God Will Make A Way
Somewhere in that first week of our visit last month, I think it was the Thursday, Suradet and Yupa returned from a meeting with the leader of the village nearby. This was a meeting where it was deemed better I NOT attend due to the ‘complicating factors’ that sometimes come up when a ‘farang’ is present. Sometimes it helps and sometimes it doesn't.
We knew already what the meeting was about, and I was keen to know what news they were bringing. Getting out of the car, they were trying to be all nonchalant, but they were smiling so much I thought their faces would fall off.
And finally, Suradet couldn’t keep it in any more, and he said with a shout, in English “Seven!”
And he slapped down on the table a document.
That might look like a confusing collection of official squiggles to you, but it represents over four years of patient pursuit of the official documentation that will allow us to being to develop a new property for our kids.
For a wide variety of reasons, one being that our current facilities have been 'retrofitted' to house the children, it is becoming more urgent that we relocate from the property owned by the Korean Methodist Church to property and facilities that belong directly to New Family Foundation.
Everything is legally registered and ready. We've just needed property.And that's been a tricky thing in itself.
The significant population shift in Thailand from the south to the north has driven land prices up disproportionately to normal inflation. (insert link here). The reality of trying to 'out-fundraise' the rate of increase in order to purchase property was dim at best.
Yet God makes a way.
The generosity and support of Yupa's parents has compelled them to 'hold' a parcel of land for our use. It's about 6 acres (3 rai) and is ideally located between the church where Suradet and Yupa are pastors, and the schools our kids attend. All good.
Except we have been stalled out for the past for years trying to secure the necessary land deed that would allow us to develop the property for the purpose of a children's home. Attempt after attempt, some of them coming very close, but then falling through at the last minute, has yeilded nothing but frusrtation and a chance to practice the patience we all say we'd like more of.
That night we had cake!!
And we asked for the number 7 to be on it because that's the new number of our address!
Much celebration and delicious messiness.
This is no small deal.
The real fun begins.
It’s a big project that will ultimately see us with a brand new set of right-sized buildings that will be dorms and a kitchen and a school work room, plus accommodation for staff, in order to house 30 children.
We can begin incrementally with hooking up electricity to the property, drilling a well and getting the water system installed, building a protective (and legally required) fence around the property, and laying down a basic road.
All these projects are doable in chunks, and we are extending the invitation to other churches and others outside Highview to partner with us.
To be honest, I can clearly see where we're going, like a mountain in the distance, I can sort of see where we need to go for our very next steps, but the way in between? Not so much.
At this point in my ministry in Thailand, I am starting to realize that I have a growing sense of two realities within my heart; two realities that are increasing; two realities that sit at opposite ends of this experience.
One a surprisingly significant increase in a sense of weight and responsibility for what I do now. This new project makes it more obvious, but it's more than just that. It's the whole weight and ramifications of the beautiful duty and glad obligation of it. It feels heavy. Heavier than any responsibility I've felt in my ministry life, or even personal life before. And I've carried big things before, for sure. Just, not like this.
That's the one thing.
The other thing is just as strong, just as real.
I also feel that I have grown so much in that basic element of life with Jesus called faith. There's just such an increase in the calm reassurance that, even though I can't see the whole way, God's making the way.
I give Suradet and Yupa all the credit for shaping my spiritual formation in this so profoundly. Their constant example to me, in the face of so much more hardship and opposition and prolonged frustration than I have ever known in my white privileged life thus far, their solid sense that God will come through as we are faithful together....they inspire me to be more full of the faith I've always wanted to know richly.
So big project.
I’m just not intimidated by this. I probably should be, but I’m not.
We will put together the plans and appeals and strategies and all those important human elements of moving forward on a vision. There’s lots to do, no question.
But the view from here is breath-taking.
There is no question in my mind that God is going to come through for this.
On Sunday, February 23, 2020 our Team was able to bring a report of our trip in January. We ended with a strong song that reflects this faith. Way Maker by Leeland. Can't get it out of my head now.
"Way Maker, Miracle Worker, Promise Keeper, Light in the Darkness.
That is who You are!!"