Change of Plans
With the rise of cases of COVID-19 during the month of February, it became evident to Donella and myself that we should cancel our March trip back to Thailand. At the time this was not a decision we wanted to make. During our March visit, we were to attend the graduations of seven Gethsemane students (three from high school and four from middle school). Plans had also been made to hold a Bible training seminar. At this time we are unsure when we will return to Thailand. With our decision not to go to Thailand, we were able to make one church visit and had a booth at the Missouri Christian Convention.
We ask that you continue to pray for the ministry and our family in Thailand. They are dealing with not only the Coronavirus but some of the worst pollution levels in the world, extreme temperatures, and fires. In the picture below you can see the lights of the city of Chiang Mai with Doi Suthep (nearby mountain) on fire. We’re staying in touch to be sure their needs are being met.
We’re reminded of a song by Unspoken that says, “All my dreams, all my plans, Lord, I leave it in your hands.” God is in control of all we do and as stated in Philippians 4:19, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” We do not know what is ahead, but we will continue to trust in God through this difficult time. Thank you for your prayers.
High School Graduations
One of the events we were looking forward to attending during our visit to Thailand was the graduation of three of our high school students. As the threat of COVID-19 increased around the world, the graduation ceremony for our children was canceled. The school went ahead and set up areas on their campus so the graduates could have their pictures taken, and we, along with others, had gifts for them.
All three graduates plan on attending university in the fall. Gan plans to attend Maejo University and will be studying marine biology. Both Fah and Weechan plan on attending Rajabhat University in Chiang Mai. Fah wants to study public health, and Weechan plans to focus on physical education with the desire to become a teacher. In addition to paying for the student’s tuition, food, housing, and other fees, Under the Son Ministries will provide a laptop for each of these students.
Missouri Christian Convention
We have always thought it would be good to have a presence at the Missouri Christian Convention. The convention is usually held in March so it has not been possible in the past for us to attend because this is the same month that the government schools in Thailand have their graduations. These are the schools our Gethsemane Home children attend. It was possible this year since our trip to Thailand was canceled.
We had a booth at the convention and were able to sell items from Thailand to help our Under the Son Ministries Educational Fund. We also made many new connections. As the needs of the ministry continue to grow, we know it’s important that we reach out to other potential supporters. We enjoyed sharing the story of Under the Son Ministries with several who were in attendance. It was also great to reconnect with brothers and sisters in Christ we have known for many years. Hopefully there will be years when we’ll be able to attend future conventions.
COVID-19 in Thailand
Our families in Thailand are trying to cope with the Coronavirus just as we are here in the States. They are also dealing with large fires and one of the worst pollution levels in the world at this time. They are social distancing, just as we are, and can only meet in small groups. They are holding church in their individual homes. Most of the Gethsemane children needed to return to their home villages, and Titus and Newa are staying in touch with them. Their new school year begins the middle of May, and we are not sure yet if that will happen. Our staff members are able to leave their homes only for food, drugs, and bank visits. Doesn’t this all sound familiar? This is definitely a global pandemic.
We’re asking for special prayers for one of our girls who is in the city of Chiang Mai by herself finishing her university classes online. It’s difficult being quarantined when you are completely alone in a small one room apartment. We keep in touch with her has much as we can to be sure she has what she needs.
Patang Musur Building Project
In our last newsletter we shared with you that our Thailand staff would be returning to the village of Patang Musur to complete some much needed projects at the church there. They need to build bathrooms, add an outside kitchen room to the mission house, and tile the floors in the mission house and church.
We would also like to add ceiling tiles in the church and paint both buildings. These projects were to be started in April. With the country’s current travel restrictions, they will wait to go at a later date. At this time we have raised $1,900 of the $6,000 needed for these projects. If you would like to help with any of these needs, please contact us by calling Steve at 660-254-5775 or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We believe that the “fields are ripe for harvest” in this village!
Upcoming Fundraising Events
We have two upcoming fundraisers happening in the next couple of months. We pre-ordered 350 geraniums in December that will be delivered to our house the end of April or early May. At this time we are taking pre-orders. We will have hot pink, dark red, coral, galaxy purple, and lavender colors available. If you are wanting to order any, please contact us by calling 660-254-5775 or emailing us at email@example.com.
We had a fundraiser at Pizza Ranch in Maryville scheduled for April 6th and have needed to postpone it at this time. We have rescheduled it for May 7th. The fundraiser will be held from 5 to 9
PM that evening. We will receive 10% of the sales for that night and will also be waiting tables for tips. You will also be able to purchase items from Thailand. Hope you can join us!
Proceeds from both of these fundraisers will be used for our educational fund that pays for school lunches, high school tuition, and tuition for any of our children at Gethsemane Home that choose
to attend a university. These fundraisers will be important for the ministry as we will have four of our children attending university in August, three freshmen and one senior.
Again, thank you for your continued support of these fundraisers!