Over the past six months God has taught me that few things in life are more humbling than change. When we were at ICS, I thought I was something. In fact, reflecting back now, my title as Athletic Director became an idol that I worshiped. Over a 10 period I built a program that was successful and the Bangkok athletic community knew who I was. Even when we came to the States in the summer, we would walk around with an arrogance of, “Um, yes, we are missionaries.” Little did I know that God would not only provide the speech therapy Marley needed in the States, but He would also humble me.
Several things have happened these past six months that has caused us to embrace the despair of humility. First I worked at a school in which no one cared about my “great accomplishments” in Bangkok, Thailand. I also coached baseball at a local high school and we only won six games all season. I had not coached a team with a losing record in over ten years. Then this summer I started delivering pizzas to help us financially as we figured out our next move. It was always an experience when I would deliver a pizza to our previous friends in Knoxville. In fact, one night I had to deliver pizza to a group of friends from college, which included an ex-girlfriend, and they gave me a sympathetic large tip. But the main thing God used to humble me the past six months was an MRI.
Within a few weeks of moving back, I started having dizziness and vision problems. I went to the doctor after a few months and she ordered an MRI because she was afraid I might have a growth in my inner ear. Of course I immediately assumed I was dying and the only thing I could think about was my father dying of a brain tumor. During the MRI, the technicians would not tell me anything and they had to take additional images for the doctor. After the test I had to wait a week for the results. Of course that week I was a total wreck and I had already planned out my funeral. You know, few things seem important when you believe you might be dying. When the doctor gave me the tumor free results, I cried and hugged her. Immediately I apologized, but explained that I was just thankful to God for the results, a serious sinus infection.
So, here I am now, a humbled man. After losing my athletic director title, becoming a rookie teacher again, delivering pizzas, and enduring the questions of my health, God has taught me humility. No matter what I think I am, I am not. God is the driving force behind everything I do and I should be content with serving Him. My father used to tell me, “You are getting too big for your britches” and that is precisely what had manifested in my life the past ten years in Thailand. Even though we moved back for Marley, God used this opportunity to strip away the idols that encouraged me to believe in myself instead of Him. I am sure I will become prideful again, but for today, I thank God for humbling me.
Where are we now? I have accepted a position at The King’s Academy in Knoxville, TN as a boy’s dorm director. We will live in an apartment on campus and parent 18 international boys in a dorm. We will basically be their parental guidance while they attend school at TKA. Jana will also work part time in the girl’s dorm and sub occasionally at TKA. Marley will be attending a transitional kindergarten class three days a week and continue her therapy appointments two days a week. I will also be the Varsity Girls’ Soccer coach at TKA and Jana will be teaching Holy Yoga in Knoxville. We are excited to be working with international students again and investing in their lives.
· We will keep our Ripe for Harvest account open and use those funds to assist in Marley’s therapy and development.
· We will also continue to send newsletters periodically about our experiences in TN and TKA.