We’re Still Serving the Tai-Kadai People

What an overwhelming response to the last blog email! Thanks to all who messaged me or inquired of my family members.

Not to disappoint, but we are not on permanent return to the US and no, you can’t be our babysitter! Caiden and I will continue to work in the same locations, live in the same house and minister to our same dear Tai-kadai friends. The difference is simply the funding source.

And while I’ve got you attention , just wanted to send a quick update: Last fall, I asked you to pray for one of Caiden’s students, Bleu, who had just become a Christian and was struggling financially. God provided for him. He was able to move into free housing and quit his night security job. He saved money ( it appeared by skipping meals as he was very skinny when we returned from a long stint abroad) and was able to get a passport. He has now gone abroad to serve as a missionary. We’re so proud of him and solicit your continued prayers for him.

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Life Changes–Same but Different

About this time six years ago, I was preparing for a big, new adventure. I was wrapping up life in Florida before heading up to Ohio for the last goodbyes. Some asked how long I’d be gone. I flippantly answered something like, “Maybe two years or so unless God just gives me a Tai-Kadai man. Then I guess it’ll be forever.” They say sarcasm always holds some truth in it. Seems almost prophetic now.

Life has changed in more ways than imaginable. I’ll spare you the slew of details, but suffice it to say there have been emotional roller coasters. Cultural differences and identity rehashing. Grieving and celebrating. Starting a family and then adding to that family. I have been privileged, since even before I arrived, to have had your support through it all in the form of prayers, personal support and financial gifts. Thank you.

However, the time has come to part ways with my sending organization. I will always be grateful for this organization and their purpose. Serving others must be intentional or it will never transpire. They are deliberate in their vision and have the needs of others at the heart of their mission.

I hope you been blessed through your support for me. If you still desire to give, there are families who have dedicated years here as well as students just jumping in for a year or two who would be appreciative of your support.
I plan to continue sharing updates and stories so stay tuned. And of course our family still covets your prayers.

Finally, I again want to make it a point to say a sincere thank you to each person and family who gave from their spiritual and financial means. You’re fantastic. I hope to one day soon introduce you to some of my Tai-Kadai friends as we stroll through Heavenly orchards and tell funny stories with Jesus.

Until then: Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:9-10 (NIV)

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God’s babies (and ours)

Baby Girl is here and we are thrilled! Please allow me to share thoughts on her for this blog entry. Caiden and I are learning things that every parent learns along the way, but because they’re new to us, they are inspiring to us.

Baby Girl’s name has several meanings depending on the language- revelation of God, beauty, and divine. And she has lived up to her names in her 2 short months. babyblogWe think she’s absolutely beautiful (shamelessly bias as it may be). But, what a revelation of God it is to have a child! It’s hard to put into words the love we have for our daughter. It’s so different from the love we have for each other. She has truly revealed a new type of love. And I think it might just be a shadow of the love God has for us.

When she was just over two weeks old, I had to take her to the clinic to get her tongue tie snipped. I wasn’t worried about it. I’d read up on Google about the procedure and it didn’t sound too bad. But that was the first day I can truthfully say I was heartbroken for her. (No reflection on the doctor who was wonderful.) Imagine, standing beside the examining table, holding down my own child as she violently tossed and turned, fighting me. The doctor carefully gripping a sharp tool and aiming into her quaking mouth while she shrieked. And with a tiny slice, her blood ran. By the end, I was crying and wet with her blood as well.  I tell you, I ached to see her hurt. My mind told me it was what she needed. In my heart, I wanted it to be me on that table. I couldn’t wait for the procedure to be over so I could just hug and hold her and then we could get out of there.

God aches when He sees us hurt. If only there wasn’t this filthy thing called sin that gets us all tied up. Though we can’t see Him, often times because we’re so focused on the pain and clouded with tears, He’s beside us, holding us.  While we go through that painful experience, He’s there, hurting with us. It’s a good thing He’s God. He’s big enough to take it because there sure are a lot of aching people hurting in this world. What’s more, He’s looking forward, anxiously, eagerly, to that day when His Son can get us out of this terribly traumatic world; when we can finally be hugged and welcomed into Heaven.

