The refreshing joy of summer and amazing fruit of fall...
We are very grateful for our time in California this past summer. Stepping away from life and ministry in Hanoi always provides us with new perspective, space to pray and dream, extended family time away from the fullness of our Hanoi schedules, blue skies, clean air and open spaces, and time with our families. This summer was no different and while our bodies were tired from the travel, our hearts and souls were refreshed in ways that God knew we needed. We are especially thankful for quality time with grandparents, a week at a family camp, the warm welcome at churches up and down the coast, and seeing how people’s hearts were open and eager to hear what we see God doing in Vietnam. We returned in August, and this fall has blown us away. Here is a video that we shared at churches this summer, and some photo highlights of our time since being back. We could write WAY too much about it all so if you want to hear more, we'd love to hear from you -- please email us!
Divine Appointments & Our New Brother "T"
"Excuse me, are you from Vietnam?" a little boy asked us during our first night at Forest Home family camp in July. As we said yes, his family lit up and we made our way over to them to find out their connection to Hanoi. It turns out a young college student at their church in Fullerton had JUST become a believer and was headed back to Hanoi! They had found our church online and written the address down but we were able to personally connect, and we were all amazed at God's timing and faithfulness! "T" has come to church a few times, and Jason has met with this young man for lunches as "T" navigates his "home" and his new faith. Please pray for this new brother to be strengthened in the faith. He is a perfect snapshot of so many young Vietnamese in our congregation who have studied abroad and become Christians there, leaving behind that supportive community. We have the amazing opportunity of connecting with them, and help them to get plugged into a body, back on this side as they return "home".
One of the unique aspects of our church is that about 1/3 of the congregation leaves every year and a new group joins us! This is our welcome lunch in September with about thirty of the new folks from Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Ghana, USA, UK, South Africa, Nigeria, and India. God is calling people to Hanoi to work in amazing and unique areas of industry!
No More Homeschool....!!
One of the biggest changes this fall is that all four kids are in school! God opened a door for Ella and Maddie to attend an amazing international school situated just on the outskirts of the city. They take this bus 45 minutes each way and say it feels like vacation with the rice fields all around. Their teachers are incredible, both attend our church, they have made friends very quickly and are absolutely loving every single thing about school. They get off the bus every afternoon just glowing and talking a mile a minute to tell us all that went on that day. The twins are in their second year of half-day preschool at a local Vietnamese language school and their language is progressing every week. We thank God for the opportunities for all four kids to attend school and how well it has all gone this year! Do I miss homeschool? I can't say I do! I am thankful for all we learned, how we grew, and how God sustained us through homeschool... but I am loving this new season as I see these girls thrive!
The Gift of a Guest
This August our family had an unexpected guest. A dear Nigerian sister at our church had a bad accident and received even worse medical care resulting in cellulitis and an inability to walk. Thanks to your generous support, we were able to take her to the good clinic in town where they provided weekly appointments with the orthopedic surgeon. She also lived with us for a bit, which was the most unexpected gift to our family. She is a dear sister, a prayer warrior, far from family in Nigeria, and our time with her was so special, especially as she left for school abroad last month. She and Noah had a special bond and they'd spend afternoons reading and memorizing scriptures and truths about God. We miss her greatly here, these are some pics from her farewell party and the privilege of helping her to walk again. Thank you for supporting our family so that we, in turn, can support those in need.
Anchored Women's Retreat
For the last three months I (Jill) have been leading a team of three other women as we planned this year's women's retreat: Anchored (Hebrews 6:19). Last weekend, 88 women, from 16 nations, ranging in age from 19-72, all calling Hanoi home for differing lengths of time, gathered for one purpose… to draw near to God and fellowship with sisters. While a big storm and thunder roared outside, we learned and were reminded what it means to be anchored in the Hope of Jesus through amazing teaching, powerful worship, blessed small groups, and strengthening fellowship. As the storms cleared we were also able to get out into the glory of God’s creation on boats, bikes, and by foot to enjoy the beauty of Ninh Binh. This year women commented on how much they appreciated the opportunity to go deeper than Sunday mornings, pray for one another without regard to time, and take steps towards God, some for the first time. There was an overwhelming sense of the presence of the Holy Spirit during this powerful weekend! Below are some photos from the weekend. Thank you for your prayers and support to make this happen- part of your support went towards a few of the 21 scholarships given by our church!
We are so grateful for your prayers- and when we are weak, tired, running on empty, we know that we are carried by your prayers! Here are a few prayer points:
1) Preaching: Jason is teaching through Exodus (www.hif.vn/sermons).Ask for hearts to be opened and wisdom in sermon preparation.
2) Jill’s Trip: Jill will fly to California (Nov 1-14) to spend time with her parents in light of some health issues her mom is facing. Pray for safe travels and a very special time with her parents. Pray Jason and kids while she is away.
3) New believers: Currently we have 40 plus curious seekers (mainly Vietnamese) attending a weekly course that allows them to ask questions about the Christian faith. Please lift up this weekly meeting and the believers who faithfully volunteer each week.
4) Family health: We've been to the doctor about 20 times since returning in August! While our spirits remain strong, our bodies are struggling to remain strong. Please pray for health and safety as we travel by motorbike.