August 06, 2015

Re-encountering Buddhism

In the few weeks that we've been back in Thailand we've had plenty of reminders of the important role that Buddhism plays in this culture and in the lives of most Thai people.On one of the kids' last free days before the start of the school year we visited the Museum Siam for a refresher course on Thai history and culture. I was intrigued by this explanation of why Buddhism has been so fully integrated into the Thai worldview (Suvarnabhumi is an ancient name for Southeast Asia).
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I also recently had a very typical conversation with a chatty taxi driver. He asked if I was a Christian (it's assumed that all Westerners are). He recited some of the facts he learned in school about the different Christian groups and the names of a few popes. I asked him about his background and he told me that when he turned 20 he spent a few months as a Buddhist monk. He has good memories of that time and, in theory, would like to do it again because it brought him peace. I tried to share more personally about what my faith means to me, but his immediate response was, "Yes, that's just the same as Buddhism. All religions teach us to be good and to not become overly attached to this world. We are all going to the same place. It's like when you came from America to Thailand. You rode on an airplane and someone else could ride on a boat. But you'd both end up at the same place."

He did add that he likes the few Christians he's met because they seem to be people who like to speak words of blessing to others.

This conversation reminded me of the need for patience and a very long-term view. Short conversations in a taxi are very unlikely to change anyone's mind!

-Tom


July 24, 2015

Resettling

It's so good to be back home in Thailand! We've been here about two weeks but it feels much, much longer! We are getting used to the blazing afternoon temps, the occasional nighttime downpours (and leaky kitchen!), a neighbor that daily goes through our trash, lots of sweating and nightly cold showers (no hot water in this house!), shopping, etc. We're figuring out water and gas delivery, and many other life details. We're all getting used to using our rusty Thai and the kids have spent time each day working (playing! they love it) on Rosetta Stone. (Right now, I'm laughing at Tom who keeps getting shocked by the 220 volt electricity as he sets up our desktop computer. Even when typing on a laptop, my wrists occasionally get a little shock).

We enjoyed our first week living with Rhonda and Nixson. We got together for a little team dinner there and loved meeting Gabby for the first time (Efrain and Sujen's daughter), although I'm not sure she felt the same- she cried everytime she looked at us! Hopefully we can do more bonding soon. This weekend we have some more team time to look forward too.

Our neighbors have been so welcoming and friendly. We received lots of help house hunting in this neighborhood (one lady even closed down her shop to take us to meet a landlady) and are now being welcomed with little gifts like brooms and bananas. Last night we took a long walk on the main road, Bang Na Trad, in front of our neighborhood. After dark, it was slightly cooler, with a little breeze and lots of people were out, eating in sidewalk food shops. It was fun to explore new areas and discover some places to buy vegetables, fried chicken, etc. We feel so grateful for our new home in the center of this very busy and convenient area. We are very close to the kids' new school and we feel like we are right where we're supposed to be. Thanks so much to all of you who prayed for God's direction in our house search- we feel a lot of peace about his leading us here. Our new neighborhood is called Muban Phairot.
Our address is...
209/6 Muban Phairot Krongan 5 Soi 1
Bang Na Trad Soi 27
Bang Na, Bang Na
Bangkok
10260

We have a U.S. number that you can reach us on for free (your morning or evening! :) ).....
302-349-2672

New prayer requests: pray for good connections with our neighbors and for the kids as they start school in just another week and a half!

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Hanging out with Rhonda and Nixson during our week at their house. Thanks so much for making us feel so at home! The girls picked up the flowers from the street.

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Meeting little Gabriela. She liked Tom when she was asleep! (Efrain and Jonathan)

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Our intrepid movers. THANK YOU!!

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First breakfast and lots and lots of dirty, moldy stuff from storage!

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Dressed nicely to furniture shop. As I tell them, "Thai people don't wear flip flops to the mall!" :)


May 29, 2015

Back to Bangkok!

It turns out that we've completely neglected this blog over the past two years that we've been in Ohio. But now, as we prepare for our return to Thailand, we'll see if we can bring it back to life. We only have three weeks left in Columbus and then we'll spend about three more weeks with family in Delaware and Virginia. On July 11 we fly to Bangkok.

We're looking forward to rejoining our team and the work there. Our first priority will be finding a house. We're having fun looking at neighborhoods on Google Earth and we trust that God will lead us to the right place. After that, all three kids will start studying at an international school (a new experience for us), Candice plans to focus on language study for the first few months, and we'll all figure out what normal life looks like.

Thanks for your interest and prayers!

-Tom

July 02, 2013

A new phase

This blog has been very silent recently as we've made the transition from Bangkok to Columbus. Over the past month we've visited both of our families, moved our belongings from storage in Greenwood to our new place in Columbus, done a couple of church visits, and begun the process of adjusting to life in the United States. (For a much more detailed summary of those events see our personal blog.)

Today is our first official day in our new roles at RMM. Candice and I will be combining to work the equivalent of one full-time position. I'll be serving as regional director for Asia and Candice will be taking on the staff writer position in addition to her member-care responsibilities. We're excited to start working!

Our plan is to live here for 2 years before returning to Thailand. We'll stay very much connected to the work there and I'll try to use this blog to keep telling some of those stories. Thanks so much to those of you who have participated in the ministry there through prayer and financial support. We're seeing the beginnings of what God will do and it's exciting!

-Tom

May 20, 2013

Then and now

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June 2006

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May 2013

-Tom

May 18, 2013

Needing Prayers

It’s pretty likely that this will be a highly emotional week at our house. The house is looking more and more barren. Silas says his room is “bald.” Next Saturday we move out of the house. We have a lot of good memories here, which we've been remembering as we've looked at our pictures of the last seven years. Eliza does not want to leave Thailand and I have to keep reminding myself that her feelings are so different from mine. I’m going home but she’s leaving home. Lots of tears. We have been praying together that God will help us to trust him to provide for our needs and take care of us when we feel really sad.

This week, would you please pray for emotional energy for the good-byes and physical energy for the move itself- its’ so, so hot and it’s really draining doing all this work! This morning I got 4 of the 10 suitcases “finalized” so that felt like good progress. I have a few more underway that aren't done yet. There are lots of details to take care of before we leave, and many more good-byes to come. Several guys (Lan, Lan, Piak) are traveling down to spend time with us before we go. We have our final good-bye party on the 26th at a restaurant, hosted by Dan and our team. We will really miss our friends and team.

Thanks for thinking of us during this week of major change and lots to get done. We so appreciate the people who have been in touch and have been encouraging us through it. Excited to see many of you soon!

-Candice

May 15, 2013

Eliza and the Mango Trees

As we're preparing to leave (in less than 2 weeks now!) we're thinking a lot about all of the changes that we've seen and experienced during our years here. Obviously our kids have changed a lot - and we're leaving with one more than we came with!

In these pictures you can see how both Eliza and our the trees in our yard have grown.

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November 2006

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October 2008

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May 2013

-Tom