the Vernon Journal

Serving the Kingdom in Southeast Asia

Filtering by Tag: Thailand

Crisis in Thailand : Update

I'm at the Thai stock exchange. Broken widows & fire damage o... on TwitpicAfter the violence yesterday left buildings burned, 14 dead, scores injured, a national emergency and a widespread curfew, there are glimmers of peace this afternoon. Despite the updates of possible roof snipers and pockets of violence, the core group of 5,000 protesters have apparently headed for home. (Source)

We have heard from all of our Bangkok connections and know that they are all safe, although we have not heard if any of them have lost property, power or communication. After a short communication blackout for us last night, we have seen no other changes in our lives - except that our attention has been turned from our daily ministry projects to the news, updates and prayer for this nation.

In Chiang Rai, things seem unchanged... except for the oddity of our major grocery store not opening this morning. We were able to get to a ATM to make a cash withdrawal and our internet connection has been up and running all day. Apparently the curfew (8pm-6am) will continue to be in effect for our province for the next three nights, and many banks and schools will remain closed until next week. We are laying low, watching these events as they unfold. It is not the first political uprising we have seen here, as we have lived through a military coup, a dissolved governing body, closed airports, and multiple appointments of Prime Ministers. However, these events over the past 48 hours have been the most violent and costly that we have seen.

It appears that the peak of the conflict has passed, although a majority of the root problems that initiated the conflict have not yet been addressed and future elections and political decisions are going to quickly stir up emotions and actions again, perhaps to violence.

So all we can do is pray, and trust that our Merciful Father will direct the hearts of these people. Please join us as we lift the nation of Thailand, a nation which has graciously permitted us to live and work within its boundaries and which is home to so many of our dear friends.

  • Pray with us for the governing bodies to make decisions that will be a blessing to the people of Thailand.
  • Pray with us for the military forces to be bringers of peace and stability.
  • Pray with us for the leaders of both political parties that they might find common ground to work together openly and honestly to bring this wonderful country back to a state of peace and to rightly represent the peoples of this nation in their actions.
  • Pray for those who have lost lives and livelihood, that they might be lifted up.
  • Pray with us for the hearts of the people of this nation, that they would receive the heritage of life that comes from the Kingdom of God.

Thank you for joining us in prayer.

Bangkok is Burning

tanks For those of you who don't follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr, we want to let you know that our family is safe and life is relatively unchanged here in the city of Chiang Rai. As of this evening, we have access to internet, and hope this continues to be the case as these events unfold.

For those of you who have not heard, this afternoon the military began to shut down protests that have been going on for weeks in Bangkok and the conflict has erupted into violence, shootings, looting and arson.

Over a dozen buildings in Bangkok, as well as buildings in other provinces (and possibly the old provincial building here in Chiang Rai, though this is unconfirmed - link) have been destroyed by fire.

A curfew is in effect for (basically) the entire country and everyone is expected to remain in their homes from 8pm until 6am. ATMs are likely going to be closed through the curfew and may remain closed until next week, along with schools, government offices, banks and other target areas.

Please join us in prayer for the safety of the people in Thailand, and remember with us our fellow Foursquare missionaries in Bangkok who are right in the heart of the conflict.

Thanks for your prayers & support.

In the Middle of Mae Sot

I received a phone call in the middle of September from Kelly, our Foursquare supervising missionary from Bangkok. In his typically subtle way, he asked me "So, are you guys interested in taking a little break?" Knowing that there was a much larger backstory to this question, I asked Kelly what he meant and he shared the following story: The Gilberts, Foursquare missionaries to Mae Sot, have been in America since August visiting churches and fundraising. Mason and Virgene Hughes were overseeing the ministry, but Mason had some health problems that required them to return to America. Now there was a home, two dogs, and some ministry activities that needed some bodies to fill in for about a month.

I began telling Kelly all the reasons we couldn't make it, going down my list of activities and opportunities that would make it impossible for us to be away for that long. However, every word I spoke felt like it was more and more incorrect. Soon I found myself stopping mid-excuse and saying to Kelly, "You know what, let me talk to Lori and I'll call you back."

Immediately after explaining the story to Lori, she confirmed the check in my spirit, saying "We're supposed to do this."

