I am up in the air at 40 thousand feet and moving at 846 miles per hour. I ponder my position, half way between my homeland in America, and my home in Thailand.
It is September 17, 2014 and I am returning to Thailand from a 10-week furlough.
- The events behind me swirl around in my head. All my life I have lived in America, but during that time I had never experienced the support and friendship from so many people in my life as I had on this furlough after working 5 years in the jungles of Thailand. I had told the Lord that I wanted to isolate myself with my boys and other family members, but He had a different plan for me! During these past ten weeks I gave 27 sermons and presentations in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Illinois, Montana, Florida and New York, both to congregations and on TV. Each group gave me all their attention, all their love, and all their moral support. I am overwhelmed with love to you all! I want to thank all of you again and again from the bottom of my heart. I truly love every on of you! I know you will pray for our work and the Karen people as I also pray for you! I am so encouraged and touched to think that so many Americans really care about the missionaries and God’s work among the heathen! I think back on the difficult, lonely hours spent in the jungle. At times no one seemed to know or care. God definately used those times to teach me to depend entirely upon Him and draw my heart closer to Him, but now I see God wants to supply this need for me now and He gave me this time, surrounded me with instant friendships and filled my lonely soul with love overflowing. What beautiful people you are! – and above all the people, I see and feel a tender compassionate Saviour shining with un-surpassing glory!!
- I visited my 2 lovely boys, shedding tears on my departure. I had said good-bye to my dear Mother, who is almost 91 years old. I have her FULL support and help. She gives me courage to say good-bye because she is cheerful and tells me how happy she is that I am doing God’s work as He has called me to do. She will do her part also in her place. How special is that? I say good-bye to my dear Sister who is my best friend. She did all in her power to help me advance God’s work in Thailand and in America. She gave so much: Her money, her time, and even lost sleep. She developed flyers, she cooked, and she worked until she was utterly exhausted. This is because she had her regular job as well as carting me all over the country to give presentations and run errands. She gave her hard earned money to the work in BYT until it hurt. She was all the support you could ever hope to have. I also think of Jon and Natalie Wood, who operate the ‘Jesus for Asia’ mission work. They have gone beyond the call of duty spreading an awareness among the American people of the needs and work going on in BYT and surrounding villages! Their team, Kirk and DeDe VanBuren, and Stephanie, have prayed and worked very hard to encourage and promote my work as a pioneer missionary. So very many people went out of their way to help me. I could not list them all right here If I did I would have a very long article for sure! However I do wish to sincerely thank you all! I truly am returning to my post of service with fresh vigor and enthusiasm to work for God more earnestly than ever before!
- I am so thrilled to have Tucker Anderson flying back to Thailand with me to spend one year! This gives us 3 people on our team. He is a 22 year-old nursing graduate from Southern University. God picked him out for us and he heard God’s call to his heart. He does not mind leaving the comforts of home and all the conveniences. He shares our deep heart’s desire to tell the Karen people about Jesus. He has taken the yoke that God designed for him, and gladly forsakes the great “American dream,” so that he can use all his time, talents and money in anyway God directs him. God worked out all the details for him at the last minute. It is amazing how he just barely got his visa, and secured a flight on the same airline as I was on, just 2 days prior to departure! You will be hearing a lot more about him during the coming months. We traveled the mini van together from Chattanooga to Atlanta, then on to Korea on Korean Airlines. From there we flew to Chiang Mai Thailand. We had endless things to talk about. I must admit, I did most of the talking because there is so much I need him to know. We do not know what the future holds for us now, but the one thing I know is that God is with us, and nobody can pluck us out of His hands!
- Now we have 3 people on our team! Tucker, BletJaw and myself. I believe Tucker is very tired now that we arrived in Thailand. We will stay until he is rested. I cannot be jet lagged at this point even a little bit because I am so excited to be back. I call BletJaw as soon as I hit the ground at the Chiang Mai airport! I cannot wait to see him and his wife and 1½-year-old son, Jonathan. Oh how anxious I am to go to BYT and see if everyone is all right there. I have missed them all so much!
We cannot get out of Chiang Mai right away. We have trouble with transportation.