Dear friends and partners,
The drawing above was done by a fourteen-year-old girl who came to live with us a few months ago after narrowly escaping violent sexual abuse the previous day.
Lydia Povolny, who is interning with us and has been a huge blessing, has written this newsletter:
Some days here are really hard, and some are the best God-answered-our-prayers kind of days. It’s been a lesson and an honor to be able to stand with Grace Ministries as they walk through both. The staff here cares so much about the kids, rejoicing in their victories and joining in their pain. Last week, GMFT had to send a girl home for a month. She had lived here seven years and still had a hard time adjusting to the expectations of living in the Grace community. The leaders here felt more hurt at the separation than she did. We have been praying she makes the decision to return and is willing to change her behavior and stay. The staff does a really good job of balancing grace and discipline, allowing consequences for repeated poor behavior while assuring the children in many ways that they are deeply loved.
This month I also got to be a part of bringing a girl to live at Bethlehem House. Her older sister lives in Bethel. On December 8, we were preparing to visit their village in an attempt to persuade her to live at GMFT. Before we even left, her mother called, saying her younger daughter had finally decided to live here. We brought her home that same day! The Lord answered our prayers within a few days, and there was so much joy in that. A group of people in the USA were praying for her heart to be softened, and it’s crazy to think that, unknown to this little girl, there were people fighting and interceding for her physical and spiritual safety. No one is nameless and unseen before our God.
Prayer is power. It is the heart of this ministry. God first, mission second. If you want to join the Facebook community of people receiving prayer needs and updates, please join us at “Grace Ministries Thailand Prayer Group.” They were the people helping us pray over this little girl, and clearly God listened. Your support--however you support--is really effective!
This month we harvested the rice! God completely protected and provided for GMFT. While many of our neighbors had really bad yields, GM had our second-best-ever yield, with a 20% increase from last year. Grace Ministries will be able to give 10% of the rice to the poor and save some to sell later in the year. It was so cool to be a part of the harvesting/drying process, as rice is a big part of the culture here. All of the kids, many from farming communities themselves, pitched in to help and worked together so well.
I go home on December 9, and I honestly don’t know how to leave this family. They live out support and encouragement for each other. I have been welcomed in, asked to join every team, every game, every meal. They love and include well, and I feel so convicted by that. No one here goes unseen or has to carry their burdens alone. How can I leave a crowd of the most adorable little girls giving me 5-minute hugs? How can I leave playing ninja and chaotic soccer with 10-year-old boys? How can I leave the staff, who have taught me and shared with me? I love this community so much. It’s a stick-in-your-heart-forever kind of place.
This has been a really broadening experience for me. The Lord has pushed me far out of my comfort zone, while also calling me back to Him in the ways my heart needed so badly. I feel restored, grateful, and just so happy to be here.
Thank you for your support of this ministry. I have seen first-hand that it is gratefully recognized, effective, and powerful.
Warmest Christmas Greetings and heartfelt thanks to each of you from all of us at Grace Ministries.