Hi, We’re Nat, Anne, Paul, and Ellen Williams, Church-planting missionaries to the People groups of Burma (Myanmar). We are sent out of Lehigh Valley Baptist Church, Emmaus, PA and are currently traveling throughout the US on deputation. Please checkout our vision and...Read More
Here are a few lessons learned from our first round of furlough.
F-ellowship with family and friends
We have been refreshed by the many opportunities to visit with loved ones. Fellowship is extremely valuable to us and we feel like we have filled our tank to the brim with meaningful memories.
U-nity with our church family
I’ve been reminded of how necessary it is for us to have quality time to interact with our church family. We need time to learn, labor, and pray together; to share burdens and remember that we are members first and missionaries second. It’s been especially helpful for our children to build a solid connection with the kids and families of our church. It is thrilling to see them become a part of what we love and we must protect this bond.
R-eporting to supporting churches
Every meeting has been an encouragement and blessing. We are humbled by the kindness shown to us and rejoice in the faithfulness of our supporting churches. We appreciate the flexibility of pastors, to work with our travel schedule, and the understanding of those churches that we were not able to visit on this trip. Our plan is to visit about 40% of our churches every 2 years, and that has greatly reduced the pressure of travel and builds-in time to be renewed and ready for the next round of ministry.
L-earning to interact in America
Yes, we are still Americans and we love our country. We’ve learned how to live on the other side of the world, but it’s good to remember that we can function, and enjoy being back home. Our goal is not to lose our identity as Americans but to maintain a spirit of contentedness both at home and abroad. With that said, we are more than ready to return to the field of Thailand and are excited about the path of ministry ahead.
O-bservations and adjustments to ministry
Stepping back from weekly patterns of Bible study and outreach allows us to see the bigger picture. It’s been great to sit down with our pastor and discuss adjustments and blessings. God has revealed a need for a greater focus on discipleship: modeling what we expect from the men that God has given to us. More travel, evangelism, and teaching inside of Myanmar is also on our to-do list as we press forward in ministry.
U-nderstanding priorities as a believer
It’s easy to become so busy in ministry that we get our priorities out of balance. Especially the priorities of personal fellowship with Christ and quality time with our families. Furlough provides a change of pace and time to soak in some quality preaching and teaching, in English!
G-rowth in relationships and communication
Relationships take effort and time. Anne is a great communicator and has been an example to me of the need to invest in relationships. Furlough is a good time to revive face-to-face relationships and to develop better communication. I have a lot to learn in this area, and need that reminder. Speaking of growth, I think I’ve also gained ten pounds while being in the US. =)
Thanks to a chiropractor in our church, my neck and back have improved greatly while we’ve been home. Anne was able to get some new contact lenses – a special prescription that is difficult to receive in Thailand. We praise the Lord for overall good health and the ability to catch-up on some specific health needs.
I smiled when I saw our latest order of tracts (1,000 booklets) expertly stacked into a single bag. That is how we roll in Thailand – just about everything comes in a plastic bag. It makes it convenient for carrying on your bike or motorcycle. Well, except when you exceed the intended use of the bag, for example with 1,000 tracts…I digress.
Anyway, I thank the Lord for my friend Jay helping me to get these printed this week. This quick printing allows our friend Eliza to join in the action as we go house to house with a story about the Creator God.
It was great to get the seed out of the barn, or bag in this case.
Please join us in praying that many would read this short story which leads to an online Bible study.
My mom and Mary Ann (a friend from church) arrived this past week, and Paul was very excited to greet them:
Of course we got down to business right away doing the important things, like playing:
Today we enjoyed visiting Doi Tung Villa and Gardens with Mom and Mary Ann: