it's all grace

a journey with the Thomason family

Category: Newsletter

Newsletter: Bethany’s Favorite Month

We just sent out our monthly newsletter for December. If you’re not on our email list, you can subscribe by clicking and signing up here.

If you would like to see December’s update, you can view it here or click the image above.

 

A Windy City and Some Pumpkins

This post was originally sent to our email newsletter subscribers.

Though we’ve been a bit under the weather, we’re blessed to be back together again as a family as Bethany and I were away last week at Josiah Venture orientation in Wheaton, IL. The Lord really used that time to both solidify his call in our lives as well as encourage us through the JV staff and other missionaries.

A Little About Orientation

Orientation is really designed to be an introduction to entering in to a cross-cultural ministry as well provide detailed information on being a missionary with JV. Though the days were full, they were not long, and we were really blessed by our dinners together. Each night we were given the opportunity to share how the Lord led us to the field and how He worked in each of our lives. It was such a joy to hear and share each other’s stories and see God’s sovereign hand at work. We met other missionaries heading to Czech Republic, as well as Romania, Estonia, Poland, Ukraine, and Latvia. We serve the God of many nations and it’s a joy to see other’s committed to bringing the gospel to the whole world.

5 Hour Vacation

Since Wheaton is only a quick train ride from downtown Chicago, Bethany and I spent a few hours in the Windy City before flying back home. It was a first for both us of and we enjoyed seeing “The Bean” and taking an hour long archicture tour boat ride on the Chicago River. Our California bodies can only withstand so much cold air, so we warmed up with a little deep dish pizza from Pizano’s. We’re convinced that Chicago style pizza is the only real way to enjoy pizza. And one more thing: that Sear’s Tower is big…real big.

Family Life

As is our tradition, we spent a few hours on a Saturday at the pumpkin patch. We’ve been doing this for a few years now and it’s always fun to drive out to Lombardi Ranch and find that perfectly round ball of orange. Titus picked one out that he called “TyTy size”, which really just means it’s small, but he also enjoyed riding on the “horsies” (mules) in the covered wagon (complete with a lazy dog named Jeff). Later we spent some time painting our pumpkins. It’s a little messy, but Titus loved it.

We have plans to see family for Thanksgiving so we’re looking forward to that near the end of the month. As the Lord moves this process forward, we realize that many of these times are limited so that’s obviously hard. Please pray that the Lord would allow our family time to be sweet and that He would be glorified.

Newsletter Coming Soon

For those of you who received our short-term vision trip letter, you will soon be receiving another letter from us. It will introduce you to the team we’re building and how you can be involved with our ministry. Look for it in the mail this month, and if you would like to be added to our “snail mail” list please let us know by replying to this email.

Our Bio Is Up

Our bio is now up on the JV Web site. Feel free to check it out here: http://www.josiahventure.com/people-and-places/bteam/397

Prayer Requests

  • I (Shay) will be preaching to the junior and senior high schoolers on Sunday, Nov. 18th from the book of Ecclessiastes. Please pray for my preparation time and for receptive hearts from the young people at our church.
  • We will be in Washington state for Thanksgiving from Nov. 21-26. Please pray for a sweet time together with family. If you’re in the Washington area, we would love to connect with you. Please drop us a line and let’s see if we can get together.
  • We are looking into options as to how and when to sell our condo here in California. Please pray for wisdom and direction as we look to leave for Czech Republic by Summer of 2013.

Thank you for taking the time to read these updates. We are thankful to God for your support.

Officially Official

This post was originally sent to our email newsletter subscribers.

In just a month’s time a lot has happened and we’ve got some exciting news that we want to share with you all.

Application Approval

We shared in our last update that we submitted our applications for review by Josiah Venture. Well, now it’s officially official: we are missionaries with Josiah Venture (JV) to Czech Republic. We got word that our applications were approved by JV’s team and we’re taking huge steps forward in the process. Thank you for praying for this. Praise God for this great news!

Sending Church

Equally as exciting as our application approval is the news we received from our home church elders on September 10th. We attended the elder’s meeting that Monday night and they announced that we are the newest missionary family of Placerita Baptist Church! It is such a joy to be part of the global vision of PBC and to now be sent out by our home church. In the excitement, we recorded the public announcement to our church family and you can listen to the audio by clicking here. Again, praise the Lord for this fantastic news and for this affirmation!

Family Updates

In the midst of fun updates and news, we never want to lose sight of what the Lord is doing in our home. Bethany celebrated her 30th birthday at the end of September and we had a wonderful date night together thanks to the kindness of friends who watched our two kids. Our youngest, Avery, just turned 10-months old and we can’t believe how fast the time has gone. Our son Titus continues to grow like a weed and we’ve entered the world of potty training. This brings with it many joys and challenges and we definitely covet your prayers with that transition! I (Shay) have been busy with my job at Paul Mitchell, continue to do photography on the side, as well as preparing to preach again at PBC.

We continue to pray for God’s timing as to when we will head to Czech Republic, but our hope is that the Lord would provide the resources we need to leave by the summer of 2013. Our hearts long to join the work and see young people in Eastern Europe come to the knowledge of the Savior!