A week later (after hosting Sarah Smith - a short-term Foursquare missionary serving for the summer at Our Home Study Center in Bangkok), we were packed up and on the road (a 7-hour drive) moving to Mae Sot.

Our time in Mae Sot has been interesting. There are many Aid organizations working in the region, including the Mae Tao clinic - an incredible medical facility we were able to visit and exchange information with that "provides medical services for Burmese migrants in Thailand and for the thousands who come from Burma each year seeking medical help". They have suggested that they might be able to partner with us by sending doctors our way to do mobile clinics along the border in the north, and might also have training options available for us and for nationals who are serving their villages as "barefoot doctors".

The Foursquare church in Thailand also has a significant presence in Mae Sot. The National Leaders of Foursquare Thailand, John & Sarah Srivichai, pastor the church here and there is also a children's home, an elementary school, a coffee shop / english school and village churches. We are especially excited to have learned that there is an Akha village about 48 kilometers (30 minutes) from town, and plan on visiting it later this month.

But, as we have found in Thailand and understand to be true in most of Asia, you just can't pick up and start ministering immediately in a new area. Relationships are slow and history is important. So, although we've been to the church, the coffee shop, the children's home - we are still strangers and visitors, not active parts of the community. We've been able to work with the ex-pat community, and Lori has taught some English classes, but for the most part we're just house-sitting, dog-sitting and sitting around.

maesot2maesot1maesot3

This has been difficult, as we've been going non-stop for so long that we don't know what to do with ourselves. Lori and Esther are especially stir-crazy coping with the minutia of daily life and with the culture-shock of a new region and new food options.

However, despite the difficulties, we have found that "just being" and "physically being" here we can still be used as tools for God's Kingdom. Here are some quick examples:

Rusty, Lynette & Olive: as many of you are aware from our Facebook updates and Journey Notes, Rusty and Lynette had a baby girl, Olive Hope, 2.5 months early.  She is still suffering complications and is hospitalized in Chiang Rai. Rusty and Lynette have been staying in our city home (about five minutes from the hospital) ever since Lynette was released from the hospital. The family are all still in need of our prayers, but we have seen God's hand providing for them every on step of this difficult journey, the least of which is getting us out of town so that Rusty and Lynette could have a place to rest between their vigils with Olive. Our relative inactivity here has also allowed for us to be constantly remembering Olive and lifting her little life and body up in prayer.

Sang: Sang is a Jingpo, or Kachin, woman from Burma.  Neil and Diana have helped her get paperwork to live and work in Thailand and she has been caring for their home daily as her full time job. Her husband, however, has recently been hospitalized and is very sick as he battles progressed stage-3 stomach cancer. In the last week he has been unable to eat solid foods and has been put on IV nutrition. Sang was running herself ragged trying to care for the dogs here, her husband at the hospital, and her children at home. Since we arrived she has been able to pay much more attention to her husband and family, and is only coming over here for a few hours each afternoon. Esther has also been able to really minister sympathy to her as the two of them sit and share with one another in Burmese.

Paul, Lori & Esther: we're probably doing the worst of everyone on this list, but we're trying to just be. To be with God, to be with family, to be with ourselves. We rarely get opportunities like this, and are really blessed to have them (just pray that we appreciate this time for what it is, rather than wishing we could be somewhere else!) Attending church here has been restful. Esther has been fed by great Thai worship and sermons, and we have appreciated attending a church as visitors without any additional responsibilities.

Abigail: this has been a great time for Abi and for us to focus on her. We drag her all over the globe  (she flew on 33 different airplanes before she turned 2!) and she is a sweet, precious little girl. This time has been good for us as a family to set a good schedule for her naps and nighttime sleep and we have finally weaned her at night (again!). She is a two-year old with a huge personality and a very strong will, so this has also been a great time for us to set good boundaries with her and gently correct her when her will turns into a tantrum.

We're leaving Mae Sot tomorrow for about 10 days, and are planning on returning here on the 19th or 20th of October for the remainder of the month. We will be going up to Mae Salong to reconnect with our church and village this weekend.  Then Paul will be going to Singapore to attend a seminar taught by Beth Barone while Lori, Esther and Abi will be attending the annual interdenominational Akha Christian Youth camp next week.

