The Webb’s Update. Thursday 15th May 2014.
First of all Ann and I want to say a huge thank you to folks who have been praying for us and have spoken to us about your hopes and fears for us, as we have expressed ours for the future, as we prepare to go to Thailand.
We are excited to be serving the mission community there by helping to provide a quality education for the children of missionaries, who are attending Grace International School in Chiang Mai. Chris will be teaching the Bible, discipling and mentoring, and we will all be active in a local Church in Chiang Mai.
We are also daunted by the prospect and very grateful for your prayers and support.
Several of you have pledged support and have graciously asked us questions to clarify what it is we are doing. These questions have been very helpful as we have sought to clarify matters in our own minds and hearts. So I thought I would try to answer some of the questions, put to us, here:
- Why have you decided to teach again in a school? Isn’t pastoral ministry your calling?
At Christ’s College, I loved some of the teaching and hated other aspects. I also made some mistakes with behaviour management. Third culture kids will have many issues associated with their particular circumstances but I am excited about being able to teach the Bible and have the freedom to be a discipler and mentor rather than concentrating, in the majority, on behaviour management. We may return to pastoral ministry some time in the future but feel this is the path God is taking us on at the moment.
- Why Thailand?
For several years Ann and I have talked about teaching at Ukurumpa High School in Papua New Guinea and supported Wycliffe Bible translators. We did a week of exploratory training with them soon after we married. We gently pushed this door for a while but felt it was too remote. We looked at other areas of the world and discovered the school in Chiang Mai. We both have friends living and working there, Chris visited missionaries in western Thailand five years ago and Ann spent the first six months of her life in Bangkok. We’re not sure why God led us to this school but there have been many confirmations for us about it.
- How long do you intend to be there?
We are not sure. We plan for 3 to 5 years, but will be open to it being longer or shorter, as God leads.
Are you sure this is God’s plan for you?
We have been guided by many different circumstances. The doors closed to other ministry opportunities in the UK and my present part time work at the Lighthouse was planned to be short term, with a view to a longer term ministry from September this year. Although we were already looking into this job in Thailand, we never thought it would become a reality! Over time we have felt more and more clearly that this seems to be the right step. We also felt clearly led to this role at the Lighthouse and with George, and we have seen God provide for our needs as we have raised income through friends for this interim period.
- What are your hopes and fears?
Our hopes are that we can serve mission in South East Asia and live for Christ there. We hope we can fulfil a need that the school has to provide education to the children of missionaries. We hope that we can help the young people at the school not only to progress in their education but also to root their identity in Christ. We hope that our children will, at an early age, have impressed upon their hearts a passion for global mission. Our fears are in part due to lacking faith in certain areas. We are apprehensive about the short time-scale that we have to get everything ready to leave in late July. We fear that we might not be able to raise the funds. We have not had time for cross cultural training and orientation preparation. We have not had the funds to join a mission society. We pray that the Lord will help us to overcome these issues.
- What about your life and ministry now?
It’s awesome to be able to work with George and the gang at the Lighthouse. Today I sat at a meal cooked by an Algerian Muslim next to homeless, ex heroin addicts, secular materialists, lapsed Catholics and two Mormons. The ministry opens opportunities all the time to share the gospel with a huge variety of people. On Mondays and Tuesdays I work on a building site and the rest of the week I am involved in various ministries from pastoral visits to cold contact evangelism, to leading Alpha, to preaching and raising awareness and support for our future plans.
Ann and the children are all quite excited and up for an adventure. This is taking us well out of our comfort zones and we are having to trust God in so many ways, but we feel He is calling us to that as a family and look to Christ to supply all our needs despite our weaknesses and fears.
Many thanks again for your prayers, love and support.
Chris, Ann, Sam, Lois, Joe and Isaac Webb.