You can’t see it through the smiles, but each of these children were directly terrorized by ISIS in their own communities and homes.

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The Degler family stands with Partners Relief & Development, and I am honored to be helping the Middle East and Grant Writing teams.  Private message me with your email address to get a more detailed report about my trip to Iraqi, Kurdistan

Our Heart: Family

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Since having children, we have come to see that our family is our first priority. Over the years, we have seen some missionaries sacrifice their family for the ministry, which has been hurtful for these families and their work. This is why things like quality education, international health insurance, and visits to the US to see grandparents are so important to us.

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Plus our kids have continually added to, blessed, and brought along new ministry opportunities!

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If the Deglers are a family that you believe in and want to support, you can join our support team below. We still need:

  • 2 donors at $100/month
  • 4 donors at $50/month
  • 8 donors at $25/month

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If you would like to join our team, you can sign up here:

https://highriseministries.org/give

Our Heart: Refugees

Since arriving in Thailand, we have been working with refugees, but God really broke our hearts for the refugee crisis during our time in Bangkok. There Jon and I came to know a number of refugees, some we visited in the Immigration Detention Center and some we had the honor of hearing their stories.

These were some of the most heartbreaking stories we had heard, because they were not fair and most of the time, there was no help for them. We really believe that the brave refugees who trusted us with their stories, led us to Partners Relief & Development.

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Before, these were just stats: “An unprecedented 70.8 million people around the world have been forced from home. Among them are nearly 25.9 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18.”But now, they are people we know and love and pray for. We now feel an urgency to help others families who are forced to flee their homes. Jon has spent the past two weeks in the middle east. We look forward to updating you on the Partner’s work he was able to visit while there and how we will continue to be involved in this work in the future.If this is work that you want to be a part of, we need you to keep us on the field. We still need:

  • 2 donors at $100/month
  • 4 donors at $50/month
  • 8 donors at $25/month.

If you would like to join our team, you can sign up here:

https://highriseministries.org/give/

Our Work: Counseling

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7 years ago this group of awesome ladies and I developed a counseling department at ZOE to provide trauma counseling, group therapy, and houseparent trainings. I was able to be a part of this team for 4 years!

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Then in Bangkok, God brought together our Dream Team at the exact time there was a need to develop a foster care program for refugee kids, who were living in the Immigration Detention Center. My role was providing trauma counseling for all our foster kids. During this time, God broke our hearts for the refugee crisis.

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Now I’m a part of this huge dynamic team of counselors at the Well and see it as such a privilege that I can learn and gain new skills while serving other families on the field. My clients continue to primarily be children and teens, but I’m also now working with women and families as well.

I could go on and on about the incredible work these teams have accomplished and all that God has done in brave kids who trusted the counseling process, but I want to let you know that we are at a place where we fear that our time in Thailand could come to an end. Looking at school fees and our drop in donors, we just don’t know if financially we can continue this important work.

We need new donors to join our support team so that we can continue this work that we believe we are gifted for and are so passionate about. We are looking for:

  • 2 donors at $100/month
  • 4 donors at $50/month
  • 8 donors at $25/month.

If you would like to join our team, you can sign up here: https://highriseministries.org/give/

7 Years!

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Today marks 7 years of living and working in Thailand. We started out as just two on our motorbike and now have multiplied to four and a pup. We are so thankful to live here and are grateful to work for such great organizations: Partners Relief & Development and The Well International.

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We have been through many transitions and changes during our time in Thailand and we know it’s hard to keep up when you are a world away. This week we will be sharing about the important work that we are able to be a part of and want to invite you to join our support team.

We are looking for:

  • 2 donors at $100/month
  • 4 donors at $50/month
  • 8 donors at $25/month.

 

If you would like to join our team, you can sign up here: https://highriseministries.org/give/

Hello from Yoga Training

 

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Hello from yoga teacher training!

Some amazing things have already been happening at teacher training, so I wanted to share with you!

