We want to share with you some of the highs and lows of our first few weeks in Bangkok. Thank-you for standing with us in your thoughts and prayers and for all the wonderful messages of support that remind us of home. I’m prompted to write now as Jon has just been attempting some repairs to the squat toilet and, as the whole thing came off in his hands, confirmed our worst fears that it empties directly into the swamp below!! That explains the smell and we certainly won’t be wasting any more money on toilet cleaning products! Not even the strongest Mr Muscle could take on the swamp – Jon wanted to put a photo on here but it is censored!
We are otherwise feeling quite settled in our new home and slowly learning names and faces in the neighbourhood. We feel safer than we expected and grateful for not too much drama so far (if you don’t include the snake!). We’re starting to glimpse the stereotyping that people here face. Klong Toey is regarded with fear and misunderstanding from outside and we feel so privileged to see for ourselves that there is lots of hope. The local kids have been wonderful, patiently teaching us words as we sit and play Lego. It is evident that they have very little to do, especially during school holidays, and have lots of energy to get out! It is very wet this week with thunder storms every day and a bit of flooding. We are looking forward to the ‘cold’ season which will not be very cold to us!
Tomorrow Elliot and Sam will start school after what has felt like a long gap. It feels significant that Sam will be going to school for the first time and will not be around during the day. He is super excited as he loved his visit but is more likely to start flagging a few weeks in. Elliot is more nervous as he has got out of practice with work and takes his friendships very seriously. Please pray for these two with their different outlooks and needs over the coming weeks. Language school starts for us on Wednesday and is reportedly very hard brain work! Obviously Jon will need extra prayer for this…but seriously we are praying that as we study, God will give us the gift of language and understanding to better listen to and serve his people here.
A highlight for all of us has been getting to know those on our team. They are an inspiring bunch! We are particularly humbled by the way our Lok 3teammates Alisha, Camille and Jo share the care of 10 year old Tan. This beautiful boy has already been a blessing to us as he looks out for our kids and practices his punches on Jon! He is a pleasure to hang out with but we’ve seen also that he is badly hurting. His own mum is often in prison and her drug addiction prevents her from offering him the home they both want. It’s hard enough parenting our own children in this environment so we are in awe of the deep commitment of our friends who choose to love him each day. Please pray for each of them.
This week our team has hosted all the UNOH members for meetings in Bangkok. We also went on retreat together to Kanchanaburi where we stayed by the River Kwai and travelled on Death Railway. It was sobering to walk through Hell Fire Pass and learn more about this part of WW2 history. On a cheerful note we loved meeting everyone, laughing lots, painting the tree of life with the kids and feeling part of the bigger picture of UNOH. We were welcomed in so warmly and feel that even as newcomers we have a voice that is heard. It’s such an exciting time to be part of this group! God is speaking in amazing ways!
You’ll be pleased to know that we are getting around the slum on the Man Utd motorbike more confidently and we can all fit on it at a squeeze! When we go really fast you can hardly see that it says Man Utd in five places! We hope to take our tests sometime in the next few months and will use motorbike taxis to get to school till then. Things we are missing are Peggy, baby Jessica, our two old houses and bacon according to the boys. But don’t try sending any of these! Sending lots of love from sunny Bangkok, please keep sending us your news xxx