Fosters On A Mission - November 2019
Greetings Dear Friends,
hank you for sharing in our journey. We cannot express how much we appreciate all of your continued prayers and support as we follow God’s calling in our lives.
In October, our ministry was the focus of the month for the AWANA program at our home church, and David shared our ministry at Living Hope Church in Geneva, NY. We started processing the many great lessons from our recent survey trip to Thailand. We recognize how God has prepared us for this ministry and the many ways in which we are ready to move to Thailand once our financial support is raised.
November has been our opportunity to visit other churches in our home area. Building relationships and our support network, while increasing the passion for The Great Commission.
As things slow down a bit for the holidays, we are reflecting with thanksgiving on just a few of the highlights of what God has done for us this year:
February – David attended a Pastor’s Retreat that was a great foundation for the year to come. David was let go by his employer, which provided us a full-time focus on our ministry, training, and our survey trip.
June – We traveled to Harrisburg, PA for 4 solid weeks of training and fellowshipping with several other missionaries.
2019 MINISTRY SUMMARY
8 Church Sermons
27 Church Presentations
4 weeks of Bible Training
3 Ministry Conferences
A 3-week Survey Trip to Thailand
August & September – We traveled to Thailand for our survey trip, which also combined a missionary conference and ministry opportunities.
Currently we are at 42% of our monthly support with 10% of this being commitments that are not yet coming in. We need to be over 60% coming in before we can draw income from our support. In the meantime, David is looking for work until our support level reaches a reasonable level. We continue to reach out to new churches and individuals for partnership opportunities. Pray for peace as we have now seen the specific ministry needs of the people in Thailand and we are anxious to go, and pray for God to inspire more churches and individuals to participate in our ministry.
The best support you can give us is to participate by reading our newsletter and to partner with us in prayer. Also, prayerfully ask God if he wants you to support us financially. God will continue to call our financial partners, as he already has.
On page 2 we share our experience with the Thai culture and how it relates to our ministry there.
November 26th – Karen’s Birthday (15)
David & Andrea Foster
Describe a Christian
Consider this: if we asked an unsaved person to use one word to describe a Christian, what would it be?
In Galatians 5:13-26, the Bible gives us a clear description of what it means to be a Christian:
For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
A Look at the Culture of Thailand
A top focus of our recent survey trip to Thailand was to understand the behavior of the Thai people with respect to their honor-shame culture, and to recognize how this will impact our strategy for sharing the Gospel there.
A very important part of society in Thailand is your identity, being defined by the group you belong to. One of the first topics of conversation is knowing what family, tribe, or village each person is from. Even at one’s own expense, they are expected to bring honor to their entire community. This differs greatly from the U.S. in that while we used to have a guilt culture where we focused on individual conscience, we seem to have become a ‘me-first’ culture, putting our own needs above those of others and blaming others for our problems.
In something as simple as a Thai greeting, we are able to identify a very different approach to relationships. In Thailand, the verbal greeting of Sawasdee (“sah-wah-dee”) followed by “kha” when spoken by a female or by “khap” when spoken by a male is accompanied by the physical gesture of the wai. The physical gesture looks like ‘praying hands’ and is typically placed with your fingertips near your nose, using a higher or lower gesture based on whether the person you are greeting is older or younger than you, or if they are more important such as the royal family, spiritual leaders, or others of great respect. In the U.S. we are becoming less and less formal, and often address people by their first name if at all and a simple ‘hi’ or ‘hello.’ Such indirect communication that reflects equality comes across as deceptive or manipulative in an honor-shame culture.
The people you eat with in Thailand define your identity. Eating together brings honor to everyone at the table together. Eating alone, or even at a pace different than those around you would be unimaginably selfish.
We have recognized the importance of developing and managing one’s network of relationships. Through gifts, helping people, and eating together, you can build a reputation of respect that becomes a commodity that can be traded when you have a need. Where in the U.S., solving a problem through relationships may be seen as corrupt, problems are solved in Thailand through relationships, so a strong social network becomes a necessity for success.
We have our work cut out for us. While we are all called to share the good news of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we need to be aware of even the unintended communication by our very actions. Everything we may think we know, is not everything we need to know. Pray for our all-knowing and all-powerful God to direct our training. That it will be excellent in its provision for our ministry.