Pray for us as in our travels and as our family is separated that we would stay safe and open to what God has for us in this strange season of our lives.

Thanks for following our Journey Notes online!

Moving to Mae Sot

Moving from Chiang Rai to Mae SotWe are moving from Chiang Rai down to Mae Sot today and will spend the rest of September and most of October there. The foursquare missionaries who live in Mae Sot, Neil and Diana Gilbert, are currently on furlough in America and some health complications with the couple who was watching their home and ministry have forced them to return back to America as well - so we are filling in for a month and a half, helping with the home, coffee shop, English classes, English fellowship and local church ministry. Mae Sot is a border town between Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand. Historically, many Karen refugees have come into Thailand seeking asylum and live in refugee camps in the area. Like many border towns, it has a mixture of languages and cultures packed densely into a small area.

It is a little daunting to move from a region where we can speak a very common language, Akha, to a region where there are very few Akha and the majority languages are Thai, Burmese and Karen. We are looking forward to the opportunity to increase our Thai language skills, and are grateful as always for the huge blessing that Esther is for our language needs. We speak to her in Akha, and she can translate it to Thai or Burmese as needed.

We don't really know what to expect in Mae Sot, but know that the National President of Foursquare Thailand pastors the church there and we are honored to get a chance to get to know him and his ministry a little more. Here's an excerpt from the Worldbase Thailand website regarding the ministry in Mae Sot:

The main church in Mae Sot is the Mae Sot Foursquare Church. Pastor John Somphon is the National President for Foursquare Thailand. We have several Hill tribes churches, an orphanage and a Refugee School for Burmese children (Elpis School). Pastor John has a heart for the many Karen refugees in the region and has started many churches in the Mae Sot area and in the surrounding Hill Tribes villages. Pastor John also oversees our church in Pitsanulok.

Khao Mok Gai

khaomokgaiIt seems to be somewhat of a trend for mommies to post weekly meal plans, recipies and the like on their blogs. And, since my blog has been suffering of late, I thought I'd get on the bandwagon and start posting about some of our favorite meals here in the Vernon household. (Although, honestly, don't expect meal plans... that level of planning is way beyond my wildest dreams at this point!) Since there are so many inexpensive by-the-road style restaurants here in Thailand, we almost always eat lunch out. (Actually, let me clarify, when we're in the city we almost always eat lunch out. However, when we're in the village, we rarely eat out.) Anyway... where was I? Oh yes, inexpensive restaurants! A standard lunch in Thailand will cost you about 25 baht or 70 cents. The lunch pictured here, is actually a bit more expensive and runs 35 baht or 97cents. But it is so delicious that we don't mind "splurging"!

We eat Khao Mok Gai about once a week. It is an halal dish in which the rice and the chicken are all cooked together with many spices like coriander, cinnamon, tumeric and cumin. These spices combined with the fat from the chicken make the rice so rich and tasty. The main dish of rice and chicken is usually accompanied by a cucumber, onion and chili pepper salad with a sweet vinegar sauce. Also, a broth soup is usually included. Mmmmm so good! I'm so lucky to live in Thailand and eat this great food!

January Travels: Bangkok, Hat Yai & Mae Salong

In January we were blessed to have my (Lori's) parents in country for a visit. Their arrival coincided with the Grand Opening of the new Foursquare church and ministry center in Bangkok. We flew down to meet them in Bangkok and while there took the opportunity to see a few sights. Can you believe that this was their fifth trip to Thailand and they had never been to the Grand Palace! (We must not be very good tour guides, eh?)

After a few days in Bangkok, we headed down to Southern Thailand for a few days at the beach! We ended up staying in Songkla (just outside of Hat Yai) for 3 nights. Our little hotel was right on the beach and we had such a nice relaxing time!

Esther (who has lived with us for almost 2 years now) and one of her friends came along as well. Neither of them had ever flown in a plane or seen the ocean, so it was exciting to be with them as they experienced these new things. It was also Abi's first time seeing the ocean (Although, it certainly wasn't her first time on the plane... she's been on nearly 30 plane rides thus far and she's not even two yet!) and, of course, she loved it! (Some photos of her at the beach are bound to show up on the baby blog sooner or later. So stay tuned!)

