As a boy growing up in Kandy, Sri Lanka, I accepted Jesus into my life at the early age of four. As TEAM missionaries, my parents worked at a church there, like his parents before him, which makes me a third generation TEAM missionary.
When the riots broke out in Sri Lanka, my parents decided to send my older brother and I to boarding school in Murray, Pakistan. After a year there we moved back to the States for two years, and then to Mussurie, India for boarding school while we waited for visas to open up back in Sri Lanka. They never did, and my parents moved to the UAE to work in church plants there. At that point in time I had graduated from high school and decided to attend George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon to pursue music, mostly with classical guitar. After I received my degree in music I pursued a great opportunity at Portland State University in their student assistantship program, which means I was able to get my MA in classical guitar performance free by teaching many of their beginner level guitar courses. Another great thing that happened towards the end of my time at PSU was that I was set up on a blind date with my future wife, Sharla. We were married on June 25th, 2000. Both of us knew that we wanted to pursue living overseas, either as missionaries or as teachers but were willing to wait on the Lord for the right timing.
While we were waiting on the Lord, we bought a small house and settled in Newberg, Oregon. I became a real estate broker, an adjunct guitar professor, worship leader at two different churches and even spent some time as a baker at a coffee shop! All the time, waiting on the Lord, knowing it could be anytime. hile we were waiting we had our first child, a son, in March 2004. And nine short months after that we felt the call come from the Lord.
The devastating tsunami that hit Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand in December 2004 was the catalyst for change in our lives. Sri Lanka, my childhood home, lost over 30,000 souls in one morning. My brothers and I quickly bought tickets to be a part of relief efforts, and I knew that this trip would change my life. Oddly, my plan to move back was changed, and I felt that God's plan was for me to move my family to Thailand. About year later, in January 2006, we landed in Chiang Mai, Sharla pregnant with our second child, and began language school. Thailand's church planting efforts were something that we felt compelled to be a part of, and so followed God's call on our life to serve here in whatever capacity he needed us.
We have now been serving in Chiang Mai, Thailand, for about seven years. During this time we have been in language school, helped start a preschool for Thai foster children, worked alongside a non-profit foundation and their many social projects, served as a worship leader, and currently work with our TEAM partners, the Paizs family, starting an Art and Music Center as an outreach into the community. We have a small growing group of Believers coming to a Friday night fellowship that we hope will blossom into a church body. All the while, we always want to be sensitive to the Lord's leading in our lives, building relationships with our Buddhist neighbors and listening to them and their stories. Through our Center we have been able to invite them to different events and dinners, where they have heard the stories from the Bible and the Gospel. We pray that the truths they have heard will penetrate deeply into their souls and that they will accept Jesus into their hearts and lives.
Wife: Sharla Rubesh; Children: Sean (2004), Anna (2006) and Isabelle (2009)
Art and Music Center, Guitar teacher and Center coordinator
Serving with FCF (Family Connection Foundation) here in Chiang Mai
Primary Prayer Request:
--That the country of Thailand, with only around 1% of the population as Christian, would come into a living relationship with God their Creator, and that they would know Jesus.
--For my different roles, as a man of God, as a husband, as a father, as a missionary, as a coworker, as a brother and son.
--Prayers of protection over our marriage and over our three children. They attend Grace International School. Also prayers are always appreciated for our continued good health. This is a blessing.
--Pray for more workers to come serve alongside us, either Thai or from the States. This is an exciting time in Thailand as the Thai church body is growing!
--Pray for financial stability as our children and their needs grow, prayers of gratitude for those who give so faithfully and sacrificially already.
--That all we do will always point back to what God has done through us. That He receives all the glory.