Happy 50th anniversary, Bruce and Dorothy Hayward! What beautiful examples of godly character and spirit this missionary couple has modeled throughout their lives.
Setting up their celebration, however, proved to be more challenging than expected. As we searched for a restaurant in which to hold their 50th-anniversary celebration, the first place we went to check out seemed perfect, and I felt an instant connection with the owner. It is amazing how God is constantly bringing people our way. However, we chose a different restaurant that was significantly cheaper and within our budget. It was a good decision, but I was sad about not working with the owner of the first restaurant.
On the night before the event, we received a message from the venue with a video showing how the rain had flooded the restaurant. This message came Saturday right after we had finished our sundown worship. We quickly asked a Thai friend to help us find a new venue while our family drove to the first restaurant.
The owner warmly greeted us, and we explained our situation and our budget. We needed a place for 80 people with a vegetarian menu for half the budget she had originally quoted us. The immediate response was no, they couldn’t do it for that price. We were sad to hear she couldn’t do it, though we weren’t surprised.
At this point, it was late, and my girls were hungry. It was raining, so we just stayed and ate there. The owner came and sat with us during our meal, talked about our event the next day, and offered us a deal that fit our budget. We were delighted and relieved to go home with a place that was perfect—it was outside, but with a roof in case it rains. God, as always, had provided.
Our event was beautiful. The international church came together for the first time in many months since we could not meet in the church because of government guidelines for COVID-19 safety. We had been taking turns meeting at church. On some Sabbaths, only Thais and others attended.
The Hayward’s 50th anniversary provided a great opportunity for the church to come together, not just for the celebration but also for the preparations. We were also in awe at God’s power and care when doors were closing so suddenly.
I am also thankful for this event because, as mentioned at the beginning, I had felt an instant connection with the owner. Two weeks after the celebration, she sent me a message and asked me if I would teach her daughter English. She also shared with me quite a bit of her life story, and I am seeing a friendship in the making. Her little girl has been to my house several times for class, and I sent the mom a message today from quarantine, telling her how much we are looking forward to seeing her soon. She replied how happy she is that we are back and how much her daughter needs a friend.
God is always bringing people our way. We just need to be open to see where He is at work and join Him. Thank you for your prayers and support.