Friday, October 28, 2011

Just a little sneak peek...

I have a couple of pictures that Carmen took of our new place, back when they first looked at it.  So just consider these "before" pictures :)  But I know some of you are dying to see what our Thai house is like so I thought I'd just post a couple of shots.

Its 'partially' furnished, so today (and this coming week) will be a busy time of shopping for the other necessities.  There is a bed in the master bedroom and a wardrobe; a dining table in the kitchen; a teak furniture set in the living room and the landlord is throwing in a fridge and TV to sweeten the deal (which is fantastic!).  We'll have to buy an oven, a washing machine, a bed for Callie, a desk and a few other things to get us started.  But, its a good start!

Here's the living room, as you come in the front door...

This is the kitchen, just off of the living room/laundry nook....

And here's our cute (and in much need of an overhaul) little backyard, just off the kitchen...

The landlord is having the place cleaned and the yard done for us today.  So, we should be able to move in tomorrow (Sunday) which will be great!  We're going to do a bit of shopping today and hopefully find Callie a bed (at the very least).  They actually have 'yard sales' up here in Chiang Mai too so we might get out to do a bit of hunting for deals as well :)

So there's the sneak peek.  I'll add more pictures once we're moved in.  Happy Saturday everyone!

Our first home!

We just got back from signing the lease for our FIRST HOME IN THAILAND!!!!  Its an exciting day for us!  We'll be moving in on Sunday.... just 2 days away!

So thankful for the way the Father provides.  We love the neighbourhood its in and its a really short bike ride from our language school.  Just feels perfect.  We also bought our first bikes today and are excited to be 'mobile' again :)
I'll be sure to post pictures of our place once we're settled in.  Just wanted to share the good news!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Quick update...

For those who follow the news, you'll know that the flooding in Bangkok has gone from bad to worse.  In fact, its gotten so bad that the country has called for a national holiday, lasting until next Tuesday, just to give people a chance to flee the city.  Because of everyone trying to get out of Bangkok, Chonburi is filled to the max.  Apparently, there isn't a single room available now in any of the hotels, guesthouses or resorts here until well into November.  We've definitely noticed an influx in traffic and busyness here.  Its so sad to think that most of the people coming here are leaving everything they have, and it may all be under water in a matter of days (or already is).

The 'downer' for us in all of this, is that because of the flooding, all of the flights out of Bangkok to Chiang Mai are booked solid and we're having a hard time finding a flight out.  We had hoped to leave tomorrow (Thursday) but at this point, we're not sure whether we'll be able to.  Please PRAY that there will be a flight open for us.  We are eager to get up to Chiang Mai so that we will have time to find a house before language school starts on Nov. 7th.

In other news, we spent a good portion of this morning, having a tour of the new ALH houses (the Abundant Life Home orphanage) here in Chonburi.  Its incredible to see the 4 houses that have already been built and 1-2 of the houses are moved into already.  When we came 2 years ago, they were still praying about buying land for the orphanage but nothing had started yet.  So it was very cool to see the houses up now and the children enjoying their new homes.  Jon spent most of the morning building blocks and tracks with one of the ALH boys, Apilak.  He seemed to love the attention and even gave me a 'gift' when we left-- a yellow flower brooch. :)  These kids are amazing and touch our hearts each time we get to see them/spend time with them.

The rest of the day has been spent trying to get the rest of our worker permit paperwork in order, as well as flights for Chiang Mai.  We look forward to an evening dinner with the Sanchez family and some pastors that are here visiting from Bakersfield, California.

Anyway... that's it for now. I want to leave you with a little Francis Chan clip that a friend sent me yesterday.  It was exactly the encouragement I needed and I hope it encourages you too! Please check it out HERE!

Hoping our next post will be from Chiang Mai... :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

1 Peter 5:10 says...

"And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast."