After we made it back up north, we all headed up to the village for about a week. My parents were troopers, braving the cold showers and hard beds with ease. We stayed pretty busy pouring a concrete pathway and building a deck as the finishing touches to our "new" village home. My dad, the builder, loved getting his hands dirty, working alongside the Akha men and noticing all the differences in how things are done here. And my mom, (not so keen on getting her hands dirty) was the resident baby sitter and kept Abi and her village friendsoccupied and out of harms way.

Mom & Dad... thanks so much for coming! We can't wait for your next visit!

The Dye Man

The Dye Man on his bicycle

Well, this week marks the end of a busy season in the Vernon household. In fact, this is the first real down-time we've had since Christmas (which is why the blogs have been so quiet recently!) The past couple of months have many worthy stories of family, ministry and travel and hopefully I'll have time to tell a few of them this week. (So stay tuned!) But before I get to those, I was going through my photos today and just had to tell you about this one.

I've been trying to share glimpses of some of the unusual things that we find in everyday life here in Thailand. And this certainly counts as "unusual" in my book! Allow me to introduce The Dye Man. He rides through our neighborhood once every few months. As he rides, he plays a Chinese hand drum (as seen in his right hand) to let his potential customers know that he's approaching. He has a metal bucket hanging from a rack on the back of his bike which contains black dye as well as a fire to keep it hot. If people need something dyed they can flag him down and he will dip it in dye right there on the street in front of the house.

For months, I wondered what this guy's trade was. I thought it was SO wierd that he rode around with a black bucket of fire dangling from his bike! Finally, I flagged him down and asked him. Now I know, but I still have a hard time getting my brain around it! Why would people need to dye their clothes black? Maybe something has gotten stained? Maybe they have a funeral to go to? But are there really enough people wanting to dye things black for this guy to make an living of it? Apparently so...

Yep, We're Fine

those of you who have heard about the unrest / state of emergency in Thailand, please know that it is neither affecting us or our work here in Northern Thailand. We have no desire to comment on all the goings on - you are welcome to get all the information about what is going on through your various news sources. We have been enjoying our time with a dental team from Colorado, having treated nearly 100 patients over the last two days (55 oral surgeries/extractions and 40 cleanings)

We will get some more pictures and details us from this team as we get the time, but just wanted you all to know that we are all doing well in Northern Thailand

We Have a Visa!

Our Family in Singapore with the Merlion.
We are happy to announce that we have recieved our visa for Abigail from the Thai Embassy here in Singapore. The process was amazingly simple since we already had our work permits and visas (and having all the paperwork from the foundation we work through really helped). The bad news is that outside of Thailand you can only receive a 3 month visa, so we will have to begin the 1-year application process for her as soon as we get back to Thailand. But she is on the "official grid" now and the process, though long and expensive, is achievable.

 Abi and the Singapore Merlion.

Since we had to come to Singapore anyway, we are enjoying our time here. We have some friends who have a daughter just a few months older than Abi who have graciously played host for our impromptu trip. We have seen the Singapore sights and eaten of the numerous food options here in the Lion City while little Abi and Maya have had a great time playing and interacting with one another.

We are heading back to Thailand on Sunday afternoon and plan on getting back to the village this week once we have begun the application process for Abi in country.

Thanks for all your prayers! We'll (try to) keep you posted.

Tags:

HELLO OFFICER

Still waiting the arrival of our baby girl - have you made your prediction yet? - I have been spending the morning hours (before Lori is up and able to face another day of lugging around a basketball-belly) by reading my news feeds and checking my new favorite social network - facebook.
HELLO KITTY armbands will be required attire for Thai policemen who break the rules
This morning, while reading through my 120+ subscriptions, I came across a great article that I felt was worth sharing. It seems that the Thai police, in an effort to curb more serious offenses such as abuse of power, illegal bribes and mistreatment of the public have decided to crack down on the policemen who commit minor offenses such as littering, parking in illegal zones and tardiness.

The punishment? The offending officer will be required to wear an armband depicting the schoolgirl icon "HELLO KITTY" for an entire day.

