4 staff apartments on that floor. The control room for video production is built and also just waiting for paint and the counters to be installed. The restaurant floor was almost finished until Jessica came for her first visit since renovations began and gave her input to really make the space more functional as well as aesthetically pleasing, so we have a few more walls going in and that will get tile next week. The first floor also received some modifications from Jessica and now has a full length bar as well as the plans for a wrap around bench seat that I will build next week. The tile for that floor was delivered today and should be done this week.
We went shopping to find prices for making an updated budget and happened to find an amazing deal on some second-hand restaurant table and chair sets. We bought all 9 sets for less than $800. They are solid wood and in beautiful condition. When they were delivered all the neighboring food stall owners came over and oohed and ahhed over them until I told them they were second-hand and then they were shocked and kept asking why they were in such good condition. Not sure what they will do when the Ikea truck delivers all the other seating. Ikea was the next place we did price shopping and found some great deals on bar seating as well as solid pine table and chair sets with a very nice finsih on them for under $150 a set. We are waiting until the flooring is installed before purchasing those.
We have our upper floor dimensions sent off to Entre-prises Climbing Walls and they are working up a design model and proposal that they project to be ready at the end of next week and then we can begin looking for funding for that aspect of the project. That floor, being the top and un-airconditioned, is going to be sealed off from the rest of the center so it will not be as disturbing to work on while the rest of it is open for business. Please keep this in prayer as we could build a wall ourselves but we really felt impressed by God to have it designed and built professionally so that we could make the most of the space we have for it.
We have also come up with a name and a theme for the center; The F5 Challenge Center (members will be a part of Club F5.) A friend of ours started a Christian group called F5 Challenge that is focused on sharing Christ through fitness (as well as a few more F’s.) Their vision and mission matched with ours very closely so we contacted them and received permission to use their name and branding. The customers will be able to be a part of a group that will help break down walls as well as making invitations to our monthly out of the city ‘challenge’ more natural.
There has been a lot of challenges shared lately and the common response we get is that “you must be doing something right.” Well as I was going through the book of 1 Corinthians God strongly convicted me that while the trials were coming because we were following His will, they were so overwhelming and being handled so poorly because of my choices. In 1 Cor 9 Paul is trying to relate to the Corinthians in a way they can understand so he uses the illustration of the foot races that were so popular in that day. He describes how the competitors would do all that was necessary to win and obtain that crown of olive branches. He contrasts that with our CHristian journey and the greater crown of life that we receive. In the book The Acts of the Apostles the author discusses how the competitors in the foot races would strive with everything they had at the end during the most challenging part; some would fall injured and others would die, but they would know that they had given all. Again it was compared to how we should be living as we draw nearer to the end of this earths history. Well that really struck me hard as the reason for my personal challenges. You see as things have picked up momentum, and especially as funds have come in to complete the building phase of the project, it has become easy to get complacent and see the reality of it all. When this all started and we were living one month to the next unsure if we would have enough to pay the bills there was a lot of deep heartfelt prayer and humility of soul in the thought that we were going to somehow establish this center, because it seemed impossible. Clearly WE have not established this but God has, but I had lost sight of that in all the planning and had put the work before my relationship with God. As things developed I could see it being possible and somehow thought I was to be praised for that. Thus, I began to work in my own strength and seek to stand against the attacks of the devil in my own strength as well. Needless to say it hasn’t worked out very well. Reading through our last newsletter before writing this I began crying as I saw i was sliding down the slope into pride and self-dependence but didn’t see it at the time. While reading through the story of Gideon a few days ago something that always stands out to me again caught my attention. In Judges 6:14 it says “The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” The response of Gideon is such a strong testament to how we should view ourselves in the presence of God and His plans for our lives. In verse 15 Gideon replies; “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” He knew that what God was calling him to do was not possible in his strength (what God told him to go in) and so like Moses he sought for some other encouragement. He received it in verse 16; The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.” After this he praised God and knew that he would have all the power he needed if God was with him.
For us it is easy to see our need of God when, like Gideon, all seems lost and hopeless. But it is when things are going smoothly and the outcome seems somewhat possible in our own strength that the real test begins. Well through some of these trials we have been brought back into a place of dependence upon Him and we are seeking for a deeper humility not only before God, but before men as well.
In line with that; we mentioned in the last newsletter that if anyone was coming to visit that we would offer you a place to stay. Well that has been one of the biggest challenges we have faced as there has been over 20 people staying with us over the last month and a half and as helpful as our guests are, it still takes a lot of time and energy and has led to much distraction from the work we are called here to do. We do not mean to say that we don’t like having guests or to say anything negative about any who have stayed, but we just feel that it would be best for our family to close down the BnB until at least after the center is better established. Those who are currently booked, we will still be expecting you.
As we near the return of the Lord let us all with new zeal run the race before us seeking to bring our hearts and bodies into conformity to the Lord and striving to “press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Thank you all for your prayer and support and may the Lord bless you in the time ahead.
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Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our savior Jesus Christ; -Titus 2:13
In His service,
Brian, Jessica, Asher and Joseph Atwell
- Praise: God has worked out a visa situation for the missionaries here, at least temporarily, but please keep us all in prayer.
- Please pray for the church here, and especially the leadership to know God’s will and seek Him in His word
- For donors to sponsor the fitness center/climbing wall construction
- For extra protection over our marriage and family as the enemy seeks to discourage and destroy Christ’s work
- For humility of heart
- Pray that God will lead us to the right Thai workers to serve with us
- Pray for Jenny to raise the needed funds to bring her here (she has raised almost $4000 of the $5000 she would like to have to launch.)
- Pray for the situation with our car in the states. If you know anyone looking for a small economical car in the southern California area please let me know
- For guidance in regards to a speaking engagement invite in the States in July
- For people to help support our sister project in the slums to bring education to these oft neglected youth. $1000/year could send them to a private Christian school with room and board. If you would like to find out more check out their website here http://jesus4slumkids.org/ or email Joshua Bauder at Joshuabauder@hotmail.com
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