Karen sent us this verse in a text, just after I was released from hospital.  These words bring tears to my eyes today as I think about the truth in them.  As tough as this last week has been, I am reminded of WHY we came and WHO we're serving and the fact that HE will in fact, restore us and guide us for the journey ahead.  Its amazing how hazy things can get when life feels overwhelming. :)
I just feel really thankful for the promises in the Word today and hope that maybe these words will be an encouragement to some of you out there in bloggerland.  Not sure where YOU'RE at, but rest assured, you have a loving, heavenly Father who will reach out his hand and save you, even when it feels impossible.
Thank-you Lord, for your grace and understanding heart.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Week ONE

Well, its been quite the first week here in Thailand!  Since my last post, I've been deathly ill and ended up in hospital for a night.  They diagnosed it as gastroenteritis, and let me just say that it was AWFUL.  Don't think I've EVER been that sick in all my life.

After an entire day of sickness, Karen came and took me to one of the private hospitals here in Chonburi.  I was so dehydrated that it took 4 tries for them to get my IV in, during which I kept passing out.  It definitely got worse before it could get better.

But they did finally get my IV in and started both saline as well as antibiotics.  Karen was incredible and stayed the whole night in hospital with me (seeing as Jon needed to stay back to take care of Callie)!  Thank-you again Karen... you're the BEST!

It was amazing what a day on the IV did for me, and I was released the next afternoon.  I'm still not feeling 100% (a bit weak still and taking it slowly with food) but am definitely feeling infinitely better than I was.  Thank-you to everyone who has been/is praying for me!  Your prayers have been evident and God has been gracious.  So far Jon and Callie have been OK but you can definitely keep praying that they'll stay healthy.  I don't want either of them to have to experience that!

Other than recovering, we've been doing some orientation with Ricky & Karen.  Yesterday we had a day at the TMBF office (Thailand Mennonite Brethren Foundation) and each had an hour language lesson.  The office overlooks a beautiful pool so Jon and I tag-teamed and took turns taking Callie in the pool while the other one had their language lesson.  Callie absolutely LOVED it!  The pool had two different slides and a kiddie area that was shallow enough for her to stand on her own.  I can imagine we'll probably visit that pool again someday in the future... it was a huge hit!

Jon is busy getting paperwork done today for a work permit.  I'm not exactly sure all that's involved but it is a pretty lengthy process so we're hoping/praying it will go smoothly.  We also have to extend our visas at some point as the Thailand consulate in Vancouver would only give us 90 day visas.  If you think of it, this is all stuff we could use prayer for.

We have a little less than a week left here in Chonburi before we fly up to Chiang Mai (next Thursday, Oct. 27th) and settle in for the year.  Our friends & fellow missionaries, Andy & Carmen, are currently busy trying to find us a place to live in Chiang Mai.  Language school is set to start on Nov. 7th so that leaves us just over a week to get settled in before classes start.  We're REALLY hoping they are able to find something before we get there so we can unpack and get settled.  Living out of suitcases has been a bit exhausting these days :)

Well... that's all for now.  I'll leave you with a couple of pictures I've taken on the iPod over the last week.  Enjoy your weekend everyone!
Flying into Bangkok... just a small glimpse of some of the flooding that has been happening.
The scary part is that it has gotten SO much worse since we got here.
Please remember to pray for the people of Thailand that are being affected!

Riding in "Uncle" Ricky's car

The evening sky from our hotel balcony

This kid continues to be the epitome of flexibility...
sleeping in her make-shift bed in our hotel room :)

Callie got to enjoy a day at the aquarium with Daddy while Mommy was sick...

... they saw tons of cool fish...

... and even got to "ride" one :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

First post from THAILAND!!

Yup.... the time has come! Here we are with all of our luggage, ready to leave Vancouver in the early hours of the morning on Thursday, Oct. 13th... bound for Thailand!  Can you believe we only had to pay for 1 extra bag and 1 overweight bag!?!  That's the blessing of having a sister who works for Menno Travel! :)
We left Vancouver airport at 2:45am on Thursday, had a really brief layover in Hong Kong (a little less than 1.5 hours as our flight was late getting in), and then we landed in Bangkok, Thailand at around 10:35am on Friday.  The flights felt LONG but thankfully Callie slept for a lot of the first lag, the meals were excellent (yay for Cathay Pacific!!) and all of our luggage arrived with us!  Praise the Lord!!

