Celebration and Sadness – A Very Full Year!
Dear praying friends,
It’s been a very full year indeed! And there’s more to come. Here’s a short recap of recent and upcoming events . . .
Less than a month after returning from Spain, we lost one of our Thai missionary staff to cancer. “Mot” had served in YWAM England for many years before returning to spend time with her non-Christian family. Within a year, she was gone. Her family members were deeply touched by all her Christian brothers and sisters at the memorial service.
Our YWAM Thailand national staff gathering was a wonderful time of celebrating our “Unity in Diversity”. Staff from each region of Thailand took turns leading the day in their own style. And Alejandro Rodriguez, national leader of YWAM Argentina, inspired and challenged us with his special messages. Something about his Latin American style really resonated with our Thai staff. We also enjoyed fun together as a big YWAM Thailand family, including a 5km walk/run in the rain, and leading worship together with Derek.
Thailand has been chosen as the host for the global “YWAM Together” gathering in September 2018, with an expected 3,000-4,000 YWAM missionaries from around the world, but especially Asia. As part of the preparation, we hosted a 2-week Event Management Seminar to train staff in how to coordinate such a massive event. Thirty-six participants from 11 nations joined us for this valuable training.
The Event Management Seminar participants totally surprised Cindy & I with a special celebration event, honoring us for 25 years of service in Thailand. We were deeply touched by the words of encouragement!
The grand finale of the Event Management Seminar was a celebration of the payoff of our Nancy Ross Training Center facility – which had just been paid off 2 weeks before. Beginning with a Nehemiah-style worship parade, it was a rich time of testimonies of God’s faithfulness, how young people are discipled at the NRTC, and honoring those who’ve sacrificially poured their hearts into making this dream a reality. Seventeen years ago, Cindy was the one person who believed God would some day give us this entire building, which we eventually purchased in 3 phases. We are now praying for God’s leading as we seek to fulfill all of God’s dreams for this ministry center.
Phil was recently in Yangon, Myanmar, joining 17 YWAM leaders from Philippines, Thailand and Myanmar. The purpose of ACT’s (Area Circle Teams) is to foster ministry partnerships between nations and facilitate YWAM pioneering new ministries in unreached areas. The highlight of this time was joining YWAM Yangon in distributing fresh soy milk and a Bible cartoon to hundreds of slum children – which they do on a daily basis.
Our youngest son, Isaac, will be marrying his fiance, Leigha, this December 17 in Phoenix. We are thrilled, and proud of the way they have handled a 5-year relationship with integrity.
Because of the wedding, we are spending Nov. and Dec. in the States to catch up with family and a few churches/supporters whom we haven’t seen in years. Cindy will also be visiting her sister, Shelia, who is now scheduled for release from prison, but must complete another 5 months of rehab/prep before actual release.
This is a very sad week for the people of Thailand. After a full year of mourning, the dreaded royal cremation of HM King Rama 9 is in some ways even more significant than the King’s passing last year, as it represents the finality of it all. It is impossible to describe or understand the depth of grief and loss unless you are Thai. At least 250,000 people are expected to travel to Bangkok to witness the event. YWAM’s Rak Teh ministry is hosting 4 days of 24-hour worship and prayer for Thailand at their center within walking distance of the ceremony. I will be leading the prayer/worship time at 7pm on Thursday, 26th, exactly the time of the cremation.
PRAYER REQUESTS –
- Pray for Father God to reveal Himself to Thais at this crucial time in history.
- Pray for Cindy’s visit with her sister, and for God’s grace on Shelia to persevere until release, to transition well and to grow in her renewed faith.
- Pray for financial provision for all the upcoming travel and wedding plans.
- Pray for God’s leading as we re-envision God’s purposes for the NRTC and discipling young Thais.
Thank you for being on this journey with us! We are here (25 years and counting) because you are there supporting us!
Phil & Cindy
P.S. We’ve recently begun uploading songs from our album, “In His Presence” to YouTube. Although it’s a few years old, some of the songs are still relevant. Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/IHPalbum