Five Minute Friday (FMF): Work

It’s been a long, long time since I last wrote on here.  I remember when I first came to the missions field and I had no lack of things to write about.  I also didn’t have children or a husband and did have such a thing as “me time” outside of my work responsibilities.  Somewhere along the way, it became work to carve out time for things I used to enjoy doing.  I guess life is like that.

My Mom has been sick for a while now, although we only found out in June.  It’s a job in itself to be caring for someone else, even when that someone is one whom you dearly love and it is actually a joy and a gift to be able to serve her in these ways.  But that shift from daughter to caregiver is a hard switch.  It’s a flip that is too abrupt and liable to cause whiplash if there was even time to think about it.

Five Minute Friday (FMF): Help

Help late in the evening while on the road for work.  Help with a baby fussy in your arms.  Help with a toddler challenging you at every turn.

The Lord is near.  He is mighty to save.  He is my Helper, my Strength, my Wisdom, my Friend.

On the edge of a village, I feel like I could be on the edge of the world sometimes.  Who can hear my cries for a friend?  Who can hear my cries for help?

I called to the Lord and He heard my cries.  He sets my feet upon a rock.  He gave me firm place to stand.

I lift my eyes up to the mountains, where does my help come from?  My help comes from Him, Maker of Heaven, Creator of the earth.

Five Minute Friday (FMF): Surprise

It shouldn’t have been a surprise for me this morning when we all accidentally slept in and grumbleness followed.  My firstborn takes after me – when I’m hungry, I’m grumpy.  It’s the sad tale of the sleep-deprived Mom who would like very much to sleep in but is too hungry to do so.  Not really so sad.

But when my 2 and three quarter year old whined her way through breakfast, I thought to myself, “I really do need to get up earlier each day, even if I am tired.”  Getting food in our bellies sooner and food in our (my) soul in quiet before the house wakes up.

Our family are night owls by nature, but I want to be a morning person.  I feel like it’s a necessity these days.  Wake up with the sun (6:30am) and sit with my coffee and Bible and Saviour.  I need it.  My soul needs it.  It won’t be a surprise to me how much more awake and alive I’ll feel after persevering to make this change in my life.

This sleep-deprived Mom needs it.

[Note: About Five Minute Friday]

The Beginning of Our New Term

Jet lag is over, the suitcases are nearly unpacked, and we continue to ease back into life and ministry here in Chiang Rai.

Tawee had his first full week back at work this week.  Our work week (not the normal Thai work week) runs Tuesday to Saturday, so he still has one more day to go to finish off his first week.

While I’m happy that he’s back doing what he loves, I have to admit that Kate and I missed him an awful lot the first few days.  Now, towards the end of the week, we’ve been finding our groove at home.

I haven’t started learning Tai Yuan yet as I wanted to get unpacked and give Kate some more time this week since we’ve gone through such a major life transition.  Plus, we have a conference that starts on Monday and lasts for a week.  But once we get back, I’ll be learning my husband’s heart language (not to mention the heart language of the majority of those around us!).

Moving back to Thailand is familiar to us, but not to Kate.  She was just over a year when we left for Canada, and is now two years old.  She remembers Canada and everything there but not so much of our life here.  She’s doing really well though.  She has moments where I think she’s sad and misses Grandma, or various Aunties back in Canada.  But, for the most part, she been pretty happy.  She is thrilled with the food options that we put before her, although she relentlessly asks for strawberries nearly everyday (which are really only available in cold season and are definitely not as delicious as the ones in season right now in Ontario!).

I’ve been sick since arriving back in Chiang Rai, and am limited to a very small variety of food right now.  I’m discouraged by this and am praying it clears up soon.  Thankfully, Kate and Tawee are still healthy though!

Earlier this week, Kate and I took a walk with the stroller in our village and talked about the various things we saw, and prayed for the people in our village.  It’s interesting to explain to Kate about the belief systems and worldviews of the people around us, but it also helps me to have a fresh perspective on all that we see and experience and use these things as fuel for prayer.  We saw idols and spirit houses and Kate commented that they’re, “cute” (because a miniature elephant and horse (the idols in this case) to a two year old ARE cute).  But the meaning and purpose behind them aren’t.  Try explaining THAT to a toddler!

But it’s in all these things that I’m thankful.  Thankful that God has called us here, thankful that we are his witnesses in this region, thankful for the grace of Christ (present and future grace!) and thankful to teach our daughter to love others in such a way that they will hunger for the Lord of Lords and King of Kings alone.

Here’s to our new term on the field, to all that it holds, the good, the challenging and the grace of God that will sustain us through it all.  Here’s to the answers to prayers we’ll experience, the souls saved, the children and families encouraged and empowered to reach for more, the relationships built and Christ honoured and worshiped by more and more of the Tai Yuan around us.

Reflections of the past week – August 6th

63. Twilight over water-filled rice fields.

64. Discovery that friends from our favourite coffee shop became believers 5 months ago! (We’ve been gone 4 months so it’s new news to us!)
65. Reflections of His creation in light.

