By Jessica Atwell
Addictions are not all the same. But they are all hard to break. Thankfully, we serve an all-powerful God who has died to set us free!
Meet Ice. About 3 months ago, Ice and his wife Yin started coming to the F5 Climbing Center, an urban center of influence located in Bangkok, Thailand. They quickly connected with the friendly staff who mingled with them while sharing tips on how to rock climb.
When Brian [Jessica’s husband] returned from furlough, he was happy to meet Ice and let him know how much he enjoyed the climbing videos he was making and posting on Facebook. Ice is a local filmmaker, and he accepted the offer of a complimentary outdoor climbing trip in exchange for a F5 promotional video of the experience.
Like every trip, the group met early in the morning to travel by car 90 minutes south of Bangkok and then back in the late afternoon.
Ice sat in the front seat, giving Brian plenty of time to visit and connect with him. Ice confessed that he had been addicted to video games for quite some time.
“I played all night,” he said, “it’s all I would think about. But since coming to your gym, all I think about is climbing. I’ve already lost 6 kilos!”
“Nobody had any idea this was going on! but God did.”
Nobody had any idea this was going on! But God did. He knew what Ice needed to be set free–Fellowship, Fitness, Fun. Some of the five Fs that make up F5.
Then, last week Ice contacted Brian after watching a documentary about athletes who eat a plant based diet. He and his wife wanted to try this diet for one month but needed some help with meal ideas. He knew Brian ate this way, so he hoped he could offer some tips.
Brian was excited for this opportunity because, since the conception of F5, he’d been searching for a local Thai who was willing to go on a plant based diet and document the journey to use as a testimony for others. God sent two people, Ice and Yin, who create documentaries for a living!
When Brian proposed his vision for them they accepted! They were even willing to get blood work at the beginning of the month and at the end.
Please pray for this exciting opportunity as Thai people are very experience-based. They can watch westerners share their experience, but it’s not nearly as impactful as one of their own people, in their own language, sharing their story. This mini documentary should be a very powerful tool for initiating interest in others to live more healthfully!
One last story to share about Ice.
This past week missionaries from Cambodia, Miranda and Sawyer Lundby, have been staying at F5, since the Woodwards, a newly arrived missionary family, are staying with us. Miranda and Sawyer have been enjoying climbing and interacting with guests to the gym, which of course included Ice and Yin.
Brian and Jessica Atwell with their three children
When one of Miranda’s friends was leaving she asked to have prayer with her, but first, she invited Tong, a Christian employee, to join them. Tong invited Ice to join as well. They knelt down on the mats of the climbing gym and prayed, most likely, Ice’s first prayer to the God in Heaven.
The F of F5, Faith, is being planted in this young man’s heart and mind.
The F5 Challenge Center isn’t the fanciest facility, Ice actually lives closer to a monstrous climbing gym. So what brings him back time and time again? The people. Jun, Tong, Wiang, Brian. People who care. People who have mingled with him to learn his needs, to minister to him, showing that they truly care.
This is how you introduce Christ to people. Continue to pray as God uses humble, broken human beings to nurture these precious souls, Ice and Yin.
Since the F5 Climbing Center opened in 2018, interest has been steadily growing, and the F5 team is building relationshiops with others, like Ice, with whom they will be able to share Jesus and His unfailing love.
The Atwells’ ministry is still very young, however, and the F5 team is facing some financial challenges as they try to serve their current gym members and advertise the F5 Center to new people.
Please pray that the necessary funds will come in so the F5 center can continue to grow and share the Gospel with the people of Bangkok!