Prayer Requests

  • On October 14th I (Shay) will have a second opportunity to teach at the Placerita Baptist Church evening service. I will be speaking on one of my favorite things: the local church. Life is full, so please pray for clear direction and that study time would be profitable.
  • With application approval from JV, we will now be heading to the Chicago area on October 22-26 for a week long JV orientation. Please pray for us as we learn the ins-and-outs of JV and start the process of fundraising. Please pray for our kids as we have decided we will be leaving them home with a family from our church. Many thanks to the Fredericks’ family for taking our kids…again!
  • Finally, we are praising the Lord for our friends Zach and Kara who just left today for full-time ministry in Czech Republic. They will be serving with JV as well and we are praying for a smooth transition for them.

 

“Forgive me for being so ordinary while claiming to know so extraordinary a God.” – Jim Elliot

The Goings-On

This post was originally sent to our email newsletter subscribers.

Thank you for your continued support and for your prayers. Our family is truly blessed by you. We wanted to tell you how the Lord has been working over the past month and how you can continue to pray for us.

Application Process

Though we haven’t been able to update you since July, a lot has been going on this past month. As you may recall from our last email, we felt and feel strongly the Lord calling us to Czech Republic to serve with Josiah Venture. One of the major steps in the process of becoming a missionary with Josiah Venture (JV) is the application. The formal written application is a series of questions and essays and really gives a snapshot of our spiritual lives and what God has done in our lives. On Monday, September 3rd, our applications were officially submitted to JV for approval. This is big step forward in the process and we praise God being able to complete and submit them. We would ask that you pray for the Josiah Venture board and staff who will review our applications that they would be wise and that what we communicated would be understood clearly. We hope to update you as soon as we know more about the status of our applications.

Elder Meeting

This coming Monday, September 10th, we will be meeting with the elders at our home church (Placerita Baptist Church). We’ve been invited by the elders to join them around 7:30pm for prayer and to discuss this missionary process. We are hopeful that this meeting will bring clarity and encouragement as we seek to partner with PBC and have the joy of seeing them be our sending church. Placerita has been our home church for 9 years and it’s a great joy for us to walk through this process with them. Would you please pray for this meeting? We hope it will be a blessing to the elders and us and that much clarity would come of it for everyone.

Prayer Requests

  • On September 23rd Shay has the opportunity to teach at a Placerita Baptist Church evening service. Please pray for clarity as he speaks, as well that his study time would be profitable. He will be speaking on the themes of the local church, discipleship, and missions.
  • Pending application approval, we are scheduled to attend the week long Josiah Venture orientation in Chicago, IL on October 22-26. Please pray for us to be able to find friends and/or family to watch our two young children during that time as there is no childcare provided for the week.

Thank you for continued support of our family! As always, we covet your prayers! If you need to reach us for any reason, please don’t hesitate to reply to this email.

“Today you’ll be tempted to let your thoughts doubt, desires wander and your resolve weaken, but you’ve been given grace to stand strong.” – Paul Tripp

Finishing and Moving Forward

This post was originally sent to our email newsletter subscribers.

Wow. Time flies. It’s been a week and half since our plane landed back in California and we feel like we’re just getting settled back in to our routine (especially sleep!). The Lord was so gracious during our trip! With over 48 hours of travel time (there and back), a 9-hour time difference, a 7-month old, and severe jet-lag, we had energy throughout and really felt your prayers. That said, we wanted to follow up and tell you what the Lord did at camp.

Finishing Up At Camp

One story that still breaks my (Shay) heart was while I was sitting in “cabin time” after the Wednesday night talk on sin. The young men I was with were asked a question about whether they have ever felt hopeless and what that was like for them. As they began to answer, and as the translator began to share what they were saying, tears started to roll down my cheeks. Five out of the six of these 14-year-olds shared how they all had gone through a difficult time at some point, and all of them had considered suicide as an answer to their problems. This is just an example of the despair and hopelessness in Czech Republic. The need for the Savior is great!

We asked you to pray for the Thursday night camp meeting (aka: “Gospel night”) as the students heard the gospel, many of them for the very first time. That same night they were given an opportunity to respond and by God’s amazing grace, 8 out of the 40 students professed Christ and a few others desired to know more–praise the Lord! 8 is an incredible number, especially in a country where God is a distant thought on the hearts of many. What a blessing to see God change the hearts of these young people! The following week (after we left), the Czech youth leaders (who were also the leaders at camp) invited these new believers to go to church with them the following Sunday, right after camp. This gave the students an oppurtunity to experience church without the intimidation of going alone, or not knowing anyone. We are excited about what the Lord will do with these changed lives in the future.

One of the blessings of camp was the we felt like we “fit” while we were there. Both with the leaders and the students, we saw a connection and trust that God was working through those relationships. This was a huge blessing to us and really helped confirm our ministry there. Everything from playing games, doing crazy things with the students (e.g. Shay and 9 other guys stuffing themselves into a shower to make a “steam room”…don’t worry, we were wearing shorts), and having open conversations which led to deeper relationships were all part of what made camp a great experience and a God glorifying time.

Long-Term Ministry

As we have been home and thought and prayed about our future ministry, our desire is to move forward with full-time ministry with Josiah Venture in the Czech Republic. Would you continue to pray for us in this process? We are praying that the Lord would open up the soonest possible timeline for us to be there full-time. A lot has to happen, but we are trusting the Lord’s timing in all of it. Please pray that we would be wise as we make decisions, as we work alongside our own local church, and as we push forward with what we believe the Lord is calling us to. We look forward to keeping you up to date in this process. Thank you for praying and for your continued support of our family and the work the Lord is doing in Czech Republic and Eastern Europe.

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” – Jim Elliot

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