“No one puts… new wine into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.”– Matthew 9:17
As we prayed about 2023, God had 2 words for us: “Sabbath” for Sheryl, and “Focus” for Jason. Having been in ministry for quite a number of years, we believe that this is how God wants to put new wine into new wineskins in our lives.
What does this look like?
The right time finally came for Sheryl to go on a six-month sabbatical break from April to October! This will include going for debrief in Penang together, much needed for us as we served in the mission field through covid and many other challenges.
For Jason, he will be focusing on training youths in the area of digital skills and building deeper mentoring relationships with his staff and students in the social enterprise.
If you would like, you can read the stories behind “Sabbath” and “Focus” at the end of this newsletter 🙂
Be part of the new thing that God is doing in our lives
We do not receive salaries for our work as full-time missionaries and continue to depend on God and His people for provision. This year, we have $22,700 more to raise, which will cover our living and some ministry expenses here in Thailand. As God leads you, you can give a one-time love gift or a monthly gift. Do contact us on whatsapp/email if you’d like to give!
Prayer Needs: Please pray for…
- A rested heart in pursuing God’s direction for us this year
- God’s provision for our needs
- More discipline in taking care of our health
Thank you for journeying with us as we approach our sixth year in the mission field. We couldn’t have made it this far without your prayer and financial support.
Jason’s God-story: Focus
When I was praying about the new year in December 2022, I felt the excitement to explore new areas of work, and expand our social enterprise’s capacity. It became my vision for the new year; to explore and expand. More than just digital skills training and web design, our social enterprise can go into business development, social media marketing, and online courses. It just made so much sense! It just meant more platforms for relationships and discipleship.
Fast forward to the first day of 2023, as I was sitting on my porch and praying, I felt the Lord asking me to lean in and listen to His voice. All I heard was the word ‘Focus’. It was short but very clear. That was all it took for me to throw all my new year plans out of the window.
It was clear that God wanted me to dig deeper and build stronger foundations. I believe God wants me to dive deeper into discipleship and relationships through the training and web design platform. I felt silly for all the elaborate plans I made but even more so I felt happy that God spoke!
So this year, our social enterprise will be focusing on becoming better at our craft, building more Gospel relationships with youths and students, and being a greater blessing to the Kingdom of God. It’s just what we do, day in and day out. God will take care of the rest.
We are praying for more of our digital skills students to come on board with us as interns or part-time staff so that we can work together closely in a Christian work environment. This is what we live for and our heartbeat
Sheryl’s God-story: Sabbath
In early 2022, I started sensing that it was time for a sabbatical break. At that time, I was in my seventh year in full-time ministry, and the numerous transitions we’d been through over the past five years had been wearing me out. The fatigue was spilling over to my health, marriage, ministry and other important relationships. However, as the ministry leader with only two young staff in the community centre ministry team, I couldn’t afford to be away from ministry for an extended period of time. In fact, it seemed impossible.
God was also speaking to me about sending our two Thai staff to YWAM’s Discipleship Training School (DTS). The community centre’s leadership has always been praying for our Thai staff to be DTS-trained YWAMers so as to experience greater alignment in our ministry values and heartbeat. I continued praying into this matter, knowing that it’d be a big faith step for the staff to agree to go as it’d mean a six-month “disruption” in their lives. Fast forward, both of them have been accepted into DTS and will be starting their studies in April 2023! We are so proud of them as they walk in obedience to God’s leading.
As our ministry team prays together, we sense that God wants us to “hard reset”. Although radical, God had been challenging us to close our community centre temporarily for six months and to trust Him to take care of the community that we serve. With that, the timing is now right for me to go for a sabbatical.
With the support of our advisory board, home church, spiritual mentors and friends, I will be taking a six-month sabbatical from April to October. I’m a workaholic by nature, and not working for six months sounds exciting but also scary. It is a faith journey for me too and I have many fears. I’m challenged by Leviticus 25:4:
4 But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. 5 Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest.
In this period, Jason and I intend to go for a week-long debrief in Penang with a trusted couple mentor we know. I’m also hoping to volunteer at a local DTS as a Thai-English translator, travel a little, read a lot, pay more attention to my health, and just having unhurried time off to enjoy the presence of God in my life.
The team will come back in October 2023 to reflect on what God had been speaking to us over the 6 months we were away. With a blank slate and fresh revelation from God, we will re-envision ministry and walk courageously into the new things that God will entrust us to do through the community centre. We are potentially going to host a year-end mission team from Singapore and we are also praying to expand the team to include 2 DTS-trained, local male staff. I’m excited to experience the fruits of this faith journey of rest!