"Simple warnings no longer work. This new twist is expected to make them feel guilt and shame and prevent them from repeating the offense, no matter how minor," said Pongpat, acting chief of the Crime Suppression Division in Bangkok.

"(Hello) Kitty is a cute icon for young girls. It's not something macho police officers want covering their biceps," Pongpat said.
Full Story (Yahoo)

The punishment is "in-house" only, as officers will not be required to wear the armbands in public, but as we all learned as children peer pressure can be a powerful motivator... I think the measure will be effective.

HT: Boing Boing

Feral Cats and Fake Markers

I think the nesting bug has set in, as we have been frantically scraping, spraying, scrubbing and situating our home in Chiang Rai. Things that we were previously oblivious too are now glaring testimonies of how much life will have to change when we have a child. OK, so we're really not that panicked, but we are working hard on projects that should get done before the baby comes.

The only thing I'm currently concerned about is teaching our child to drive. I love Thailand and the people here, but I constantly switch between fearing them and fearing for them when driving.

An Evil Feral Cat nesting on our roof In this time in the city, while working in the house, we have been hearing strange noises coming from our "attic". The other day while climbing onto the flat roof above our porch to unclog our drains, I saw three adult cats and five kittens scrambling away - the adults over the roof and the kittens into it.

Suffice it to say we are unhappy with the idea of Feral Cats nesting in our roof, but there is not much you can do to get rid of them, I tried to shoo them off but was met with the response in the picture on the right. Out of ideas, I have asked Lori to get me a high-powered pellet gun. We'll let you know how that turns out.

Just because it looks like a Sharpie does not mean it writes like one Amidst the shopping for furniture, organizational supplies, and tools, we stumbled upon a hidden treasure. A five-pack of Sharpie Markers for only 25 baht (about US$0.80)!?! These are impossible to find here, and are wonderful for labeling CDs. However, after closer inspection (click on the image to view) we realized that it was not a pack of Sharpie Markers, but rather a pack of Skerple Markers. But hey, they should write the same, right?

Guess what? They don't. They bleed all over paper and I've yet to try them on a CD. Foiled again.

I think we should have about two more good weeks of work here in the city getting everything ready before Lori hits that "I'm too uncomfortable to do anything" point. That is plenty of time to finish the errands on her list, then it's down to finalizing my honey-dos (crib, rehang two doors, repair all the leaking sinks, child-proof the tool room, put the fear of God into those darn cats...)

Really this has been a great time, preparing for our little newcomer, spending time together and with Esther and doing many of those projects we have been "too busy" to do for the last 2 years.

Lastly, and this word is important, there is wonderful and exciting news hidden within this post. I'm not allowed to officially say anything yet, but with very little mental effort you should be able to figure it out!

Flowers of Northern Thailand

We have been spending some wonderful time with Jan and Gary as they have come out to visit. Because the Akha New Rice Festival season is around the corner we have been doing the tourist things this week and will spend all of next week going to festivals in villages.

You may have noticed our previous post where we complained about problems we had been having with our camera. Well, our friends, partners and former neighbors - the Scheyers - gave us a beautiful new (to us) digital camera and we've been having so much fun with it. Thanks Hal!

We've especially enjoyed the scenery as we've travelled around Northern Thailand. We miss the snow and the winters in America, but you just don't get flowers like this in October over there!

We hope you enjoy these images of some of the spectacular flowers in Thailand.

Lychee BlossomsLychee BlossomsLittle Yellow BlossomChaeng Saen, Thailand flowersBeautiful Thailand flowerPurple Thailand Blossom

Pray for Thailand... we're O.K.

Please hold the nation of Thailand in your prayers :: Last night Thailand underwent a Military coupFoxNews AP Photo. Everything has been peaceful thus far, but no one knows how this will turn out. The action is really centered in Bangkok so we're just digging in and watching the news for the outcome of this event. All banks and schools are closed for now, but everyone up north is very calm. Kids are playing out in the rain enjoying their day off.

Nancy, who was here during the coup in 1991, said she didn't remember banks closing last time, but it was encouraging (ok, just kind of encouraging) to know that these things happen in Thailand - this is the 18th Military Coup in Thailand since 1932.

