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Sunday, May 31, 2020

Remaining Faithful




Hello Everyone!

It has been some time since we last posted an update. So we wanted to catch you up on some of what's been happening with us.

In the last quarter of 2019 we were spending time visiting colleges and universities, speaking with students interested in serving in missions and those discerning a call to missions. We were scheduled to have three Greenlight gateway teams for this summer. Two of the teams were headed to Thailand and the other to Spain.  Hosts in these countries were meeting regularly with us making plans for the arrival in a new culture, for new ministry experiences, all while exploring their own callings. Those teams would have been leaving yesterday, May 30 for the designated country. However, with the current global situation, all of these plans have been put on hold until next summer at the earliest. This has been a huge disappointment for the participants, the hosts, the nationals in these countries they were planning to meet and the TMS Global staff. 

Speaking in Churches about joining Jesus in his mission

We visited Winthrop's Wesley Foundation and had a time to share with students about serving cross culturally and to invite them to participate in Greenlight during the summers.  We felt encouraged by our time there and plan to revisit this Fall.

Wesley at Winthrop University
Texas Tech Wesley group
Worship teamPreparing for the students

Before the CoVid restrictions we were able to visit the Wesley Foundation at Texas Tech where we have developed relationships with students and staff.  One of the students we met participated in Greenlight 2019 to Paraguay.  We are continuing to walk alongside a number of people in Lubbock, Texas as they discern a call to global ministry



Opportunities to speak to Women's group at Smyrna First UMC about Missions



Early in 2020 TMS Global held its second Global Gathering in Cyprus. This is a special event because it brings together all of the CCW's of TMS Global. This is a time of fellowship, worship, growth and education for everyone in the organization. New CCW's are able to bond with others doing similar or vastly different work all around the world. We were able to step back in time and see the place where Barnabas lived and was buried and learn some of the history of the area.

At the Global Gathering in Cyprus


Because we were so close, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to go to Israel for about five days. Five days is not enough, but we packed in many opportunities to see some key places of the area like: Jerusalem, the Sea of Galilee, Mt of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane and a few others. It is hard to put into words how it makes the Bible more alive.  If you ever have the opportunity, we think it is a once in a lifetime trip.

At the Jordan River

Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered


Sea of Galilee












Over the past couple months we have continued to walk with those seeking to serve in various places around the world. There are fewer people seeking to reach out right now due to the world environment. Many countries have closed their borders but things things are beginning to open again or a least in the next couple of months will do so.  But for all of our people serving, we have been connecting with them. Anxiety and stress levels are all over the place. The is so much uncertainty as to whether visas will be granted or extended, whether borders will open or closed, whether people are allowed outside there residence.

 We have used some of our time to help with member care. We call and have conversations and prayer with our TMS Global family serving the world. God has been faithful allowing many to be able to continue to provide jobs for nationals or food for families or even for our CCW's to share a conversation  and prayer about why they choose to live in their country.


Hannah Grace making friends in Jerusalem


Praying for the nations


We thank you all for the support and prayers during this time and all times. We are excited for those who continue to push through the obstacles of the enemy to have a chance to serve. We look forward to walking and serving along side them to honor Jesus' request to make disciples.





Prayer requests-

-For Todd's family in the recent passing of his Dad,  James Attaway.
-For Pam's parents and transition from their home in Landrum.
-For Ashley and her recent engagement to Zach Garrison who she met at Clemson.
-For continued financial and prayer support in our current ministry work.
-For vision and discernment of how best to walk with those called to serve.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

God Answers Prayer





Greenlight Team 2019

WOW! time passes so quickly.  We wanted to update all of you on what has been going on with us and how we have seen the Lord at work in the lives of those we are able to walk with on their journey. God has been so gracious to us and placed so many wonderful people in our lives. Many of whom are young and know God has a plan for them and are working to figure out how to live life and be a disciple maker.

