Guys. Guys.

There are
less than 100 days
until our Home Assignment begins!

Are you freaking out? Because we are!

California, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Kansas, Florida, and the Philippines.

From Sunday services to morning coffee, we want to connect with you! Reply to this email and let's meet up in a few months!
The courts opened for the first time in months, and Terence was one of the first players to show up. But he wasn't the only One.


God is on the move. 

In the one month the courts have been opened, there have been so many praises and God moments. It is far too long to share on this newsletter. We pray we get the chance to share in person with you this Fall/Winter.
Not scheduled to meet us? Just reply to this email. Even if it's just to meet for coffee to catch up.  After almost 2 years of the pandemic, I think we all deserve to reconnect.

So I (Ingrid) am going to share a different story.

A Seasoning for Everything

If you know me, you know I cannot cook. This isn't humility, this is a sad truth. I have exploded 3 microwaves, cleared the house of toxic fumes, and set fire to a pot of water. Don't ask me how. I am THAT talented. At potlucks, I always offer to buy drinks to save everyone from whatever poison I might accidentally conjure. 

When Terence says to his teammates that his wife is from America, they request many types of American food for me to cook. Meatloaf, hamburgers, lasagna... And I just sweetly smile and switch the subject.

This past month, God has been at work in one of Terence's teammates. This young man's name is "Guide." So I decided to try to make him the food he requested: hamburgers. 

There was no fire. There was no blood. It took me four hours to make four hamburgers. I wrapped them and placed them in a container to keep them warm. Terence packed the container in his bag to take to the court while I stayed home and put the kids to bed.
When Terence came home, he dropped his bag and stared at me with a huge grin. "Ingrid, those hamburgers were a stroke of genius.
"I told Nong Guide that my wife made us hamburgers to eat after the game. He was so excited!

"After we were done playing for the night, we sat down to eat. Everyone was watching us eat the hamburgers. Nong Nai was there too so I offered him your third hamburger. And Mr. A (owner of the court) was there, so I gave him the fourth. He shared it with his sister.

Nong Guide asked me, "'How is work, P'Tao?'
"'I got a new job,' I said, 'and my family and I were supposed to go to Chiang Mai for a visit. But the lockdown happened. We need to visit our co-workers to encourage them.'

"'Visit them?' he said, 'Why is it important?'

"'Relationships are important to us and they are more than coworkers, they are also our friends. The world is going through a lot of challenges, and working, especially at this time, is very difficult and lonely. We need to let them know they are not alone.'

"The court was closing and everyone was packing up to leave. But as they gathered their things, I noticed other people watching us eat the hamburgers and listening to our conversation. 

"So I raised my voice, 'When Jesus came into this world He invested time and words of encouragement to His disciples. His disciples invested in their disciples and so on. Following Jesus during their time was extremely difficult. That is why encouraging them went a long way.'
"Nong Nai and Nong Guide asked me, 'How was it difficult?'

"I noticed more people stopping by to listen to what I was saying.

"'The work that they did would often cost them their lives. Their work was following Jesus and telling others about His story. But a lot of people didn't like their story. So they hurt them and put them and jail. But they didn't stop because they believed in Jesus and His cause. All but one of Jesus' disciples died horrible deaths. We share the same work of sharing the story of Jesus. So... maybe I might die also. Haha...'

"I tried to make it a little light at the end because they looked so scared. 'You will die?!' They asked.
"'Well, maybe not, but that is how much we believe in Jesus. That is how important we believe our work is; We are willing to die for Jesus and His message.'

"Everyone went quiet. I wanted to break the ice a bit and leave on a good note. As much as I wanted to share more, I knew it wasn't the right time.

'Well, let me know if you have questions and I'll be happy to answer them. It's getting late, but in our faith, we pray for each other before we part ways. May I pray for you all?'

"And I prayed for them. 

"If it wasn't for your hamburgers, I don't think people would have stopped and listened. Can you make cookies next time?"

Building a Foundation

“The NYI is the hands and feet of the church.”

Having formerly served in both district and local NYI leadership in the Philippines, these words couldn’t ring truer to us. With these years of experience, we have learned that:

The NYI is like an unstoppable train. No matter what hurdles, barriers, and challenges are thrown at them, they always find a way to break through.

The NYI is like an unquenchable flame that spreads like wildfire. When their passions are ignited, there’s no way of containing them.

