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Travel
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January 2011 Prayer Letter

January 2011 Prayer Letter

DOWNLOAD PDF - JANUARY 2011 DAHLFREDS PRAYER LETTER

 

Dear Friends & Family,We praise God for a good three months in the Northeast, despite the untimely death of Karl’s father that brought us back to the U.S. two months earlier than expected.  God was very good in providing us with many helpful people to supply what our family needed - clothes, supplies, manpower, babysitting, finances, conversations, fun times, and opportunities to talk about what God is doing in Thailand, and in our lives.  Many thanks to those who had a part in our time in the Northeast this past fall.On Jan 10th, our family flew to Southern California where we will be living until our return to Thailand in late 2011.  Coming directly from the bone chilling Northeast, it has been fantastic to walk to the park with the children in shirt sleeves.  Many of our things are still in suitcases though we are quickly settling in to our new home and surroundings.

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Joshua Climbs Khao Lom Muak

In January 2015, Karl took Joshua up Khao Lom Muak (เขาล้อมหมวก), a peak of about 900 feet in Prachuab province during a family vacation.  Joshua did surprisingly well on the hike and thoroughly enjoyed himself.  Here is some footage of Joshua telling about the hike while siting on the peak, as well as some clips from the hike down.  It is a bit hard to hear Joshua sometimes, so turn your computer / phone volume all the way up.

Click here to watch on YouTube

Joshua En Route

Joshua En Route
Flying with Joshua is always an interesting experience. Sometimes challenging. Sometimes frustrating. Sometimes fun. Always tiring. By the time we got to our second layover in Tokyo, we were feeling pretty drained as we waited for our flight to Bangkok. Joshua was still a bundle of energy however, seeing as he had gotten more sleep on the plane than either Mom or Dad.Joshua checks out the airplanes as we wait for our flight to BangkokJoshua tries to phone home from the Tokyo Airport. When asked who he was calling, Joshua replied, "Uncle James, Papa, Auntie Nancy, Uncle Bruce"
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You Know Home Assignment is Over When....

You Know Home Assignment is Over When....

As our family thinks ahead to going back to Thailand, we’ve entered in to that weird transitionary stage that comes at the end of home assignment (furlough).  We’re still here in the States, but our days are numbered.  Our thinking has begun to shift. 

 

Any missionary who has gone through this experience should be able to identify with many of following signs that home assignment is coming to a close. 

 

 

 

You know that home assignment is over when...

 

Instead of buying more food, you start eating that box of food in the cupboard that you haven’t touched in monthsThe deciding factor in making new purchases is whether you can take it with you

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Yes, We're Going Back

Yes, We're Going Back

I thought I was prepared for most of the questions that would come at us as we returned to the U.S.  We had been planning to start a year of home assignment in the U.S. in December but because of my father’s death we hurriedly moved it up to the beginning of October.  I knew that there would be questions about how long we’d be in the area, where we are staying, and when we’d be going back.But there was one question that totally blindsided me.  Some people have asked, “Are you going back to Thailand?”  Are we going back to Thailand?!  In my mind, the answer was obvious.  “Of course we are going back to Thailand!”  Why would anyone think that we are not going back?

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Why do Missionaries go on Furlough?

Why do Missionaries go on Furlough?

DOWNLOAD PDF "WHY DO MISSIONARIES GO ON FURLOUGH?"

After mentioning our up-coming home assignment (or "furlough") in our last prayer letter, we received a curious email. “I didn't know missionary work also has furlough.  In our education sector in the States, furloughs are mandatory for schools due to budget cuts.  Is your furlough due to a budget cut or do you just need a break?”  This email reminded us that outside of missionary circles, there is some confusion about why missionaries go on home assignment.  Is home assignment just a code word for a funding raising trip?  Is home assignment just a big long missionary vacation?  Is home assignment like a sabbatical?  Do missionaries go on home assignment when they get fed up with their host culture and just need a break?  There is a bit of truth in all of the above.  But there is also a lot of misunderstanding.  In this post, I’d like to look at some reasons that missionaries go on home assignment in hopes of creating greater understanding between missionaries and their supporters back home.

