Krabi Boats 8

Jeff Bin NathanNext week our eldest son finishes high school.... how can that be?  It seems like not so long ago that we arrived in Thailand as new missionaries with one small,  smiley, one and a half year old!!!!  It's been a road of lower lows than we had hoped for but also of growth, blessing and joy.

The hardest thing for me was seeing our son go away to board in an OMF dorm and attend school in Chiang Mai when he was nearly 11.  He felt he was ready and we all knew it was time but no one is ever really ready for that.  A short while before he went I was at an OMF conference and an older missionary lady spoke about her life and sending her kids away to school.  What stuck with me was when she said, "I realised that I had a choice to make.  I could be jealous of all the people who got to spend so much time with my kids when I didn't or I could be grateful for the wonderful people God brought into thir lives,  I chose to be grateful."  After hearing her talk I decided that I too would choose to be grateful.  That simple choice made such a difference in me.

Recently I was privileged to be able to attend Project Paul, a training seminar based on the book of Acts. This seminar aims to equip people with skills that are based on Scripture and can be applied to church planting within the context you find yourself.

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Jesus stooped down and washed his disciples feet (John 13:1-17). While on a recent Adventure camp I was humbled when I saw one of the Thai leaders live out this parable. Day two's camp programme entailed mountain climbing, a hike along the beach, a walk through a cave and abseiling down from a ledge at the exit of the cave and finally walking down the rest of the mountain back to the beach. As exciting as this adventure was in beautiful natural surroundings, it was physically and mentally challenging.

That morning I had noticed, when one of the young people was putting on a pair of mountain climbing shoes, that he had no big toe. As a young child he had lost three fingers and his thumb in an explosion. His big toe was attached to his hand giving him mobility with a finger and thumb. This young man did not shrink back from a challenge. He undertook to climb one of the harder pitches that morning and after several attempts and his hands being in excruciating pain he had conquered the climb.

After lunch while walking to the cave his shoes started deteriorating, he did not say a word, but kept soldiering on over the beach and then up a rocky path leading to the cave entrance. When we started going into the cave his shoes had broken beyond repair and his feet were scratched and scraped. This is when one of the Thai leaders stepped in and insisted this young man wear his shoes.

We've got news! We arrive at the Gold Coast airport on the morning of the 13th of April. It's hard to believe how fast this year has gone. Were excited to see friends and family but also sad that we will be leaving an awesome team behind that have made this journey so valuable and life changing for us. Not only will we be leaving our team but also a great bunch of Thai friends both those that believe and those that don't, our Thai friends have taught us about their culture, customs and how diverse the Christian faith truly is.

Were going to miss you Thailand.