For the first time ever, we were able to meet some of our NYI leaders in a virtual meeting. Delegated from Myanmar, Thailand, and CAA3 attended and we were able to fellowship and discuss. As we listened to our field NYI leaders share their victories and challenges, we couldn’t help but just be inspired. In spite of political turmoils, Christian propaganda, leadership limitations, and the virus outbreak, our youth continue to do the ministry that God has called them to do.

Both of us (Terence and Ingrid) come from a context where the NYI is firmly established. The American NYI is like a city: there are multiple layers and systems that already have ground. The Filipino NYI is like a condominium: Not as large as the American church, but definitely comfortable and expanding. The SEA Field NYI... has a plot of land: there is little foundation established, but the potential is immeasurable. We just need the wisdom to know what to do with it.

Having served as Field Youth Coordinators in this field, even for just a few months, we realized that it feels like we are trying to build something in the middle of an earthquake and you know what? This may sound impossible...but things are rising in the midst of all this rumbling and shaking.

We stand in awe of the wonders of God through the NYI. He is so alive and actively working in their lives. He is the very reason why our young people continue to thrive and excel. He is where this unstoppable train is headed. He is in the middle and the end of this wildfire and it would be a mistake to get in His way.
What an incredible privilege to be a part of all of this and we want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all our NYI leaders. Thank you for all for the work that you are doing. Thank you for being creative, resourceful, and passionate. Thank you for following Christ to the ends of the earth.

Falling Out of Love

Terence made this reflection after receiving an overwhelming response to his 4th of July post on Facebook. He just set up his phone and recorded. No fancy recording equipment. No microphones. No script. The kids are not hidden away and shushed. Ingrid's catching up on Zs. Just raw thoughts.

We wanted to keep it authentic for you. It may be distracting to hear or frustrating for us to edit, but we know that in time, we will look at this video and smile.


Frankenstein's Monsters

We're still alive! Our little humans made from Filipino, American, and Guatemalan parts are making sure we are always ready for an adventure. 

Reilee got some new teeth to add to her beautiful smile. She mostly communicates with songs she makes up on the spot. Like "Circle, apple, little star..." 
Please lift up Reilee in your prayers. We have been in lockdown since April, so she is forgetting a lot of her social cues like waving and saying "hello" because there is no one to practice with. She is also refusing to wear shoes because we are in the house all day. We have tried everything to get her to wear shoes so she can be prepared for our Home Assignment in the wintertime. We even went to a baby shoe store in Bangkok where the workers were trying to help us, but nothing was working. Lord, help!
Lukas is getting more interactive and enjoys watching the chaos from afar. He is very easily able to smile and coo. He is even starting to laugh and it is adorable.

He received his American passport recently, but we are still awaiting his Filipino passport. Please pray this arrives soon!


Language Study: We are now both back into language study. However, it is getting more difficult to practice due to the lockdowns currently happening in Bangkok. Please pray that the city will open back up soon!

Home Assignment: We are getting closer and closer to coming home. There is a lot of documentation and testing involved in leaving and entering countries with the pandemic. Add two babies to travel around the world. And speaking at dozens of churches. We need all the prayer we can get because we cannot do it all alone.

SEA Field Youth: Please be in prayer for our young leaders in the Southeast Asia Field as we make Christlike disciples during times of political turmoil, Anti-Christian propaganda, leadership limitation, recovery from genocides, and of course, the coronavirus. Pray for the SEA Field leaders to give our young people the opportunity to serve. 

Badminton Outreach: Bangkok has been in lockdown since April. It has been difficult to keep up our relationships with our teammates. Thankfully, one court opened up for 2 weeks before being forced to close again. Pray that Bangkok can beat this virus and we can get back in the court before we leave for Home Assignment!

Guide: Guide is one of our teammates in badminton. God is truly working in this young man. Please be active and praying for him by name. May he and his family know God.

Health: Ingrid and Lukas have made miraculous recoveries. Ingrid should still be in pain until at least August, but she is feeling completely normal. The doctors were shocked. Thank you so much for your prayers! Thank you God for miracles!

SEA Field Crisis: Our neighbor country, Myanmar (one of our SEA Field nations) is going through some difficult times. For security reasons, we cannot speak openly about it. The situation is in need of prayer and God's intervention and guidance. Many of our pastors, leaders, and laypeople are greatly affected by this. Today, we heard the news that one of our dear friends from the seminary has been arrested. We ask that you, your families, and your churches bring this to the Lord in prayer. 
Copyright © 2021 The Lustañas, All rights reserved.