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Family
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Tag: Family Ordering

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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Mom's Memorial Service

Mom's Memorial Service
It has been about a month and a half since Karl's mom passed away on May 24th and her absence is profoundly felt. She was a wonderful woman and dearly missed. Our family is very thankful that God gave us some time with her after we arrived from Thailand on May 20th and praise Him for strengthening us for the chaotic and emotional time that we stepped into when we got off the plane.I had the unique privilege of leading the memorial service for my Mom and I am posting below the order of service from the church bulletin together with the MP3 audio files for the service. I am doing this both for my own sake and that of my family as we think back about my Mom in years to come, and also for the sake of those who loved and appreciated my Mom but were unable to make it to the memorial service. The six MP3 files, taken together,

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Wanted: Kingdom Families

Some people may think that our family is crazy to take Joshua to the mission field where he will not (as the argument goes) have the privileges and advantages of growing up in a developed wealthy country like America. However, there are many advantages of taking kids to the mission field and there are somethings worth giving up for the sake of sharing the Gospel with those who have never heard and making the name of Christ known in the dark places of the world.In the Sept/Oct 9Marks e-journal, I recently read an article called "Wanted: Kingdom Families" The authors correct a number of mistaken notions about taking kids to the mission field and present a challenge to parents to be kingdom minded and Gospel centered in raising their families. This article is extremely applicable for all Christian families, whether they are on the mission field or not. What is God calling us to do as a family? How should we be fulfilling the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20) as a family?