Elephants in Thailand

Again this past summer we had the opportunity to lead a group of students to Thailand.  We call these trips Greenlight Gateway. They are a form of mission trip, but are designed for participants who want to know what international missions looks like, feels like and where to begin. These trips are more about being than doing. This past summer we had five students, one which participated last year and wanted to serve a leader this year. God has always been been present on each of these trips and this year was no exception.  We found out from one of our former teammates that a student that has been very active small groups and Sunday worship time had become ill. She was forced to return home from the government boarding school to Pattaya to stay with her mother. We learned she had some sores on her neck that had become open wounds and were not healing.  Not only were they not healing but she was getting weaker each day and losing weight. She was hospitalized and given a less than favorable prognosis. We began daily prayer for her that God would intervene and heal her.

Connecting with our teammates the Barbees
We asked a doctor friend if he could offer treatment alternatives for, but her mom didn't want to upset or offend her primary doctor. She was at the point of not being able to walk and barely able to eat. As we prayed for her, her situation began to change. Her appetite gradually returned, the sores on her neck began to heal, her strength began to build and her outlook began to brighten. In the five or so weeks we prayed for her specifically for the sores to heal, we experienced God's grace for this student and his healing power. Although she was not able to return to school before we left, she did make a visit and was on the path to having her life return to a more normal



Getting to See KingTower with our Thai friend and Graysen
There was also a friend that serves in Bangkok that was at the end of his current visa. Recent visa renewals for visas have been granted, but only for three months. This makes the process time consuming and expensive since you have to pay the same amount for a three month renewal as you do for a year long visa. Our Greenlight team knew this several weeks in advance and began praying that he would receive a one year extension. We were not the only ones praying for this because he had asked his support base, friends and family to intercede on his behalf. God was faithful again. He received a one year visa. We met with him a couple of days after returning to Thailand. He was so excited and thankful that God had allowed this prayer to be answered.


We saw many times the Lord respond with answered prayers. During our trip one of the students felt spiritual oppression in her hotel room. We gathered in her room to pray against the evil forces of darkness. As we gathered, another student felt a similar oppression. Through prayer we did not back down against those forces but prayed for God's protection and he answered.

Tallest building in Bangkok with a personal tour by Tool,  our friend, and architect of the top 2 floors.


We prayed for a student in Nepal on a mission trip. She found herself in a time of struggle so we asked our team to agin intercede in prayer for this young lady. Right after our prayers we received a message from her saying, "something just hit me like a burst of light and hope and I knew it was God."
God showed our group over and over that he is faithful if we believe and trust he is with us. The faith of our Greenlight team grew from these encounters and experiences. They truly saw God at work and how faithful he is to us in our times of need and everyday life. We pray that God will continue to grow our faith and the students who shared these experiences with us by giving us the courage and boldness to seek Him and ask him for help in all of our needs.  We are continuing to walk alongside these girls and many others as they journey.

Time with Brooke who attended Greenlight 2 years ago, now serving in Thailand in full-time ministry
We are spending this season preparing for next years trips, walking alongside individuals in discerning, going to universities and churches.  We are able to come to speak at your group or church as opportunities arise, sharing about how the Lord is working in Thailand as well as with the people discerning a call to serve him.  We have the opportunity to speak to the UMC Spartanburg District Youth September 29.  Please join us in prayer as we share about the faithfulness of God and how we all can join him in his mission in our daily lives.

We appreciate your continued love and support.  God is good and faithful, that we know.

Cooking with Kat, our teammate

Greenlight with teammate Patdy and her husband Boy



Bangkok in the Sky

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Hello to all of our friends and family! We hope you are all doing well and would like to again share our appreciation for each of you that has and continues to journey with us. We thank you for your comments, prayers, support and friendships as we continue to pursue making Jesus' name known throughout the world.


We have learned that mobilizing people for mission, to serve throughout the world or even here locally, requires one to wear many different hats. It can range from conversations with people currently serving on the field, to building relationships with others who have very little idea of what missions looks like or can look like. We believe in our organization, TMS Global, their values and how they support those serving on the field. We have had many conversations with people that went into international missions and struggled because they were not prepared.  We believe TMS Global does an excellent job of preparing people to live cross culturally and to show Christ in their daily lives in places that can be much different from the USA.  Since returning from the field and serving with TMS we have been blessed to mobilize and walk with several CCW's who are now on the field or preparing to depart this year.   We feel fortunate to be used by God in expanding his kingdom.