Backstory: I first tried yoga about a year ago at a Christian yoga retreat and as I continued to practice yoga, Jesus just kept meeting me on my mat.  I found that yoga helped me to quiet my mind & draw into the presence of Christ.  I read Holy Yoga by Brooke Boon and learned more deeply how I can use yoga as a spiritual discipline to worship God with my heart, soul, strength, and mind.

I hoped to be trained as an instructor through a Christian program, such as Holy Yoga, but money and time constraints made flying to the States an impossibility. After praying, and asking some friends who had done various types of yoga training, I decided to sign up for traditional yoga training in a Bangkok.  My teachers are Hindus from India who pride themselves of teaching traditional Hatha yoga.

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The first few days I struggled with if this was the right decision.  Our mornings started off with a worship service for the gods ganesha and shiva.  The first few days, I sat through the service, but just quietly observed.  When asked, why I didn’t want to participate, I shared that this was not the god I worshiped and they encouraged me to worship my God in their service.  I considered ways I could do this, but I felt a disconnect.  Yoga is a practice of bringing your soul, mind, and body into harmony.  By participating in this service in the flesh, I felt that my soul and mind were not aligned with what I was doing in the physical.

As I was going through this internal struggle, praying my heart out, and seeking advice from other Christian yogi friends, I was also reading Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown.  In the book she shares about the importance of True Belonging, which she defines as:

“A practice that requires us to be vulnerable, get uncomfortable, and learn how to be present with people without sacrificing who we are.”  Brene Brown

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I really felt like this was a time where I needed to “brave the wilderness” by standing alone and sharing my heart with my teachers.  I was nervous and didn’t want to cause conflict, but I spoke with my teachers and told them that I could not participate in their service and I questioned if this was the right school for me.

My teachers encouraged me that yoga is for everyone and I can worship my God through this practice. I knew this was true.  After further discussion, my teachers gave me permission to sit out of their morning worship service, but asked that I take that time each morning to worship Jesus instead. How beautiful is that!

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“The Wilderness can often feel unholy because we can’t control it, or what people think about our choice of whether to venture into the vastness or not.  But it turns out to be the place of true belonging, and it’s the bravest and most sacred place you will ever stand.” Brene Brown

Along with this, they continue to ask me about my beliefs and God during classes, so I am able to share with all of them about Jesus and his love and forgiveness.  They are even throwing ideas out to me for how I can use yoga to worship Jesus.

All of this to say, if you think of me over the next few weeks, I would appreciate it if you would lift me up in prayer.  I’m having lots of brave conversations and I just hope to continue to speak Truth and embody Love.  Pray that my light can continue to shine in this training.

Strength

Written by: Mitch Woods, HighRise Treasurer

If anyone knows a thing or two about strength, it’s Arnold Schwarzenegger.  In our world today, we tend to admire strength, however we usually only see the end results and not the hard work, determination, and grit it takes someone to get there.  Arnold said “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”

With the winter olympics ending recently, we were reminded time and time again of the strength it takes for athletes to compete at that level.  It isn’t enough to be physically strong, but olympic athletes are strong mentally and emotionally as well. There are so many stories of determination and grit that can help us see what it takes to be some of the best athletes in the world.  I’m reminded of Pita Taufatofua, the man from Tonga, who was determined to represent his country in both the summer and winter olympics. He learned how to ski in a country covered in sand (and probably as hot as it is in Thailand!), only training for 3 months in snow before the olympic games, and placed 114th out of 116.  What a story of strength and determination!

God calls us to a life where comfort isn’t guaranteed.  In fact, Jesus says that we are going to struggle if we follow Him.  Our heart for the Thai people is that their struggles can help them grow stronger and point them to the source of true strength, a relationship with Jesus.  In a culture that is predominantly Buddhist (even if just by cultural identification), struggles are often interpreted as karma – a punishment or circumstance related to a past action that is impacting their present situation.  We want to show them that God’s love for them isn’t dependent on what they’ve done, that it is an unconditional love that is beyond our human comprehension.

The awesome news is that even though Jesus says we are going to struggle, we also know the end of the story – He has overcome the world.  Join us in praying for the people of Thailand that they can see their struggles in the light of the good news of the gospel, understanding God’s unconditional agape love for His people.