Christmas Update 2018
It didn’t take long to get back into full gear after moving to Bangkok. Now we are both working full time as well as getting involved in a number of activities outside the international school where we work. We have tried to be very intentional about waiting for the right opportunities because 1.) we don’t want to overwhelm our calendar and 2.) we want to focus on those areas where we feel God leading us to spend our time. Here are some updates from these past few months here in Bangkok, and some ways you can be praying.
Getting Settled In
When we first came to Bangkok, we had a relational network already here in the city, but we didn’t have much else outside of that. We had to start with finding a place to live, and by God’s grace, we found a townhouse with two bedrooms and two bathrooms in a gated neighborhood for under 20,000 baht per month. This is a good price for Bangkok, and the house is within a 10 minute walk of our school. It also doesn’t hurt that the neighborhood has a nice pool and a community gym!
I also want to report that, in regards to our visa issue, everything is finally settled. Many of you know that we had quite an adventure this time around securing our visa to live and work in Thailand, but we can finally breathe a sigh of relief and not have to worry about the possibility of getting kicked out of the country. Thank you for those of you who were praying for us during those stressful turn of events.
One of the joys in our life is getting to be a part of our small group every week. This is a sermon-based small group (meaning we use the sermon from Sunday to drive our discussion). We get together and pray for one another and dig deeper into Scripture together. Of course, one reason I love it is because it is helping us grow in our understanding of how to communicate concepts in Thai that we normally would not know how to. Another reason I am so excited to be a part of this group is because just since we have been here, we have seen one university-aged girl come to know Christ and join our small group.
Ice showed up at church one day while some of the staff were there and wanted to know how to be saved. This was a miracle from God, and we pray stories like this would happen all the time! Ice was exposed to Christianity before and attended a Catholic church with her friend, but she started trying to read the Bible and wanted to understand it more. She is just starting her walk as a new believer, so please pray for her as well.
Growing Thai Skills
I am also happy to report that we are both feeling satisfied in how our Thai language skills are developing. Those who have followed my updates over the years know that I have emphasized language learning very much during my time here. One reason for that is because I believe one of the biggest hindrances to the spread of the gospel in Thailand is the simple fact that there aren’t enough Christians that are fluent in Thai to share the gospel with their lost neighbors as well as preach and teach the Bible in their native language. Thai, much like Chinese, is one of the hardest languages in the world for foreigners to learn.
However, by God’s grace, after 2.5 years of study, I am starting to see more and more evidences that both Liz and I are fluent enough to accomplish the goals we feel like God has led us to here in Thailand. Being able to speak Thai fluently has also helped in my position as the Admission Director at BCIS, because I can give school tours to prospective Thai parents without a translator.
Again, to those of you who have prayed over the years, thank you. Just this last week, a Thai neighbor told me that I speak Thai like I have been in Thailand for 20 years, and she is the second person to say something like that. This gives me an amazing opportunity to witness to God’s faithfulness in this journey and opens doors to tens of millions of people who have never heard the good news of Christ, and who will never hear it outside of hearing it in their own language because the truth is the vast majority of Thai people are not fluent in English.
We still have a lot to learn and are continuing to learn little by little every day. Soon, I want to be able to preach in Thai, and by God’s grace I have found an older guy who is willing to spend some time with me every week to help me learn more Christian vocabulary, sharpen my grammar, and help me be able to preach and write in Thai. He is also helping me learn more about cultural exegesis when it comes to witnessing, teaching, and leading Thai people, as well as gaining a deeper understanding of the different local cultures in the provinces here in Thailand. Liz will also start meeting with one of the female Thai teachers at our international school for private lessons soon.
Christmas is always a fun time here in Thailand and a great time to share the good news of Christmas with our neighbors. For me and Liz, the next few weeks will be full of Christmas outreach and other events. Here are some events that you can be praying with us about.
December 13th – BCIS Christmas party
December 14th – Christmas caroling and neighborhood outreach with Thai brothers and sisters from our local area (This was organized by a family in one of the neighborhoods near us and I am so encouraged to be a part of it.) December 15th – Christmas outreach with our church here in Bangkok (We will be going to a low-income apartment complex here in Bangkok to carol, play games with kids, feed a bunch of people for free, and of course, share the Christmas story.) December 16th – Small group Christmas party at our house December 18th – English fun day outreach with Grace Language School in Chiang Rai
December 19th – English fun day outreach with Grace Language School in Chiang Rai at a Buddhist Monk school December 20th – Church opening in Chiang Saen (We have been invited by a pastor here in Bangkok to attend a church opening ceremony in Chiang Saen, which is in the province of Chiang Rai. This is especially exciting because it will be primarily among Northern Thai people, of which there are currently only about one or two percent that are Christians.)
As always, thank you for those of you who help support us in any way as we are living and working here among some of the least reached people and language groups in our world today.