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, 40 miles south of Bangkok, Thailand.
Today, no known missionary or local Thai believer works among the one million people in this majority Buddhist community and it is one reason why Ayutthaya was chosen as one of the first Faithful Witness locations.
While the Fawcett family arrived in Thailand at the beginning of November 2019, their journey to join SIM’s Faithful Witness team began years ago, when initially, God encouraged Calli and Ryan to focus on local ministry, as they raised their three children in North Carolina, USA.
Calli says the couple struggled to be mentally present in their current home, while dreaming of their future home and ministry overseas. However, she says the emotional strain of living in both the “now” and the “not yet” gave God space to do his best work.
“Ryan and I have really felt that God allowed us to experience some brokenness in our marriage that we didn’t realise existed. This directly impacted our understanding of God’s love for us, which directly impacts our understanding of God’s love for others,” she reveals.
And during this time, Ryan and Calli say they experienced renewed freedom and joy that strengthened them as a couple and prepared them for their new life in Thailand with the pioneering Faithful Witness initiative.
“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.
“It is a reminder that God wants those things to be under his lordship also,” she says.
Calli and Ryan have joined a small multicultural, multi-ethnic team that will focus on sports, community health education and English language-learning ministries. For their first year in Ayutthaya, they will attend Thai language school where they will be able to tutor university students in English and build relationships with them.
For God’s wisdom in Ryan and Calli’s marriage and ministry.
For the couple to be a blessing to the people of Ayutthaya and for the gospel to take root in this area.
For the Faithful Witness team to work well and in unity as part of this pioneering ministry.
By Kerry Allan