Speech Pathologist Michelle Nelson heard about Grace through her mission organization, Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF).
“I was praying about moving from Texas to Oregon, but God put Asia on my heart instead. I chose to become an OMF member, because they have such a long history in Asia. Though I didn’t know what God would have me do, I basically sent OMF my resume and application. When they saw I was a speech pathologist, they told me about the GIS opening.”
It took Michelle a year after thinking about Asia to join OMF, interview with Grace, and raise support partners.
“I’m learning that God’s plans are much bigger than mine. I’m learning to trust him with my future—though I usually want to know everything immediately. If God had told me a year ago I would live in Thailand, I’d be terrified. Now, He is teaching me that he provides in all environments in every way.”
In 2014 English teacher Anne Spohnhauer hosted high school exchange students: Tip, from Bangkok and Jennifer from Mexico. The next summer Tip returned to Thailand and Jennifer went to a USA college. In January 2016, Anne and Jennifer decided to visit Tip and also go bird-watching in Chiang Mai.
“It had always been my heart’s desire to be a foreign missionary. When I retired in 2014 I was sure God would open the doors. However, He instead gave me more local ministries and an aging father. When Dad passed away in late 2015, I was free to ask the Lord again if it was time to go overseas.”
“Upon returning from Thailand, I started Googling ‘Christian Missionary English Teachers,’ and Grace International School was on top of the search list each time.
“Because I had recently visited Chiang Mai, I felt comfortable—though I’d never considered Asia before. As I researched Grace, I knew it was a perfect fit. When I mentioned applying to GIS to my pastor, he became my biggest supporter and encourager. ‘This school was meant for you!’ he said. My application in March 2016, interview, visa, and move in July all went smoothly,” Anne said.
“God had his hands in this the entire way! He has taught me a lot by working in the Christian community at Grace and among other Chiang Mai missionaries. He loves us and will find and call to Himself those He has chosen. We are privileged to be a part of His work here and in surrounding areas.”
Pastor Joe Crain heard about Grace through family. His father-in-law, Gene Foltz, helped found GIS 17 years ago, and wife Jana taught here in 1999.
“My wife and I were raised at Faith Academy in the Philippines, and we both thought God would lead us to missionary education at some point after marriage. We visited GIS three times in a dozen years, but God always said, ‘Not yet.’ Then on a Feb. 2015 short-term mission trip here, God said, ‘Go!’”
In April 2015 Joe began finding a replacement pastor for his church and joined a sending organization. By Jan. 2016 he’d resigned, packed, and his family of four landed in Thailand in July, ready to begin teaching Social Studies in August.
“God has taught me to be flexible, faithful, and to know that His will is to not continue what I was passionately doing before moving.”