“I just got a message from a girl who wants to come, but she’s locked in to the bar until 10am.” Hearing these words on a recent trip to Pattaya from Daniel, the director of the Tamar Center, reminded me of the stark reality of the situation that many people we minister to face. We don’t know if the men and ladyboys we minister to have similar experiences of literally being locked in to the bar or massage parlor they work in. What we do know is that they are trapped or feel trapped in the life they have created for themselves or others have created for them, with finances being a key factor that keeps them in bondage. As this new year begins we are excited to see how God will bring keys for freedom.
In 2017, we felt like God was laying the foundation for us as individuals and a family to succeed here in Thailand. It’s already been a big year for us with the birth of Alizah, but we know God has much more. We feel that 2018 is a year to lay a foundation for our ministry to succeed.
We are continuing to learn Thai with Matt going to language school once a week for a half day and the two of us meeting with a Thai language tutor for a couple of hours over coffee and Thai workbooks to help us learn how to talk about the Bible and pray in Thai.
While Amy’s spending the majority of her time right now at home with the kids on a maternity leave, she is helping with planning English classes to teach our students or on outreach. Matt has been teaching English and Bible to our students at Dton Naam and has already had some interesting conversations come up since returning from his paternity leave. We are confident that as he continues working with the Dton Naam students that doors for deeper relationship and ministry opportunities will continue to open up.
We are also having some wonderful opportunities outside of Dton Naam open up for ministry. Matt has been meeting with a young man who is a new believer once a week for discipleship and has also been invited to serve in a newly forming men’s ministry at Living Streams Church. Amy has began going to a weekly women’s Bible study and has been enjoying getting to know other young American women while studying the book of 2 Timothy. We continue to be a part of the house of prayer, with opportunities to lead in prayer and occasional opportunities to teach.
As we look forward to 2018, we are so excited for what God is doing and one of the areas we feel the Lord highlighting to us as a couple is to saturate our outreach efforts in prayer. Dton Naam currently has the capacity to bring in five new students and we are confident that the Lord is eager to bring them in quickly. Will you agree with us for those who we meet in the red light districts each week during our outreaches to be touched deeply by the love of God? Will you agree with us for hope to ignite in their hearts along with an insatiable desire for change? We know that helping five individuals is a small start when we consider how many thousands of men and ladyboys are working in prostitution in this city. Will you agree with us for our capacity to take in more students to expand?
We Are Locked In – Are You?
We are beyond blessed, because so many of you have taken part in being a light for Christ in Thailand. Through your prayers and financial support, we are strengthened. I echo Paul’s words from Philippians 1:3-5 when he said, “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” I (Matt) recently was emailing with one of our supporters who told me that she thinks about us and prays for us all the time. I say all of this because on our hard days, it is an encouragement to know we have you behind us.
As you have read, we are moving forward with stepping into full-time ministry after focusing for this past season on Thai language and cultural studies. We are locked in to the Lord’s heart and desire to bring freedom to those we encounter and are eager to move forward. To be able to step into what God has for us in this new season, we are going to need to expand our current team of financial partners who join with us in special gifts and those who partner with us regularly. We are looking for 30 new partners who would join with us at $50 per month. We ask that you pray about what role you might play in this work and let us know what the Lord is telling you. We’d love to connect with you more about what we are doing and how you can be a part of it.
Thank you for standing with us in this journey. Your prayers and support mean so much to us!
Matt, Amy, Jed and Alizah