As you all know we were in the States from June 2015 until August 6th 2016. During that time we were able to visit all of our supporting churches and most of the individuals that support this ministry. When we landed in the States we were $1,500 a month below our needed support. So we hit the trail meeting new people and churches that could possibly be interested in joining the ministry in Asia.
Besides traveling to churches, I took a job with a construction company which allowed us to:
- offset the cost of being in America
- pay on some college loans
- buy a car for our eldest & second daughter
- pay for Caleb’s ear surgeries
- pay for Moriah’s travel expenses for surgery
- make some repairs on my parent’s house
- and we managed to go camping at the beach
Back to 2016. In early February we, Lynette and James, headed off to Central Asia. Our role was to facilitate Crucial Conversations training for 7 people. We had a great time meeting this team and discussing the importance, roadblocks, and process of navigating hard discussions we so often find ourselves in. This training, in our opinion, is a must for teams. We had an awesome time with this group; working through the material proved helpful yet again for us. We also saw some amazing sights and experienced a little bit of snow.
After leaving Central Asia we headed to South East Asia where Lynette went to Cambodia to participate in a teacher training conference and James went to Thailand to join workers from East Asia. Five days later we were both in Thailand meeting with regional leaders where Lynette co-led a training on how to effectively administer ministry assessments. We enjoyed being reunited with everyone even though it was only for a short time.
At the conclusion of our broad Asia visit we went back in North Carolina where we continued to visit churches and see our financial support go up. Although it took over one year to get our support back up to a healthy level, this time afforded us more family time with my dad. Looking back, the delay in getting back to full support was a real blessing.
While in the States I continued to meet with the Asia leaders online.Each month we discussed Asia plans, progress and spent time growing in leadership skills. Although leading from the States was difficult, I was encouraged that the leaders I work with are faithful leaders. I am so encouraged because these leaders are leading others…this makes my job easy.
With all our support in we returned to Asia in August 2016 which also marked our 15th year in Cambodia. It doesn’t really feel like fifteen years but this picture is a clear reminder that time has passed by.
Since our return we have been quite busy. Lynette is teaching third grade and has 40 students. She is paired up with another teacher which has been a blessing for both….and the kids too! Lynette has also been making progress on her Masters courses.She has two more classes and a capstone project and then she’ll be done. I have been touching base with the leaders and ministries within Asia. Since October, I have flown to Thailand, America, East Asia, and the Philippines and have enjoyed meeting with leaders, teams, and working on ministry strategy.
One of my priorities is developing other leaders.In early October I co-led a training on Situational Leadership. Just this month a new leadership development group was started (Leader Excel). I meet with these leaders every month to discuss different aspects of leadership with the goal b eing to grow in leadership character and competency.
Today, we, like most everyone else, are gearing up for Christmas Day. Moriah and Kailyn have arrived from the States ( a week ago) and we’re enjoying them being here. It’s like they never left. The Cottle family is taking this time to rest, spend time with each other, attend Christmas meals, musicals, and parties. It is that time of year.
As we get closer to the end of 2016 we are reminded of God’s love, power, provisions, sustaining right hand, protection, and the many ways He has shown Himself faithful. As we turn to 2017, we look forward to the exciting opportunities God will bring our way. We look forward to how God will continue to work in our own lives molding us into His image. We look forward to how God will transform our children and build their faith. We look forward to how the Church in Asia will grow and expand.
Thanks to each of you for the role you play not only in the ministry of Asia but in our very own lives. We realize that your love, prayers and financial giving provide the encouragement we need and the resources required to continue working here in Asia. Thank you.
We hope you have a Merry Christmas,