Go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlsKcP27Wj4&t=6777s to see Jen deliver the commencement address to Adrianne’s class at Grace International School in Thailand. Class of 2019.
This wordpress installation is so old I can’t insert pictures or videos anymore. Will be updating Dec of 2019. 🙂
Click on the link to read our Christmas 2017 update. It was an insanely busy, hard and great year all at the same time.Merry Christmas
We just kicked off our pilot year of CEO Shortcut a couple of weeks ago. We have eight students (two of whom brought their five kids) who are living in a YWAM discipleship facility that we are renting out. So far we have had all the crazy things that come with starting something new overseas; lost passports, health issues, the fun of living in community and at the same time the start of some really great things as well. On Sunday I was driving back from basketball with one of our students, Sam, and he said, “I feel like I know everyone so well already. I can’t believe it’s only been two weeks.” Two down, 33 more to go until graduation.
A couple of times each week we are taking them through the Gospel Transformation study. Mornings are filled with some sort of discipleship teaching from me or guest lecturers and in the afternoon each student is working on building a business that enables them to provide for themselves and further the Kingdom in whatever way they feel most called.
Pray for God to be at work in each of their lives and mine as well.
Adrianne wrote out an update of her mission’s trip to Albania this summer. You can click on the link below to read the report it. She enjoyed being able to see God use her in the lives of others. Thanks so much for all of you who were part of praying and supporting her trip.
(A story from our 3rd year in Thailand)
I dropped off my friends motorcycle at a Shop and left the equivalent of about $120 in Khun A’s hands to change the registration. My friend, Rick, ended up picking up his motorcycle and paying for the work that I had already prepaid. A couple of days later I went by to pick up my $120 and Khun A had no recollection of me leaving it with him.
He went and checked his book that he “usually” writes down when he gets money from someone but didn’t have an entry in it. I told him it wasn’t right and he said we should both take some time to see if we could remember our story differently. I think that was Thai for, “I don’t like this situation and I would like it to be over for now.”
That was over a week ago. Yesterday I was thinking of stopping by the shop to see if he remembered me giving him the money but as I stopped in front of the store I decided to keep on driving. Last night before dinner my friend Rich asked if I could drive him over to Khun A’s shop so that he could pick up his moped. As I was driving over I felt God whispering “Humble” in my ear and I knew what he was saying. I had thought earlier as I drove away from Khun A’s shop that pride was the reason I never wanted to use Khun A’s services again. I felt that I had been taken advantage of and my pride was causing me to say I would find a new mechanic and a new person to do my registration each year.
As I dropped off Rich, I asked Khun A to put air in my tires and he realized that there was plastic burning on the muffler and as he fixed that he showed me that there was a dangerous split in the rear tire. So I humbled myself and asked him to change the tire and change the oil while he was at it.
God’s whisper caused me to be kind instead of forcing my own outcome. The downside of an extra measure of a desire for Justice is that I often fight for my own Justice instead of fighting for the things that are really important. In this case my own humility and the eternal destiny of Khun A are far more important battles than whether or not I have another $120 in my pocket. Pride could have easily led me to drive away without giving Khun A any more business which would have been foolish and disobedient to the Lord.
I know that one of my colleagues here has had Khun A over to his house and share the message of the good news of Jesus Christ with him. This morning I woke up thanking God for selling me another helping of humility for $120 and begging him to open Khun A’s eyes to his need for Jesus.
2015 is here. I don’t know why, but when I wrote 2015 in my journal yesterday it made me happy. I am excited for the year to come and the things that God has for us. Jen wrote a quick update on our family and the year we have just been through. If you’d like to check it out click on the picture to see the PDF
Or Click Here
All in a days work – Buddy is in Hong Kong – Immigration early this morning only to find out “Your number will be called around 3 p.m.” – which was thoughtful of them to let me know – it’s raining for a swimming party and this just happened…
I guess that’s what it takes to make me blog these days… 😉
Our lives have/are full – maybe too full – DTS has been wonderful and God is changing lives by rooting out Satan’s lies and replacing them with truth – it’s what we live for. And we thank God for it.
It’s not happened without running into some serious potholes – relationally, emotionally, spiritually, physically – you name it, I’m pretty sure we’ve stepped on a rough patch in any category. And today, by God’s grace, I realized I’ve been slipping back into a pesky habit of mine….clinging to something in the future – instead of to Christ.
We head back to the US this Christmas for a quick, cold break – to see the dearest of family and friends…and suddenly, I’ve discovered that my hope is resting far more securely in a plane ticket than the truth that Christ can make my heart full, fresh and clean (even today!). These types of hope only become dreadful because while we have the best of family and friends, they just can’t help this discontentment or misplaced hopeful satisfaction.
