Nine years ago we made the decision to leave everything that was familiar to us and move to the other side of the world. One night while we were still living in Tennessee, Jana came home from teaching gymnastics, and asked whom I was talking with on the phone. I told her I was interviewing for a job at an International Christian School, in Bangkok Thailand. She gave me a look that was intended to be profanity, but since we were good little Christians, she did not openly yell at me. I knew immediately it would not go well after I finished my phone conversation with ICS. Once I hung up the phone, I quickly told her that I was offered a job, and the good news was they had an open elementary position. What happened next was not the yelling attack I expected, but instead she smiled, and we started searching for Thailand on a map. As I reflect back on this life changing decision, I think it would be good to share some things we have learned while serving in BKK. I also want to encourage you this week to contemplate what God has taught you these past few years. Too often in life, we don't take the time to see what God has done in our lives.
Jack – I have realized the true definition of depression. I spent an entire year depressed after Marley was born. I believe it was the hardest year of my life and I was worthless as a father during that time. God taught me the value of a dedicated wife, and the healing we can receive through talking with people that have been there. The greatest part of that year was realizing my relationship with God was not where I thought it was, and my need for daily faith.
Jana – God’s creativity runs deep and wide. We have met so many different and interesting people while living in Thailand. Through each of these encounters and relationships, God has revealed Himself to us in different ways. It is through and because of these relationships that my relationship with the Creator has grown.
Jack – The enormous responsibility we have to mentor the next generation. God has opened my eyes to the struggles of our students at ICS. The time we spend talking and caring for these students is a necessity. Numerous young men and women have told us thank you for just taking the time to build a relationship with them outside of school. We believe that is our greatest ministry at ICS.
Jana – God has been teaching me about humility for years and years. He has used so many of the years here in Bangkok to show me how little control I have in my own life, AND how much greater His plan is for me than what I have planned for myself.
Jack – There are days I love being a father and days I hate being a father. I love the sweet smiles and hugs Marley gives me constantly throughout the day. But I also hurt when I see people look at her differently, or when she struggles to complete tasks that are easier for others. My own father dying at an early age inspired me to change my life, but I wish I could sit down with him now, and tell him I finally understand the love he had for me.
Jana – Unreached people groups are hiding within our own communities. We must pray for God to open our eyes to those people in need. We were never aware of the great need for families with special needs children until God made us aware. I think some of the raw emotions that we experienced as God showed/catapulted us into awareness is a taste of the deep love that God has for those who are hurting and lost.
Marley – I would say that she has learned that life is going to be fun sometimes and hard sometimes. There will be times that Daddy/Mommy will let her splash in the rain puddles, eat a French fry, and wrestle the cat into submission. Unfortunately, there will also be times that she will not get what she wants just because of who she is. Pulling the cat’s ears, throwing her food, and biting will be followed by disciplinary actions.