In this season of graduations, celebrating mothers, looking forward to summer, and the many other prominent features that are included for you, I pray for a renewal of the Father’s peace and grace over your hearts and families. I hope you have seen evidence of the Father’s hand of provision, goodness, and faithfulness in each circumstance. I am reminded of Jesus’ desire for us to live in the revelation of the Father’s love for us and to be united with him (Jn. 17:23, 26). I’m grateful that he has designed us for relationship – with him and one another – and that it is his delight to reveal himself to us in increasing measure.
This month we dove into a new semester, and as part of that, we have begun studying the book of Galatians. I am struck by the themes of Paul’s letter exhorting the Church to live in unswerving acknowledgement of the true Gospel of grace, of our adoption into the family of God, and of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. I’m grateful for these precious gifts, and I have been challenged afresh to align my heart and life with these truths.
We have also had the opportunity to begin specifically learning about the relational structures within Thai society as part of our culture study. I discovered an interesting aspect of the Thai language that gives evidence of the importance of family and understanding one’s position within the whole: Thai has different titles for one’s grandparents depending on whether they are on one’s father’s or mother’s side. There are also different titles for one’s uncles and aunts depending on whether they are the older or younger sibling of one’s parent. Furthermore, it is common to refer to people within one’s community with familial terms, such as “brother” or “aunt,” to demonstrate respect and connectedness. These aspects of the language demonstrate the importance of community and family, as well as the hierarchical structure of Thai culture, which particularly emphasizes respect and honor for one’s elders or people of high status. As I have shared in the past, these values are expressed in many forms within Thai culture.
I also had the opportunity to have a couple of conversations regarding romance in Thai culture. I enjoyed learning from one of my friends about the progression in her relationship with the man that is now her husband. Specifically within the church, there are many aspects of dating, the wedding ceremony, and marriage that correlate with the West, but I also learned about several traditions that are unique from my own culture. For example, Thai weddings usually include a dowry. In addition, it is common for people to have an engagement ceremony the morning of their wedding day, and to then have the wedding ceremony that evening! There are many traditional rituals that hold great symbolism, most often involving the blessing of the newlyweds for a happy and prosperous marriage, particularly from elders who are considered to have had a successful marriage.
We also had the opportunity to learn from a veteran missionary couple who visited our area for a couple days. It was such a privilege to glean from their wisdom and to enjoy their many stories. We discussed multiple articles that served to further challenge and equip us, especially as we prepare for living on the missions field long-term. I’m really grateful for the unique ways in which Bethany seeks to train us. It can often feel overwhelming in the moment, but I am also consistently met with God’s grace and goodness in a variety of ways.
Thank you so much for taking the time and making the investment to share in this journey with me. I am grateful for you, and am privileged to serve alongside you in God’s kingdom purposes.
Team: I seem to use the word, “Transition,” often, but it also seems to be the nature of this season of my life. However, this month has been unique, in that in addition to beginning a new semester as an incoming senior, our team dynamics have also changed. One of our teammates has returned home due to personal reasons. I am so grateful for how our leadership worked diligently to care for her and to walk alongside her in that process. I think she left well, and we are expectant for what the Father has in store for her. As a result of this change, I also gained a new roommate! I would greatly appreciate your partnership in prayer for myself and my teammates in this season, specifically that we would each walk closely with the Holy Spirit. I believe that the Father wants to continue to develop us as a team and to draw us into deeper relationship with him and one another. Please pray that trust, love, and unity would continue to flourish among us, and that our relationships with one another would be a witness to those around us of the Gospel.
Leadership & New Interns: In addition to our own transitions, one of our Bethany couples is in the process of moving to Ubon, another area of Thailand, to strategically advance the Gospel among the those who are unreached. We are sad to see them go, but excited for what God has in store. The incoming Juniors are also in the process of developing partnership teams that will support them as they begin their internships this fall. We are excited to welcome eight new interns to Thailand in just a few months, and would love your prayer covering for them in this process!
Priorities & Capacity: I know that I ask for prayer in these areas often, but I continue to ask because I am grateful for how God has answered, and I am aware of my constant need for these things. As I seek to steward what the Father has entrusted to me, I want to do it according to his expectations for me and through his grace. Please pray that I would have wisdom and discipline to live according to what he deems is best through partnership with the Holy Spirit.
Safety: Rainy season is officially upon us. We are grateful for the coming coolness, though recently it has felt hotter than hot season due to the humidity; however, there has also been a significant amount of flooding due to unusually heavy rains for prolonged amounts of time. Please pray for safety and wisdom for the people of Thailand.
Rejoice!: There is so much to be grateful for! I’m grateful for glimpses of God’s work and the opportunity to experience even simple victories, and I am confident that you are a strategic part of them. After coming off of my break, it was such a gift to see areas in which I had progressed in language study, specifically in conversation. Thank you for praying with me in this! There is so much more that I hope to learn, but that is not to discount what I already have. I am also grateful for areas that I have seen personal growth, and am blessed by the role you have had in that process. He has also answered some of our prayers with regard to the project my ministry is taking on to empower woman to earn a healthy, safe living. There is certainly more that I could share, but I didn’t want to go without at least sharing a bit. Thank you again for your continued partnership!