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MISSION UPDATE: Almost to the finish line!

What a year this has been! Seriously. My mind can barely process all that's happened since the calendar made the flip to 2023.

I never could have, would have, or wanted to imagine that the past 11 months would include a serious motorbike accident (and everything related to that) PLUS the government letting us know we had significant changes to make in order to get under compliance or we couldn't keep the children.

We are now inside 40 days of our deadline for getting all the requirements met to satisfy the local authorities and I cannot tell you how much a relief it is to be so close to the "finish" line. Making one weighty decision after another, necessarily spending more money than I ever thought possible (and never imagining God would provide it in so short a space of time), while simultaneously expanding on-site staffing has felt entirely overwhelming.

How did we touch down on foreign soil 4 short years ago, with no clue what we were really here for, zero plan, and an insufficient supply of courage only to have God do all of this? An officially licensed home for (up to 40) children-at-risk that is recognized by the Kingdom of Thailand plus a church plant ... it's mind-blowing.

We wanted accountability for our finances but didn't have the wherewithal to do the accounting. God provided a long-time friend from the states who faithfully works with Hannah to keep all our expenses tracked. There's no budget because we have no idea what we have to work with from one month to the next but there's now a spreadsheet of where the money goes and that's huge!

We wanted to create as safe an environment for the children as possible and then the government forced our hands. So it's becoming a reality instead of a desire. No two people should have unchecked authority over the lives of vulnerable children without people having the ability to check in on them or the children having access to someone safe (unrelated to our family) to go to with fears, concerns, or grievances. They now have that, multiple times over.

We wanted someone qualified to advocate for the children when their status here comes into question due to somebody wanting to remove them from our care. We now have an actual, government-approved social worker for exactly that purpose. Our hands were tied up until now but hers won't be. That alone is so praiseworthy.

We have a fence protecting the children from the pond and also from the rice paddies when they flood. We have new computers for all the office staff to do their required work, and a kitchen/dining room renovation is underway to make the space cleaner and safer (also a government requirement). The construction crew for the building of a new duplex arrived yesterday and within two months we'll have housing for our two newest hires. JFA, who has been undergoing their own internal changes and growth, has stepped up without hesitation when our funding through donations hasn't matched the need. LFA has walked us through every step with grace and kindness. There aren't words to express our gratitude for that support. There's so much more to do even after the license is official but we have more confidence than ever that God will just keep meeting each need with perfect timing.

We do no fundraising beyond "awareness raising" (and we haven't done any of that for most of this year because we've been so overwhelmed) so the intercessory prayers of praying people has sustained us. Thank you. A million times, thank you.

The logo-ed t-shirts arrived today and the custom made Ban Ta Yim signs will be installed next week. On this Thanksgiving Eve, of one of the most trying years of our lives, we stand grateful to God and all those He's used to get us here and then keep us here. For those He's used to encourage us when we needed it, to hold us up when we couldn't stand alone, to fight for us when our fight was gone ... we are so grateful.

We will tuck 25 beautiful, amazing Thai children into bed tonight because God has rallied a people to make sure their physical and emotional needs are met, and that they've had opportunity to glimpse the great big love He has for each of them.

Thank you is way too small and yet I find myself wanting to say it again and again. Thank you.


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