Allen Update December 2018
Year’s End is fast upon us, . . . Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and 2018 will be history. Kathy and I are running to keep up with the acceleration of time. Have you noticed that? Maybe you also feel in your bones Lewis Carrol’s adage: “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.”
A Stateside Visit: Mid-year we were overjoyed to meet, visit, and rekindle relationships with dear family, friends, partners, former co-workers, during 10 weeks Stateside crisscrossing California, Washington, Wyoming, and Michigan. We so appreciated those who met us en route, some after decades apart. Rich connections! The blessing of forming new friendships and partnerships!! But it hurt that we could not see many dear ones who live south and east of where we traveled. We would have loved to hug those necks and savor time together. And we were again deeply moved by our mortality and separation, as heart and soul friends slipped the bonds of this earthly life to live always with the Lord. We grew much through those relationships and we miss them deeply.
Meanwhile, back in Asia Kathy and I have continued to run full-bore. Kathy has counseled, added new counseling staff, and finalized a leadership transition plan for Cornerstone, now approved. She will step aside as Executive Director on January First, to continue her role as
counselor for cross-cultural workers as long as the Lord directs, and has agreed to serve as special advisor to the new leadership team. The past five years have been rewarding and rich personally and have seen Cornerstone grow in reputation and capacity. But the time has arrived for a change of focus and to achieve greater work and home life balance for this stage of our lives. Hopefully it will free her to join me occasionally on trips to support Beyond’s teams in the region.
Christmas & Transition Party
Ups and Downs: I (Averill) have had the bittersweet task of helping our Western Cambodia team end their service well, as the Lord led them back to the US for a season. At once, I’ve been preparing to welcome new teams, the first to arrive in Bangkok mid-January and the second in March. Our Eastern Thailand team has seen growth though outreach, as one young church birthed another this year, but efforts to enlist many others in multiplying disciples has been less fruitful than expected, requiring careful evaluation and
revision of plans. Our other Cambodia teams Jesus is Making Old Lives New!!
are encouraged by continued growth. I returned 19 November from a full week with our Phnom Penh and Kampong Thmau, Cambodia teams, and their disciples.
Sad Parting & Sweet Reunion: In October, Rusty Milstead, husband of Kathy’s sister Mary, experienced the first of several medical crises that led to his passing 27 November. At the end, he decided “I’m done fighting. I just need to go home.” So, after reminiscing, sharing, and praying with Mary, their children Grant and Kate and spouses, Rusty went home to be with the Lord.
After prayer and seeking counsel, Kathy and I flew to Chicago, 30 November, to reunite with family and lay Rusty to rest. Our sons Jared, Joel, and Jonathan joined us. 02 December we shared a family breakfast, a time of worship, meditation, and communion, and then the viewing. The funeral and burial were Monday. It was rich to gather for those few days to bid Rusty farewell and reflect on our mortality, but wonderful that we could do so at all. We arrived back in Chiang Mai a week ago Saturday to continue our service – and we almost feel human again.
Merry Christmas: Yesterday before dawn, Kathy and I headed 3 1/2 hours north to the little town of Mae Ai by the Thailand-Burma border. Five from Cornerstone joined Cornerstone's board president, a professor, and six seminary students in an outreach at a school for Shan children, whose parents are migrant laborers in area orange orchards. (The Shan are a Burmese Unreached People, close kin to the Thai and mostly staunch Buddhists. Very few Shan follow Jesus.)
Rolicking games like Moses Says (think of
Simon Says) and Christmas carols were followed by the story of Jesus come to Earth, the Good News. Then some fun crafts, gifts of a warm blanket and school supplies and small toy for each child, then lunch, and the long drive home. It was good that we could particpate.
Endings and . . . beginnings: As 2018 ends, we pray God will grant you joy-filled times with family and friends and fellowhip with others who love the Lord and are awaiting His return.
Speaking of that, Beyond and many partners have formed 24:14, "a global coalition praying and working together to start kingdom movement engagements in every unreached people and place by 2025" based on Jesus' statement in Matthew 24:14: "And the Good News I have shared about God's Kingdom will be told throughout the world. It will be spread to every nation. Then the end will come." Check it out.
Our hearts overflow with thankfulness that the Lord brought you into our lives, and for your love and prayers and sacrifice that sustain us in good spirits and fruitful service. We are here in Thailand for Jesus' sake, your hands and feet for the Kingdom. Come see us.
Love and Blessings! Averill & Kathy
Year-end or On-going Partnership Options: Send a check made out to Beyond with
attached note, “Preferenced for Averill & Kathy Allen” to
PO Box 831539
Richardson, TX 75083-1539
Or at the Beyond website www.beyond.org, click GIVE . . . To a Worker, then select
“Averill and Kathy A” from the list and follow the prompts. Thanks! God bless you!!