Thursday, May 08, 2014

After Ten Amazing Years in the Philippines, We are Now in Thailand!

Traditionally when a missionary family makes a transition from one country to another, they have a Stateside trip in between to prepare them for the new nation. After much prayer and consideration, we felt that we were to make the move to Thailand directly from the Philippines.

With a joyful but also heavy heart, we said goodbye to our Filipino home and on April 15, 2014, we moved to Thailand.
We did some serious downsizing, we were able to reduce our family belongings to just a few suitcases and boxes.

At the Manila airport on the big moving day, about to get on our flight to Thailand.
We have been in country for less than a month. During that time we started language learning, we bought a car and started to learn to drive on the left side of the road (it’s easier than you think), Gabriella started preschool at a Thai school, and we started doing ministry.

Driving on the left side of the road will take some getting used to, but so far so good.
Lunchtime at Gabi's new preschool. The school is a completely Thai school, no English is spoken.
Gabi at preschool, they are not speaking the same language, but they are having fun.
Chris has been ministering with other missionary ladies. Each week they go to local bars to minister to women who are involved in the sex industry. The goal is to build relationship with them. One new opportunity that has opened is to practice English with the bargirls as another way to build deeper relationships with them.

Our agency, Go To Nations, has a good-sized team of missionaries in northern Thailand. We have always felt that we were to be missionaries to missionaries. We have enjoyed building relationships with the missionaries here, meeting with them, hearing their challenges and struggles, and finding ways we can serve them and their ministries.

Both Chris and I are hitting language learning pretty hard. Foundational to our ministry here will be learning to speak, read, and write in Thai. In the Philippines, English was widely spoken. Not so here in Thailand. We simply must learn the language, not just for ministry, but for everyday life. It’s like we have been thrown into the deep end of the pool, so we are highly motivated to learn how to “swim."

We found a beautiful, brand new house to rent in Chiang Rai. Being so new, it was completely empty, not one piece of furniture, no kitchen, etc. Thankfully our house is getting more and more filled.
If you are ever in Chiang Rai, Thailand, be sure to visit.
Our first meal in our new home, no dining room table so we have to eat on the floor.
We have started exploring our new city. Here we enjoy the Walking Street Night Market and some amazing Thai food.
We do have a dog. The kids were happy that we were able to bring our family dog with us from the Philippines to Thailand.

God has overwhelmed us with His favor and provision. We know there are challenges ahead. We honestly feel like every challenge or problem is yet another opportunity for God to show Himself faithful. We have no doubt we are called to this nation. We have no doubt that we are supposed to be here. This excites us for what lies ahead. We will plant deep roots in this nation, learning a new language and culture. We know this will bear much fruit for Christ and His Kingdom, fruit that will last.

Celebrating Chris' birthday, just the way she likes with dessert for dinner.
We are learning to love our new Thailand home.



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