First off, thank you for taking the time to read this and follow our lives. Thank you for your prayers and support that uplift us here in SE Asia as we share the unfathomable love of our Creator God with our neighbors.
It is almost impossible to believe that it is 2020 and we have now been in South East Asia for 5 months. In some ways we feel like we just arrived but in other ways we feel like this feels like home. Daily life is quite different than other places in the world that we have ministered, and we really enjoy it. The night markets and waterfall hikes areall nearby. On Sunday afternoons a local group of Parrot owners come together to fly all their birds at a local park, their colorful plumage against the distant green hills is quite spectacular.
The temples we pass regularly remind us that faith practices here are quite different from anywhere else that we have lived before. We live just minutes away from a statue of a priestess that must be over a 100ft tall, where people gather regularly to worship and gain merit with their offerings.
Because everything is so new we have attended seminars on helping us further understand the local blends of religion. What always looks simple from afar is rarely ever actually so. What is important for faith in the West may not carry the same weight here. Most of our neighbors claims Buddhism but in reality Thai Buddhism is greatly influenced by Brahmanism, and Animism, as well, all to different degrees.
The mixing and blending of religions isn’t exactly new to us but not having Christianity near the top is. Part of the seminars we attended addressed shared language (or lack there of) and culteral assumptions between western Christianity and Eastern religions and you realize that there aren’t many. Learning how to talk about faith is important to me and to do it well we must first listen, then listen some more.
So my frequent shopping trips have been full of listening as I wonder through the market mazes of fish, vegetables, and tables of Thai silk. Listening to theconversations between venders and their children and neighbors in the market has given me some perspective on life here. For example one of my favorite greetings that is shared in the market amongst friends “Gin khao leew” which translates to “Have you eaten rice yet?” These are my type of people, food is a high priority.
Our family is finding rhythm as we begin to look forward to formally beginning ministry this summer. We love our language school and laugh a lot together with our fellow students and teacher.
When living in a city life happens much quicker than in a village in the middle of Africa. I often don’t know where the days have gone before it’s a new month.
Ian is attending Chiang Rai International Christian School and currently running for their cross-country team. To make his tuition a little bit more affordable Katrina and I have been volunteering photographing various events for the school. Next school year Katrina will likely step into a more formal role with the school. Because of her love for chemistry she would love to teach secondary science. She will find out more in February about what is needed by the school.
I have met with the director of the Mekong Minority Foundation which support local indigenous churches and began to learn more precisely about their needs in preparing to work with them after the summer.
A quick financial update:
We recently lost some supporting partners due to unforeseen circumstances and are praying for their replacement. If you would like to join our ministry as we seek justice for those around us, press into mercy, and work to walk humbly with God and neighbor, click on the green give button under the world map above this message. We would appreciate that whether it is $5 or $500 each month.