Why are you moving to Thailand?
Also: “Aren’t there ways you can be involved without moving?” and “Why not a ministry that combats sex trafficking here in the States?” We are combining these questions because the answer to all is the same: obedience. Yes, sex trafficking is a problem here, and believe me, if we didn’t have to leave our home, friends, church, and our families that we are really close to, we wouldn’t be! The reason we are uprooting and moving to Thailand is because in countless little ways, God has positioned our hearts to fall in love with this ministry, and opened the necessary doors for what started as a far-off idea 6 years ago to become a reality. The last pivotal moment was following Brian’s trip to Pattaya in 2017. When he returned, we agreed that we would say “yes”--not even to moving, but to working towards moving, and seeing what God would do. If it became clear that we needed to stay, then we would be more than content to support the ministry through short-term trips and financial support. However, one by one, He began opening doors and working out the obstacles and lingering questions in our minds. So, here we are!
HOW WILL YOU SUPPORT YOURSELVES OVERSEAS?
Instead of traditional missions, our desire is to continue to make money in the workplace while in ministry, inspired by the Apostle Paul’s tent-making business as a way to support himself (Acts 18:1-5). A huge answer to prayer on this came in the form of a remote job opportunity for Brian! Most of our expenses will be covered by his salary, and our prayer is that eventually we will be completely self-supported, so that donations can go directly to the mission.
what about fundraising?
Moving to another country is expensive! We have a lot of needs, including passports, visas, plane tickets, suitcases, and remote home office supplies. The Lord has provided us with Brian’s job for monthly expenses, but we will also need monthly supporters for the high cost of rent in Bangkok city and ongoing expenses such as visa renewals, transportation, language lessons, and school supplies. We have an initial fundraising goal of $15,000 and $1,000 in monthly support by September 2019. Interested in being a part of our mission by investing financially? Click here!
How long will you stay?
Not sure! Our short-term goal is to stay for 5 years, but we are open to staying long-term if God calls us to.
What will you be doing?
For the first year, we will be acclimating to the new culture, getting to know the ministry, and language training. Because of the nature of the ministry, Brian is not able to be as involved. Women in the red light districts are used to being used and abused by men, so it would be confusing for them to have him ministering directly. However, Brian carries the weight of providing for our family financially, looking out for my mental health needs as a result of what can be a very emotionally draining ministry, and helping Home of New Beginnings with practical needs. As for me, I am still praying through where exactly I will plug in, but there are many needs (such as outreach, counseling, and English lessons), and I look forward to helping where I can.
Is Thailand Dangerous?
Thailand is considered a safe place to many surrounding Asian countries, and is where many missionary families send their children to boarding school. Of course, living in the city has its share of dangers, especially on the roads. However, what we have learned over the years, is that what happens in our lives isn’t always safe--none of us are immune to sickness, heartache, pain or loss, and if we let fear take control, we will never be able to fully experience the fullness of God’s plan for our lives.
What are your plans for the kids’ education?
International private schools are really pricey, and local schools will be in the Thai language, so our plan is to homeschool. I have always dreamed of homeschooling my own children, so I’m looking forward to it! However, homeschooling in addition to ministry will be a challenge, so we may need to hire some part-time help.
WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL BE YOUR GREATEST CHALLENGES?
For me (Libby), people might assume that since I grew up in Thailand and know the language already, that moving back would be easy. However, while Thailand is like a second home to me, I grew up in rural rice country, so city life is very foreign. I am conversationally fluent in Thai, but reading and writing are a lot slower, and I need to learn counseling related terms for the first time. Most importantly, we are really close to our families, so not being able to be near them--seeing our kids grow up together, showing up unannounced, never having to pay for a babysitter, and everything else that it entails, is a really big sacrifice. For Brian and the kids, leaving our established community here and moving to a country with a significant language barrier will be really hard. The kids don’t quite understand yet how far away Thailand is, and my heart is heavy thinking about how they will navigate through their confusion and sadness from missing everyone. And of course, it goes without saying that in this type of ministry, burnout, vicarious trauma, depression, and anxiety are real concerns.
what makes you most excited?
Being a part of seeing the women in the red light districts experience hope and freedom for the first time brings us indescribable joy. The reality is that many bar owners and clients don’t even bother learning their names, identifying them instead by numbers they wear. As comfortable as our lives are here, and as hard as it is to leave, it breaks our hearts even more what these women have to go through night after night. We are so excited to work closer with The Home of New Beginnings, as they show God’s love and provide life-changing resources. And of course, we cannot wait to eat authentic Thai food every day!
Any other questions on your mind? Send us a message, and thank you so much for your support!
Libby and Brian