66. Raindrops falling into puddles like someone plucking a tune on a piano.
67. New found friends.
68. Being present with children needing love and affection.
69. Feeling the cold clay of a dirt road with barefeet.
70. The grooves in the road made hard from heavy machinery – a different kind of art work.
71. The way sunlight makes an ordinary cement building brilliant.

72. Discovery of mushrooms in our neighbour’s yard to help feed their family.
73. Opportunities to lean more on Him.

The weaker we feel, the harder we lean. The harder we lean, the stronger we grow spiritually, even while our bodies waste away – J.I. Packer

74. Answered prayers in the works after 3+ years.
75. Generous friends offering shelter, hospitality, love and friendship.
76. Celebrating memories of our first year of marriage.

May Prayer Letter

Some things will stay the same and some things will be different…  Sounds kind of vague, right?  But it’s a good summary of what’s in store for us and the ministries with whom we work/serve! 

We just sent out our May prayer letter explaining more of this exciting information and we would certainly appreciate your prayers!  So if you’re not already receiving our bi-monthly prayer letters and would like to be, head over here and sign up!

child victims of AIDS/HIV in S.E. Asia

I knew a little girl up in the Mae Hong Son area whose parents had both died of AIDS.  She was placed in the care of her grandparents but when it became known that she was HIV positive, out of fear her grandparents made her sleep on a small porch, just outside of their simple bamboo house.  At this point she was only six years old.  She washed her own clothes; Monday to Friday wore her browning school uniform but daily wore the stigma of one with HIV. 

The details of her story from that point on are not for the weak of heart.  Upon meeting her you would never know the pain that she’s experienced.  And she is just one – one of too, too many afflicted by AIDS/HIV.

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The Thai-yai are very much affected by AIDS/HIV and the problem is only growing.  Lack of education regarding STDs and other health issues and lifestyle practices certainly contribute to the problem, as do the lies and fear that spread through gossip and social channels.

Recently on Facebook, a friend posted this story about a six year old boy named A-Long who is also an AIDS orphan in China.  I highly recommend reading through the article when you have a chance.  A-Long’s story is one that could be repeated hundreds of thousands of times over in any location in Asia. 

I strongly believe that it’s in these kinds of stories that we as the body of Christ can have a huge opportunity to do that which the communities that surround children like these fail to do.  We can love these children, these victims of AIDS/HIV with the love of Christ.

We can love them because He first loved us (1 John 4:10).  We can literally and figuratively embrace them.  We can love them, and their families and support them and help educate their communities so that fear no longer reigns.  We can partner with national believers and learn how to help children such as A-Long, as well as their families.

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The little girl I mentioned earlier in this post doesn’t stand alone anymore.  Some Thai-yai believers and a small ministry reached out to her and her grandparents many years ago now and are providing emotional support, a little bit of finances to help cover her school expenses, and, most importantly, love.

Please pray for:

  • The victims of AIDS/HIV in Asia and among the Thai-yai people.  
  • Believers to overcome their own fears about AIDS and to break through the cultural norms and live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ among those who are victims of AIDS.  
  • Missions organisations, ministries and missionaries involved in this type of work to learn from national believers so that they can know how best to help and love those who need it so very much.
  • The body of Christ to grow in Asia – including among the outcasts, the sick and the unlovable.

T minus 12 hours

In less than half a day, Dear Dear and I will be taking off from Chiang Mai on a plane bound for Seoul, Korea.  After a 3 hour layover (not too painful! and we’ve heard the airport in Seoul is great!), we’ll get on another plane heading to Toronto, Canada!  Oh excitement!!!

We have this afternoon to run some more errands (which hopefully won’t add anymore more weight to our bags!) and will get a ride to the airport from some friends in town later this evening.

Please pray for traveling mercies for us – for comfortable flights, no sickness, for Tawee as he goes through immigration in Canada and for our bags to show up with us in Toronto!

Canada… see you soon!

March 11, 2012 – Global Day of Prayer for Burma

The Global Day of Prayer for Burma is coming up soon on March 11th. If you haven’t done so already, go ahead and download a prayer booklet (in English, Burmese, French, Karen, Russian or in Thai) from www.prayforburma.org.

But that’s not all…

Grab you spouse, best friend, Mom, Dad, neighbour, WHOEVER and agree to meet together and pray for Burma on March 11, 2012. Make it an event and eat a meal together afterwards. Or decide that together you’ll fast from a meal on that day and instead meet and pray together. But don’t let it stop there…

You really can pray for Burma every day.  Join countless others who have.

In spite of sorrow, loss, and pain,
Our course be onward still;
We sow on Burmah’s barren plain,
We reap on Zion’s hill.

     -Adoniram Judson, missionary to Burma from 1815-1850

We got it!

Thanks so much for your prayers!!!  When Dear Dear went back to the Canadian Embassy in Bangkok yesterday, they handed over his visa with no interview or anything else needed.  Praise the Lord!

Canada, here we come!  (in another month and a bit 🙂 )