Thank you for your prayers.

An Akha Village at Dusk

Lately I've been on a photo kick; something in me is just yearning to be creative! So, despite our less than cooperative camera, I've been snapping pictures more often than usual.

A couple weeks ago, everything in the village just seemed especially beautiful, so I set out to capture all the little things that I love about the village.

SugarcaneDirt and bamboo stairs in Akha villagePlant in Akha villageView across the valley over the Akha rooftops

Of course, it's just not an Akha village without multitudes of children about! And since I'm trying to show you the "all little things I love about the village", it seems appropriate to introduce you to a few of the munchkins in our village. The first picture is baby Ma-li who was born last December; hasn't she grown?! Next is sweet little A-nm carrying her babydoll strapped to her back, Akha style. Next is A-paw, A-ga and Sopida climbing a tree like the three little monkeys they are! Finally, a herd of toddlers chasing a grasshopper.

Smiling Akha BabyAkha girl carrying her doll Akha styleThree Akha girls climbing a treeAkha toddlers chasing a grasshopper

Fried Rice :: Asia's Leftover Casserole

Bowl of Fried Rice

As a kid I remember eating fried rice from the Chinese restaurant in the food court at the local mall. I loved it, but it always baffled me. How they actually accomplished the "frying" of the rice, I could never figure out. Eventually, I concluded that it must be done in the same way that french fries are fried at McDonald's. But the thing that I never could understand was how they kept the rice in the fry baskets; wouldn't it just fall through the holes?! Even as an adult (having realized that "fried rice" does not actually mean "deep fried rice"), fried rice still held a certain sense of mystery for me. Somehow this simple dish had become an exotic secret of the far east that I would never understand! Let's face it, I'm a product of America and America just doesn't do rice!

Having lived in Asia for over a year, rice is becoming a little less mysterious. A couple weeks ago as I was scraping the cold-leftover-lunch-rice out of the rice cooker so I could make a new batch of rice for dinner, I thought to myself... "What am I going to do with this rice! There's not enough to eat for dinner, but there's too much to just give to the chickens." (Honestly people, I'm not making this up! How weird is my life!?!) Anyway, I had seen street vendors make fried rice before so I thought 'What the heck, it's worth a try!' Well, it was a success and has since become my one of my favorite dishes. The best part is that it's not just good for leftover rice, but leftover anything; I can throw almost anything in and it tastes great! It's one of those meals that works no matter what I happen to have on hand.

So with out further ado... Here's my Super-Easy Recipe for Fried Rice (for those of you out there who still think it's an exotic secret of the far east!)

Ingredients:
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
  • Palm oil
  • 1 egg
  • A little bit of meat, sliced thinly (optional)
  • Salt (Soy Sauce or Fish Sauce also works)
  • 2 tsp. pork or chicken bullion (cubes or powder)
  • 1/2 medium tomato, diced
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • chopped green onion
  • chopped cilantro
  • Lime wedge for garnish
  • about two cups of left over rice

Directions:

  1. Make sure all your ingredients are out, chopped and ready.& Once you start cooking it goes quick.
  2. Start with about a 1/4 cup of oil in your wok. Turn on your flame, and while you let your wok heat up a little, spoon the oil up the sides of wok.
  3. Throw in your garlic and stir for just about 10-15 seconds
  4. Crack your egg directly into the wok and stir to scramble.
  5. Stir bullion powder into the mixture (and salt if you're using salt)
  6. Throw in meat (if you're using meat), stir until cooked
  7. Stir in the onion and tomato. Don't let them cook too long or they'll get mushy.
  8. Throw in the rice, green onion and cilantro, stir until heated through. If it gets dry and starts sticking to the wok too much, add a little more oil.
  9. Garnish with some leftover cilantro and a lime wedge

So that's how it's done, folks. I know there are a few things I use that aren't commonly found in a standard American kitchen (like wok, palm oil, lime wedges, etc.) so experiment and see what works for you! Enjoy!

Northern Thailand Countryside

I count myself lucky to live in such a green country! I'm constantly amazed by the beauty all around us! This month we've seen quite a bit of countryside as we've travelled around the North to Chiang Mai, Fang, Thaton and of course Mae Salong. Right now the ricefields are especially breathtaking; they cover the all valleys with a patchwork of fresh green growth!