One of these areas of preparation we serve in with TMS is the Greenlight Gateway mission opportunity. We have again been able to be part of this ministry. This is a mission opportunity that targets college students from age 18-23 primarily. The intent of the program is to give these young people a realistic view of what life is like in another context other than their own, as well as discern what God is asking of them. Over the past three years we have concentrated on trips to Thailand. However, this year we are expanding and have trips planned for the Balkens, Paraguay and Thailand. This year we have 17 people participating in Greenlight including participants and leaders. We ask for your prayers for each of these trips, that God will speak to each person as to what this means for their life. These trips will be from early June through early August.


A second area of preparation is what we call Greenlight Now. In our conversations with churches and young people, we realized the need that high school aged students want to have cross cultural experiences and opportunities also. This month (March 22-24) we are spending a weekend in Clarkston, GA with a mission organization that works in the neighborhoods and apartment complexes to provide a cross cultural experience here in the USA for high school ages. Clarkston is said to be the most culturally diverse square mile in the US, so this sounds like the perfect place. We ask that you pray also for this weekend and those participating and leading.

We continue to visit universities and colleges to speak with students and share parts of our lives that peak their curiosity. On a recent visit to a college we participated in an international festival as part of their mission week. At the table beside us were some students who's parents had immigrated from Thailand to the US. Some had never been to Thailand and wanted to know about our experiences there. Several want to eventually serve in the country of their ancestors.

In February we participated in a Global Impact Celebration at Pierce Chapel UMC. We were able to share with different groups over the course of the weekend about our ministry in Thailand, mobilizing for the Body for Christ and our Greenlight opportunities.  It was a blessing to be able to share this mission minded congregation seeking to go deeper in following Christ and his call.



Again, we thank you for sharing your life and the love Jesus Christ with us. We are an extension of each church and person who journeys with us. We would love to come and share personally with you when you have an opportunity.  Blessings and peace to each of you.


Prayer Requests

For continued relationships and conversations with others called to serve in mission around the world
For our trip to Thailand this summer, serving as leaders for one of the Greenlight trips
For our parents
For our children-Sidney, Ashley, Noah and Hannah Grace
For continued prayer and financial support so we can continue the work he has laid before us here in America

Friday, October 26, 2018

Walking in His Grace


Mission Week at Lee University, Cleveland Tennessee


Hello friends.  Prayers and peace to each of you.  We appreciate you, your prayers, support and interest in our journey in joining Jesus in his mission.   We wanted to update you with how he is moving and using our service in mobilizing and equipping others who are called to be in mission.

Pam speaking at a Women's luncheon
 This Fall we were invited to attend and participate in a Global Impact Celebration at Chapin United Methodist Church in Chapin, South Carolina.  This weekend allowed us the opportunity to share our story and meet many new people who are seeking to serve Jesus.

Global Impact Celebration

Hannah Grace singing "Give me Faith" at Aldersgate UMC


Hannah Grace has been able to share her singing at our home church Aldersgate UMC.  She was a blessing to the congregation and it was beautiful for us to see her using her gifts here in America.  She is studying at an art school called Artios, where she is thriving and meeting new friends.  She is able to keep up with her Thai friends each week so we are thankful for technology to allow for friendships worldwide.





We were able to get our whole family together for a few hours this month.  Since Ashley has moved to LA we aren't able to see one another very often so we are praising God for our brief, but meaningful time together.  We have all learned that moments together are precious and even without much time, family bonds can be deepened and tended to.

Attaway family 2018


This month also included a trip to Lee University in Cleveland Tennessee.  We were able to attend their Mission Week, have a space in the student center to display a TMS information table and personally talk with students and staff.  This was a time to share about the Greenlight summer program and to introduce the opportunity for students this upcoming summer.  

Vincent in Thailand


The biggest joy for us was getting to spend time with our friend Vincent who came to Thailand with Greenlight two summers ago and now is an Inter-Cultural studies major at Lee University.  Vincent has agreed to be a TMS Ambassador so he will be telling others about the Greenlight trips and encouraging them to join one if they are discerning a call to serve in mission.

