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OUR HOME ASSIGNMENT IS 8 MONTHS AWAY!!
For details on our Home Assignment schedule for 2021, please scroll all the way to the end.
Hope to see y'all soon!

Hello, 2021!

Word of the Year

Instead of having New Year's Resolutions, we pick out a word every year to "live out." Last year was the word, "Intentionality." We prayed that whatever we did, we did it with purpose. We did not want to go through the motions, check-off lists, and pat ourselves on the back. For our first year in Thailand, we decided that we wanted 2020 to be a year of building relationships, getting out of our comfort zones, and active personal growth.

This year, our word is "Mystery."

For this year, we want to be courageous enough to uncover the mysteries around us: about our friendships, each other, our work, our growing family, our God... to not be afraid to ask questions!
But also, we pray that we are humble enough to embrace the mystery, to accept the things we cannot understand, and be okay with it. To trust the people around us, the environment we are in, and especially trust our God. 

What is your word that you would live out in 2021?
One Small Step for Man...

There are two badminton courts where Terence plays:
  • Tiyaroj: It used to be Eksiam, but due to the pandemic, the court closed, so the team moved to this new location. This has been our initial outreach. Our church, Oikos, has partnered with this team. The team is mostly over 40 years old, and treat each other like family. They play badminton for fellowship not for competition.
  • Ramintra (Rama 99): We tried this court out as well because it was nearby. Terence is the only one from Oikos who comes here. The average age is around 25 years old. The players are highly competitive and barely speak to each other. The games are intense.
     "[Tao, are you going to Tiyaroj tonight?]" Pi Pai asked Terence.
     "No, I don't think so. I forgot to sign up." Terence said. Ingrid assumed that he was taking a break after hurting his foot at his last game. However, when Pi Pai left, Terence admitted that he did not feel like going to Tiyaroj that night.
     "I feel... bored." he expressed. "It sounds so selfish, but I just want to play at Rama tonight." Ingrid was silent for a moment.
     "I don't think you're bored," she said, "I think you're stuck. You have reached a stopping point with Tiyaroj. They trust you... they respect you... we are part of their family now...but... we still can't get to the next step of our ministry. We were so blessed with Team Elite (badminton team back in the Philippines). I hate to sound like I don't believe God can--because He can--but we can't just expect lightning to strike twice, right?"
     Terence nodded, "I think you are right," he said, "I've been feeling really discouraged. We had been trying to invite Pi Jum and Pi Tong over for dinner, but it keeps getting postponed. Same thing with Pi Ei and Pi Ning..." Terence looked at his badminton bag. "I know I should go to Tiyaroj, and they probably will let me play even if I didn't sign up... but..."
      "But you still want to play at Rama?" Ingrid asked. Terence nodded with sunken shoulders. 
     "Pi Pai, Pi Black, and Ajan Phanom are there," Terence went on, not knowing if he was trying to convince Ingrid to let him go or convince himself of not feeling guilty, "They are able to have much deeper connections than me." 
     "Palangga Ko, go to Rama tonight." 
     "Really? Why?"
     "For some reason, you have this desire to go." Ingrid shrugged her shoulders, "Maybe God will use it. Maybe God wants you there." After a moment, Ingrid opened her BIble and turned to John 4:4. She read it aloud, "[Jesus] had to go through Samaria." Ingrid explained how the Jews often took a route around Samaria to get to Galilee, but still, Jesus felt like he had to go. His disciples probably did not understand why Jesus felt that he must take this route but followed Him anyway. It was in Samaria where he encountered the Samaritan woman, and because of this encounter, many believed. "I may not understand it, but if you feel like you must go, then you must go, no? Reilee and I will pray for you here."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      After biking from his house, Terence entered Ramintra. He was shocked to see only a few people there. Among those people were two familiar faces: Pi Kaseem and Pi Suchada.
     Pi Suchada was the former queue master of the Tiyaroj team, but after a feud, left the team with her husband. After months of not hearing from them, there they were! They were playing at Ramintra this very night!
      When they saw Terence, they were as excited as he was. They immediately asked for a game. After their match, they sat at their place, but Terence felt a pull to go talk with them. He asked how they were doing. 
Terence updated them on his family, showing pictures and videos of Jubilee. They teared up at the videos of the little baby they last saw sleeping in the court, now walking around. When Terence announced Ingrid's second pregnancy, they became so happy. They admitted to Terence that they still had no children after years of trying and multiple doctor visits. However, they have now come to accept their lives as a family of two.
     Terence took the opportunity to share the miracle of having Jubilee. He shared how the doctors did not think we could get pregnant. He explained that this pregnancy was also a miracle from God. 
     "Yes, it is miracle from God," Pi Suchada agreed. They were thankful for Terence sharing his testimony, and after more small talk, went off to play more matches.
Terence updated Ingrid through the phone.

