The Zion Project
We have come to the season of seeing a breakthrough in the sustainability project that we started while in Isaan. While living in Noom’s village in Isaan, we started a sustainability project, some of which failed. Plants that we planted either died or didn’t grow how we expected. The soil (if you can call it that!) wasn’t ready. Anyone who visited us while we were living in the village would know what I mean. The soil wasn’t even like soil – it was sand. It occurred to us that it was neither the place nor the time to see that vision come to life. We let it go. However, we remained confused. God had placed this vision in our hearts, hadn’t He? Why didn’t He make it happen? We were even more confused when He called us out of Isaan for a season. We built a life, a house, we bought land, and we started a ministry. How could we just let that all go? What’s more, He called us to build there, and He provided for us there, only to call us away for this season. Is it now to go to waste? We want to be good stewards of what He has given us!
We’ve been continuously asking these questions. Last night, He answered me through some “simple” verses: “Who has known the ways of the Lord?” (Rom 11:34) Nothing is ever wasted. What was built housed us while we were there, it was used to reach the community – God has divine purposes. Nothing is ever wasted with Him (1 Cor 15:58). He said this is not the end of ministry in Noom’s village. He said He will provide for us while we’re in Chiang Rai, and that yes, this season is longer than we were originally thinking when we left Isaan. Yes, He provided a house for us in Noom’s village and He will provide a place for us here, too. We are never too far from His provision. I write these because I need to speak them over myself in order to keep faith that He is still providing for us. I need to be transparent and accountable to others.
When He called us to Chiang Rai, He used many people on multiple occasions to confirm to us that His call was similar to when He called Abraham (Gen 12). That this was like leaving the land of our forefathers and coming to the Promised Land. Abraham had everything he needed in the land he was living. But God’s call on Abraham’s life to leave the land of his forefathers and go to the land promised for Him meant leaving all that behind. This was spoken over us at least twice during the Leadership Development Course we did last year but we didn’t realize what it meant. It was then spoken to Noom on two different occasions just one day apart in early February – Promises about coming into the Promised Land, reassurance that walking in the wilderness won’t be forever, reassurances that uprooting our kids and walking in the wilderness without knowing our destination will teach them to walk in God’s way and not be a negative experience for them.
So what is this vision that He placed on our hearts and we laid down so many years ago? It is the vision to use agriculture and farming to be self-sustainable and to provide a way for Thai missionaries to also be self-sustainable. We are coming into a time where raising funds for ministry is hard work. People leave the field due to lack of support. Thais give up on seeing their visions come to life because they have a family to feed. We have been tempted for years to lay down our vision and get paid jobs so we can support ourselves and our family. Now don’t get me wrong – we are ALL FOR bringing God into the workplace, and discipling Thais as they bring God into the workplace! It’s just not what He’s called us to do in this season.
So far, God has provided us with land (belonging to a local pastor) that we can use to start seeing this vision happen. We have been offered a space on this land to build a small house for our family to live in. God has already sent us one worker who believes in this vision and wants to help us take it on. The soil is good…and ready. The breakthrough in this sustainability project is that we finally get to see it happen. Oh and I forgot to mention, the local pastor who owns the land (which covers a small mountain) doesn’t only have a vision to see it used to raise up Thai leaders through sustainability, BUT many years ago he also named this land Zion, which is the land of promise. Could this be the Promised Land that God told us He would bring us to?