Sa wat dii kha!!!
It has been a while since our last update, but that does not mean we haven’t thought of you often and remembered you in our prayers. In January we began a bi-monthly bible study in our home with several people from the church we have been attending. After spending several weeks getting to know each other and hearing each other’s stories we are now diving into the book of Colossians. I love the opening of Paul’s letter as it rings truer and deeper for me in this season and new journey than it ever has before! Paul thanks God for what he has heard of the believers in Colossae because of their faith in Jesus Christ and the love they have for God’s people. Just as Paul thanks God for the Colossians, we also thank God for each of you! Not only have we heard of your faith and love, but we have felt it, received it, and experienced it as you walk with us to share the Good News to the people of Thailand. Words truly cannot express how much you mean to us!
March and April have been a whirlwind of events tucked safely in between waves of Covid-19 outbreaks!
The second big wave of Covid-19 in Thailand hit Chiang Mai in January, but praise God, it was able to get “under control” quickly and the curfew/restrictions set in place were lifted in early March. We were able to attend our first wedding in Thailand, that of our Thai language teacher. It was a beautiful wedding and full of cultural experiences way different than what we typically experience at weddings in America. For example, it involved the whole community and the wedding started with a parade of the attendees following the groom and groomsmen from a house down the road to the house where the bride and her family were waiting. It was a great celebration.
Another fun event was being able to participate in the graduation celebrations at the House of Blessing preschool and the House of Love. There were 15 students who graduated from House of Blessing and who will be moving on for further education in the Thai public school system, Praise God! We also celebrated 8 residents of House of Love who graduated from middle school, high school, and college this year. Last year, we were not able to celebrate the graduates in a big ceremony due to the first Covid-19 wave, so it was a blessing to do so this year! We were also surprised in the ceremony as the staff and admin of House of Love officially welcomed us into their family, and we were given a lovely fruit basket and beautiful orchid and prayed over, thanking God for what lies ahead! The current/third wave of Covid-19 hit the week after this celebration and we have all been very cautious over the last month as there have been more cases, locally, in Chiang Mai than the previous waves. But we thank God that our family, staff, and residents are all healthy!
Our biggest highlight of the year, thus far, was tucked in between these previously mentioned events in which several generous supporters and friends of Kim Brown, who reside in Phuket (an island in Southern Thailand), flew all the House of Love staff, residents, and some graduates of House of Love to Phuket to enjoy five days in the beach town! 48 of us were in the group and it was quite the entourage! Most of our current residents had never been on an airplane or to a beach before. It was so beautiful to experience the awe and newness with them. A few of the best moments were floating around near the shore and watching the excitement of the kids, and adults, as they could see the fish swimming around their feet, the beaches were beautiful and the water was so clear! We also enjoyed a day at a beautiful water park that had ziplines, “cliff jumping”, giant slides, kayaking, and all sorts of water fun. In addition to all of the fun, it was a great opportunity to deepen our relationships with our native co-workers and especially the older students. We praise God that this trip was able to happen this year as it really allowed an opportunity to build a foundation for future relationships and potential ministry opportunities.
Once again, we are reminded of God’s goodness and His amazing plan. Through the waves, through all the ups and downs, we know He knows exactly what He is doing and that His timing is perfect! We pray you are well and are finding new ways and new meaning behind trusting in HIM and resting in HIS presence. May God continue to use you in ways you may not even know! Thank you for your love and support! Paul says it well in Colossians…
“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of [and experienced] your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people – the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world – just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.” -Colossians 1:3-6
With much love and appreciation for you,
Alise & Mark Juanes
Alise taking the machete to a coconut from a neighbor’s tree, K loves the coconut water.
The teaching staff at House of Blessing daycare (plus a photobomb!) we have had a lot of fun getting to know this hardworking team! They work together so well and are always willing to jump in however they can.