Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Written June 13, in transit from Home Assignment to Thailand

Dear praying friends,

We are writing you in the midst of the surreal experience of transition between North America and Thailand. Can our year of Home Assignment really be over? In just a few hours will we really be re- adjusting to the sights and smells (and temperature) of Bangkok? Those we’ve just left behind are very dear to our hearts – as are those we will be re-joining over the next few weeks. Paul’s words that “To live is Christ; to die is gain” come to mind, as these transitions can be compared to a mini-death – especially as we’ll be away so long.

Recently, we’ve had the opportunity to reflect (some more!) on the topic of humility. “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’” (1 Pet. 5:5) I (Tim) had a good opportunity to think about this topic when I taught on cultural humility at Naropa University earlier this year; How might God be calling us to grow deeper in this very important aspect of Christlikeness?

We found out when a special request came: Would we pray about devoting 2 years to being the administrative manager of the OMF Bangkok office? My heart sank with the request: But God had called us to Ayutthaya! Hadn’t He promised that He wasn’t finished with us in Ayutthaya yet??? How could He tell us to “not give up on the vision of reaching out to Ayutthaya” and then turn around and say, “Just kidding! I need you to work in an office in Bangkok instead”?

The story of Abraham comes to mind, and all that must have gone through his head when God called him to sacrifice Isaac: It must have seemed to him that God was going back on his promise that “through Isaac [his] offspring shall be reckoned.”

But as I prayed (not in the most submissive tones, I must confess), God did speak to me: Are you really willing to go anywhere and do anything for me? This is not an unimportant job: It enables many other missionaries to do their jobs, and someone must be in this position. Deep down, was pride the reason that I didn’t want to be the administrative manager? The more I thought about it, the more I felt that I needed to be willing to do this job if God did indeed call me. I also felt convicted that my weakness in organization (and brevity!) needed to be challenged – whatever God called me to.

In the end, Brenda and I offered to help with the position part-time, feeling that we are not really suited to the position full-time and that God was not calling us to set aside the call to Ayutthaya even temporarily. But we also needed to be clear that it wasn’t because the work in Ayutthaya is any more important than the administrative work – just as going is not more important or even sacrificial than praying or giving toward missions. So, we want to reaffirm just how much we appreciate you for your prayers and giving, enabling us to do something we love: Sharing the Word of Life with people who have little or no chance of hearing the gospel otherwise. Thank you!

Please do pray that OMF Thailand would be able to fill the position of administrative manager, both in the short-term (probably through a church planting missionary stepping aside from their outreach for a season) and in the long-term (through someone who is gifted and willing and called to serve in this way). If you feel God is placing this need on your heart, or know someone who might be appropriate, please either contact us or OMF Canada (1-888-657-8010 or www.omf.ca) or OMF US (1-800-422-5330 or www.omf.org/us).

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