God is good. I hope you get the chance to pray with them.

Maybe we can invite them over and pray with them together? We can prepare a prayer in Thai.

I think now. 
Now? Woooo...I'm nervous!

We need to trust that the Holy Spirit will speak through you and language will not be an issue. 
 
Maybe I can video call you in?

I think you need to do this, Palangga Ko. Intimate things are not meant to be shared on a screen.
 
They may play for a long time. 

That's okay. 
I may come home late

That's okay. 
It's too loud in here. 

Wait for them outside. They have to leave sometime.

      Terence was running out of excuses. He felt the Holy Spirit speak to him. Before I came here, God was already here. He's been working here long before me.
     Terence waited for the games to end. He saw the couple packing up, and walked out with them. When they reached outside, Terence mustered up his courage and asked, "Is it okay if I pray for you?" They were confused at first, but agreed.
      Terence prayed a simple prayer in English, and as he finished, they thanked him. Pi Suchada admitted how much she missed Tiyaroj. She explained how difficult it was to leave after the feud and expressed regret. 
      Terence invited them to dinner at his house sometime, and they agreed only if he and his family could come to their house, too.
     Wow. Ingrid was right. I thought I was being selfish coming here, but God indeed is preparing the way. 
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,"
- Colossians 3:23

Everything we do, we want it to be the best of our ability. Every detail, every piece of content, every video, design, lesson we create, we do not do to please our church leaders, but to please the Lord.

However, we aren't going to lie. This month has been truly testing us on this oath we have taken. Although we want to produce the best we can, it is difficult to keep up quality with quantity. We have been crazy at work with our CIC/Field work and it has been both exciting and exhausting!

As we end our year of Language Study, we move onto more "office" work. We have been invited to be a part of the board of our church as Missionary Advisors. We have been tasked as official Church Planters by the Thailand District.
Not only that, we are now actively working alongside Steve Barber, our Field Communications Coordinator and Dr. Bill Kwon, our Field Strategy Coordinator. We are still trying to understand workflow, responsibility duties, clear expectations, and clear communication for our new little media team.

We are getting ready to release SEA Field's first newsletter, so if you are interested in being a subscriber, please let us know! Ingrid has been hard at work in the design area, designing two logos and a report in a week. Please pray for us as we take on more assignments.

We are also still working on our classes for the English Mobile Education Program, however, there has been little enrollment. With little enrollment, there is little enthusiasm to continue spending great time and energy to create interesting lesson plans and videos. Please pray that we remain faithful to continue to work on these projects even if no one sees or uses them. May the verse hold true: to work for the Lord instead of man.
(We got our new mailing address! Scroll all the way to the bottom) 

Where to Go from Here?

In Pixar's Inside Out, we are introduced to the five main emotions controlling an 11-year-old girl named Riley: Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust. Riley's family moves out of state and it takes a huge toll on her. Joy and Sadness accidentally get lost in her mind and must find a way back to the Emotions' Headquarters. This leaves Anger, Disgust and Fear in control of the preteen girl. No matter how hard they try, they cannot make Riley happy like Joy, so they decide to make Riley run away from home. When the remaining three emotions realize what they've done, they try to undo their mistake... and fail. Their control board will no longer respond to any Emotion. They can't make Riley feel anything. Riley has entered Depression.

We don't want to spoil the whole movie, but the way out of Riley's Depression is going to make you want to bring a box of tissues. If you have not seen this movie, please go and watch it. It is a beautiful film that creatively explains complex emotional issues. 

