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Family
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Tag: Family Ordering

Caitlin's First Birthday Party

Here are some photos from Caitlin's first birthday party.  We got a princess cake from a local Dairy Queen, and with some help from big brother and Daddy, blew out the candle.  Afterwards, we opened a box of gifts from Grandpa.

 

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Sorry, I Don't Speak Thai

Sorry, I Don't Speak Thai

Joshua has lived in Thailand since he was 6 months old and we've tried to get him to speak Thai but so far, he has not caught on.  At 4 years old, he talks a mile per minute in English but only a couple phrases in Thai.  As we are planning to be in Thailand long term, this will probably correct itself later on, but for now, he had a hard time with Thai people speak to him.  Often, there are three stages that Joshua goes through:

 

 

1) Listen to the Thai person talking to him

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Announcing Caitlin Mei Dahlfred

Announcing Caitlin Mei Dahlfred

 

DOWNLOAD PDF - BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT FOR CAITLIN

 

 

If you are curious about the name, "Caitlin" is an Irish name meaning "pure".

"Mei", in both Cambodian and Chinese, is a word meaning "beautiful".

 

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Happy Birthday, Joshua!

Happy Birthday, Joshua!
Today we celebrated Joshua's first birthday! Praise God for the healthy happy little boy that God gave to us one year ago today. He is still the same cute bundle of joy that we held in our arms in the hospital but, unlike then, he now wriggles out of our arms and flees naked across the room while we chase him down to put some clothes on him. So many changes within a year. Joshua was pretty oblivious to the fact that it was his birthday today although we think he enjoyed the icing on the cake and sucking on his new toys. Here are some photos from our celebration for Joshua (during lunch time with some other missionaries.)Joshua is not sure what to make of this flaming platter put before him.

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First Words & Ketchup

Do you know what a TCK is? TCK means third culture kid and is coming to replace the term MK (missionary kid). Joshua is a TCK. A TCK is a kid who grows up somewhere between one culture and another, not really feeling fully at home in any culture. Along these lines, Joshua is making an interesting beginning in life as he interacts with us and the world around him here in Thailand.We are still waiting for his first English words but he has a few Thai words that are very clear and very frequent. Although we think he has said "Dad", "ball", "amen" and "book", all of these have been one time occurrences. His favorite word is "nam" which is the Thai word for water. However, he uses it not only when he wants water, but when he wants milk, or grilled pork sticks, or sticky rice, or that tasty cherry children's Tylenol, or the toy we stuck

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Your Wife Must Be A Missionary Too

Your Wife Must Be A Missionary Too

Sometimes there are situations where a man feels called to the mission field, but his wife doesn't, but they go anyhow because the wife wants to be submissive to her husband.  While this is admirable, it is unwise.  Moving overseas is a huge commitment, and a huge lifestyle change for the whole family.  It is totally unlike staying in your home country where family life might look similar regardless of whether the husband is a pastor or businessman or plumber. It is unwise for a couple to go to the mission field thinking that only the husband is the missionary.  Both husband and wife must think of themselves as missionaries, and be committed to the calling that God has placed on their lives together. In cases where the wife merely follows on the husband’s coat tails, these couples don't last long on the mission field.  The wife often ends up resentful of having to do something she really didn't want to do to begin with.  Unless you are convinced that God has called you to the mission field, the stress from living in another language and culture (FAR from family back home) is too much to endure.  Men, if you want to be a missionary, make sure you take the necessary time, together with your wife, to pray and talk about it and discern together if God is calling you as a family to go.  And if your wife is not on board 100%, don’t go.

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Missionary Kids in Transition

Missionary Kids in Transition

Perhaps we should have seen it coming.  For the first six weeks of our home assignment in the U.S., we had been attending worship at one of our supporting churches, and our four year old son Joshua had been participating in the preschoolers Sunday school class.  But this particular week, I was preaching at another church.  As we pulled into the parking lot, we explained to him that Daddy was preaching at THIS church today so we are not going to the other church.And that’s when he flipped out.  Still strapped into his car booster seat, Joshua arched his back and screamed, “But I want to go to MY Sunday school!”

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Death is Wrong

I knew my eyes were deceiving me but I wanted the deception to be true.  I was standing before my father as he lay on a small raised platform, legs covered in a blanket. His chest was moving up and down, almost imperceptibly, as one breathes quietly when asleep.  But there was no breathing.  No motion. It was all in my mind.  This was not the stillness of sleep, but of deathA week earlier I had learned that he was in the hospital.  A few days after that I learned that this may be sickness unto death.  And after hurrying to pack up our family, arrange our affairs, and get plane tickets, here I was with my father.  

