SWAT Ministries has grown tremendously over the past several years, and all of this is by God’s hands and by His grace. This week has been no different; with a tremendous new journey for the ministry and our family it has been scary and exciting at the same time. I rest daily in Deuteronomy 31:8 - “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
We are so excited to announce the arrival of a previously rescued girl to SWAT Ministries. She is 20 years old and for safety purposes we shall call her “June.” June has been such a huge prayer for us for quite some time in preparing for her arrival, and now that she is here we couldn’t be happier. “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mk 11:24.
June is a young Thai girl, from the Akha hill tribe. Her dream in life is to be a translator and so we are currently in pursuit to help make this happen for her. She is also a new Christian. We hope you will join us in prayer as we walk this new and exciting adventure that God has led us to. “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness” Heb 3:13.
I was so nervous the first day. I trusted in the Lord that this is what He desires and reminded myself of John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” I was afraid of her not liking us, afraid of not being able to communicate well (as my Thai isn’t where I’d like for it to be). And afraid she would not like being with us. She was so quiet that first day. I tried not to ask her too many questions so as not to over whelm her. But I also wanted to make sure she was comfortable. My fears soon gave way as she went from quiet and showing very little emotions to asking questions of her own, and laughing with Cy cy and I at Jon’s silliness. She has become a part of SWAT Ministries, but even more so she has become a part of our family. And we couldn’t be happier.
We have rented a small place for her directly across from our office and not far from our house and she is starting to settle in nicely. The house is empty, no furniture, no appliances, no a.c. - just walls and a few curtains. She came to us with very little. Matter of fact everything she posses fit in our small trunk. Mostly just some clothes. Although June may not have a lot of materialistic things, she has what’s important: hope, passion and faith. She has a very large and kind heart. She has spent the whole week with our family now and we couldn’t be more blessed to have her in our lives. It has been amazing how she and our family have already really bonded. “Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.” Ps 147:5.
On her first day we bought her a bed to sleep on, and we gave her a fan and an old tv of ours, her room started to become her own. She was excited. She then asked if I would take her to the store to get shampoo and food and things, and so we went to a store called Makro together. She was very humble as I asked her if she wanted different items. She only desired the basic necessities. I wanted her to feel comfortable and so I told her I was going to walk and get a few things for myself and for her to go shop around and get whatever she wanted. When I later caught up to her she and Cy Cy were laughing together out loud and being silly together, it was so beautiful to watch. Apparently they both like Mama noodles (same as the Ramen Noodles in the US) and so the bonding had started. As we checked out she held her money (not even 10 dollars worth) in her hand and just looked at me, I could see the fear and nervousness she was desperately trying to hide and yet the confidence and eagerness she had. I smiled and told her not to worry about it. The first night I found out that she loves to play the guitar. As she told me about her brother teaching her I could see her smile getting even bigger. It was hard for me that first night leaving her in the house (even though we weren’t far) and we made sure she knew that if she needed anything to call us no matter what. The next morning we see her literally jumping up and down running towards us, she had slept well on her new bed and was so excited to start the day with us. “There is none like You, O LORD; You are great, and great is Your name in might.” Jer 10:6.
The next day with the help of an awesome team that are here visiting from the US, along with a couple of our interns, as well as Jon and I, all started cleaning and painting the new house. The rest of the week rolled along, we enrolled her into English classes twice a week, and started looking at a private tutor. (we’re still working on this). We hope that one day the funds will come in and allow her to attend college, as she so desires. We are resting in His word; “For we live by faith, not by sight.” 2 Cor 5:7.
Last night we took a group of people to the hot springs, and she was extremely excited about going. This is a place where you can rent a large room with a huge basin large enough for 10-15 people. Natural water deep from the earth is poured into it and everyone can sit in his or her swimsuits together and soak, talk, laugh, etc. Although it is not far and normally a Thai custom June had never been to one before. We asked her if she wanted to go and she very quickly got excited and told us she really wanted to go, but that she didn’t have a bathing suit. I smiled and told her and to worry about it, that we’ll take care of it. So we all went to my house so I could find something that she could use (that wouldn’t fall off of her, she’s so small). We all got ready and loaded up. I’m not sure at what point this week but somewhere down this path it was evident to us that she had became part of our family and that Jon and I and Cy cy would do anything for this precious young girl, but I still didn’t want to push that on her, I wanted her to know that she is free to do as she wanted, after all she is 20 not 12. But last night at the hot springs while we were laughing and talking she sat next to me and looked at me and said “I am very happy to be with you, you are kind and I love you”. Yep, my heart is stolen. Our family is even bigger now. And we are excited to see where God leads us in this journey. “I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.” Ps 57:9-11.
Today we went to church and as usual I’m always concerned about everyone and so I worried what if she doesn’t make friends, what if she doesn’t like it, etc. As we sat and worshipped in two different languages but in unity to the Lord a peace surrounded us all. It was beautiful to see her meet new friends and enjoy a meal with everyone together afterwards. Tomorrow starts a 3 day camp at the church and she is over joyous about attending and we can’t wait for her to make new friends. I asked her if she was excited or scared or both and she said with enthusiasm and excitement - “I’m not scared, they are all Christians, they are all nice.” God is so amazing.
We took her back to her house after church today, and Jon and I went into the office for a few minutes. I sensed she might be bored so we asked her if she wants to chill at our house, we have a dinner meeting tonight and won’t be there, but she can watch t.v and sit and relax in the a.c. She got excited and jumped back into the car, we asked if she would mind if Cy cy stayed with her while we are in the meeting, with the biggest smile I’ve seen yet her and Cy cy hugged and got really excited. As I am typing this now they are upstairs sitting watching a movie, eating snacks and giggling. Our family just got bigger and I know God is not finished with it yet. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isa 55:8-9.
In two weeks we will have also have a 15-year-old rescue girl come for a week visit. If all goes well in the near future she too will be a part of our family. (as a matter of fact she is continuously sending me private messages as I sit here typing now, about how excited she is about coming). We have gotten to know her for a little over a year now and we have no doubts about how God is going to use this special daughter of Christ. I look forward to telling you more about her in my next blog. We are so excited as God gives us this new direction; we are blindly walking in faith daily but have no doubts that He will provide, as He loves us and these girls even more than we can fathom. “Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, You are very great; You are clothed with splendor and majesty.” Ps 104:1
As I finish typing this the girls just came down the stairs to raid the kitchen both giggling and showing me their freshly painted nails. God is good. He has blessed us tremendously.
Thank you for all your prayers, we will keep you updated in this new journey with the girls. If you are interested in supporting either June or the new girl coming you can e-mail me and I can tell you what all they are in need of as well as sponsorship options. Thank you again for all that you are doing, and God bless.
"Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and You exalt Yourself as head over all.” 1 Chr 29:11.