I just want to start by saying that we have been so blessed by the support and encouragement from all of you over the past 8 years. We have seen so many miracles of God’s providence and so many of you were used as His hands and feet to be the physical answer to prayer. It is with a heavy heart and much tears that inform you that chapter has now closed. Due to personal family challenges we have turned the ministry over to very capable hands and returned to the US. But the tears are not just tears of sadness; sure we have spent nearly our entire married life together there. Our kids don’t really know anything else as home. All their memories, all their ‘firsts’ all happened there and it is sad to think that is gone, but at the same time there are tears of immense gratitude to God for the experiences and growth He brought through our time there. I am so glad we were inspired to keep this blog as I know I don’t remember even half of the things we have gone through but it is all recorded here for us to reflect on when we need a boost of faith that God is real and works in the hearts of men. We are so grateful for each of you that joined us in the journey. Those that were there from the beginning, those that found us recently and especially for those of you that made our family and the work in Bangkok a subject of your prayers. God has used you all in ways you will only know when Jesus returns. From the bottom of our hearts we thank you.
Just before Covid hit, if you recall, we received a call to start a similar project in Lebanon. At that time we were told there are two kinds of people, starters and managers. It was pretty clear to us that we were starters. God was able to use our abilities and talents to build up the Center and the outpost property. But the management side was always a challenge. Well, Jordan Kennedy is definitely a manager. He and his wife have been in Thailand for over 10 years. They have a heart for missions and also for climbing. They are actually the couple that got us into climbing so it could not have been a more perfect fit for someone to take over. The story of the timing and how God worked things out is such a miracle as well and an evidence to us that God had His hand in it, but I don’t want to steal the blessing in telling it so I will attach a link to their newsletter HERE and you can read about it. Be patient as they are in a major transition so it may take a little bit to get something written. Please get to know them and follow their family as they take this ministry into the next phase. They will need the same encouragement and prayers that we have received from you. They have 5 wonderful kids as well that are so full of life. Keep them in your prayers and if you feel so inclined, send them a message of encouragement and welcome as they have jumped into the deep end.
By way of update on the work in the city, God has really been blessing. When we exited the most recent lockdown we were really struggling to get even our regulars back let alone new people. We saw that during lockdown a new gym had opened and another one had done an extensive expansion. We saw people posting videos and had gone to the newer fancier places. Well we started praying and within a short period of time we started being flooded. People came and brought friends and by word of mouth we exploded. They were all members of the big fancy gyms but said that the friendly atmosphere was so nice and they invited friends. While that is great, the best experience happened just before the influx (and maybe is the reason for it). Jun, our manager and main Bible worker, came to me excited one afternoon.
“I talked to someone about God!”
If you remember during the first major lockdown we finally figured out why they weren’t sharing about God with people; they had only ever shared with children, not adults. Now Jun had found his opportunity.
“We were talking about the world and how crazy everything is right now and I started sharing about God” He was so happy and strengthened by the experience. We pray that he will continue to carry the message of hope and salvation to his people.
As we look at this world the words of Revelation 12:12 seem to be so pertinent “Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” It is quite easy to focus on the second half of the verse as we see the pestilence and the wars and the attacks on families and freedom. But we need not to overlook the first half, we are to be rejoicing. Because as the previous verse states, there will be a group that will overcome the accuser of the brethren by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony amd will love not their lives unto death. We are going to be under attack. This is not a maybe. “In the world ye SHALL HAVE tribulation, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.” We don’t have to be controlled by the circumstances around us. “Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad for great is your reward in heaven.” We are coming to a time when those that are nearest to us will be as our enemies and we must gather warmth from the coldness of others, courage from their cowardice, and loyalty from their treason. We must remember that we war not against flesh and blood but against the principalities of evil in this world. God is seeking to prepare our hearts now for the time that is upon us. But He will not force. We must choose Him personally with our whole heart. As my final call to each one of you; give your heart to God. Ask Him to search you and show you areas in need of change that He can live and dwell in you. Seek Him for relief from the bondage of self that you can better do His will. Don’t allow satan to distract you with the allurements of this world, even ‘good’ things. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.
May the Lord God grant you a full measure of His peace and love as you go out to face a new day and a new week. In Jesus precious name I ask this all,
Brian, Jessica, Asher, Joseph and Prudence Atwell
- That we can find the right workers with a heart to serve the Lord (2 more are currently needed to meet gov. requirements and to serve the customers we have coming right now)
- Please pray for the Kennedy family in this transition. The Thai culture can be difficult to add into. It took us 3 years to get our team to trust us enough to come to us with problems or challenges so we pray it will happen faster for this new team dynamic
- For our (Atwell) family. That God can bring about a victory for His glory in our current trial.
- For the resources needed at F5, preferably through income sources, to cover our expenses. You can learn more below. (God has been increasing the number of people coming in and it has been a blessing)
- For time. We are told that the final movements will be rapid ones but there are so many here that have not had the opportunity to hear the gospel. May we have more time.
- For guidance for Josh and Chitlada (Directors of Jesus for Slum Kids project). They have been seeing many changes in their work and they could use an extra special outpouring of prayer. Pray especially for their daughter Evangeline who they found out has Cystic Fibrosis and there is only a couple doctors in Thailand that know anything about the disease. 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. (They were able to get help for her in America and she is doing amazingly well. We thank you for your prayers.)