The way the Emotions felt helplessly watching their girl succum to Depression is kind of how we are feeling now: We feel stuck. We wish we can download the Thai language into our brains like Neo downloads Kung Fu in The Matrix (another movie reference, sorry). We wish one of our badminton teammates meets God in a vision, converts right away, feels called to pastor, and starts a church. We wish our CIC/Field work did not require any editing or lectures. We wish we could create deep relationships here while juggling our friendships back home.

But we can't. We're stuck. 
The controls are jammed. They won't respond to our demands. We are losing our minds with language learning. We are losing our relationships with friends at home. Honestly, we are losing our patience with God. 

This is not to say we haven't had victories. Our Field is doing amazing things, but we have been feeling stuck.

This is where our Word of the Year comes into play: Mystery.

Sometimes, we have zero control.
Sometimes, we have zero help.
Sometimes, we have zero clue why we are faced with these hardships. 

And that's okay. It's okay to feel stuck. God can handle our frustrations, impatience, and our inabilities. 

It's okay. 
 
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.
- 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Goodbye, Baby! Hello, Toddler!

Raise the alarms! Baby is on the loose! The world is open and bigger than ever!

We now have a walker! It has been as troublesome as we expected it to be, but we love her little penguin walk. She has been able to take baby steps since November but preferred crawling. Now, she prefers walking. 

She enjoys "going to the pool" (water in a basin) and going to the badminton court. She enjoys drawing, throwing her toys everywhere, waving newly folded laundry, and staring at the glow-in-the-dark stars Papa has put up in her room at night.  

Say, "Cheese!"

In case you cannot see, the picture to the right is the face of Baby Lustaña #2. 

As our family grows, our expenses grow. During 2020, the US government put a hold on student loan payments due to the country's economy suffering under the pandemic. We have been blessed by this year-long hold because Ingrid has not had to pay her student loans. The money we would have spent on her loans, we were able to buy essential items for Reilee's first year. Now that the deferment is over, we have been struggling if we should just apply for another deferment for Baby #2... or trust God's provision. 
 
We have explored multiple avenues for loan forgiveness since we work for a non-profit as volunteer employees, but at this time, we do not qualify. We ask for God's provision and wisdom during this time. 

PRAYER REQUESTS

PRAISE ~ Language Study: Terence was able to preach her first sermon in Thai! This is a huge accomplishment for any missionary in any field who is learning a foreign language. We are so proud of him! Ingrid is up next to preach in Thai. Continue to pray for us as we learn to share God's Word in this beautiful language.

PRAYER ~ Language Study: Also, we will be taking the Thai proficiency exam in March 2021.  Please pray for our language studies and for this exam!

Badminton Outreach: We are trying to invite our badminton friends to activities beyond the court. Trying to invite the younger ones to coffee or the movies, the older ones over to our house for get-togethers... We want to share more life with them outside of badminton. We have been planting the seeds, but only the Lord can make them grow. Please pray that God will make Himself known to our friends.

Work: As we mentioned above, work has been getting more and more exciting and exhausting. Pray for our endurance so we can continue to work with all our heart for the Lord. Pray also that we don't get trapped going through the motions.
Click here to check out which days are still open for Home Assignment 2021!

We're Coming Home!

We created a quick guide of what our Home Assignment will look like below. The districts shown are where people have verbally invited us. USA districts (LA, Northwest, Rocky Mt., Kansas, Virginia, Southern Florida, Florida) will be in late 2021 and Philippine districts (Central Visayas, Western Mindanao, Southern Tagalog, Metro Manila) will be in early 2022

Above is a button that will lead you to a GoogleSheets. It will show you our current schedule of which days are booked already. 

If a day you wanted has already been taken, we're sorry! We are on a first-come, first-serve basis. However, there are some options available for you. 

1. A mission service does not need to be on a Sunday morning. We have seen some churches that invited us to their small groups. Churches have opened up opportunities for us to connect with their congregation through game nights. One church just hosted a BBQ lunch at someone's house where we shared. Prayer meetings, Men's breakfast, youth groups, children's camps... We don't need to limit God's message to a Sunday morning! 

2. We can prerecord a message for your church. Thanks to the COVID, our churches have had to sink or swim when it comes to technology. We thank God that many of our churches have been able to swim through this pandemic. If you feel a prerecorded message is better for your church, please let us know. 

Don't wait! It's only a few months away! Email us right away! We can't wait to see you all again!

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