Acts in Asia
By Jeff & Verna Willhoite
The Joy of Family
25 years ago, our family of five (Jeff, Verna, Samantha, Jenna, and Hallie) boarded a plane for Asia. For the next 16 years, we did everything as a family. The good, the bad, the ugly, and everything in between. That is how many missionary families live. Then, one by one, our girls grew up and left the nest, until there were none. For missionaries, that empty nest season can be especially difficult. But as all families do, we navigate the process and let it run its course. However, sometimes something happens that reinvigorates the joy and excitement of family on the field. For us, that is the return of one of our children with a grandson. In July, our youngest, Hallie, and her son, Carter, joined our efforts here. Words cannot express the joy we feel in having them with us again. The Lord is good, so good to us.
Recently while I was in another country on a hot tropical muggy night, I walked through a temple compound and snapped this photo. Ephesians 6:10-12 came to mind. The Message version translate the passage as this:
“And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.”
The next day as I sat on a floor with other believers meeting secretly in this authoritarian country where many freedoms that we take for granted are outlawed, or suppressed, another Scripture came to my heart and mind:
“There were those who, under torture, refused to give in and go free, preferring something better: resurrection. Others braved abuse and whips, and, yes, chains and dungeons. We have stories of those who were stoned, sawed in two, murdered in cold blood; stories of vagrants wandering the earth in animal skins, homeless, friendless, powerless—the world didn’t deserve them!—making their way as best they could on the cruel edges of the world.”
The bolded line is for emphasis. Who is ready to sign up to be a part of that group?
A Year of Progress
As we live life, it often seems that our daily efforts appear to accomplish very little. Yet, when the Lord allows us to stand back and see the bigger picture, we can understand the significance of our obedience and efforts. Here are two pictures of the Indochina Mission Training Center, taken in September 2014 and September 2015, respectively. Though we have been here for almost the entire time and have lots of “sweat equity” to prove it, it wasn’t until we saw the two photos side by side that we realized just how much progress has been made here at the IMTC. This picture comparison is a small glimpse of the progress made throughout the campus. Praise the Lord!
Thanksgiving Prayer Requests
As mentioned in an earlier newsletter this year, we celebrated 25 years of missionary service this year. When we think about the faithfulness of the Lord throughout these years, we fondly remember those—past and present who have partnered with us and stood in the gap for us when we needed you. Our monthly support can vary greatly and the past few months have been no different. Please know that your prayers and partnership are sources of continual encouragement to us. They are a part of crucial enablement that the Lord has given us in order to fulfill His plans and purposes. We deeply appreciate you all very much.
The Indochina Mission Training Center development continues. We are in need of partners (both individuals and churches) that will commit to give regularly to the project. Please consider partnering with us in this very important facet of ministry. Please designate funds as Indochina MTC Project #74015.
Photo Credit: Jeff & Verna Willhoite