                                                                   

                                                             Wesley Groups


We have been able to attend Wesley Foundation groups at Furman University in Greenville and Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas.  This opportunity allowed us to meet personally with interested students, to hear their story so we could encourage the and pray for them.  It was sacred time for us to be able to spend time and speak into their lives.  We are hopeful to be able to continue walking in these new relationships.


Texas Tech Wesley
Wesley Group Texas Tech


  These times with college students are  great opportunities to let students know about Greenlight trips that are available for those discerning a call to serve in mission.  This year we have worked to expand the Greenlight Gateway program and will offer four experiences instead of one.  Two will go to Thailand, one focusing on teaching English as a second language and the other a broader experience of culture and ministry.  We also have teams going to Kosovo and Paraguay.  It is exciting to see how the Lord is blessing this program and to be a part of it



We are taking an active role in supporting hosts in each country with Skype calls each month so they will be equipped to offer the best possible experience for students to be spiritually formed in the culture they are living in.  If you happen to know of students who might be interested in these opportunities please contact us or have them go to www.tms-global.org and look under the Go tab for more information.


Texas Tech Wesley

Another great joy for us as mobilizers with TMS-Global is to walk alongside newly appointed cross-cultural workers as they are training, preparing and raising funds to serve on the field.  We know from first hand experience some of the stress involved with this process as well as the first few months after arrival to the field.  We are assigned to people preparing to serve and contact them regularly during their time of preparation as well as their arrival.  We are able to share practical wisdom such as what to take to the field, to saying goodbyes, to helping with budgets.  We also use this time to pray with them and for them.  One of our "people" is Brooke who attended Greenlight in Thailand two summers ago.  She has recently landed in Thailand and is adjusting to life there.  Brooke plans to spend two years serving in CoLab with TMS where she will work with our teammates and teach/build relationships with our Thai students.  It has been a great blessing to be there for her and others during the times of transition.

Brooke and our Thai teammates and students at Camp



Thank you again for your prayers and support for each of us.  We feel like the Lord is using our gifts and experiences to advance his kingdom around the world.  Please continue to lift us up in prayer along with those we are in discernment with as they hear from the Lord.  May God richly bless and keep you.


Prayers requests:


For continued financial provision so we can serve in mobilizing and caring for CCW's.
For our immediate and extended family.
For God to lead us to the people he is calling to join him in mission around the world.
For the four Greenlight trips Summer 2019 and our efforts to support hosts of the program.
For all those serving in mission in their hometown, state, nation and world. 
Acts 1:8

Monday, July 23, 2018

Back to Thailand with Greenlight Gateway 2018



At the Chedi
Hello friends.   We hope you all are having a blessed summer.   We pray for you and thank you for following along what God is doing in our lives and in Thailand.

Hannah Grace and CJ

We have just gotten back from a month long visit to Thailand.  We took the Greenlight Gateway students and served as hosts for the country.

Hannah Grace had a very happy reunion with her Thai sister CJ!  Both had grown up over the past 8 months, but they picked right back up where they left off.  We feel fortunate and blessed to be able to keep up many of our friendships and treasure our Thai adopted family.


Greenlight and Thai English students in Chinatown doing an Amazing Race

 This is our 3rd year having the opportunity to host the Greenlight Gateway program through TMS-Global.  This year we took 7 college aged students from all over the country to Thailand, along with a leader who is currently a second year student at Asbury Seminary.  The trip was a blessing for the students as it gave them opportunities to be spiritually formed and hear from the Lord.  It is amazing and we get the chance to see first hand, people get out of their comfort zones and in new contexts they are often able to hear more clearly from God.  Their experiences had a lot of time with Thai nationals, many who are Buddhist.  These exchanges allowed them to learn about a culture of people much different from theirs, but also with many similarities.




Essan Lunch

Shining Jesus' love
 Each one was impacted and felt stirrings from God in their walk with him.  Most of them feel like the Lord is calling them to serve either in the US or internationally whenever the time is right.  God grew them on this trip and we are grateful for his presence.  We had challenges along the way, but the time was meaningful for everyone.


