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Like Mary of Bethany

December 2022 Newsletter


"Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head... And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, Why this waste?'"

Matthew 26:6-8 [1]



Dear family, friends and our entire support network,


Happy New Year! Ethan and I as well as our team had a great month of December. The holidays looked a little warmer and the community surrounding us was filled with different faces, but we take joy in these changes, knowing that they truly are the reason for the season! We are thanking the Lord for His mighty works throughout 2022 and we pray that 2023 will be great for His namesake!


Updates

Along with continued language learning and building upon the friendships God has opened doors to, we wanted to share some photo highlights from the month. Since last newsletter, we were able to purchase a camera through the generous donation of one of our monthly supporters! Ethan has already been taking so many more pictures and we're looking forward to learning the skills to put together videos for you all and as well for our pioneering YWAM team here in Trang! We hope you enjoy these updates. :)


Fellowshipping with our church family here and inviting the neighbors to Christmas service.


This month we spent some intentional time with our days off soaking in the beauty of Thailand. God has shown our team that long-term effectiveness in ministry here is linked to a nurtured love for this nation and it's people.


Exploring our city with our friends Thaksin and Kwan. We love these two so much and hangout with them often. They help us practice our Thai whenever we get together. Thaksin's parents are the pastors of our church too!


The communications team worked with Thaksin and Kwan to translate YWAM Trang's mission statement, mission methods and our values into Thai! Thaksin and Kwan have been serving with YWAM Thailand for a long time and we're excited to officially welcome them onto our staff team. If you are interested in reading our Mission Statement, Mission Methods and Values just click the link below.


A visual reminder of why we pray, give and labor for Jesus to be known in Thailand. We hope that the prayer guides we sent to you all are a helpful tool to begin and sustain prayer for the people of Thailand <3


With that, this month I (Marie here) felt led to share a short reflection of what the Lord has been speaking as we enter into 2023: a heart-level reset necessary for the practical everyday obedience He calls each of us to in our unique contexts. Whatever your obedience looks like, Ethan and I pray this reflection written below may encourage and strengthen you and your families to walk that path with whole-hearted love for our Savior.


A Love Like Mary of Bethany

Daily life here is becoming a bit more normal. I'm learning how to bake bread in our air fryer, trying to keep our plants alive and starting to drive on my own more. In the everyday tasks, and the ministry alike, the Lord speaks to me. How is it that we can have such access to Him? How is it that He doesn't disregard this groaning creation, but humbled Himself to enter and experience it? [2] How is it that this Holy Lord is so interested in our seemingly unimportant earthly lives? I don't know. And yet we truly do have access to Him, He does understand us, and He is more than interested in our lives. In this month I've felt Him come near, beckoning Ethan and I, our team, and I believe many of you in this New Year with these words:


Renew your love for Me. Reaffirm your vows.


I found an old note on my phone titled, "Vows" from almost a year ago. It echoes of the thoughts He has brought to my mind this month. It echoes of the story of Mary of Bethany. It reads in part, "You are the one thing I need. For I have been made for You, to cherish You, to wash Your feet with my hair, to pour out all my oil, to come near."


Last week I was listening to a podcast discussing the story about Mary of Bethany. [3] The gospel accounts tell us that at a dinner party shortly before Jesus would be delivered over to His death, Mary gathered her perhaps most valuable possession, an alabaster flask of expensive ointment worth equivalent to a years wages. [4] She brought it into the room filled with people and before them all, she emptied her flask over Jesus' body. [5] This is the same Mary who sat at the Lord's feet as He taught in her home while Martha served, the same Mary whose brother Lazarus died and was brought back to life by the mercy and power of Jesus. [6] This event could be seen as the culmination, the crescendo of Mary's attitudes toward this man from Nazareth. Her story doesn't allow room for half-hearted love. Her testimony is an uncomfortable, and incredibly inconvenient story for our flesh, but an inspiring and truly freeing story for our spirit. Maybe that's why Jesus said that everywhere the gospel would be proclaimed, there too would people hear of her devotion. [7]


I want to be like Mary, unafraid of the offense she would cause the onlookers in that room who asked, "Why this waste?"[8] I want to be like Mary, brave enough to bankrupt her life for the sake of the One who would endure the cross for her, trusting in Jesus' words that by losing her life for His sake, she would find it. [9] I want our lives to testify of this kind of love.


