Choosing divine love, for better or for worse

By Amy Bareham Chapman | Thailand in International

For Calli and Ryan Fawcett, it wasn’t a matter of if God would invite them to cross-cultural ministry, it was mostly a matter of when. After years of preparation the Lord confirmed his call for them to serve on one of SIM’s Faithful Witness teams, located in Ayutthaya, Thailand.

SIM’s Faithful Witness initiative will support Ryan and Calli. The goal of the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic team is to live out a full expression of biblical diversity and the unique way Jesus’ reveals himself through people. Team members are focusing on outreach in the areas of sports, community health education and English language learning.

The Fawcetts will attend Thai language school during their first year in Ayutthaya, which will also serve as a ministry avenue. Ryan and Calli can tutor university students in English and build relationships with them. Ryan and Calli are gifted at making people feel known. They don’t force it — they simply love their neighbours as themselves with intentionality and grace.

While the Fawcett family arrived in Thailand at the beginning of November, their journey to join SIM’s Faithful Witness team began years ago.

They were born into a story and an anointing that the Lord prepared uniquely for them. Every talent, friendship, move, job offer — even every failure and success — was orchestrated by a loving Father with a plan.

"Every talent, friendship, move, job offer — even every failure and success — was orchestrated by a loving Father with a plan."

     

Initially, God encouraged the Fawcetts to focus on local ministry. As they welcomed three children into their family, Ryan and Calli lived out their faith in Charlotte, North Carolina.

During these waiting years — preparation years — the Fawcetts resembled many of us who carry unfulfilled desires in our hearts. They were ordinary people in the thick of day-to-day life, raising babies, striving to be mentally present in their current home, while dreaming of their future home and ministry overseas. This tension of living in both the “now” and the “not yet” gave God space to do his best work.

Calli shared that much of that work occurred in their marriage. She laughed and said: “Jesus has not been messing around. Ryan and I have really felt that God, from the very first day we stepped onto campus at SIM, has allowed for us to experience some brokenness in our marriage that we didn’t realise existed.”

She continued: “It directly impacted our understanding of God’s love for us, which directly impacts our understanding of God’s love for others.”

In the healing process, Ryan and Calli experienced renewed freedom and joy that has strengthened them as a couple. The Lord brought this about in the familiarity of Charlotte so they can thrive in the newness of Thailand.

Calli said: “Something I keep coming back to is the word ‘unseen.’ This idea that the things that no one else sees — the thoughts we have, the responses we have, the way we doubt, the way we believe, the way we trust, or the way we are discouraged — those are the things that God sees and finds very, very important. God has been reminding me that he wants those things to be under his lordship also.”

In their marriage and their ministry, Ryan and Calli seek God’s wisdom, and their discernment will bless the people of Ayutthaya. Today, no known missionary or local Thai believer works among the one million people in this majority Buddhist community. 

Pray for:

• God to help the Fawcetts shift out of the preparation season and into new life in Thailand.

• the Fawcetts to capture God’s vision for Ayutthaya, noticing what he’s noticing.

• the Faithful Witness team to remain unified; every addition changes the culture of a team.