Monday, May 14, 2012

Driving in the rain and visa

Two days of drizzle that started with strong winds and heavy downpour seemed to be a fitting conclusion to the three weeks of English camps under a scorching heat of the sun.  The rain was cool and refreshing and we were hoping it would last a few more days. Unfortunately, it did not.  The oppressive sun returned with vengeance after two days.

Incidentally, we had been receiving email messages from the Foundation reminding us that it was about time for us to renew our one-year visa. The office was asking us to come to the office to sign the documents and prepare the fees for the visa processing. So we were fortunate that the English camps were finally over and to take the five-hour drive to Chiang Mai in the rain. I really enjoyed driving leisurely in the rain.

In Chiang Mai, we went straight to the Foundation office. I needed to get the medical certificate that included blood testing. Every foreigner working in Thailand need to have their blood tested to prove that they do not have sexually transmitted diseases. This did not make any sense to me but I had to comply. Blood was drawn and we waited for two hours to get the result.  As expectedly, I did not have any diseases except that my blood pressure is a little bit high than normal.

I also took the opportunity  to spend the time out with Narlin and my natural children. We watched a movie and ate at McDonalds away from the “noisy” children. Having the time alone for ourselves were really precious. We drove back to Mae Sai in the evening. Unfortunately, the rain had stopped and the heat and humidity were back.

We thank the Lord for the safe travel. We also thank the him for his provision for our visa. Thank you for your prayers and support.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Summer Heat: A Prayer Update

It is funny how we can easily forget things though they do happen to us repeatedly. We forgot how cold winter was and how hot summer is here in Mae Sai. Apparently, we are experiencing one of the hottest summers in Thailand. This reminds us that God of God's provision and protection to all who trust in Him.
"They are like trees planted in Eden, putting down roots near the rivers--Never a worry through the hottest summers, never droppin a leaf, serene and calm through droughts, bearing fresh fruit every season." (Jeremiah 17:7-8)
The oppressive summer heat does not slow us down in doing ministry to the children and young people of both Thailand and Myanmar. We praise the Lord for His wisdom and strength.  Here are our activities and prayer concerns for this month.

English Camps (Vacation Bible School)
By God's grace and provisions, we held two camps in Mae Sai and  another one is going on in Tachilek, Myanmar. We had camps in two places in Mae Sai. One in Pantamit Church and Emmanuel Namchan Church. The church leaders expressed concern that the children in the community might not come to the English camp. We thought it was a good idea to let our children come to encourage the people in the church and the community.

We thank the Lord for providing us people to help us. A team from Asia Vision Short Term Missions (AVSTM) is working with us to make this camp a blessing to the churches and the communities. Please continue to pray for the ongoing camp in Tachilek. Pray for health, strength and protection for the team and to all who are participating in it.

English Camp at Pantamit
Teachers and participants of the English camp in Pantamit Church

English Camp in Namchan
Teachers and participants of the English camp in Namchan

Not counting our children, there are more or less 25 children and young people attended and heard the gospel story. The camps has ended but our relationship with these people will continue because we will be teaching English (using the Bible) to these churches and communities thrice a week. Please pray for us that we can minister to these people.

Music  and Piano LessonsChristy playing the pianoTeacher Inae
We are thankful to AVSTM for including a piano teacher on the team. To those who had an opporunity to visit us know that the children are musically inclined, so we are tyring our best to help them develop their talents in singing and in playing musical instrument. Jared has been teaching them guitar lessons and Jillian is teaching them to read notes.  Inae (a seminary music and piano teacher) taught them basic skills, inspiration and encouragement to learn more about music. On the 25th of April we held the recital in our frontyard and we invited very few friends. It was an amazing night.

Recital participantsWe thank the Lord for Teacher Inae for patiently teaching all the children. We thank the Lord for providing 3 keyboards (2 are borrowed) so that they have something to practice on.  Even though Teacher Inae left almost a week ago, they are

Please continue to pray for the children as they prepare for another school year. The school will open on May 10. Pray for provisions for new uniforms, shoes and bags. Pray also that their Thai ID will be awarded to them soon.

Praise and thanksgiving
AwardingGod has blessed us with couple of surprises this month and we want to share it with you. First, the school expressed their appreciation to Narlin's teaching English voluntarily at the municipal school. The principal has invited us to join them in a dinner together with school officers and staff. After dinner, the Principal told Narlin that he would give her a present as his token of appreciation. The Vice-Mayor of Mae Sai who was dining at the nearby table presented the gift to her.

Secondly, we received a call from Bangkok informing us that Jared, Jillian and Reuven had passed the Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Test conducted by the Department of Education in February. Jared and Jillian passed the secondary level making them legible to proceed to college and Reuven to high school. It is a big blessing from God. The Department of Education will have an awarding ceremony for those who passed the test. My children will receive the certificate at the Philippine Embassy in Bangkok on May 16.Family photo This will be the closest experience of graduation my children ever had. We will certainly attend to meet the other participants and parents who have become our friends too.

Jared is in Laos and then he will go to Cambodia for a mission trip and then will eventually go back to the Philippines for college. Please include him in your prayers. Jillian will stay with us and we will explore the possibility of going to college here in Thailand. We will pursue our plan to have Reuven enrolled to a local high school.

Thank you for praying and encouraging us when we were going through a time of uncertainty with regards to our children's education. We can testify once again to God's faithfulness to prvide for the needs of his lowly servants.

Prayer Requests
Our God is the God who hears and answers our prayers. Thank you for remembering to include us in your personal prayer time and in your church's prayer meeting.  This month we have some urgent prayer requests:

  • Pray for the provision for our annual house rent. The support we received this month is not enough to pay for our expenses, so we had to borrow from the church's microfinance ministry to cover for the house rent. Please pray for this need.
  • The processing for the renewal of our one-year visa starts next week. We have to pay the Foundation for the legal covering, the Immigration Office for the visa fees and the Ministry of Labor for the Work Permit. We are expecting for God's provision this month for all these expenses. Please remember us in your prayers.
  • Pray for the children. Their school needs and their Thai ID.
  • Pray for our ministries as we are discerning that God is leading us to help Namchan and Pantamit churches to reach out to their communities through teaching English.
  • Please pray as work together with teams which are coming in different times this year.

We feel truly privilege to know that you are praying with for us.  We could not put in words how thankful we are for your partnership. We pray that God will continually bless you in many ways.