It’s back to the drawing board this morning for me…I wonder who this DTS is really for..? 🙂
Love you all – heaps.
Jen for us
A lot of life intersections lately have brought up the old familiar theme of reputation. The question itself is a tricky one – asking me to consider what others think of me. That’s some slippery ground….
The older we get the more we see and experience reputations falling down all around us. It may be as benign as a grammar elitist switching a “they’re” for a “their” and can range to a family broken apart by any sundry of sin. As a counselor, I’m always shocked that people think they are going to tell me some amazingly clever sin that I’ve never heard before. (Haven’t they read the Old Testament?) In reality, people aren’t so worried about my hearing a sordid tale of sin, they are petrified that I will be forced into revising their ever-precious reputation. Brace yourself for this counselor, “I’m not who you thought I was!”
And what’s this about “they?”…I have yet to walk into a teaching experience that isn’t prefaced by a half hour of confessing that my heart is wrapped up way too much in my reputation as a teacher than it is about Jesus’ work on the cross. Or when I get a report card that I did no work for (and in Adrianne’s case, tried to subvert!), and instantly cozy up to some fictitious place in my happy world that is reserved for parents of smart people. Reputations are Turkish Delight.
It happens all the time…each step in our life is slowly building a reputation for ourselves. Most of the words translated in the Bible use the word “precious”, “rare”, “weighty” and “influential” to try and define the word we read as “reputation”. Certainly, a good reputation is more precious that most anything. When Paul talks describes Jesus as having “no reputation”, the word actually means “to be emptied”- the One whose reputation was spotless, decided to empty it out. On the other hand, I’m busy filling up a reputation bag with cheese wheels and hopeful notions of what I think I am in my best moments.
My delusions are rectified only by the belief that my reputation rests SOLEY on the work of Jesus Christ and it’s declaration of His love for sinners. One day I will stop teaching, stop being able to feed loads of people in my house, even care for myself. I will lose everything possible to build my reputation upon. In that moment, all I will have left is a reputation built on the Cross that will, by grace alone, usher me into eternity.
At best, I have been considered kind, generous, and a good teacher. At worst, I am derisive, snarky, and aloof. If I live out of either of those very accurate moments, I ride a roller coaster of pride and punitive self-abasement. Neither is good for my soul, or anyone else’s for that matter…
What to do with these reputation run-ins? Jesus provided the ultimate example. Empty them out. Ditch the great teacher, awesome friend, missionary (gasp!) rep and empty everything till all that stands is the Cross. It is only then that we can “fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith”.
To God be the Glory forever.
Last night at our Cadence meeting, I felt utterly loved and cared for because Sandra appeased my writing utensil fetish. As the pencils were passed around, they were sharpened to the finest point possible. When it comes to writing – a sharp pencil can cause me to glance at my Precision v5 Pilot with an “I-never-knew-you” look. It made me start thinking about how crisp and clean a sharp pencil writes – it handles your every move and shades exactly right….until it goes dull – at which point, I submit it to the grind of razors and slough off everything about it that I so recently loved.
Pencils are funny like that, and now you know how very snobby I am when it comes to writing utensils…Many of you (Kristen) have also been very snobby about my lack of blogging. Grooves are hard to find at times, and though we have definitely found one here, what has been difficult is actually writing about it. And here’s why: the stuff that is so magically delicious to our soul right now just can’t be put on a blog. We have been blessed with unbelievable influential interactions, but nobody has said, “Hey – put that on your blog!”…we have been privy to amazing justice in the human trafficking world that cannot be broadcast on the Internet…Buddy has been stricken with parasites and though the details of that are partially humorous – most of you would prefer less, rather than more, information! And hence, the months of silence. I’m struck by how much you – our supporters and friends – must choose to trust us in these silent times…and it has made me so very grateful. Please know that our silence does not mean that our hearts are far away, they are just quiet (which is usually rare for Rathmells, I understand!)
Last tidbit, this morning I woke up early and thought “Am I sick?”, “Can I get up now?”, “Did I sleep enough?” and I realized another thing happening in this house – Buddy’s constant attentiveness to his body is impacting me – No, I’m not sick, yes, I can get up and yes, I did sleep enough. As I thought more clearly, I began to realize that I’m asking questions that don’t even pertain to me, but because they have been the focal point of my sweet husband’s life for 2.5 months, I am taking them on as mine. Funny how that happens. It is so very easy to take on something that isn’t mine when you are in the throes of a situation – a fine line between being one with Buddy and yet understanding that I am not the one with parasites!
Solomon said it best – people can sharpen each other and people can be dulled by each other – our interactions can cause us to be sharp like my dearly loved pencil or just the opposite. Never, ever, underestimate the power of influence – good or bad.
We find ourselves so grateful for your sharpening love and prayers on our behalf.
We love you!
Jen & Buddy