Sunday, May 26, 2013


Wow!  Just like that, May 15th has come and gone and this sweet boy is ONE!

This was, hands down, the fastest year of my life.  By far.  
Feels like just yesterday we were bringing our little bundle home for Phii Boh to snuggle.... 

... and now, he's a busy, BUSY little bee 
who is constantly making us laugh and bringing ridiculous amounts of joy to our home!

Marek, you were an incredible surprise...
finding out only 3 weeks before we left for Thailand, that you'd be joining our family that year, was shocking to say the least.
 you're the BEST surprise we've ever received
and you haven't stopped making us smile from the instant we first laid eyes on you.

Love you, sweetness.  Happy 1st Birthday!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Precious gifts...

Having just had Mother's Day recently, I've been reflecting on the 2 amazing gifts God has given me in Callie & Marek.  I have to say, if you had asked me 5 years ago, what my life would look like today, I venture to guess that my plans wouldn't have involved 2 kids and a crazy life in Thailand.
But, that being said, the best part is that my plans never turn out as well as the ones God has in mind for me.  And I am feeling incredibly, deeply, profoundly blessed to be living this unpredictable life God has given me.

I mean, how could I not feel ridiculously blessed to have been given the job of "Mommy" for these two monkeys!?

I have to admit though, being a Mom has not been an easy job here.  Trying to raise 2 young kids in another culture, and study Thai 4 days a week, and hold outreaches with our team, and do laundry, and wash dishes, and clean the house, and attend team meetings, and..... on and on.... has made me feel as though I am losing my mind a bit.  I've thought a lot lately, about how much easier things would feel right now if I was back in North America, in my home culture, speaking my heart language, and having our support network around me.  Life would just be... easier.

But despite the fact that its been tough at times, its not to say that it hasn't been extremely rewarding.  
I feel a deep sense of pride and thankfulness when I think of the incredible changes I've seen, especially in Callie, since we got here just over a year and a half ago.  I've seen her go from being absolutely, painfully shy and afraid of anyone and everyone... to being confident at preschool and even "wai-ing" people when they say hello to her in the grocery store.  
She still has her shy moments but she has come SO far.  When we got here, she was terrified to go into the padded ball-pit playgrounds that are in every mall in Thailand... now, she pays the playground staff her 30 baht and strolls in as if she owns the joint. :)  

I also love listening to her try out her Thai language skills.  She's learning a lot at preschool as all of her classmates are Thai and are only learning English at preschool.  So, she teaches her friends English and they teach her Thai.  I'd say its a pretty good deal. :)  There are even times at home now when I ask her if she wants something and she responds, "mai aw" (don't want).  And has been insisting that when Marek does something that hurts or offends her, that he should have to "wai" her and say "khawtoht" (sorry).  Hilarious! :)
I'm also enjoying the fact that Callie and Marek are really starting to play together now.  Its fun to watch how much Marek adores his big sister and how much she dotes on him.  She is terribly bossy, most of the time, but he just grins at her and doesn't seem to mind at all... at least not yet. ;)

And as for Marek, well... you can tell he was born here and that he was truly created for this culture.  He absolutely loves the constant attention he gets and is a total flirt.  He will go to anyone and is happy 99% of the time, no matter how hot it is and no matter who is holding him.  He's incredibly laid back and we're so thankful for that.  Thai people love him and he loves them right back.  What a  blessing!

So as I reflect on everything that has happened over the last 19+ months here in Thailand, I really do see God's fingerprints all over it.  There have been intense struggles, triumphant successes, deep sadness, unbelievable joy... and through it all, I've had an incredibly supportive husband and two amazing children who have made life rich, no matter what.

 Thank you, Father, for the good gifts you've given me.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

English Camp & Songkran style...

Some of you may remember from our last newsletter, that Thai children are on "summer holidays" right now.  Schools re-open in mid May but as for the last number of weeks, many kids are bored and often looking for something to do.
For us, this is a free ticket into new relationships in Bang Sai and so we've been holding Friday morning English camps in a small fishing village called Tha Rua Phlii.  We've had a good number of kids show up... as little as 12 and as many as 32.  But thankfully, when we arrive on Friday mornings, there are always at least some kids waiting... ready and raring to go!

We usually start our time with a quick review from the last week's lesson, led by our teammates, Moto & Mariya.  Then, we sing an English song (things like "My God is so Big" are a huge hit!), play a game and then go into our teaching time, which is led by our fearless leader, Jon.

Here's Marek with the community "gatekeeper," Puu Dtu.
I've been in charge of the craft time each week and its been fun to see just how much the kids LOVE this part!  From what I've gathered, Thai kids don't get to do a lot of 'creative' type stuff in schools but that doesn't mean the talent is lacking.  We have quite a few kids who are incredibly creative and I love seeing them enter into the craft with such excitement and joy!

Chonburi is known for their soccer team, the "Sharks,"
so that was our first craft!

Each week, we've had the help of one our Thai friends (from the Thailand MB office or from ALH orphanage) who help us tell a Bible story and then get the kids to act it out.  They also seem to LOVE this part of the camp!

We really have felt the Lord's favour as we've entered this particular area of Bang Sai.  The community leader (Puu Dtu, pictured above with Marek) seems to be so "on board" with us and even cooks lunch for all of the kids and us, every single week.  Its amazing!  Please continue to pray for the Spirit to move in this place and that we will see people come to Christ!  We have 2 more weeks left of this camp but have been invited to keep working in this community, so we hope to see lots of fruit!!  Jon has even been commissioned to do weekly English teaching at one of the municipality offices and got to meet the MP of this area at his first lesson this week.

Now, if you've ever been to Thailand or know anything about it, you'll know that the annual Songkran festival in mid-April, is like one big, nation-wide, week-long water fight to bring in the Thai New Year.  April is one of (if not THE) hottest month of the year here and so its only appropriate that people use this holiday to douce each other with buckets of freezing cold water.  Everyone dons their tacky, bright, floral shirts and spends the week having a blast with extreme water war.

So seeing as the beginning of Songkran fell on one of our English camp days, we thought it was only right that we become one of the Thais and sport our Songkran shirts. Pretty snazzy, hey!?

Ready to soak the neighbourhood!

I'll leave it at that for now.  Its taken me forever just to get this post finished.  I'll write more about our cute kiddos in my next post.  Hard to believe that Marek will be turning 1 in less than 2 weeks!?!