What an amazing furlough the Lord gave me. He provided me with a wonderful, reliable vehicle and gave me safety as I traveled over 13,000 miles giving updates in my supporting churches, presenting the work in new churches, and speaking at ladies’ conferences, school chapels, and various meetings. It is always an encouragement to come back to the States and find so many still faithfully serving the Lord right where they were the last time you saw them. Praise the Lord! Three new churches have decided to partner with me for the cause of Christ in Thailand. Several other churches have also expressed a great desire to have a vested part in my ministry. I’m so excited about this for the fact that I know the Lord will bless them greatly for the part they are having in His great work! Thank you to those who were praying with me about the sale of my van at the end of my furlough. It sold within two hours of my posting on the internet that it was for sale, and I was able to sell it for just a few hundred dollars less than I purchased it for at the beginning of my trip. Praise the Lord! He’s so good to me.
Of a truth, furlough is not for the faint of heart, especially as I get older. The hours of driving, the sleeping in a different bed each night, and the eating most of your meals on the road are just a few things that take a toll on you physically, mentally, and emotionally and caused me to say more than once on this furlough, “I’m too old for this.” But there are so many good things about furlough, too, like the story of my new friend Mariann. While visiting a supporting church, a lady approached me and said her daughter wanted to make sure to see me before I left. She went on to say that her daughter was called to be a missionary the day I visited their church five years ago on my last furlough. I thought that was neat and expected to meet a teenager or college student. Instead, this young girl of eleven came up to me and introduced herself. I was shocked that her decision to serve the Lord on the foreign field, made at the age of six, was still first and foremost in her mind. She shared with me this lovely note she had written and used for centerpieces at a missions banquet at her church. I can’t wait to see what great work the Lord will do with this young lady who, at her young age, is so committed to the work she feels the Lord has called her to. It is stories and experiences like this that make a missionary willing to leave their home and ministry for months at a time. What a great privilege it is to be influencing the next generation of missionaries.
I arrived back in Hua Hin on Wednesday, July 4. What a blessing it was to see everyone and catch up on all the Lord has been doing in our church and in the hearts of our people. Nearly every week, our church folks bring visitors and family members. Many have trusted Christ and are now attending faithfully. I can’t wait to get to know all of them. It was a joy to be back in my place in Junior Church, and I think the feeling was mutual with the kids. I’m excited for what the future holds for International Baptist Church and our other church plants. The ladies have already asked when we’ll start the ladies’ Bible studies again, when I can come out to visit our members who work at the Chinese Noodle Factory, when I can go and visit some of the ladies who have had babies while I was gone, and so many other things. The work is always plenteous, and what a blessing it is to have our church members interested in being fed the Word of God and being a blessing to their own people. Please pray for me as I continue to get settled back in and busy with the work.