And yet this desire is at war with the desires of the flesh.


I am aware of the temptation to choose anything other than our whole-hearted devotion to Jesus, but in the midst of that wrestling He remains faithful. He shatters any doubt that may attempt to diminish the radical reality of His worthiness. In that podcast, Stephanie reminds those listening that one day the Lord will return and our opportunity to shower Him with extravagant acts of sacrificial love will be over. We get one life to bust our alabaster for the Son of God. One life. [10] I pray we labor to expend our lives for His sake because we have our hope set on Him. I pray that we do not shrink back in fear as He draws us to pour out more of ourselves; it may make us feel weak, but that is when His power is made perfect. Let us be those who cry out to Him as we confess our lack of enthusiasm, "Let me love you more, Lord. Let me love You more!"[11]



Praise and Petitions

  • Praise for a beautiful Christmas season and the Lord surrounding us with an incredible community here. We celebrated with our churches and with some of our team members.

  • Praise that Marie's Mom and Dad are visiting us for two weeks in January. We couldn't do this without their love and support and we are so looking forward to showing them around Trang and just getting to spend time together.

  • Thank you all for continuing to pray for our Thai teacher. Our last class before break we were able to share with her the true meaning of Christmas as she was asking us questions about it. Please continue to pray for her and for us to witness as God leads!

  • This month two of the new believers our guys have been developing friendships with decided to get baptized! We are praising God for the Spirit's work in their lives and we ask for your continued prayer for them: Mike and Live. Please also pray for these names: Golf, Tian, Boom, Team, P'Goi, P'Mook, P'Nok and her two children, P'Daranee, Kru Sue, Nueng, and Bing Bing.

  • We ask for your prayer for God's guidance in potentially visiting home and our support network in the coming year.

  • Please also pray for Ethan and I's spiritual lives. We just want to love the Lord more and more and grow into the fullness of maturity He desires for us.

  • In the last two newsletters we shared that we've been praying about purchasing a camera for ministry; a long-term supporter gave a generous one-time donation and so one of our Christmas presents was that camera!! Thanking God for this - such a blessing that we pray will in turn be a blessing to others and ultimately the Kingdom.

  • Connor and Nicole (Marie's brother-in-law and sister) have gained some monthly partners and as well received a few one-time donation for their future car purchase. Thank you! As they continue to raise the full support needed, we've been encouraged by the increase in those seeking to partner with them! If you feel led to connect, their email is: nicoleholloway2021@gmail.com


Thank You

Thank you all for the all the Merry Christmas wishes, the phone calls, the unseen prayers, the cookies sent across the ocean, all of it! A special thank you to Transform Ministries in Couer D'Alene, I.D. for the gift package to our entire team. Your cards and gifts have made it to Trang and will be in the hands of our staff team this week as we return from the holiday break. What a special gift it is to be championed by you all! And thank you to all who continue to read these newsletters. We are so blessed by this network of people working together to advance the Kingdom in Thailand. You all truly make it possible for us to till the ground of these unreached nations with the promise of them bearing fruit for His name.


We love you.


Ethan and Marie Parks



"To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen."

1 Timothy 1:17

 

Bibliography



[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Mt 26:6-8.


[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ro 8:22,

Php 2:8.


[3] The Way. Scott, Jordan. “Making Disciples Like Mary of Bethany”. Frontier Alliance

International, July 2, 2020. Accessed December 30, 2022.

https://www.faipublishing.org/podcasts


[4] Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, Second

Edition. (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 2014), 285.


[5] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Jn 12:1-8.


[6] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Lk 10:38-

42, Jn 11:1.


[7] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Mt 26:13.


[8] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Mt 26:8.


[9] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Mt 10:39.


[10] The Way. Scott, Jordan. “Making Disciples Like Mary of Bethany”. Frontier Alliance

International, July 2, 2020. Accessed December 30, 2022.


[11] Harvest. Love You More. Single, 2022. Accessed December 31, 2022.

 

*A note on citations! We want to be reliable and trustworthy in the information we present. Please point out any and all mistakes we may be making in our effort to create honest and well-documented content. We are currently attempting to uphold one of the most common citation methods in Christian academic writing: Turabian 8th Edition. Any advice/recommendations are welcome!

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