In June 2018, the Hite family — Preston, Janelle, Logan, Karis, Nathan and Owen — will be moving to the small city of Taitung, Taiwan, where they will become part of a ministry called Taiwan Sunshine, which provides hope and encouragement for families with children who have special needs through sports, education and community development. We appreciate your interest to learn more about the details of this adventure by reading this message.
Our CallingGod has placed a clear calling to the mission field on the Hites since before Janelle and Preston were married. They have followed that calling in many different ways, from trips and projects in Alabama, to other parts of the US, to many nations around the world. In 2009, Janelle, Preston and Logan moved to China after God showed them a particular calling to His work in Asia. But, soon thereafter, Nathan, Mia and Owen came on the scene and opened up a new platform for the Hites’ ministry — walking in the joy and complexity of children with special needs. Mia lives with Jesus now; and Nathan and Owen, along with Karis (who was adopted in 2014 at age eight), have shown Janelle, Preston and Logan that God’s calling was not withdrawn, but has rather been made clearer. The message of the value God places in all people who bear His image — including through those who have special needs — is a message the world needs to hear! God showed us the value of all people when He gave us His Son to redeem us and give us new life through His death and resurrection. Our kids with special needs reveal that message in deeply joyful ways!
The WorkOur kids with special needs receive educational, therapy and medical services from skilled and caring professionals who have become dear to us. We are so thankful that God has provided wonderful care for our kids in this way. But, there is a kind of care that our entire family receives that gives us the hope, joy and inspiration to dance in the sunlight. Without this care, our sunlight would appear like a stormy sky. This is the care we receive in the grace of God, who reveals to us each day a new page of the story of our kids, revealing His faithfulness through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. From the many miracles of the kids’ first days to the joyous laughter of each evening when we put them in bed, God has been reminding us of His marvelous work in the world through Jesus, redeeming what was struggling, broken and weak to reveal a perfected and upward-bound purpose for His people. God has blessed us with a new and clearer view of His redemption, and He has given us the privilege of sharing this new view with many groups around the world, usually by preaching without words.
Having been blessed in this way as a family, we began to sense that God wanted to move us back to the mission field full-time. We prayed for a very long time about this, and God answered these prayers by connecting us with Taiwan Sunshine. We discovered that Taiwan has a need for exactly what God has equipped us to bring in our ministry. Taiwan is an advanced nation, and provides high-quality educational and medical opportunities for people with special needs. But, the key piece that is largely missing is the infrastructure of hope, whereby the families of those with special needs are equipped with the inspiration to walk in victory through the challenges of life with special needs. One child who recently came to one of Taiwan Sunshine’s events had parents who both admitted were contemplating suicide. They had no inner resource to navigate the heavy expectations on them and their children so prevalent in their culture. Now, with support and counsel from Taiwan Sunshine and its partners, these parents’ situation has stabilized. With continued prayer and support, we hope this family will discover the eternal hope and purpose springing from the redemption of our brokenness. That is just one of the many stories of families in Taitung who need the work of Taiwan Sunshine.
Now, the Hites are coming alongside Uwe and MaDonna Maurer, who are also special-needs parents, and who established Taiwan Sunshine by working with local schools, hosting opportunities for parents and equipping and encouraging local churches, with such programs as soccer clubs, “Hero Games,” educational outreaches for parents and children, and community development and training projects for sustainable employment for young adults with special needs. Preston will be the Director of Operations for the ministry, and will also be managing the development of a new farm and adventure camp in the hills outside Taitung, that will be the location of some of the ministry’s training and employment opportunities. We will also be generating opportunities for American college students to join the work through applied skills and research. But, most of all, our family will be living in the light of the Gospel, always seeking to share the love of Christ with everyone around us in a country that, while highly educated, is spiritually very dark.
Your PartMany have paid us compliments concerning the way we have walked the road of special needs in our family. We are thankful for people’s kind words, but we are always mindful of the oft-quoted truism that God doesn’t call the equipped but rather equips the called. He blesses us with beautiful certainty of His calling on us, and we rest in confidence of His provision to send us and use us in His work. We also know that one of the important resources that God delights to use in His provision is the wider Body of Christ. There is deep joy in opportunities to play a role in the work.