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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)

Departure Immanent

We fly out to Singapore for a month of training this coming Tuesday 10/31 (LAX, 11:25am Cathay Pacific) and then on to Thailand on Dec 4th. We are busy finishing up last minute details - packing, selling the car, buying last minute items, turning in apartment keys, meeting with family and friends one last time, and so forth. Look like we can pick up our visas at Thai embassy in Sinapore. Praise God! We are finally here and it is time to go.

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.

Orientation Course

We've been in Singapore for about two weeks now and are well into our Orientation Course (OC) at OMF's International Headquarters. We are here together with other new OMF missionaries (and their children) from a variety of countries - USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Switzerland, Philipines, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, etc. There are about 40 adults and 16 kids. Fortunately, there are some kind grandmas from UK and Australia are helping with childcare so that Sun and I can attend the lectures and not have to watch Joshua all the time.

 

The content of the lectures have covered medical issues (insurance, malaria, dengue fever, where to get medical advice and care on the field), finances (how OMF financial system works), the vision and mission of OMF International, times of Bible study, prayer, and worship, and meetings with the International Directors and Intl Medical Advisor. Joshua was able to get his six month shots right here at OMF HQ so we didn't have to go look for some place around town or wait.

 

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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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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.

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.

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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Idol Madness

We recently took a field trip to Southern Thailand to check out a potential ministry opportunity in Nakorn Sri Thammarat province and, among other things, we observed how much the people there are into a particular amulet called Jat-Tu-Kham-Rama-Thep. In fact, the amulet comes from Nakon Sri Thammarat and is so immensely popular right now that people come from all over the country to buy up these amulets and resell them at a 30-60 fold profit. Jat-tu-kham, unlike a lot of other amulets, is not a Buddha image but is an image of an ancient king of Nakon Sri Thammarat who has been elevated to divine, or angelic, status. Every place in Nakon is selling these things - restaurants, beauty shops, malls, convenience stores - everyplace. It's idol madness, really.Something really notable about the Jat-tu-kham, besides the fact that it is so immensely popular with Thai people, is the probable reason why it is so popular. I recently read an article in a Thai national newspaper's weekly magazine that said the Jat-tu-kham amulets are popular because what the amulet promises corresponds to Thai people's current needs - i.e. the desire to have money and get rich! The economy is down and people want something to help them make money (or get rich, perhaps). Listen to some of the names of the different editions (or models) of the amulet that

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More Political Upheaval in Bangkok

It seems like big news always happens when I am out of the country. Tsunami. Coup. And now this. It remains to be seen how big this will become but large scale protests that threaten to shut down a part of Bangkok's infrastructure seem big enough to me. I am including below the link to the article in the New York Times. This news doesn't change our plans to go back to Thailand, however. We are currently wrapping up our time in the States and will depart for Thailand on September 30th.International / Asia Pacific Thai Leaders Face Challenge in Streets and Courts By SETH MYDANS and THOMAS FULLER Published: September 3, 2008 Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej called on the military to stop a battle between supporters and opponents.

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Coming Back to Phra Baht

It has been really good to finally arrive back in Phra Baht after four months in the States. We got in on Saturday evening and found our house in fine condition, with a very green yard due to all the rain during the past few months. Two of our banana trees had big big bunches on them, still quite green. Pastor Jarun and his wife had been taking care of the place while we had been gone. We are thankful for their help and are glad that they have been able to take advantage of our house while we have been away.Aside from the surroundings, we really enjoyed seeing folks at church on Sunday morning and beginning to catch up with what has been going on in their lives while we have been away. One fellow may move to another province soon, one woman has changed jobs because her employer wouldn't allow her to go to church on Sunday. Sun chatted with two elderly ladies who may be interested in helping us with evangelism. Sun and I are both feeling rather strong these days and eager to get out there and share the Gospel - both on an individual basis and in more direct evangelism - tracting and open air evangelism. On Sunday evening, we got to chat with our neighbors who had gathered across the street from our house in the community area for our neighborhood. A few months ago, the neighborhood committee put in some

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