And so, though there were sleepless nights (she started sleeping through the night before she was two months old!), and whiney days, Caiden and I are tremendously grateful that God answered our prayer for a child in His time. She has been and continues to be a beautiful revelation of our divine Father.

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Praying Away the Spirits

Last entry, I wrote about how the Christian community near our house came and shared their experiences with Caiden’s family. Recently, a similar opportunity arose for them to share once more.

Let’s mother was very sick in the hospital. The hospital released her and she went to stay with Let. The whole extended family went to his house to spend time with Grandma.

Friday evening, our group gathered for vespers at his house. Our friends again shared how God had changed their lives through healing and protection from evil. Many of the stories were ones they had shared previously at our home, but there was a new story.

The prior week a woman in the village had been showing signs of demon possession. She wasn’t sleeping for days at a time and at one point had pounced on her own housechurchmother, attempting to strangle her. Our church members, including Caiden, went to her house, spending much of a night praying for her. Finally she was able to sleep. The next day she showed a lot of improvement. (She is now joining our group for worship.)

At the end of the vespers program, Let’s mother as well as his pregnant sister-in-law requested to have their Buddhist strings cut off their wrists. This was a major step as they are the most ”vulnerable” to the spirits (being very sick and also being pregnant). It was wonderful to see that even from their first experience hearing about God, they were willing to give God a chance.

I really enjoy being a part of and supporting the group near our house. They can connect to people in our village in ways I can’t. Its evident God is working through them to share His Good News.

If you’re not part of a Christian community, I encourage you to join one. You will be blessed!

Editor’s note: Adara and Caiden have now been ministering among the Tai Kadai for over five years. Your continued support makes their ministry possible. To make a one-time gift or becoming a sustaining supporter, go to give.afmonline.org

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Sharing New Life Experiences

We’ve moved again-it’s becoming an annual thing. But we’re so excited about our new house. It’s smaller than our old one (homechurchless cleaning!), has a nice kitchen with a proper counter and sink, a big yard and a fence. God gave it to us at about half our previous rent! One more “feature” of our house is that it’s situated in the neighborhood of one of our church’s fastest growing groups. Though we’ve only been there two months, we’re already seen what a blessing it has been to move.

Caiden’s sister, brother-in-law and nephew surprised us with a visit a few weeks ago. This is only the second time he’s seen his sister in about 15 years. She ran away when she was a teenager and they only reconnected in the last two years.

During their visit, we held Wednesday evening prayer meeting at our house. They joined in group dinner followed by a lot of singing and then testimony time. Their family is animist and they got to hear experiences of former animists.

One young man was demon possessed at the time he was about to get married. After going to several spirit doctors and spending a lot of money, the family decided to just handcuff him to keep him under control. It took several people holding him down to be able to get the job done. Then a little old grandma in the neighborhood stopped by and prayed for him. Today, he is the leader of our group.

Other people shared how they used to believe is spirits which didn’t help them, but hurt them and how, now they’ve become Christian, the spirits can’t hurt them anymore.

Caiden’s sister and brother-in-law really showed interest. It was evident they enjoyed the singing and were intrigued by the sharing. Prayer meeting that evening lasted several hours; finally, after everyone had gone home, we were able to give them a Bible as well as Christian children’s books.

I’m thankful we can join these Christian believers near our new home. The group is growing quickly because these people have truly experienced God’s power and the Christian community. They see something so different from their previous lives and want others to experience it too.

Please pray for Caiden’s sister and brother-in-law as well as for our group.

Editor’s Note: Thank you for your continued prayers for Adara and Caiden. If you would like to support their work financially, you can make a one-time gift or be a monthly supporter by donating on-line at afmonline.org

 

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Prayer Unites Us Worldwide

It’s been quite a while since I’ve updated. Life has been flying by at hyper speed and I can’t believe it’s the end of November already!

Our Bible study group took a break while teachers returned to their home countries. We’ve regrouped. Our new, smaller groups seem to be more dedicated and more deeply touched by the studies. They’re taking things to heart and are making life changes.class

Nong, who I wrote about in June, did a persuasive presentation in his English class recently about why God is real, using the story of creation we had studied along with some scientific facts. He is also trying to live out the truths he’s learned such as not lying. His friendships are being affected because of his convictions, but he isn’t giving up. Pray for Nong as he searches deeply, that he will find proof for believe and the peace he craves.

