This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.
2 Corinthians 9:12
How many people does it take to fit a cochlear implant? One surgeon, one anaesthetist, one specialist nurse, many extra pairs of hands…one dad who stayed and fought for good care through all the tears, a Barbie with an undercut and a cuddly koala with it’s own cochlear device!
We only found out the extent of Bow’s hearing loss three months ago. To get to this point in such a very short space of time took 138 separate donations. That’s 138 of YOU!; individuals, family units or other groups showing support of Bow by giving your own money towards her future ability to hear and communicate! We know how easy it is to scroll past appeals for funding, especially from people already living on support, and we are deeply appreciative of the generosity and the effort required to make this operation possible. At a time when we have been feeling vulnerable, overwhelmed by change, and far from family, God has reminded us of the vast support network in place for us.
One week on from the hospital admission, Bow has absolutely bounced back and is proudly showing off her rather unimpressive behind-the-ear bandage! She has had to be very brave, again, and we hope that the time is coming where life settles down and she has less need to be brave. The switch-on of her cochlear implant processor will hopefully be this Thursday. The results are not usually instant and it takes months of rehabilitation for the brain to learn how to interpret sounds. Initially sounds can all merge together and sound very strange! We are very hopeful for a good outcome; if anyone rises to a challenge, it is Bow!
Reflecting on the journey of the past few months, we are taken back to some of the important lessons that we learnt during our early time adjusting to life in Bangkok. In our recent experience of being powerless to navigate the healthcare system and being mystified by the symptoms of Bow’s metabolic condition we are driven back to greater dependance on God rather than dependance on having all the answers. Life here holds much uncertainty and we are still learning to live in that space rather than retreating to familiarity.
Our time in England was exactly what we all needed! With Bow’s visa coming through at the very last minute, we had already resigned ourselves to the possibility that the trip might not happen. It was so exciting to finally board the plane together! We loved time with parents and grandparents, reconnecting with nature and with each other. We were not able to travel to see as many friends as we had intended because Bow was quite sick for the second half of the trip. This forced us to take things slowly and spend more time in Shrewsbury than we have since leaving! Despite being unwell a lot of the time, Bow connected beautifully with all the people we love and was a joy to be with.
We found ourselves super grateful for the NHS which waived our overseas patient fees and treated our girl with such dignity. We also had the opportunity to meet with a top metabolic geneticist and dietician who gave great advice and shared some of the burden of not-knowing! We also found ourselves super grateful to parents who lavished Elliot and Sam with fun and adventures, did our washing and fed us whilst we focused on getting Bow well.
Highlights of the trip were Jon and the boys climbing Snowden on a perfect-weather day, attending the opening of ‘Aunty’ Beth’s solo art exhibition, celebrating our best friend Helen’s 40th birthday, introducing Bow to warm baths, BBQs and gorgeous baby cousins!
Elliot and Sam
Elliot and Sam took the big step of getting baptised at our home church! It was very much initiated by them and was a celebration of how God has drawn close to both of them to protect and sustain them through some significant shaping experiences. Their testimonies drew many tears (and giggles!). As parents we have loved watching them grow in the compassion and confidence that comes from knowing Jesus as friend and king. Please pray for their spiritual growth and that they will be radical disciples wherever they are!
Elliot began secondary school last week and this has come with a huge increase of responsibility including being contactable on a phone! He has thrown himself into new learning opportunities with great enthusiasm as you can probably imagine! He is at an in-between age where his desire to be treated as a teenager doesn’t always match his actions. We are needing lots of patience! He also began attending a youth group at an English-language church in Bangkok and loved being out late… our Friday nights will never be the same!
Sam has had a good start to year 5 although he has struggled to get over jet lag. We were noticing yesterday that his Thai language ability has jumped on massively since having Bow in the family. He has put so much effort into learning to communicate well with her in both languages as well as through signing. Though they can fight like anything, it is a very special relationship! Our family is so blessed to have this sensitive boy sandwiched in the middle!
We celebrated Bow’s 7th birthday during our time in England. What a distance she has come in those years! She is pictured above in traditional Hmong outfit, the people group that she originates from.
The specialist school that Bow will attend from next week, uses clever techniques to optimise listening ability and will give Bow the chance to meet other children with cochlear implants. The gogetfunding page will remain open for another month or so as any additional donations will go towards funding this. We are excited for Bow getting back into schooling though we have loved these four months of taking her along with us; the UNOH office will be very quiet! Bow has made huge strides in English language, especially with the use of signing (her enthusiasm has earned her the title ‘signing police’ since she is so quick to point out our mistakes!). It will be a challenge to keep this going as her school learning will be in Thai. Please pray for miraculous language learning ability!
The RoyRak team continue to push themselves out of their comfort zones. After expressing a desire to learn more English for use at sales, Nut was able to organise for a team of volunteer teachers to deliver two week-long intensives tailored for our context. This also included some optional Bible teaching which was really well delivered and received. Though far from fluent, it is an exciting beginning and those that participated worked extremely hard. It was an emotional presentation celebration on Friday; many of the women never completed school and this success meant tons!
Sales of jewellery have been slow but the calendar will begin to fill up as Christmas approaches. Please consider ordering gifts from Royrak.net (now fully functioning and updated) and helping to keep our amazing staff in work! The delivery fees are kept very low and you can be sure that the. items are high quality and made following fair-trade principles.
Pray with Us
- Jon’s sister Fran recently got married and the ceremony took place at Che’s home village in the mountains north of Chiang Mai. It was an amazing day to be part of! Please pray for Fran and Che as they adapt to married life as well as a new home and work. Our family is now tied even more tightly to Thailand!
- We have lots of new children wanting to attend kids club as we kick off the new term with swimming on Saturday. Please pray for safety for all these kids and for a great outlet for fun and friendship. We have been less active in the neighbourhood recently whilst we’ve focused on our growing family, please pray that this will be a positive way back into loving and serving those immediately around us.
- For new routines as we drive the kids to school in three directions and feel more and more like a taxi service! Our week will become more timetabled so please pray that we make time for all the important things whilst not spreading ourselves too thinly. Pray for vision and for efficient use of time.
- Please continue to remember our neighbour Joy in prison on unjust drugs charges and pray that God will meet all her needs.
- Pray for our Khlong Toey communities under constant stress with the prospect of eviction/ relocation to make way for a new shopping and business district. Pray that those with power to make change will be given fresh perspective and act compassionately.
- Pray for the dire situation of hundreds of Pakistani Christians in Bangkok who continue to be held in dire conditions at the Immigration Detention Centre. Pray that families will be reunited, that those inside will be encouraged and be used for the Kingdom, that those fighting for change will have great influence and that officials will have a change of heart.
- Pray for our wonderful teammates here in their various ministries. Please pray especially for Dave, boyfriend of Lish, who has moved over from Australia this week to volunteer for UNOH Bangkok. Pray for him as he starts language school today and adjusts to life here.