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December 2016 Prayer Letter

homemade Christmas tree that our kids made from toys and construction paper

Dear Friends & FamilyMerry Christmas!

The end of the year is suddenly upon us, and I sit in my darkened living room looking up at the soft white Christmas lights that my kids strung across the room.  It is peaceful and I am thinking about what is past and what’s ahead.

Our family has lots to be thankful for.

Everyone in the family is happy and healthy, and the kids are enjoying homeschool, despite periodic episodes of foot dragging and lollygagging.  John never stops asking questions and Joshua and Caitlin never stop reading.

I’ve been enjoying teaching at the seminary, spending time with students, and discussing church history and ministry issues.  The faculty are great people to work alongside.

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October 2016 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends & Family,

Thank you everyone for praying for us and for the Thai people. Our ministry is a long-term endeavor and we appreciate the many people who stand with us in prayer and finances.

New School Year

The new school year has begun for all of us as the seminary started up again in August and Sun picked up again with homeschooling Joshua and Caitlin.  For toddler John, his lessons are more informal, such as learning what happens when he puts his face too close to a hot pot (don’t worry, he’s fine).  Pray for Sun to have wisdom and patience as she teaches the kids.  Some days are difficult. 

Kids Making Cookies with Mommy
I (Karl) am enjoying teaching 2 church history classes this semester, although the classes are abnormally large (nearly 40 students in each class), which makes class discussion unwieldy at times.  Some days of teaching are much more interesting and engaging than others, but I am encouraged when students ask good questions.  One student asked, “My friend said that worshipping on Sunday is sinful because it is worshiping the sun, syncretism introduced by Constantine.  Is that true?”  So I provided the historical and biblical reasons why Sunday worship is valid, and not a compromise with paganism.  Lots of misinformation about church history gets circulated in popular culture and among Christians, so it is great when students can see how learning history can help them answer practical questions of Christian living and discipleship in the present.

Karl with former students at BBS Graduation, September 2016

 

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July 2016 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends & Family,

The worst of the hot season has passed, and our family is enjoying the cooling rains of rainy season, despite some flooding in our road and an occasional leak in our kitchen roof.

After the school year ended at BBS in June, we were able to get away for a family vacation in June for a couple weeks. I (Karl), however, took the first week of that vacation to do some Thai church history research in the archives at Payap University in Chiang Mai.  I am honing in on a research topic in hopes of applying for a Ph.D program to begin some time after our home assignment in the States next year (Feb-Aug 2017). The school where I teach, Bangkok Bible Seminary, has encouraged me to pursue a Ph.D and I would like to do so because the knowledge gained would enhance my teaching in Thailand in the long-term. I’ll let you know if there are any major developments on this front. Please pray that God would grant wisdom and guidance to us in this matter so that the way forward is clear.

Positive Feedback on Thai Catechism

In our last prayer letter, I told you about the new Thai Christian Catechism that my co-worker Dr. Natee and I have written. Initial response from Thai Christians has been positive with comments like, “It is easy to read” “That is really clear.” Kanok Bannasan has been selling the catechism and reports that sales have been good, with many individuals, some churches, and at least one bookshop ordering copies. Dr. Natee is teaching through the catechism at church, with the videos posted online in hopes of other churches benefitting as well. If interested, you can find them on YouTube by searching for “Grace City Bangkok Thai Catechism"  

Dr. Natee Tanchanpongs teaches the Thai Christian Catechism at Grace City Bangkok church

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May 2016 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends & Family,

Greetings from the largest sauna in the world!  April temperatures in Thailand reached a 65 year high, with the “feels like” temperature reaching into the 110s ºF.  We have air conditioning in our bedrooms, but last month was still fairly miserable.  This month we are praising God for slightly “cooler” temperatures.

Introducing the new Thai Christian Catechism

คำสอนเพื่อชีวิต Thai Christian CatechismFor the past couple of years, I have been working together with Dr. Natee (pastor, Grace City Bangkok church) and Mr. Chaiyasit (elder, New City Fellowship Church in eastern Bangkok) to write a new catechism in Thai for Thai Christians.  I believe that the question and answer format of catechisms can be a very useful teaching tool to help people grasp the Christian faith, but translations of Western catechisms like Westminster and Heidelberg end up sounding clunky and unnatural in Thai.  For that reason, the three of us have written a new Thai Christian Catechism from the ground up, borrowing from Westminster at times, but organizing the catechism differently and covering slightly different ground in terms of what is included or not included, and how it is expressed, seeing as 17th century Britain is different from 21st century Thailand.  We wanted a biblically faithful and accurate catechism, that is readable and accessible for modern Thai Christians.  I hope we have accomplished that.  The catechism has been privately published with assistance from Kanok Bannasan, and our church will be teaching through the new catechism over the next several months.  It will also be available for purchase through Kanok Bannasan, and we hope that other churches will find it useful in giving their church members a solid foundation in the Christian faith.  Pray that this new Thai Christian Catechism will be a blessing to many people.