Another lady, Molly, has voiced repeatedly that, since starting Bible studies, she’s had such explainable happiness. She has seen some answers to her prayers too. She prayed for a change in her nephew’s cell phone use habits. The next week, the teacher in his school banned cell phones use in the classroom. She has also been able to quit gambling, though she’s tried many times in the past. Please pray for Molly; she isn’t yet ready to stand for what’s she learning.

Bleu, one of Caiden’s former students, has poured himself into his new found beliefs. He’s sharing with his co-workers though they laugh at him. Between his all-day job and his all-night job, he can usually be found at the church reading. He is working Sabbaths currently but has been praying for a new job so that he can keep Sabbath and be able to come to church.

Pray for Bleu. He had an accident in the company car and is supporting himself, his brother in school and his parents at home on less than $100/month while his company deducts his pay. Pray for God to bless him financially, that he’ll be able to find a new job with Sabbath off, and that he won’t give up on God.

Ministry among the Tai Kadai is only possible through prayer and faith. Thank you for your prayers for our Bible students. May we ask one more prayer from you? Pray for Caiden and me as we jump on the parental bandwagon in April 2016.

 

Editor’s note: Prayers are a vital part of supporting the Caiden and Adara’s ministry. If you would like to support financially, please make a gift or become a monthly supporter at afmonline.org
 

 

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Investments for Eternity

I’ve been living and working among the Tai Kadai now for five years. Hmmmm….doesn’t seem like that long.  Looking back over the blog posts I see a change in myself and in many of the people I’ve met. I’ve shared stories about a few of them with you; perhaps you’d like to know what happened since the story.

Back in September 2010, I wrote about Georgina. She learned of Jesus’ love through our teachers. She decided, against her family’s wishes, to become a Christian and went on to attend our Christian University nearby. She has come back in the last two months to teach and minister in our school. We’re proud of our graduate and her life change and choices!

In January 2013, I wrote about Nisa, the little girl from my apartment complex. Though I’ve moved twice since then, we haven’t lost contact. She was the flower girl in my wedding and still comes to church with me every week. She recently joined Adventure club and is learning a lot about God. I’m also proud to say she’s learning a bit of English. I hear “hold on, Adara” all the time! Guess I should watch what I say!

In March 2014, we held a countrywide youth camp. One of young people who attended, Nut, came back to our city to join an intensive program that trains youth in mission for 6 months and then sends them back to their village for 6-plus months of service. This week Nut and 11 others were commissioned and will be taking what they’ve learned back to their villages. Pray for them!

Honey, who I’ve written about numerous times, got a new job so she works a lot. We don’t see her much anymore. A few weeks ago, one of our teachers felt a surprising boldness one day after praying and went and talked with Honey. That conversation has resulted in Honey starting to study the Bible with that teacher. Her first organized Bible study! Pray for a way to continue those Bible studies since that teacher is returning to her home country next week.

Noy from December 2014 has since moved to a small house outside of town. The family’s business is doing well and she’s gaining confidence to share the Gospel. She and another young lady started leading out in a Bible study in their community.

Lou from the June 10, 2015 post can see spirits and refers to them as her friends. The spirits were telling her that they were glad one of our teammates had gone home so she wouldn’t hear any more about Jesus. They also told her that if she would just surrender to them they would take away her pain. We as a team set aside a day to pray for her last month. Lou informed us that since that day, she could still hear them but she could no longer see them. She got scared and asked us to stop praying for her because she missed them.

I have so many memories of people who have come into my life since I came to work among the Tai Kadai; I’m thankful for each one. I’m also reminded of the time, energy and emotional investments in people we’ve met. Like any place and time in life, no matter the country, there are life investments.  These investments represent the value the people hold in our lives. Many of these investments also remind me that the task is so far from finished.

…but let us not lose heart in doing good; for in due time, if we do not faint, we shall reap. Galatians 6:9 (Darby Bible Translation)

You can support Adara and Caiden in continued ministry to the Tai Kadai with a one-time or monthly gift at give.afmonline.org

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