Summer Update

These last 2 months have been a whirlwind, yet as I write that I feel like I have started most of our recent newsletters the same way. It is hard to believe we are on the closing end of our time in the States with only 2 weeks left but it has been nice to get some rest and have an opportunity to rejoice in the Lord’s creation. The Pacific Northwest is one of the most beautiful places I have had the privilege to live in and it is especially nice after so much time in an immense concrete jungle.

We have stayed true to our plan of not overdoing it and stressing ourselves out this trip by scheduling so many speaking engagements. Actually our first one was this past weekend where we got to share about the F5 Challenge Center at the Southcenter church where F5 began. It was a nice time with fellowship, fun, faith, fitness and a bit of fortitude as well. Asher and I shared a special music in Thai (he took the lead role) and then we took a nice hike up to Twin Falls just outside Seattle. It was so good to fellowship with like-minded people again. Someone asked what the biggest challenge for us is and immediately I responded with “the lack of deep spiritual connections.” On a Sabbath afternoon in America I can discuss things with a person at potluck that most pastors in Thailand wouldn’t even comprehend. I am not judging the Thai people but it illustrates for me just how much work is still needed there. The first Sabbath school we attended is where I realized I had been craving discussion that challenged my mind. I have been so used to simplifying everything so much to the point that I had stopped studying and thinking deeply, even in my own personal study. It has been a wake-up call to not become lax in my own connection with Christ but to keep seeking Him more deeply each day.

We have had a nice time staying with Kathie, our adoptive mother, and helping her around the property. I have been cutting and splitting wood, selling some things on Craigslist and even doing a bit of rabbit control. It has been nice to work with my hands again without being soaked in sweat 10 minutes into it. Asher has thoroughly enjoyed running around outside and just playing in the dirt. He has learned many new animals like; turkeys, peacocks, deer, as well as some fun new vocabulary like Porta Potty, which he points out everywhere we go now. He had a great time at Camp meeting and also attending a local Vacation Bible School.

Last week was the family reunion for my family and the first one ever that Jessica had attended. We had over 30 people camping and sleeping on floors at my aunt’s house. It was good to visit with family again and Asher loved playing with so many cousins. Joseph enjoyed bouncing around among the different people. The last day as I was

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Asher and his mustached cousins

packing up the car I heard people laughing in the living room then being quiet. I went to investigate and found that Asher had been ringing the doorbell and then pretending he was “Pastor John” coming to visit. Then he would proceed to read them a ‘sermon’ from his sermon book (a Danielle Steele novel he found titled Magic.) While I was watching he was reciting Proverbs 3:5 from memory. It was an amazing blessing to see him so excited to share with others.

Next week is Faithcamp and we are very excited to have a few days to share and fellowship with other missionaries, some that we haven’t seen in a long time. Please pray for us to know what to share and that the hearts of the visitors will be touched. If you are
in the Spokane area and are interested in joining us in person call or register online at the information in the flyer below. If you are far away or unable to make it in person the meetings will be live streaming on the Jesus for Asia Facebook page.19496382_815220655312223_1165488218_o

I wanted to share a praise about our search for local workers. Our last weekend in Thailand Asher and I headed out to church a little early so he could play with the toys in his class before it began. When we arrived everyone was outside and we were told the city was working on the power lines and we wouldn’t have electricity until around 10am. We walked over to his class anyway just to see who was there. As we walked into the building we ran into Wiang. If you don’t remember she is the young woman we met in Chiang Mai that we invited to join us in Bangkok. She was unsure about the offer and seemed somewhat fearful about the idea of moving to Bangkok. The last we saw her she was going back into the jungle to help her mother who was in poor health and we lost contact from there. That was more than a year and a half ago. We had been talking for about a month saying we should try to get a hold of her. Well now God placed her right in front of me. I asked what she was doing there and she said they came to pay tithe as there was no church near their home, very unusual for a Thai I thought. As I visited with her and her new husband I learned that they had been married shortly after our last seeing her and she had been living in Bangkok! After explaining our project to them both her husband said, “if you have room for her she is interested in working with you.” To which she replied, “he is interested too.” Her husband, Tong, said they had been looking for work that would help bring them closer to God as they felt that their relationship with Him wasn’t as strong as it could be. That is rare honesty from a Thai man. I knew God was setting this up. They are both awaiting our return so we can discuss training and timing of their start. One of the most encouraging things about it is that they were the only people so far who accepted the call to serve without ever asking what the pay was; they still don’t know. We currently have 4 of our workers and most likely need at least 2 more Bible workers and will hire 2 local students as dish washer/clean up people. Please keep that in prayer.

We are learning each day that it is God that worketh in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. More and more God shows us areas where we are relying on our own strength, ability, wisdom to accomplish something that He has called us to do. As we learn to let go and trust in His unfailing power we are able to be changed into His image. Please continue to lift us up for strength and surrender to His will and leading.

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

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Prayer requests:

  1. That we can find the right workers with a heart to serve the Lord.                       
  2. For the 2 students that were sponsored from the Jesus for Slum Kids group to go to Chiang Mai Adventist Academy, Prow and Nut, to assimilate well and find Christ                                                                                       (They are doing well and there is a marked difference in their character and attitude already according to Josh)
  3. For donors to sponsor the fitness center/climbing wall construction              (Roughly $40,000 needed to complete)
  4. For the funds to finish the renovations and furnish the center                        (Roughly $30,000 needed to complete
  5. For the funds to pay the 2 months rent in advance while we are gone               (Praise God the funds came in! Thank you!)
  6. For extra protection over our marriage and family as the enemy seeks to discourage and destroy Christ’s work
  7. For humility of heart
  8. Pray for Jenny to raise the needed funds to bring her here.                                  (Praise God she has raised $5106, has a 1 yr visa in her passport and a seat on our return flight with us. Thank you for your support)
  9. 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 in the climbing side of things. Please pray that God opens the right heart. If you know anyone with a passion for climbing and route setting skills with a heart for missions please send them our way
  10. For people to help support our sister project in the slums to bring education to these oft neglected youth. Only $1000/year could send them to a private Christian school with room and board, less than $85/month. 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

 

One thought on “Summer Update”

  1. Jessica,

    I was so inspired to hear your talk this morning and also your first talk of this year’s Faith Camp, which I listened to after your live presentation today. Having lived in Thailand myself for three years, and having enjoyed Mission TV for several years, I’ve read a number of your blog posts, eager to hear how God is working through you there. It’s exciting to see how God has been opening doors! At the same time, I know it can be lonely and challenging, and I really appreciated your honesty about that. As much as I loved Thailand, I remember also feeling at times like I’d slipped through the cracks, out of touch with people who were planning big programs back home, apparently making a big difference.

    My husband enjoyed meeting and hanging out with your husband and Jon when they traveled to Thailand last year. I hope one day to have the opportunity to visit your project at Ramkhamhaeng. Meanwhile, I will pray that God will be close to you and continue to open doors–and bless you and your family in the process!

    Blessings,

    Karen Suvankham

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