Storm

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –

That perches in the soul –

And sings the tune without the words –

And never stops – at all –

Emily Dickinson

April brought storms. Unseasonal storms that have kept us awake at night. I (Elise,) write in part about the weather, but really I’m stalling.

At the start of the month my mum was hospitalised with abdominal pain and the doctors found several tumours. From a place of health this was hard to grasp… with just a few months until her retirement how could there be such a sudden change of direction? Remarkably, I was able to fly to the UK to be with my parents for two weeks of testing and waiting. The knowledge came gradually and we were not sad all the time. We walked and cooked and sorted through memories. The full news didn’t come until I was back in state quarantine in Bangkok and wishing I had made more of each moment.

An advanced cancer diagnosis means some hard months ahead as my mum begins chemo treatment. If she responds well there may be an option of operating later. All the possibilities playing out in our heads are loud and frightening (especially at night!) but hope is a powerful thing that illuminates the storm.

There is a strong pull back to the UK and to our families, alongside the reality that we are deeply committed here. Wherever here or there, we feel far from home and are experiencing the grief of imperfection; the ‘not yet’ element of God’s kingdom coming. Please pray for us as we discern creative and hope-filled solutions for the next season of family life, and for peace within whatever choices we land upon. Pray for miracles of healing, timing, trust and recovery.

another wave

Lockdown feels very familiar but the previous two waves of covid represented a relatively low risk. Since the start of April, numbers have risen steadily and cases have spread to all provinces in Thailand with Bangkok recording the highest case numbers. Today is the first day in the history of the pandemic where covid deaths are higher than road deaths.

For the first time there are cases in our immediate neighbourhood and large numbers of people testing positive in the wider Khlong Toey Community. We are hearing fear from neighbours that ICU beds are running out and that there seems to be some disparity in treatment. Everybody we know of locally has been sent to field hospitals including children who have been separated from parents. There is no reason not to trust the medical system but it hasn’t yet been stretched like this. Please pray for equal access to care and resources.

This situation has meant a return to online learning and our kids have adapted quickly. Weekdays run quite smoothly but we are left feeling very cooped up by the end of the week. We are so proud of how each of them are coping. Whereas previously we could weigh up the risks and choose to go out for a walk… it feels too conspicuous now. People are taking the rules seriously so it is hopeful that numbers will start to fall.

unoh bangkok

The momentum is broken yet again and, along with projects and small businesses around the world, we find ourselves putting a lot on pause. Thankfully, our priority is local presence and that is something that only intensifies with lockdown. In some ways we are going back to basics as UNOH workers and finding new ways to be good neighbours in a time of shared struggle. Please pray for our team here.

Thank you so much to all who joined us in praying for applicants for our apprenticeship programme – all the details seemed to be lining up and we have three 15 year old mothers who are very strong candidates. We look forward to working with them at an unspecified point in the future even as we hold these plans lightly.

For RoyRak it has been a gradual progression into working from home again. One of the strengths of the group is that they all come from different Khlong Toey neighbourhoods but it means that mixing is not wise during a local outbreak. In some ways the RoyRak team are pros at this now, but the stress and uncertainty definitely takes its toll. Our online sales are stronger than a year ago but, with no face to face selling, we will be facing some tough decisions. Please pray for each individual currently benefitting from RoyRak employment

We’d love any help that you lovely people can offer with promoting RoyRak. Please send an email to contact@royrak.org if you could make use of a personalised discount code to offer to friends and family. Our colourful Noi range pictured below has a brilliant offer at the moment for any combo of three bracelets.

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