DaisiesRicefieldsValley

Thankful for Thailand

Sometimes we use our blogs to vent some frustrations about life in Thailand, but not today! Today we want to share how thankful we are to be here. The big praise report is that we have our Visas and Work Permits squared away until March 2007. Praise God! We went up to Maesai (just the two of us) hoping everything would work out despite not speaking Thai and were incredibly blessed to get an English-speaking worker at the office. They were very helpful and despite a few problems on our end they approved our visa.

So now it's (pretty much) official, little Bean is going to be born here in Thailand. We're thrilled to have this chance to raise a child among the Akha and in Thailand. God has been so faithful to us and though we bounce between fear and excitement in having a child, we are certain that God's faithfulness to provide will not fail.

Pray for Thailand

Please pray for the government, leadership and citizens of Thailand. For some time now there has been controversy over Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's buisiness and political decisions. Currently, there are protests and riots being held throughout Bangkok.

We are not concerned about our safety or our travel plans as we prepare to return to Thailand, and honestly don't know enough about the whole situation (or the cultures behind this situation) to make educated political statements; but we hope you will join us as we pray the following:

  • Pray that all of these business and political issues would be made clear and that Thailand would be led by men of integrity
  • Pray that (whatever the outcome of this upheaval) the government of Thailand would rightly judge, justly rule, and care for all of those who call Thailand their home.
  • Pray for the people of Thailand. Pray that the Lord would touch the eyes of Bangkok and all of Thailand that they might see the glory He has prepared for them.

Thank you for joining us in praying for Thailand. We know that our prayer requests are heard as share them with you, and made powerful as we bring them to our God.

Expanding our Map

As you come down the road from Mae Salong you reach a military checkpoint. From there you can go east towards Chiang Rai or west towards Chiang Mai. On the road to Chiang Mai is a little town called Fang (Rhymes with Dong, not Tang). When we were last in Bangkok we met a couple named Jim and Eda who are serving as Foursquare Missionary Associates who were about to leave for Fang to work with Pastor Timothy and his church in the area. During our most recent time in Mae Salong, they called us to let us know that a book they had ordered for us ("Where there is No Dentist", we're coming across more and more abscesses and teeth problems) had come in. So off we went to get the book and spend a day looking around Fang. It's a great little town, mostly fruit orchards and national forest and we really enjoyed our time there. Pastor Timothy and his wife are wonderful people, very welcoming and hospitable. Their English is very good and we really enjoyed talking with them as we ate wonderful Thai food, visited their home, saw Grace church and went to see a hot spring. Jim and Eda are settling in well and are busy with language classes nearly every day. They are living above the church in a very nice apartment and had a friend from their home church, a girl named Tanya who Lori really enjoyed talking with, visiting them.

Great things are happening with Grace church, they have seen many churches come out from them and are purchasing land for a future church site and orphanage. Be praying for them as they are working on the price for the land and looking to make these expansions.

We're getting familiar with this place...

It's a little upsetting that this makes two blogs in a row... we have a lot of things to share and I will be working on them today, but first we would like to get a prayer request out. We are back in the familiar environment of Kasemrad Sriburin General Hospital. Two days ago Lori had what we thought was a bladder infection but after she got a fever we came down to Chiang Rai to get her checked out. We learned that she has a kidney infection and she has been admitted for treatment. The fever broke this morning and she is improving but the Doctor wants us to stay for at least one more night. Please keep praying for us and especially for health. There is a lot going on in our village right now and the stresses of new culture, new language and just attacks from the enemy are rough on our bodies. The care in the hospital is wonderful (although Lori has gotten so good at "caring for the sick" that she is struggling a little bit in being cared for) and the rest is good.

Sorry about the lack of contact, we are working on a way to get an internet connection in Mae Salong so we can update you all a little more often. We are praying over a number of decisions right now as we settle more and more into Northern Thailand. I will be writing more posts today to let you all know everything that's been going on but now it's back up to our little apartment on the fourth floor to see how Lori is doing.

Thanks for all your prayers! Lori would love to hear your encouragement if you want to email her.

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