We got through customs easily and were soon greeted by Ricky Sanchez!  We impressively fit ALL of this baggage in his SUV and were on the road for the 45 min. drive to Chon Buri.  Here's a really quick recap of our last few days:

Day 1- Arrived in Chon Buri and settled in at the "Bai Bua Beach Resort" in Ang Sila.  The room was spacious, clean and just a few steps from the pool that overlooked the sea.  Just gorgeous!  We unpacked, grabbed some lunch, had a brief nap (easier said than done when all your body wants to do is SLEEEP!), had supper at the Sanchez home, and then off to bed!!

Day 2- EARLY morning wake-up from Callie (4:15am to be precise), breakfast in our room, early morning swim in the pool, relaxing in our room, lunch with Ricky, more recouping in our room, dinner and Aree's birthday party at the Sanchez home, off to bed :)

Day 3- Yet another EARLY morning wake-up from Callie (again... 4:15am), early morning swim in the pool, ventured out on our own.  We walked and walked and WALKED in the heat of the day, waiting for a songtaew to pick us up.  We finally made it from Ang Sila, all the way to the beach front in Bangsaen and stopped for chicken, rice and Coca-Cola on the beach.  Then we made our way back to Ang Sila.  Again, easier said than done when you don't speak Thai :)  But we eventually made it back to our hotel in one piece, exhausted and ready for another swim to cool off; then it was nap time again, quiet Thai supper in our room (delicious!) and an early night.

Day 4- Yup... you guessed it!  Another EARLY wake up from Callie (4:00am this time.... can you see a pattern here?  Please pray that the jet lag will go away SOON!!), early morning swim in the pool, packed up our room, moved from Ang Sila to Bangsaen and are now staying at the Yanadin Inn.  We stayed here the last time we were in Thailand so it feels very familiar and much more like "home." :)  The Bai Bua hotel was nice but very isolated which made it tough to get food, etc.

So that brings us to now!  We got settled into our room here at the Yanadin Inn and then headed to Bangsaen beach with Ricky for some great Thai food.  It was just as delicious as I remembered it to be from last time :)  Then the rain clouds came and we made our way back to the hotel.  Its been nice to spend the rest of the afternoon reading emails and catching up on Facebook, while Callie watches videos on the laptop.  I (Bonnie) am looking forward to getting out this evening with some of the ladies here for Karen Sanchez' birthday.  Jon is hoping to get to bed early with Callie seeing as we managed to skip naps today.... praying that will be enough to get her to sleep in tomorrow!!!

We'll be in Chon Buri for the next 2 weeks, doing orientation with Ricky & Karen.  Then, on Oct. 27th, we'll fly up to Chiang Mai and finally get settled into a home.  Language study will start on Nov. 1st.
If I'm really honest, these last few days have been tough.  The jet lag is killer, its tough not being able to communicate, and I'm feeling quite homesick realizing this is it now.  Its hard to leave loved ones and familiar surroundings behind.  But we're also continuing to trust that God has a very specific purpose for us here and that it will get better, once we can settle in a bit more.  Its been tough being in Thailand but still having to live out of suitcases in a hotel room.  Please pray for comfort as we let go of life in Canada and try to start a new life here in Thailand.  We are excited about what lies ahead and know that this is just a season!  And please pray, again, that jet lag would be gone SOON and we can have a bit more energy to soak in these weeks of orientation.

Thanks for everyone who has sent Facebook messages/comments, emails and has been praying for us over the last few days!  We have definitely felt your prayers and couldn't do it without you!  We love you all and will do our best to keep you updated.  Until next time.... :)