Matt and Courtney met in missions class our sophomore year of college. After finishing our undergraduate work at Bob Jones University, we were married in May of 1999, and then moved to Kansas City for seminary. Matt spent four years in seminary and during that time also worked as director of Amazing Grace Baptist Camp in Ottawa, Kansas. It was also during this time that three of our children were born. We joined Baptist World Mission in October, 2005 and began raising support for moving to Thailand. It was exactly 16 months from the day that we were accepted with Baptist World Mission to the day that we were notified that we had reached 100% support.
The Jones family moved to Bangkok, Thailand in March of 2007 for language school, and after 15 months in Bangkok, the Joneses joined Jim and Kathi Hayes at Surin Baptist Church in the northeastern province of Surin. Surin is located on the Cambodian border about 350 miles from Bangkok. The Hayes family retired in 2011 and the Joneses have been serving at Surin Baptist Church ever since.
“I grew up in a family that spent a lot of time going to church. My parents were divorced when I was young so I spent a lot of time attending different types of churches with my grandparents and step-parents. This gave me a false impression that I was a Christian. At the age of 17, I came to a clear understand that salvation could only be reached by embracing the finished work of Jesus on the cross and relying completely upon Him. Shortly after that, I graduated from public high school in Greeneville, Tennessee and began formal Bible training at Bob Jones University in South Carolina. After my salvation, I spent time on short term missions trips in Mexico, Puerto Rico and Kenya, and it was during this time that God solidified my desire to serve Him overseas. After graduating from college with a degree in Christian Missions, I spent four years in Kansas City finishing my Master of Divinity degree at Heart of America Theological Seminary.”
Lindsey joined our family in 2001 while we were living in Kansas City. She’s now a teenager and has lived in Thailand since she was 6 years old. Lindsey has a vibrant personality, a great love for music and a good bit of skill with a violin and the piano.
Erica is the opposite of her older sister in many ways. She was born in 2002, only 17 months after Lindsey, so she’s always been close to her big sister. Erica was 5 years old when we moved to Thailand and she’s growing up in a hurry. Erica loves being athletic and has run several 5K races here in Thailand and even won a couple of trophies during some competitions.
Trevor was born in Kansas in 2004. He was only 2 when we moved to Thailand so he’s a “3rd Culture Kid” if there ever was one. He is a Lego-loving, tree-climbing, Wii-playing kind of kid. He’s easy going and would rather use his hands to build stuff than read a book.
Tyler was unexpected. He was born in Thailand in 2007, about 8 months after we arrived in Bangkok for language school. He is a unique mixture of all three of his older siblings and has an extremely outgoing personality. Growing up in Thailand, he’s always been the center of attention for people around him and consequently, he ‘knows no strangers’.
In January of 2014, Pastor Sadudee Ratsimiprasiri became the full time pastor of Surin Baptist Church. Pastor “Ton”—his Thai nickname, and Matt are working as teammates during a 2 year transition time as the church makes the necessary changes to become self-supporting and self-governing.