What a great time of year we find ourselves in, namely a time of hope. This Christmas we have found the story of Jesus to be impactful in a new way, every time we look at baby Thomas we can’t help but think that God lowered himself in such a form as a baby. Going through all the things that having a baby entails makes the story come to life for us and we are yet again humbled. If God cares enough for us to let himself be known in such a way, if he beat death, then we have a reassurance of unity and joy. This brings hope even when we reflect on those who are not around, friends far away, and the empty feeling that can often set in by longing. Because we spent most of the summer in Arizona, we figured we would balance it out by spending part of the winter in Iowa. This has been a blessing to spend time with friends, family, and one of our favorite churches River of Life.
This last season has been a time of change, wonder, joy and even some confusion. We have moved back to the U.S. and were blessed with little Tommy. Our family is more colorful and rich than ever before. One highlight was being able to dedicate Tommy at our church, North Bible Church. We have wondered about what God has in store for us, spending many days meeting with people, talking across continents, and developing a network. We have knocked on many doors, turned down opportunities and have been turned down but we believe that we have an understanding now of where the Lord is leading us.
After coming back from Ecuador, Crystal and I found ourselves changed in ways we didn't expect. We were haunted by the stories, faces, and love we developed for the young girls who Crystal worked with. Some stories would keep us awake at night, some would bring smiles to our faces, others would give us hope, but all made us realize that we are different than before. This refinement by God’s grace and mercy has brought us to the understanding that we want to give the rest of our lives to fighting for the rights of children who find themselves in slavery. We have experienced, witnessed, and believe that the love of Christ can overcome and bring healing to those who have been afflicted by the darkness and terrors of trafficking.
Check out this 3 minute video to see their work and ministry.
AIM has been working in Cambodia for over 25 years and has a goal to be fully run by Cambodians within 10 years. They have a four part process that entails prevention, rescue, restoration and reintegration. This is not just an organization trying to find a solution to a problem but looking holistically at it to end slavery altogether. They have a school, outreach clinic, aftercare center, vocational development skills, 2 transitional homes, kickboxing to reach out to pimps and traffickers and over 1000 partnering churches in Cambodia. God has been at work!
A.T. has accepted a position as the Executive Assistant for the founder of AIM. This is a very exciting ministry to work in and we are so thankful to be able to go and serve these young ones with AIM. The position requires a two year commitment, where A.T. will be working with organizations, communications and project management. We are not sure where the Lord will lead us in the future but there are too many countries in the world in need of these types of services, so we consider this part of the process to bring justice to these children and potentially others one day. This position will allow A.T. to learn much about the programs and prepare us for fighting for justice around the world. We are humbled and honored to join AIM and God’s mission in Cambodia.
Crystal too was offered staff positions, but with much prayer and consideration has chosen to focus on serving our family right now. She does have hopes that she will once again serve rescued children and there are opportunities open for her to do so in Cambodia.
What is Next
We have begun making arrangements for leaving again and this time it is little more complicated with our beloved little Thomasito. A.T. will be leaving in February to begin training, meeting with staff, seeking housing for our family as well as obtaining a vehicle. We are hoping to have everything ready and our support raised for all of us to begin this new journey together by end of March/beginning of April 2018.
Due in part to our growing family, the cost of travel, healthcare, and more expensive housing cost we will also be seeking $4400 in sustaining donors. God has already provided greatly for us already and many of you have been faithful supporters since Ecuador. The additional amount needed at this time is, $2,288.63. This amount will allow us to live and work in Cambodia, if you would like more information on our budget please feel free to ask.
We will also be transitioning out of our current sending organization, Fuel the Mission. We are so thankful to Fuel the Mission and all their support on our Ecuador expedition and transitional season in the States. Fuel has gone above and beyond to support and love us and we are so grateful for the time the Lord gave us together. They do amazing work around the world for His Kingdom!
We have joined a new sending organization called International Outreach Ministries, IOM. IOM works to serve those serving abroad and has missionaries all over the world. They help with the financial matters, visiting their missionaries as well as holding conferences for training and growing. We are excited about their work and being part of their team!
If you have donated through Fuel the Mission you will be receiving a giving statement for taxes purpose and please change your monthly giving to IOM. You can Donate Here.
We can not express to you how thankful we are to all of you. How thankful we are to God who is letting us join his work in Cambodia. We feel like we have won a great prize to be allowed to go and do this kind of work. We know that the road ahead will be hard, trying, emotionally draining, but we trust the God is bigger, can restore, and has a plan for us, these kids, and you. We are amazed by your response and even willingness to read about us.