Dear friends and family,
What if instead of busyness as the barometer, we encouraged one another to work with greater self-awareness and to live grounded and at peace?From Burned out to Beloved, Bethany Hiser
Sheryl’s been on sabbatical since 1st April 2023 and it’s already been 2 months! What exactly does taking a sabbatical mean? It’s not just sleeping all day (although more sleep has been on the agenda), but it is an intentional time of slowing down and leaving my calendar open for God to bring uncommon opportunities to me. This has allowed me much more headspace to reflect on how ministry and life have been for me in the past 7 years. I also meet with a coach monthly, which has been instrumental in helping me examine the deep beliefs that drive my workaholism.
When false responsibility and false guilt are the primary driving forces in our lives, there will be lots of striving and worries. This can spill over to many areas of our lives, including ministry/work, health, and relationships. This was what was happening to us and as disciple-makers, it’s a life that we do not want to multiply into others! As orientate our lives around rest and work (not the other way around), we find ourselves even more fruitful than before. We have never been more present in our daily lives, especially in our marriage and friendships. Everything pivoted for us when we find rest in the power and provision of God.
Vacation in S. Korea
We absolutely enjoyed our holiday in S. Korea, our first holiday after the pandemic. It was such a sabbatical milestone for Sheryl to take herself out of familiar cultures and environments and rest her heart in a totally new place. As missionaries, we feel a subconscious guilt to be holidaying, but we are so thankful that our friends and supporters expressed their gladness as they see us go on vacation.
Ministry with Refugees
Even as we rest, God has been enlarging our tents. God has put the burden on our hearts to help refugees on the Thai border for years, and finally, the right time came when we were recently connected to a refugee ministry that is situated on the east border of Thailand, 5 hours away from Chiang Mai. It was a very emotional trip as we visited their church, school, and living quarters. We saw how their refugee status put them at great risk of being exploited and trafficked. God stirred our hearts to support their work in all ways that we can and we will continue to strengthen this partnership.
We went for a week-long debrief session in Penang with Les and Sandi in March 2023. We are thankful for the fruitful time of debriefing that we had with them, and we are thankful for how they make time for us even though they are such senior YWAM missionaries and experienced coaches.
In the debrief, we relooked at our journey on the mission field. We processed some of our emotions and responses and gained new perspectives on our experiences as missionaries. We also charted a roadmap for the future, as we realised some of the usual ways we were doing things will not serve us in the long-run. Here are some key takeaways:
- Be laser-focused on the vision that God has placed on our hearts
- Make time for things that matter, especially our key relationships
- Building an aligned team is very difficult but very important!
From that time of debrief we had in Penang, I (Jason) was greatly challenged to pray about what kind of team I want to build and to change my hiring approach. In the past, I subconsciously orientated towards skills and experience when I hire. However, God has been guiding me to prioritise alignment, vision, and heart. He has also challenged me to grow in my vision-casting skills and to trust Him in aligning the team towards the same goal.
During this time, we stopped putting up hiring notices and decided to trust God to bring the right people into our paths. As we waited, God brought us new people that are very aligned with and excited about our vision. This has been so key and transformational in our team-building process.
Where there is no vision, the people perish.Proverbs 29:18
We have raised more than 90% of our financial needs for the year. We thank God for His provision, and we want to say thank you to all who prayed with us and who gave financially!
Other than praying about how we can partner with other organisations working with displaced people at the borders, we are also in the midst of planting a youth church ministry here in our community. Partner with us with prayer:
- Pray for our pastoral candidate as he prepares himself for the role and gains clarity over his life calling.
- Pray for our ministry partners working with displaced people, that they continue to love those who are rejected and homeless.
- Pray for us as we take on different kinds of work, that we will serve from rest and faith