Newly appointed missionaries Seth and Hlawn Hlawn Van Tifflin will serve in development and church planting, locating in Chiang Mai, Thailand. They anticipate leaving for the field sometime in 2016. The Van Tifflins have established an orphan ministry in Myanmar, In Better Hands, which operates five children’s homes serving 32 children.
As a young child Seth went with his grandfather, a traveling pastor, as he filled in at different churches. This experience, along with the influence of his parents and others, helped shape a desire in Seth’s heart to seek more and more of God. Attending summer and winter church camp each year provided a solid foundation for his Christian walk. Even as a teenager, he enjoyed adult Bible studies and teachings. He says, “… most of my life I have been simply following the steps that I feel God would have me take. In the process, He was drawing me closer to Him and equipping me to serve Him.” In 2005 Seth sensed God calling him to serve in missions. He enrolled at Spring Arbor University preparing to fulfill that call. He has been serving in Southeast Asia for nine years and has “fallen in love with the different tribes and cultures in that region of the world.”
Hlawn Hlawn will be returning to the part of the world where she grew up as the daughter of a Free Methodist pastor in Myanmar. Her parents, who raised her to follow Jesus Christ, taught her much through their words and actions. She learned from brothers and sisters about caring for one another and helping each other in times of need. A high school teacher and female pastor in Myanmar also had a strong Christian influence in her life. Believing God has brought her and Seth to serve as Free Methodist missionaries at this time, she is “excited to work more deeply and powerfully for His Kingdom.”
Working with children is natural fit for both Seth and Hlawn Hlawn. Seth is from a family of 21 children, 18 of whom were adopted from five different countries. Hlawn Hlawn has nine brothers and sisters. She loves seeing children grow in their knowledge of Jesus Christ. Seth has been on multiple short-term ministry trips, focusing on positively impacting the lives of children. In Sri Lanka he was part of a large construction team building homes for children orphaned because of the tsunami. In Myanmar God called him to work with orphaned and abandoned children and keep them safe from traffickers. “Through each mission trip God has worked on my heart and has been preparing me for a much larger frame of mission work,” Seth states.