April Showers Bring May Flowers. That is what we say in America anyway, but here in Thailand it is our HOT season. We’ve heard it said that in Thailand there are only three seasons: Hot, Hotter and Hottest. This would be HOTTEST. We are grateful though, that our week started with a bit of cool, refreshing rain. This April we celebrate 4 years of being in Thailand. This month also marks the beginning of a new season in our life and hopefully it will be a month of refreshing rain so that we can experience the flowers to follow.
We have a wonderful opportunity for Amy to come alongside Matt more in the ministry of church planting. As you may know since January 2020 Amy has focused primarily upon the school. The challenge has been knowing how to most effectively serve the school and also tend to the needs of our family and ministry. As we have served in our town we have noticed how the most effective ministry opportunities have happened outside of the school. Many times, they happen in the small moments when we do the simple things like walking home and taking time to stop and talk to neighbors along the way, ordering lunch and talking with the shop owner and offering to pray for their need, or going to a church member’s house and worshipping and reading the Bible with them. Because of the demands of teacher life, Matt has been the primary one doing this sort of ministry. At the beginning of this year, Matt felt like this year was the year to build structure and establish order in the church, and began praying into how to do that with Amy and her gift set so deeply entrenched in the school. We are thrilled that beginning with the new term in May, Amy will only be working at the school on a part-time basis (2 hours per day), freeing her up to focus more on the ministry of church planting. Matt couldn’t be happier as he has felt for a long time that Amy could add so much to the church in the areas of administration, development of discipleship resources, women and children’s ministry and so much more.
We believe we are in a key time for the growth of the church and that this is the Lord’s timing for us to make this shift. We have felt that the Lord has sent us to a place where the soil is ready for the seeds of the gospel that will bring forth a bountiful harvest. We have seen fruit in our time here and know there is much more that God has for this place. In the year we have been in our town, we have seen our small church develop from being just two families to having 35-40 members. Our church members are showing a desire to grow personally in their walk with God and want to serve others. We have also had opportunities for various sorts of outreaches open up for us both at a nearby university and in our own community doing children’s outreach. We hope that through these outreaches we will be able to train up leaders while winning people to faith in Christ. We are at a point where the church is really ready to grow, but we need Amy’s gifts to bring us to the next level of ministry. We believe bringing her onto the church planting team in a more full capacity will enable us to steward well what God is doing.
With this change in position does come an immediate change in salary. As a full-time teacher, Amy was making a modest salary of roughly $1000/month with the added benefit of a work permit and visa. While we are grateful that our family will be able to continue our work permit and visa through the school, enabling us to continue our ministry in Thailand, Amy will become a volunteer teacher. We wholeheartedly believe that this is absolutely the best move for our family and ministry, but it does leave us in a position where we need to look to expand our partnership team.
We are so thankful for the ways we have time and again seen the Lord so faithfully provide for us through the generosity and faithfulness of our partners. We are truly humbled and blessed. A large part of the Lord’s provision over the past year has been the salary from the school. With this change in our situation, we know it is our responsibility as faithful stewards to let you know of our need and to invite you to prayerfully consider how the Lord might have you join us.
We want to ask you join with us in praying for us as we take the month of April to regroup, recoup, re-strategize and reset. Pray for us as we continue to seek the Lord together for what is ahead. Also, if you are not currently partnering with us please prayerfully consider if the Lord would have you to join with us in financial partnership. We are trusting the Lord and asking Him for 20 people who would faithfully partner with us at $50 a month. If you feel the Lord tugging on your heart to partner with us in evangelism, discipleship and church planting in our region, please drop us a line to just say “I’m Interested!” We would love to set a time and connect and due to the wonders of technology we can via Zoom, FaceTime, or many other options. We would love to share with you about what God’s doing here in Chumphon Province, what adventures He’s leading us into in the year ahead, and how you can play an important part in seeing the gospel spread here.
Matt and Amy Baldwin