Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
— Dr. Howard Thurman (1899-1981), theologian and civil rights leader
We arrived at the Government Adoption Training feeling flat and disillusioned. In the month that had just passed we had rushed from thing to thing succumbing to pressure from all directions and barely giving a thought to this process of Adoption progressing noiselessly in the background. Our hearts were full of other worries about money, about capacity, about the future, and this was just one more hoop to jump through; two nine hour days of compulsorary lectures!
Yet God used these days to re-open our eyes to his bigger picture! As we met thirty other couples and individuals all waiting to adopt children we laughed and cried together and allowed ourselves to dream. There will always be more pressing needs in front of us and, in our setting, we could choose to be crushed each day by the weight of expectations – but for now our job is to make space for new life.
In the almost four years we have lived here, Thailand, and more specifically the slum community, has both given us life and thoroughly drained us of life! We periodically lose sight of why we are here. Our guilt-driven desire to feel worthy often leads to frenzied action rather than reflecting on the Spirit’s leading. I believe the title ‘World’s Worst Missionary’ has already been taken (search blog by the same title for a great read!), but otherwise this would be a good description of how I feel at the moment!
As we are stirred to re-visit some of our passions, the things that bring us alive and which once drove us to a slum far from home, we are realising that God never lost sight of these things. In asking us to make space for a child with very specific needs, he is re-focusing us on family and asking us to get creative. What a gift! Incarnational relocation and mission is a prophetic act and stunningly simple at its core; for all our rushing around being helpful, we may be neglecting the foundations of our witness here.
We want to take the opportunity to thank all of you who journey with us as supporters for your genuine care for our family. We have felt ‘held’ through ongoing personal transformation and the need to rush ahead and have something amazing to show has been mostly internal! Your encouragements have often come at critical times and we are always inspired to hear how God’s kingdom is coming in your own settings and vocations. We feel privileged to have supporters who always encourage us to be ‘us’!
In the Hood
We finally moved house! In fact we moved a few days early to escape a night-time rat attack! We can’t explain quite how much of a relief it is to have a bit more living space and above all to have an indoor kitchen area! Cooking will be a novelty, at least for a while! It turns out that moving next-door is not a totally foolproof escape from rats and, being two storey, the house sways precariously every time a truck goes past, but these pale into significance when I get to say to a grumpy son ‘go to your room!’
Moving house meant a trail of little helpers and for a few days we set up ‘lego club’ on the doorstep as a distraction! Back to school has been a bit ad-hoc for some of the younger kids in the neighbourhood but we’ve tried hard to encourage them to stick with it. We are constantly frustrated with the social pressure to send children to school with ‘snack money’; even when school fees and lunches are paid, parents will keep children home because they don’t have money for snacks. Too sad.
Last weekend we enjoyed taking local kids to swim and play games at Elliot and Sam’s school and the weekend before we went on a road trip to the beach with our next-door neighbours. Getting out of the crowded home environment benefits all of us and always moves us forward in relationships. We did a house-blessing with team mates before moving in but will do a proper ceremony with neighbours later this month. There is much fear of spirits, especially when a building has a turbulent past like this one. We hope that people will really engage with our prayers for this home and this community.
If you haven’t already checked out our new designs on royrak.net then please take time to have a look. I know that lots of you will be waiting to make purchases when we visit the UK this summer but we’d love to see more orders coming in from overseas! We truly believe that these are great products making a big difference to our awesome staff. Here’s some of our team (left) giving a bracelet making workshop for customers in Bkk.
Elliot and Sam are shooting up and generally doing great! Even positive change can be stressful so they’ve needed a lot of attention during this period of moving house, but we’re glad they still feel able to talk about how they are feeling. Sam is studying Egyptians and this is basically his frame of reference for everything in life! He has a theory he shares widely about how the Pharaoh of Moses’ era was probably Father to TutanKhamun. Elliot has taken big-brother pleasure in disproving this! However they did work well together on a Science project titled ‘Why do Bangkok streets flood?’ that they presented at the school science fair.
Jon took part in his first Spartan race and seems totally hooked on the whole muddy experience. He got a great time especially considering the midday heat! We all enjoy time with our Poppy dog who has just adopted a neighbourhood pup and is taking motherhood very seriously!
We are looking forward to catching up with UK family and friends during July and August and also showing our friends Nut and Oui the places that we love! There is some pressure to raise funds as we currently operate at a significant shortfall so we worry that this may be a shadow over the trip. Please visit the ‘Partner with us’ page on this blog to find out more. We will be at Shrewsbury Baptist Church Central on the evening of Tues 24th July for our main supporters event that everyone is welcome to attend! We’ll be in lots of other places too so do contact us if you would like to meet up!
Join us in Prayer
- One of the RoyRak staff, Jiw, is scheduled for a caesarean birth of her second child this week. Please pray that she will receive good hospital care and the baby will get a good start in life. Pray that RoyRak will have the resources to be able to support the women in their personal lives.
- Pray for our house-blessing on the 23rd June, that people will come and that Jesus will be glorified. Pray for our friend Pastor ‘Life’ as he leads the ceremony drawing on both Christian and Thai traditions.
- Pray for our teammates Camille and Derek as they prepare to get married in less than a month. Planning a wedding overseas and away from family is no easy task and they are doing a great job. Pray for good health in the run-up and a wonderful celebration on 1st July.
- Please pray for us as we have a home inspection from our social worker in the next few weeks. She will also interview Elliot and Sam. Please pray that she will see our home and community in a positive light. You could also pray that our Thai police checks will not be delayed so that the first stage of the process can go to the Adoption board in July.
- We will be hosting UNOH workers from Australia and New Zealand for meetings at the start of July. Please pray for a time of filling and refreshment as well as receiving clear vision and boldness in decision making.
- Pray for our family as we try to prepare for 5 weeks speaking trip in the UK, that we will prepare everything we can to help the trip go well whilst also trusting it to God. The trip provokes a lot of anxiety for this family of introverts but we know from experience that it will be worth it!