Normally Sherri and I do not talk about ourselves and our experiences on this prayer blog. We would rather focus on what the Lord is doing in the mission through the Thai Christians so you can pray for specific prayer requests and give praise to God for answers to those prayers. But we have been asked many times to tell our story about how God called us to serve as missionaries in Thailand, so we will continue to tell the story where we left off.
Our call to serve as missionaries came in two phases.
First, God called us to serve as missionaries in the 10/40 Window (if you did not read the first article about our call, here is the link, >> http://msmorrissey.blogspot.com/2017/02/how-god-called-us-to-serve-as.html
In this article, we will tell you how God called us to focus our service in Thailand.
In 2004, when we filled out our application to serve as missionaries, we were open to serving anywhere in the 10/40 Window (if you do not know what this window is, please click on the above link and read the first article) we could safely serve with our youngest son, who was 13 year old at that time. On our application, we said we would serve either in Northern Africa for relief work (at that time the greatest need for relief work was in that region) OR we would love to serve in Southeast Asia for church planting. For us, it was important to be open to serve where we were needed the most rather than having a personal preference. We wanted to serve where God chose, and to be open to wherever God would send us.
About a year and a half after submitting our application to be Methodist missionaries, we were called in for an interview in New York City. The interview was a blind one, meaning that we would not be told what position OR what country that the mission agency would send us to if we were chosen. We had a friend that told us that there were eleven nations that the agency needed missionaries, but Thailand was NOT one of them because they did not yet have any churches in Thailand.
We went in for the interview and were placed at one end of a long table, with many people around the table asking questions of us. When the chair of the interview committee said, "I see from your application that you wish to be deployed to Africa", Sherri corrected him and said, "Yes, but we also said we would love to serve in Southeast Asia to plant churches." Sherri's answer elicited odd reactions around the table, including the chairperson. (We later learned that we were being interviewed to serve in the Cameroon in Africa). Sherri and I were a bit unsettled because of the odd reactions and we could not read whether it was good or bad.
Later, one of the committee members asked us this question, "If we deployed you to a nation that did not like Americans, how would you respond?" Sherri looked over at me with a look that said I should answer this one. As I was formulating my answer, I wanted to give an example, but did not want to steer my answer towards any of the eleven nations that our friend mentioned. So to be on the safe side, I chose the one nation that I knew we were NOT being interviewed for because this agency had no missionaries and no churches and no ministries yet in that country. I said, "Imagine if you sent us to THAILAND....." As soon as I said "Thailand", a few of the committee members jerked their heads and dropped their pens on the table. This was a visibly strong reaction, and I thought it was a bad reaction. I thought for sure that I messed things up and now wished Sherri had answered this question instead of me.
Soon after I answered that question, the interview concluded and we were told that we had the rest of the day to ourselves. We had nothing to do, so we decided to go for a long walk in Manhattan. And as we walked we kept seeing signs in windows and on the sidewalks: Visit Thailand, Beautiful Thailand, Unseen Thailand, Thailand the Land of Smiles, Amazing Thailand. We must have seen over 100 signs during our 6 hour walk through Manhattan. Evidently there was a Thailand tourism campaign happening.
Sherri looked over at me and said, "God is sending us to Thailand." She said this with confidence. I have always been the one with the slower learning curve, so I said to her, "You know we will not be sent to Thailand, there are no UM churches or ministries there." Sherri looked at me and said, "Mark my words, God is sending us to Thailand."
The next day, one of the committee members, a medical doctor, told us in confidence that the committee decided to send us to Thailand to be the first UM missionaries to plant the first UM churches there. Sherri was gracious enough not to say, "I told you so!"
In 2006, were were commissioned and send to Thailand and it became very evident that this was where God was calling us to lifetime service.
Below is a picture of us at our commissioning service, 11 years ago. We love serving as missionaries in Thailand. When you serve where God has called you to serve and doing the ministry God has called you to do, that is where you find peace, joy, and meaning.