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Paton's Prayer Letter

Posted on Wed, Jan 25, 2012

Many thing have been happening in our lives since we came back to Canada and it has been difficult to know when to write this email as there seemed to be new developments happening each week. We appreciate so much the prayer and support that we have received even during this season of silence. We have now entered a place of greater clarity which makes it easier for me to bring you up to speed with our story.
In many ways, this home assignment was not something we were looking forward to as we prepared to move back to Canada for the year. Our hearts were deeply connected to the people and work that we were part of and we didn't want to suspend the development of the vision in any way. However, under the guidance and advice of our leadership we were able to hear God's voice saying that transitioning back to Canada was the right thing to do. 
When we arrived in St. Albert, Alberta, one of the things that was on our mind was to have our son Daniel assessed for some delays that we were noticing in his development and social skills. Most of these things we had attributed to being a late bloomer, and with a little time and help, any issues could be easily resolved. Through a few connections we were able to take Daniel to a child psychologist and speech therapist to identify if anything more serious was going on. The result of the assessment concluded that things were more serious, and the delays in his development more severe than we had initially thought. This led to Daniel being accepted into a program very close to the home we are living in that specifically gears programming and help to the areas that he needs assistance in. We have seen growth in Daniel that has encouraged us and we are so grateful for the psychologists, therapists and teachers that do their jobs with a professionalism and excellence that is truly world class. Our family has been the beneficiaries of their skills. 
One of the recommendations that came out of the assessment process, however, was that we remain in Canada for the foreseeable future so that Daniel could get all the help he needs at this critical developmental time of his life. Through a lot of prayer, tears, and listening we have decided that we will not be returning to Phuket as we had planned, and instead stay in Canada for the next season of our lives. Although this was a more difficult process than can be reflected in an email, we are at peace with this and have witnessed the abundant care and provision of God in miraculous new ways over the past 8 months.
So, what are we going to do now? As far as work is concerned, I (Wade) have accepted an invitation to join the pastoral team at Sherwood Park Alliance Church near Edmonton, Alberta beginning February 1. My role will be in the areas of preaching/teaching and giving leadership to the local, regional and global mission initiatives of the church. I am really excited about joining the team and seeing how God will work through all of us to reclaim His dream for the world. 
For our family, we will stay in St. Albert until June so that the kids can finish the school year and then we will move to Sherwood Park this summer. Bonnie and the kids are all doing well as we process this transition together and there is an excitement building as we anticipate the new adventure that is ahead.
Part of this shift in direction means that I will be going back to Thailand from February 11-20 to tie up any loose ends, close our bank accounts and ship the things that are in storage that we need (like my golf clubs!). I am so glad that my Dad has decided to join me on this trip and I am really looking forward to spending time with him as we travel and work together. A significant part of this trip will be to speak with our co-worker E and discuss where God might be leading her in the future. I want to talk with her about continuing the work that has begun and to be the leader that we know God has made her to be. Although we won't be able to be their physically, we want to support and resource her, and others like her, that have a heart for southern Thailand. 
The vision is not dead, it just needs to be fulfilled in ways that we hadn't planned for. God's kingdom plan for Phuket and the region around it has never been about us. We were invited to join God in what he had begun in Phuket before we arrived and we are overwhelmed with anticipation to see what God will continue to do now that we are gone. Our hope is that God will give us the opportunity to see His kingdom come and His will be done in southern Thailand like it is in heaven, regardless of our geographical location in the world. Please be praying for us and for E as we talk about the next steps that God is calling each of us to take. Perhaps even some of you reading this update will be called to go to Phuket and be part of the new thing that God is doing there. Maybe some churches will want to adopt the region of southern Thailand as an avenue of Kingdom advancement whether we are there or not. Lets talk about it. Lets pray about it. There may be some things around the corner that none of us have planned for. How exciting is that?!!? I am overjoyed to embrace the truth that God's ways are greater than our strongest personal preferences, His thoughts are higher than all of our combined wisdom, His authority extends wider than our denominations, affiliations and organizations, and that His love for the people of the earth is deeper than we can fathom. This gives us tremendous hope for the future. 
As we embark on this next part of our journey, it is impossible for us to express how meaningful it has been to walk these last 4 years with all of you. The experiences we have shared have enriched our lives in countless ways. Allow me to end with a blessing that we speak over our children every day.
"The LORD bless you
 and keep you;
 the LORD make his face shine on you
 and be gracious to you;
 the LORD turn his face toward you
 and give you peace."
Wade, Bonnie, James, Thomas, Kaylie, Daniel and Emma 
   Discussion: Paton's Prayer Letter

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