It’s so wonderful to know that our God sees just what we need, both now and in the distant future, and that He makes provision for those unknown needs far in advance! Again and again, we have seen this repeated in big and small ways. I want to give a shout of praise to God for doing it again by sending us two special student missionaries, Rachel Bourque and Vanessa Mezalira!
In Rachel, God sent us a long-term, dependable teacher who was able to help in almost every way. She can play the piano and flute, she can sing, and she was willing to learn to teach saxophone, ukulele and violin. Add to that choir and Pathfinder directing and helping with our media ministry. Rachel has been a great help to God’s cause here in Khon Kaen. What’s more, God placed in her heart from the very beginning the desire to stay and help us for two years instead of the typical one-year term. Of course, He knew what none of us could—that COVID-19 would make it nearly impossible to get a new team of student missionaries into Thailand in 2020. So, we praise God who saw our student-missions crisis coming and provided Rachel to us for two years!
We thought we knew what we were getting when Vanessa Mezalira arrived—an SM to help our youth ministry and teach at Peace Music Academy. She could play the violin, some ukulele and piano. We were told that her greatest strength was her experience with Pathfinders and her eagerness to lead our newly formed Khon Kaen Dino Pathfinder Club.
Vanessa’s placement with our music-school ministry was a bit out of the ordinary. Unlike our other SM music teachers, Vanessa was not studying music, but architecture.
But I praise God that AFM leadership was willing to think outside the box and go along with the blessing God had planned, because during this last year, our team realized we had a big need for someone with architectural know-how. You see, last year it became painfully clear (after years of unsuccessful negotiations with our future neighbors) that the current road to the property where we will have our new school and ministry center—a long, single-lane, unpaved, dead-end drive—would never be granted permission for widening to two lanes. At the time of the property purchase, we had been assured that it would be widened, but the promised widening never happened. Now the only other option is to purchase an adjacent piece of land with frontage on another road, wider and well-traveled, that will give our school and ministry center all the visibility and ease of access we need.
But this new approach meant that we needed to shift the location and orientation of our building plans. Trusting that God would provide the extra $100,000 needed to purchase this new plot of land, we wondered how exactly we should develop the land. For all of these needs and more, Vanessa came to our aid with her architectural skills, helping us envision a new plan with a beautiful entrance sign by our driveway and a multi-purpose sports field where our church members and Pathfinders could do their marching activities and sports socials. There would be a beautiful sitting garden, where parents could visit as they watch their kids play. And finally, behind all that would be our music school and ministry center with sufficient parking for all. Vanessa came up with such a beautiful plan! I wish you could all see the 3D animations she and her sister (also a professional architect) prepared for us free of charge! It’s beyond all that we had originally dreamed, and we see God’s hand in it.
Through both Rachel and Vanessa (not to mention all our former teammates and SMs over the years), God has faithfully provided people with the perfect skillsets and experience we have needed at every step. And so we confidently pray and trust that He will continue to provide all that we need at just the time we need it.
Could it be that you, with your unique skills, might be God’s next chosen instrument to help raise our outreach to the next level? I do hope so!
For the rest of you who cannot help us in person, here’s a big thank-you for continuing to be a part of our team, supporting and praying for us and our teammates here in Thailand. Your prayers and generous support have made this ministry all that it is. We pray that God will provide the rest of the funds we need to achieve this next step in our gospel outreach here in Khon Kaen, Thailand. Thank you!