(Prepare to scroll between pictures and paragraphs, not sure what happened towards the middle there)
2014 has been G O O D. Looking back to a year ago, its very evident how much more Thailand feels like home than it did then. Several evenings ago we were coming home from somewhere, and as we turned onto our little village road, Gaylord announced happily, “home, sweet home!!”…. a comment we often made when coming back to our home in Ohio, but I think this was the first time any of us has said it here. My heart agreed with his, and it felt really good to come H O M E again… God is so good!
Right now we are in the middle of hot season. Yes, its hot, like 101 degrees in the daytime, but so far the nights are still cooling down pretty well, and last week we had the gift of rain 3 days in a row in the middle of dry season. It washed the air wonderfully and gave us a break from the heavy smog. We are grateful indeed!
I’ll tell you about the past three months by sharing photos of some of the highlights with you…
One of the very biggest highlights for us was having dear friends from back home in Ohio come to visit! They arrived in December but were here part of January also. Jared and Dora Yoder and Maddie, and Tim and Marilyn Yoder and family were such a blessing to have here. We had so many good times together and made lots of good memories! It was so special for our children (and their parents) 🙂 to have some of their friends come visit. Happy times!
Here are Jared, Dora and Maddie holding a tiger at Night Safari here in Chiang Mai.
Christy, Chloe and their friend Tori
Tim and Marilyn motorcycling…
These guys are ready to go zip-lining for the day. They reported plenty of adventure!
Tony, Michael, Trevor, Alec and Drew
Yes, so many good memories made! Thank you, Tims and Jareds for your visits!
In January we needed to make a trip to Laos to renew our Thai visas. It was a 13 hr trip one way, and we decided to take a public transportation van instead of making the drive ourselves. Its an overnight trip, and we naively thought we could all get some rest as we rode along. Well, it was quite the experience! The drivers were often sleepy, VERY…. so we tried to keep our eyes open to watch, and make sure the driver stays on the road. Our family of 8, a young European couple who only spoke in whispers, an interesting young Asian man who wore large black glasses, a polka dot jacket with floral pantaloons, and two Jewish young men with big personalities, who said they used to be Jewish, but weren’t any longer. All of us crammed into a 13 passenger van for 14 hrs. I know we must have been a funny sight as we disembarked in front of the American Embassy in Vientiane, Laos after riding along all night. Things went smoothly with our visas tho’, and that’s truly something to be grateful for. I think next time we’ll drive there ourselves though 🙂
Later in January God gave us the wonderful gift of vacation through some friends! Not only was it vacation, but a beach vacation! Each one of us treasured this time so incredibly much. We rented a house close to Rayong, Thailand for the week. It was about 4 kl. from a beautiful beach, and in a nice resort where hardly any other people were around. The quiet was so wonderful, and the sea breezes and water did amazing, refreshing things to our body, soul and spirit! Thank you to the three friends of ours that blessed us with this gift!
Our “modes of transportation” 🙂
Chloe giving Michael a hot sand spa experience
This is soon after we arrived, Trevor wasn’t wanting to get wet 🙂
Since we were close to Pattaya, Cherie and I went to visit some of her friends there.
…a family photo
Also in January, Christy had a birthday, her 18th!! We are so grateful for her. Her cheerful spirit
and love of life is a gift to our family and to her friends…
Here she is with Tori. We sent off 18 lanterns as part of her birthday celebration..
In February we were able to get another puppy for Chloe. Back in November, her dear Bella ventured out of our yard when the water
delivery guys were here and was hit by a truck. It was a sad, sad day for all of us. It was so hard for Chloe to be without a pet, seems like
it meets a need for her, having a furry, little playmate. She still misses her Keiko at home. When friends of ours gave money for another puppy for her,
she was speechless, and the day we picked up “Snickers” and brought her home, was one of the happiest days of her life! They really are best friends. Right now we are working on training her, and the disciplining part is really hard for Chloe to carry out. I heard her telling Snickers one day after she had disobeyed, “Oh,why do you have to be SO cute?!” 🙂
We celebrated Zach’s 19th birthday in February. He brings lots of energy and passion to our family for ministry here, and is very dedicated to learning the Thai language to better be able to do that. One of his recent opportunities/challenges was being men’s dorm facilitator (dean) for the 3 week Asian Bible School session. He was stretched out of his comfort zone, but did a good job relating with the guys. Good experience!
Here he is with two of his ABS friends from Pakistan.
..and here he’s translating their homework for them, from English into Thai.
Asian Bible School was a highlight in March. There was a total of 28 students from all over Asia, Pakistan, and Egypt. Its such a joy to get to know these dear people and hear their stories. I wish you could all hear them…. the drastic measures that God uses to rescue them from their life of sin, even when they’ve never heard about Jesus, and don’t know they need a Savior, are amazing to hear! God has raised them up to be church planters and leaders in their own tribal villages. They come to be taught more of the Scriptures here at IGo, but they teach us so much in their examples of faith and unwavering trust in God’s goodness and purpose in the midst of extremely HARD circumstances. Gaylord taught from the book of Genesis, a 1 and 1/2 hr class every day, It was a stretching, but very rewarding experience. He feels blessed to have developed relationships with these dear brothers and sisters.
This is the class at the term ending ceremony. (The students from Egypt had already left)
Our family was blessed to have them here at our home for singing and dessert one evening.
…it was a most lovely evening. Worshiping, singing, laughing and eating together.
We discovered the game Zoom, is a wonderful cross-cultural game. Everyone has fun, there’s
lots of shrieking, yelling and laughing happening. Precious memories indeed.
We celebrated Gaylord’s 49th birthday the end of March. C h e e r s to many more birthday celebrations with him!! His Godly heart in his leadership and desires for our family make us a very blessed one indeed!
Isaiah 40The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make straight in the desert[a]
A highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be exalted
And every mountain and hill brought low;
The crooked places shall be made straight
And the rough places smooth;
5 The glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
And all flesh shall see it together;
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Thank you for your prayers for us. We really do need them. Our desire is to “Prepare the way of the Lord….and to make straight in the desert a highway for our God”….pray that we know how that looks here, and that we arm ourselves d a i l y with the “whole armor of God” so that we can stand against the enemy’s attacks and be courageous in God’s work here in Baan Khunsay. Our family is beginning a kid’s club here in the village this month. Pray much as we teach English, share God’s love with them through Bible stories and skits every Wednesday evening. Sickness is still a very real part of our struggles here. We appreciate your prayers concerning this.
God bless you all so much. We love you!