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Being a Young Mom on the Mission Field

Being a Young Mom on the Mission Field

In less than two months now, my wife Sun is due to have our second child.   One of our supporting churches recently told us that they wanted to have a baby shower for her in absentia.  We thought that it would be good to send something along to be read at the baby shower since she would not be able to be there.  As Sun and I got talking, we came up with the following list of challenges and blessings of being a young mom on the mission field.  Every woman, and every family, is different and various parts of the world are very different as well, but here are some thoughts on Sun’s experience here in Thailand.

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Joshua Tree & Ordination

Joshua Tree & Ordination
My ordination service is set for this coming Sunday evening. My parents are able to make it out for the weekend so it will be good to see them again before we head off to Thailand for about four years. Praise God that our financial support has come together sufficiently for us to leave at the end of this month. We gave notice to our landlord and are looking for plane tickets now. In the few weeks that we have left we are trying to not get everything packed up but also see as many people as we can before we leave. My brother recently came out to visit and we all headed out to Joshua Tree National Park for a few days. Here is one of the many pics that we took. I have posted more on Joshua's blog (yes, we have a blog for our baby, and no, he does not write his own entries)

Arrival in Singapore

Arrival in Singapore
We arrived in Singapore around midnight on Nov 1st and have been catching up on sleep ever since. Joshua did well in the airplane and more than one fellow passenger remarked on how good our baby was. We are relaxing for a few days at the OMF guest home and have had some extra time to read the Bible, pray, and talk which has been very good after our busy final weeks in the States. Our orientation course starts next Wednesday, I think. Until them, we are enjoying a little bit of down time as a family.God was really good to us in the final weeks leading up to departure and provided so many friends to help us with packing, moving, and so forth. The night before we moved out of our apartment, the doorbell rang and UPS had a surprise gift for us. Someone had sent an anonymous gift of a full set of Calvin's Commentaries. Awesome. So I put them right into the pile to ship via ocean freight and will get much use from them starting in a couple months when all our possesions catch up with us in Thailand.We've been learning about the city/nation of Singapore. It only takes an hour to go from one end to the other and it is super clean and highly regulated. It feels a lot like Thailand in some ways, but different in others. Maybe I'll write more about Singapore later, but in the meantime, here's a map of Asia to show where we are right now. You'll see Singapore at the tip of the Malaysian penninsula.

Thanksgiving Overseas

Celebrating Thanksgiving outside of the USA is a bit of a different experience.  First of all, it is not a holiday and therefore not a day off.  On Thanksgiving Day we sat in orientation lectures and carried on with life as usual.  So on the actual day of, we didn't do anything although some of the Americans in our international mission are putting together a meal for this Saturday night.  They went out to the store to get the fixin' for a traditional Thanksgiving meal, or at least as many as they can find.  Turkey is rather hard to come by so I think we are having chicken, or maybe Chinese roast duck instead.   All the missionaries who are here have been invited although the number of Americans among us is not that large. 

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Thai Visas Received

Praise God that we picked up our visas today at the Thai Embassy here in Singapore.  The long story is that a couple weeks ago we got the word from OMF in Bangkok that the religion department and immigration department had processed everything for Karl's visa and OMF-Bangkok would send us an official letter to take to the Thai embassy to request dependent visas for Sun and Joshua.  That letter came quickly enough but we discovered that the letter had Sun's maiden name instead of married name.  So, we requested a new letter which came just a few days ago.  Providentially, the Thai Embassy is pretty efficient in pumping out visas and only has a one-day turn around time and we submitted the apps yesterday and then picked it all up today.  So barring any unexpected tragedies, we should be good to go for our flight out to Thailand on Monday (12/4)

Safe Arrival in Thailand

We arrived in Thailand this past Monday night and were picked up at the airport by the Language and Orienation Director to be taken to our new home in Lopburi, an hour or two north of Bangkok.  We live in a small two floor condo-type apartment in a row of attached homes on a narrow street.  Motorbikes zip up and down the small lane day and night as a shortcut between two major roads.  We have been have orientation sessions at the OMF mission home in Lopburi, the Lopburi Learning Center (LLC) where new missionaries study language, and around town and we get a feel for what is located where.  We opened a bank account, Sun bought a bicycle, and we met with the language advisors at the LLC to chart a course for language study.  There is so much more to tell and hopefully we'll get some pictures of our new surrounding up on this blog in the following weeks.  However, the priority at the moment is getting our new house set up, starting language study, and becoming familiar with our new surroundings.  We feel blessed in that, unlike most new missionaries, we both have some language ability and are not limited to pointing, smiling, and playing charades.  However, my Thai is a bit rusty and Sun doesn't technically speak Thai, but the related language of Laotian.  So, sometimes she can understand and make herself understood and sometimes not.  I'll write more about our settling in and adjustment later.   For those who are praying for us, thank you.

