I recently sent this email to close family and friends and thought I’d post it here as well.
Friends and Family,
It’s been a while since I’ve written a ‘personal’ update on SOLD. In fact, I haven’t written one since setting foot back in the states. There’s something about being away from home that creates a desire to share and connect, but unfortunately that intentionality can get lost when returning back to the comforts of home. My hope with this note is to share a bit of my heart and thoughts from the last few months, as well as give an update on SOLD. So, here goes…
Kevin and I came back from our year really looking forward to community. As many of you know – it wasn’t quite the year we expected. We experienced deep loss, both expected and unexpected, and found ourselves mourning amidst the chaos of adjusting to a new culture and life. But through that we grew. Although I’ll admit it’s much easier to acknowledge the growth now, looking back, than it was during the moments. Coming home provided the friendships, family and community that we had been longing for while away. Plus I couldn’t complain – one of my very best friends bought the townhome next door – so we literally had community within walking distance! And two dear friends of ours moved in with us (yes it can work to have 2 married couples under one roof!)
We quickly settled back into life as we knew it. Kevin got his job back at Cornerstone, and I began work on all things stateside related to SOLD. Within a few months, we began formulating the idea to open an art gallery to benefit SOLD and other organizations, and thanks to the support of Goble Properties and friends/family, we opened our doors for Studio Unfiltered in August. (If you’re in the area, come by and visit! I’m here most days, but can guarantee our doors will be open on Wednesday’s from 10-4).
Needless to say, we’re happy. We miss Thailand deeply, and are very thankful for airline miles and the opportunity to be able to get on a plane and visit. I’ll be spending the first couple of weeks in November in Chiang Rai for our bi-annual parent meeting and am already getting way too excited to see our staff and kids (and eat Thai food!).
Thank you to those that pray for Kevin and I, and SOLD, on a regular basis. Here are some specific prayer requests that have come up for us:
- Prayer for continued creativity (and space for it!) in our home. For Kevin – music. For Rachel – photography.
- Prayer for continued unity as we continue to adjust from spending 24/7 with one another to now leading very busy and separate lives in our work. The studio has been a really fun way for us to continue to overlap our passions.
- Prayer for our staff and students in Thailand – that the influence of SOLD and the opportunity for education would continue to change a generation, one conversation at a time.
Finally, if giving is your gift, we have a request to ask of you. As you probably know, 100% of scholarships go towards the child’s education. Which means that funding things like our mentorship program, human trafficking awareness program, etc comes from a separate fund support by individual donors like yourselves. Our goal for the end of this year is to have 250 people pledge $16/month as part of our Stand 4 FREEDOM Campaign. Currently we have 89, and need 161 more. If we reach this goal, our current work in Thailand will be completely sustained. Will you commit to this with us? You can sign up here. And please - invite your friends to join us in preventing child prostitution. You even get schwag for it.
And finally, I wanted to share this poem that Cat wrote recently during one of our creative writing workshops (funded by our Stand 4 FREEDOM Program!).
I am from the lotus flower, from Buddhist Lent, and warm family.
I am from high school, from cozy bedroom, from sister and brother and brother-in-law.
From “Did you eat yet?” and “Do your homework.”
I am from temple and monks and novices, from Chiang Rai, from Pasang.
Note: “Did you eat yet?” is an affectionate greeting in Thai culture. Pronounced “Gin kaaw ru yang?” is literally means “Have you eaten rice already or not?” Eating rice is so common in Thailand that it is the phrase for all eating in general.
Thanks for all of your love and support.
With so much love,
Rachel (and Kevin!)