Debrief with Maggy and Andrew
Spending time with Patdy teaching at her school in Essan
                                                                            
The trip was also a blessing for the American and Thai missionaries serving in Thailand.  The group was able to bring small gifts from the US and offer them encouragement.   Each missionary unit spent time with the group sharing what life is like on the field.  Most of the students were interested in what were the hardest parts and the best parts of serving cross culturally.  Usually the differences in food and availability of food and language barriers were the common sources of stress as well as being so far from loved ones.   Encouragement came from the relationships with the Thai people and the opportunity to share the love of Christ and to get to learn and do many new things!


Time with Cheryl, CCW about to go South of Thailand to serve




Chris Barbee, Kat and Patdy with Greenlight



The Greenlight experience is designed to help students discerning a call to mission to see what living as a cross cultural worker is really like.  The trip includes some hard parts of ministry including a prayer walk through one of the slums of Bangkok.  This along with a prayer walk in the Redlight district and a visit to an orphanage were some of the most challenging parts for the group.  These experiences helped them to see the needs and burdens that exist in the culture.  Here are a few testimonies of our group participants:

This summer, to say the least, was eye opening and challenging. From having no personal space on public transportation, to eating bugs and mystery meat, to the smells of a Bangkok street, and to the fact that no one seemed to speak english, it was different and at times frustrating. In the midst of all the differences and chellenges I saw God working in the culture. He was using many different people in such a variety of ways. I think this trip really showed me God's heart for all people and his desires for us to use the gifts he has given to go and make disciples.


Fried Crickets

,
 This was an experience that I was not totally expecting. I knew I had to limit my expectations about how this trip would go. I knew I would be learning about culture, about ministry, and about myself. But I didn’t really dive into dreamland of how I expected this trip to teach me. But I know I wasn’t expecting such big changes about myself or God’s call in to my life. Everyone had a different experience, for God works in a multitude of ways. But for me he opened my eyes to things I was holding in the way of Him and his call in my life: obedience, hope, and trust. There is still work to be done. But this trip as opened up a bigger chapter in my life!

In the slums praying with residents



It’s hard to put into words all this experience has meant to me. It has really been life changing. The Lord broke my heart in Thailand but He also gave me hope in Thailand. This experience has changed my perspective and I’m excited to see what doors it opens.



Offering hygiene packets and prayers
Many of the Thai people we know and love came, sometimes long distances, to see us while we were in Thailand.  We were reminded of the power of love and that when you build relationships in the name of Jesus amazing bonds are created.  Despite distance, culture and language barriers God can form beautiful friendships and community.

Pam with her girls


Todd with his student
Hannah Grace meeting old school friends and family
Our friend Oil flew in from Chiang Mai (8 hours away) to see us
Hannah Grace and Aim
Students now at Universities in Bangkok who came to see us at church

Graysen starting his ministry

 Since working in mobilization we have been blessed with the chance to walk alongside some really wonderful people the Lord is calling to missions.  One in particular is Graysen (pictured above), who arrived to start his term with TMS serving out of the Muang Thai church in Bangkok.  It was a great joy to see him on that side of the world and to be there his first Sunday to introduce him to our students and friends from the church. He will now be able to share life and his passion of discipleship which the Lord has called him to among the least reached in Thailand


Hannah Grace and a 3 day old goat in Nong Phok

Again we are so grateful for you and for your prayers for us and for the Thai people.  We were in Thailand while the young boys were trapped in the cave.  Knowing that so many people in the world were praying for them and for the country was an incredible gift to us and to the Thai people.  We join you in celebration that all were rescued.  We are sure the Lord is moving there and look forward to what he will continue to do in this land that he loves.

Todd and Life
Prayer Requests:

Please pray for the most recent Greenlight group as they continue to process all they learned this summer and seek the Lord's direction in their life.

Pray for us as we begin to plan for next summer and begin training with potential hosts around the world to expand this program.

Please continue to pray for our adjustment to America and for our work here expanding God's kingdom through mobilization and sharing our lives with people.

Please pray for the Thai people and for the ongoing ministry there.  Pray the Lord will raise up more Thai nationals to serve in ministry and let the Western missionaries there work to empower the Thai believers.

Please pray for our children and our parents.

Please pray for continued resources and financial support so we can continue to serve in ministry.