Our New Home

Our New Home
Here are some pictures from our new home and environsThe street where we are living

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Lopburi Sunflower Fields

Lopburi Sunflower Fields
Last weekend we had a chance to go see the sunflowers fields in a nearby town that are quite well known in this region and extremely popular for photo taking. Joshua was a bit fussy but we had a good time taking photos and spending time together.

Christmas in Thailand 2006

There's a classic song that says "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas" but almost nothing here in Thailand signals the coming of Christmas. A few stores have tinsel and santa hats but there is no snow, no commercial push for gift buying, no Christmas carols playing at the mall, no Christmas vacation for school kids, and no day off on December 25th. Any why should it look like Christmas is coming in a nation where over ninety percent of the population is Buddhist?With this said, there is a significant amount of curiousity about Christmas since it is, popularly, a Western cultural holiday that shows up in a lot of movies and English language learning materials that make into Thailand. Of course, movies mostly show the side of Christmas that has to do with Santa, Christmas trees, and gifts but here in Thailand, many Thai churches and missionaries seize upon people's curiousity about Christmas to share about the true meaning of Christmas. Schools and colleges are open to having Christians come and do Christmas activies (in Thai and English) as part of the school's English curriculum. Many churches (which there aren't too many of, to begin with) do special Christmas outreaches and evangelist meetings to present the true meaning of Christmas to those people brought to church by their friends.

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New Wheels

New Wheels
We were very pleased to finally get a vehicle a couple weeks ago. Up until now, we had been walking most places (with baby in a backpack) or taking public transportation (with baby on our laps and no seat belt). Sometimes we got a ride with other missionaries but even then there was often no seat belt or car seat for baby. May cars (and especially vans) in this part of the world don't have seatbelts aside from the driver and front passenger. In any case, we got a 2002 Isuzu Grand Adventure which is basically a four door pick-up truck that has been modified to include an extra bench of seats in the far back that can fold up for extra room. We were looking for a vehicle with a little extra room for people and/or things so that we could be a blessing to others in using the truck for ministry and also in the event of any future family expansion.We praise God for the generous gifts of our supporting churches and friends back home that have enabled us to get this vehicle. It is rather funny to think about, but this is the newest vehicle that we have ever owned. Up until this point in life, Sun and I have always owned rather old cars with high mileage because we were trying to get through school on a limited budget or whatnot.

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First Family Vacation

First Family Vacation
Sun & I are finally enjoying our first real vacation since our honeymoon almost two years ago. With the pregnancy and Joshua's birth, there was never really a good time to get away, not to mention all of the busyness involved with preparing to leave for Thailand. Joshua is at a good age now where we can start to do a few things with him and we all, especially me, need a break. OMF has nice holiday home on the beach in Southern Thailand that is available for missionaries.We've enjoyed sometime to sit back and relax, read, go for a swim, walk on the beach, and play with Joshua. Sun's had some time to do cross stitch and I am working on some books that I've been meaning to get to for a while. I am slowly working my way through Revival and Revivalism by Iain Murray but I got sidetracked by a book of sermons by J. Gresham Machen that I found in the library here at the OMF holiday home. There is also a book on Calvin's life here but I don't know if I'll get to it before we leave in a few days.

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The Challenge of Being There for Family

On of the most difficult aspects of being on the mission field is that we are half a world away (literally) from family. If you fly from Thailand to New Hampshire, USA you can't get any further apart without starting to go back around the globe again.When our family made the choice to go half way across the world to make known the truth and grace of Christ, we knew that separation from family was one of the costs. It is a cost we are willing to live with because the proclamation of Christ to those who do not know him is extremely important. We want other families in spiritually dark parts of the world to have the same hope and comfort of Christ that we do. However, despite the importance of the task and our commitment to it, it doesn't make the distance and separation any easier. We praise God for technologies like Skype and blogs that make staying in touch somewhat easier but it is never the same as being there.It has been particularly difficult for my Mom to be separated from her only grandchild, Joshua, whom she knows almost exclusively through the pictures that we post on the Joshua blog and the stories that we tell her in phone calls and emails. When she was rediagnosed with cancer a few months ago, she really wanted us to come home. We weren't due for home assignment until the end of 2010 but as it became obvious that Mom's condition was much more tenuous than

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