8 years ago, Brad and I attended a conference in Maryland. My blogging buddy, Kasey Norton from Walking Redeemed, invited us to stay the weekend at their home in Virginia since we were going to be in their “neck of the woods.” I had never met Kasey in person, but had been blessed immensely by her writing, and though our entire friendship had been long distance until this point, we had no qualms about staying with people we only knew through the internet!
We were warmly welcomed by the Norton family, encouraged by their testimony and joy in God’s faithfulness in carrying them through deep waters. We’ve never had the chance to be with each other in person again, but we’ve stayed in touch, and stayed encouraged.
Two years ago, we learned that Kasey and Robbie had felt the Lord calling them to be missionaries in Thailand. We weren’t really surprised. It seemed like a natural extension of a life that had become a pattern of showing hospitality and submitting to a God whose ways are not our ways.
Last week, Kasey mailed me a copy of Sojourner, the devotional she wrote about the lessons the Lord has been teaching them in Thailand. I read it in two days (that’s exactly how you’re supposed to read 31-day devotionals, right??).
When the Nortons left for Thailand, they had 8 biological children. 2 years later, they have added 9 more to their family in shades of brown from dark to light, knowing they are equally precious in His sight.
They found their calling in showing hospitality to “the least of these,” and reading through Sojourner was not unlike reading a modern day account of George Muller’s ministry.
Her stories tell of God’s faithfulness in providing food, shelter, finances, love, and energy to care for each child He brought to their door when their own resources were entirely depleted.
The real and raw struggles of loneliness, doubts, and fears that missionaries relate to in a special way are not sugar-coated, but like every other chapter in the book, gives opportunity to reflect on what God has to say about these very human problems in a personal way.
I was particularly convicted by the way Kasey connected God’s Sovereignty and His Fatherly care. He doesn’t throw us into an impossible situation and then leave us to fend for ourselves. He sanctifies AND leads, fitting us for Heaven in ways we would never choose for ourselves because He is just as holy as He is good.
Kasey’s goal with Sojourner is to glorify the God they are privileged to serve, and to encourage other believers to walk redeemed, but also to spread awareness of Ban Ta Yim, the Children’s Home they are building in faith to accommodate the many at-risk kids the Lord is bringing to their door.
Every penny from Sojourner goes towards this project, and it is my honor to recommend it to you. Aside from having your faith challenged, you will also be supporting an incredibly worthwhile endeavor.
You can purchase Kasey’s book, make a donation, or read more about the work the Nortons are doing in Thailand, here.
I hope Sojourner is a blessing to you as it was to me.