Sawadee Khrap! (Hello in Thai)
Brian here giving you an update on my new ministry role in Chiang Mai, Thailand. This is part 1 of a several part series of updates on what God has me doing in Thailand right now, what Grace International School and the Athletic Department at Grace are all about, and why the staff members of Grace chose to leave the comforts and stability of their homes and jobs in America to volunteer to serve and minister at a small Christian international school in northern Thailand.
Last year when I came to serve in Thailand I worked at a community center in a small village teaching English and leading activities with local Thai kids. It was a great and challenging experience being immersed in Thai culture. I loved playing with the kids, getting to know them, and loving on them the best I could through the language barrier. I was able to share my faith with many of them and be an example of Christ to them. One of the kids accepted Christ and got baptized. She and several of the others who have shown interest in learning more about Jesus are currently being mentored and learning weekly about Christ.
When Amanda and I were planning our return to Thailand I was asked by the Athletic Director at Grace International School to come serve in the Sports Department. At first I was hesitant because I thought I should be spending all my time ministering to Thai people since God called me to Thailand. God changed my heart and path and reassured me that Grace is where he wants me. I’ve always had a heart and passion for children and over the past 5-6 years I’ve developed a strong desire for mentoring younger Christians. In the village I was not able to really mentor the kids because of the language barrier, but at Grace I am able to do just that.
I am now serving as the After School Sports Coordinator, which means I am in charge of all the sports for students 14 year old and younger, as well as Intramurals (sports that kids, staff, and parents get to play). I also help with coaching/training and organizing the track events and swim events for all students. I organize games, fundraisers, tournaments, transportation, fees, teams, etc. as well as train and coach some teams and individuals, including some kids to race in triathlons. Sports we have this semester include: track and field, basketball, soccer, futsal, ultimate Frisbee, flag football, ping-pong, and triathlon.
Go here to read more about all the sports and activities we offer: http://www.gisthailand.org/student-life/athletics/
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies- in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:10-11
These verses give strength, power, and encouragement to us as believers to discover what unique gifts, skills, and passions God has given each of us and to be diligent in using these abilities to the best of our ability in order to honor and glorify God. We are all unique in the way we were created, so trying to be like someone else would be wasting our unique talents and gifts and not fulfilling the role and purpose God has given us. If each of us focuses on our unique abilities and uses them for God’s Kingdom, the church as a whole will function as intended and God will be glorified! My passions and gifts include sports/fitness and health. I devote a lot of time and energy into these things because I see the fruits of my labor in ministering to others through these areas and I see God being glorified. I want to challenge each of you to accept your unique gifts and focus on becoming the best you can in those areas and allow God to use you through your gifts to share his love and grace to others.
Quick snippets and need-to-knows.
- We’re just shy of 6 months preggie and Baby Elliott is growing super strong! There are lots of kicks and wiggles keeping us in awe of this budding life.
- Did you miss Brian’s battle with a bacterial infection? Get caught up on the blog post: Brian versus Septicemia. Thanks to lots of prayer and love, he’s back to 100%!
- We’ve recently launched a Facebook group – A Journey Worth Taking – to share and keep up with more of the day-to-day. If you’re not already looped in, please join!
- Curious about what life looks like here in Chiang Mai? Wonderful! We’re working on a little video to share a glimpse of just that. Coming soon.
Join us in inviting God into these needs and asks.
- With Babe on the way we’re in search of a car. …which is significantly more expensive over here and our budget is small. Specific prayer is for a small, 4-door, automatic, and reliable vehicle for $1,500.
- Please do keep finances in prayer as we’re finding this to be a continual ebb and flow, and we’re still shy of meeting our necessary monthly fund.
- A sweet Thai friend is digging into a book – ‘The Lotus and the Cross’ – that Brian gave her. Prayer for reading it in entirety as well as divine contemplation and understanding.
- Health! This core area of emotional, physical and spiritual well-being is a target throughout the Grace community. Help us prayerfully fight these attacks.
And have you prayer requests of your own? Please do send them our way so we can join you.