What we’re about to share with you is not a load of bull! Many times though, I feel like a bull charging at the gate! 🙂 Hopefully it will give you a greater insight into all the things that are going on with our lives.
Enjoy the read…
It’s been some time since we sent out news about ‘just us two’ and so we thought it was time to do so. We realize that much of what we do and are known for is our work relating to Home of the Open Heart and currently as house parents to our boys. The truth is, there is so much more. I thought it would be good to give you some insight into what I, Paul do apart from how I help my lovely wife with Home of the Open Heart.
Many Hats to Wear:
- Northern Thailand regional leader for YWAM Thailand
- Team member of the national leadership team (NLT) for YWAM Thailand
- Heading up the development of the Asian Leadership Institute (ALI)
- Teaching and training at various locations (YWAM and other mission groups)
- Being a coach and mentor to many of our staff.
- I have also been active in seeking to help our Thai and other Asian staff see that they too can be missionaries inside and outside of Thailand!
Graduation: After many years of hard work and perseverance our “never say die” daughter, Jaci, graduates with her nursing degree.
Many Boys Without helping in the boys home (which we are doing until God provides house parents to take over and we are praying fervently to that end) you can see that my plate is quite full!! If you are interested in a few more details and have time to read on, please do…..then you will have more understanding of our lives here in Thailand and in particular my different roles.
** Leadership, Training and Teaching **
Northern Thailand regional leader and NLT: There are 17 provinces in the north of Thailand and in 5 of these provinces we have up too 200 YWAM staff and over 40 YWAM ministry centres. That means that I am responsible for these people and all these ministries they represent. It really is an honour to be a part of what God is doing in our northern region. I have a great leadership team to work with as we challenge our staff to go to the all in our northern region.
As an NLT (National Leadership Team) we meet every three months and I represent our northern region. We meet for three days each quarter and our times together are very rich. We discuss, pray into and make decisions relating to our whole YWAM Thailand family. There are so many things beginning to happen and God is moving in ways we have never seen before! On top of this there has been an incredible surge in cooperation between mission organisations, churches and the Thai Christians in general. Barriers are being broken down and there is much work being done in cooperation toward reaching all of Thailand. We are in exciting times and it is hard to keep up with all that God is doing! God does say that when his people dwell in unity He will command a blessing upon it!
Asian Leadership Institute (ALI): ALI has been a very exciting development. God seems to have brought together some key leaders from our three YWAM Asian regions (East Asia, IndoChina & Philippines, SE Asia & Australia) who have a heart for leadership training, development and coaching. They have asked me to spearhead this initiative. Our target audience are: our emerging Asian leaders, leaders at the crossroads of their personal life & ministry, leaders at points of plateaus, leaders at points of life or ministry crisis, pain and /or burnout, and leaders needing retooling, equipping, and sharpening. We are putting together different training events and resources to help equip our leaders. We are also putting a team together of people with different skills that can go into our Asian region and help coach and develop these leaders. I feel so honored to be a part of all this. My heart has always been to invest in our future leaders. Being involved though, means a whole lot more travel for me! Just in the later part of this year I will be travelling to Singapore to meet with the leadership team there. Then I will travel to Taiwan to meet with the leadership team there to see how we can best serve them. I will then be travelling to Mexico to meet with all those in our YWAM world who are involved in leadership training, development and coaching. I am hoping to connect and network with those who have the skills we lack and need, so that we can begin to benefit as a region with their input and involvement. I have also received an open invitation to go to Hong Kong and meet with the leaders there.
Teaching and Training: It seems as though the Lord has me in a season of having the privilege of investing in the lives of many. Just recently I travelled to Maesot where I had the wonderful opportunity of teaching at a great ministry (Compasio) who reach out to the Burmese migrants/refugees. Then I travelled down to Phuket to teach on a DTS (discipleship training school) which the base here in Chiang Rai has helped to pioneer. Another great time of being in a pioneering situation, helping people fall more in love with Jesus! In August I will be teaching on the DTS here in Chiang Rai and then in September I will be teaching on a DTS in China. I will also be teaching on a Korean DTS being held down in Pattaya as well as teaching for Tamar Ministries. Tamar Ministries reach out to the sex workers in Pattaya and run discipleship programs for their women who come from the bars. After this I will be helping to lead our next LDC (Leadership Development Course) starting mid October and running through till the end of November. This is a wonderful time to hang out with other leaders, encourage them, speak into their lives, coach and mentor them and help them discover the things the Lord has for them in the next phase of their lives. I love being a part of LDC’s for it is a part of my passion of seeing leaders become all that God would have them become. It is such an honor and a privilege to be a part of.
A Bigger Picture: Another passion of mine is to help Thai’s and our other Asian staff begin to see that they too can be missionaries outside of their own country. Many of our local staff do not believe that they can do so because they do not have sufficient funds. I have challenged them to understand that when God said: “Go into all the world” he was NOT just talking to his disciples or to western Christians but to everyone! This means them too!! I have spent much time encouraging them not to look at what they do not have but rather to look at what they do have.
Africa: It has been my joy to be able to see our very first Thai outreach team go to Africa on outreach. I met them in Ethiopia where I had the thrill of seeing just how much God had changed them as a result of their being there. Two team members, both still students at a local university here in Chiang Rai, felt that God was calling them to do their DTS in Africa – one in Ethiopia and the other in Tanzania! I am hoping to take another Thai team to Africa next year to build on what our first team did.
** There is much planning, praying, organising and travelling I need to be doing as I seek to fulfil my responsibilities.**
How can you help?
So as you can see, apart from helping Penny out with the boys and us being their ‘mum and dad’ for now, I have a full plate! Full of travel, full of investing in future leaders, full of the joy of seeing students come to a greater understanding of who God is, full of opportunities of helping and investing in the growth of leaders in our Asian region. Please pray for me in all the travel, teaching, coaching, and training that I am involved in. The rest of this year is full. Next year is already getting full. I will be travelling to Cambodia in 2014 to teach as well as travelling to Vietnam to speak at their national conference. I also plan to go to New Zealand to help out with the LDC there. Pray for wisdom as I teach, train, mentor and invest in the lives of those I minister to.
Pray for grace as it’s hard being separated from Penny so often. Pray for her and the boys as Penny is often left to care for the boys by herself in my absence. Pray for protection in all my travel as well as protection spiritually and mentally. There are always greater pressures travelling alone. Pray also for the continued financial provision for me to engage in all this travel. Most of all, pray that I will continue to grow more and more in love with Jesus and that those around me will be infected by the love of Jesus. I can only do what I do because of the strength and joy the Lord gives me. I want so much that what I do brings honor to him. Thanks for standing with us so faithfully in prayer. Thanks also to those of you have stood beside us financially, enabling us to do all that we do. So if you have made it through to the end of this marathon email, you can only be congratulated, truly you are a faithful friend. In between these things mentioned I also help Penny in the oversight of Home of the Open Heart. We often find ourselves praying together for wisdom in many varied situations, just in the day to day running of the ministry.
For more info on that see Penny’s new website: www.homeoftheopenheart.org
We also host a myriad of teams/guests whose journey links with ours for a brief time and we enjoy that too…. Living with these 7 precious boys offers so many fun opportunities to encourage and disciple. Each day we ask God for wisdom to make the most of any teachable moment, to encourage these young boys to continue on their journey toward being honourable men. Penny’s health is stable and we are so grateful for that. She completed all her chemotherapy in March this year and now only needs to have yearly checks with her oncologist in Australia.
With love, Paul (on behalf of us both)