With one month to go we now have visas, basic motorbike training and missionary health insurance (covering almost everything but playing rugby of all things!) … so we consider that progress!! The boys have survived their many jabs without too many tears although when Elliot saw the BT tower in Birmingham he said it should be the TB tower as it looks like a giant injection! Sammy has been pleased to discover that the word ’Samee’ (phonetic spelling!) means ‘husband’ in Thai, but the language learning is probably what we are most nervous about as we desperately want it to go well. We are very much in transition from our life here in Shrewsbury and experiencing a difficult tension between wanting to be in the new place whilst putting off saying goodbye to the old. The two months of being nomads is helping us realise what we most value about having a home; we’ve felt wonderfully well looked after and stayed in some lovely places but will be pleased to have our own place of belonging again. Even if we do have to put up with the rats!
As everyone else is enjoying the last glimpses of summer sunshine we are those annoying people rattling on about how much we love Autumn! We will miss the UK seasons and need to get our Autumn fix in early! Visiting family over the bank holiday weekend we picked apples and had a bonfire complete with firework display. Our time staying with/visiting/camping with family and friends is definately collecting precious memories for the future. Sunday the 7th September at 10.30 is our commissioning service and lunch at Shrewsbury Baptist Church, Crowmoor building, to which everyone is invited! We have been a part of our church family for eight years and they continue to be a source of strength and support. The service will be a chance to say goodbye but also celebrate what God has for the future. Our friend Andy Flanagan the self described ‘singer-songwriter, rouser of rabble’ is coming to perform a couple of songs inspired by his own stay in Klong Toey slum. The following day we wave goodbye to Shrewsbury and will be based with Elise’s family in Carlisle and then in Scotland. We fly to Bangkok on October 1st!
As I write it is Jon’s final day working at Belvedere Medical Practice. It’s been a great job and he will retain many of the skills even as he sheds the identity of being a GP. It will probably take a while for the loss to kick in but at the moment we all feel ready for him to finish. Elliot and Sam’s term at their new school started mid-way through August and their teachers have been updating us with photos and even some homework! It has really helped them to picture where they will be. They have been remarkably settled despite the changes of accommodation and living without many belongings which is a huge answer to prayer. They were bought cameras in exchange for all the toys and books that we re-homed so are looking forward to recording their experiences to share with friends back home! Friends can contact them specifically by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
We’d like to recommend that our supporters read Ash Barker’s new book ‘Risky Compassion’ which can be bought on Kindle in the UK. It is his reflections on 13 years living in the slum as director of UNOH and gives a great insight into the culture we’ll be joining. It also unpacks brilliantly the story of the Good Samaritan. Many of you will know that Poo’s cooking school as well as her family home in the slum was destroyed in a fire earlier this month. The fire started in an adjoining home and six homes were burnt down in all. In a community where fires are frequent and spread quickly, we are thankful that no-one was hurt and that the cooking school has already bounced back in temporary accomodation. We are reminded again of the fragile nature of life and economy in urban poor settings. We have seen that everything can change so suddenly and that dealing with the aftermath of disasters will be part of our job description. Your prayers for the rebuilding would be appreciated. Also please continue to pray boldly that the people of Klong Toey will be protected from the worst of fire and floods and other nasties. Those who met Poo when she visited Shrewsbury may wish to donate to the fund by following this link: http://www.youcaring.com/cookingwithpoo
As for our own support raising situation, we will be receiving about three quarters of the monthly amount we’ve been asked to aim for. I’m not sure we ever believed this much was possible and God has revealed his faithfulness to us again and again! The money we use for living and working in the slum will currently be coming from 45 regular donors which is a beautiful network of love and support. We are still needing to secure another £438 monthly to meet our projected costs. If you are able to give towards this shortfall or know anyone else who might be interested in supporting us as part of this team we would hugely appreciate your help. There’s no easy way to say that we need more money and its not high on our agenda at the moment as we sort last minute practicalities! Some people have asked for a postal address in order to send essential life-enhancing supplies such as Marmite and Bodyshop conditioner; we will be forever grateful!!! Our office address will be: 207 Damrong Lattaphiphat Klong Toey, Bangkok,10110.