Of course, as part of that provision, God may move in your heart to participate in the financial support of our family’s work. We thank you for your willingness to listen to God’s guidance regarding financial support. The work of Taiwan Sunshine, including the day-to-day life expenses of our family in the field, are dependent on the continual donations of the many people that God leads to join us in this way. The cost of living in Taiwan is not low, and we have budgeted according to the guidance of those already there. We are happy to share this budget information with our supporters. Obviously, we are thankful for one-time donations to assist us, especially in the expenses of moving our family, but we also pray for a family of ongoing regular supporters. If the Lord is stirring you to support us financially, here is the information you need:
To donate by check: Please make checks payable to “RCE International” (our support agency), and write only “Account no. 82901” on the check memo line, not our names. Send the check to:
PO Box 4528
Wheaton, IL 60189
You may also donate by credit card online or set up an automatic bank deduction at: http://www.rce-international.org/support-a-missionary/.
Supporters of Resourcing Christian Education International personnel can contribute to their financial support by check, EFT, by credit card.
We trust the Lord will provide for our financial needs for the work, because we know He has called us to the work. However, our greatest need from the Church is the prayers of God’s people, as we head to a place of deep spiritual darkness. We have an Almighty Father who leads and equips and protects us. We also have an enemy who greatly desires to hinder God’s work. That enemy has already been defeated by Jesus in His death and resurrection, but God uses the prayers of His people as part of his structure of protection for His harvest workers. Will you please commit to praying for us weekly? If you will become part of our prayer team, we will keep you updated with regular news from the field, encouraging you with reports of God’s work and sharing our current needs and concerns. Please let us know about your commitment to be part of our weekly prayer time by replying to this email.
Finally, in these months leading up to our move to Taiwan, will you please lift up these needs in your prayers?:
· Logan is leaving a group of beloved friends behind and going to a place where it is very hard for children to build friendships because of the pressure on children to focus on school. Please ask that God will allow Logan to continue to cherish his friends in Birmingham while also finding friends in Taitung.
· We have important decisions to make regarding how to continue our children’s education once we are in Taitung. We have some peace in what we believe is the right direction, but we desire a clear sense of God’s wisdom in this.
· We have quite a lot to do in preparation for our move. Preston began renovating our kitchen before God led us to Taiwan, and he needs to finish that project and a few other smaller tasks so we can sell the house. We also need to purge possessions as much as possible, except for items we will be taking to Taiwan. There is also complexity in shipping both furniture and mobility equipment. We need God’s guidance and help in these tasks.
· Ask for God to assist us in our language study, both before and after our move. The most common language in Taiwan is Mandarin Chinese. (We didn’t live in China long enough before, and we’ve forgotten most of what we knew!)
· Pray that Preston will finish strong in his jobs at Samford University and Hoar Construction, glorifying God in the transitions.
· Pray for God’s continued help for Janelle as she continues her work toward her Master’s of Education in Assistive Technology from George Mason University. We are very confident that God is planning powerful things through that hard work.
· Pray that God will provide all the financial support we need before our moving date in mid-June.
· Pray that God will continue to give us wisdom from the Holy Spirit as we discern the daily directions for this work to which He has called us; and that we will continually remember that our family itself is at the center of that work and His Gospel is the ultimate output of that work.
· Ask God to guide the process of securing our visa or visas from the Taiwanese government. There are a few different possibilities for attaining visas, and we need God’s wisdom in knowing the right way to go.
· Ask God for His provision of housing for our family. The qualities we need, with Nathan and Owen’s wheelchairs, are hard to find in Taitung. But it’s not too hard for God!
Thank you so much for reading through this message. It is our prayer that just knowing the story is a blessing to you that brings glory to God. We look forward to watching Him assemble a team to come alongside us in this new chapter for our family!
In The Grace And Love Of Jesus,
Janelle and Preston