Monday, December 25, 2006

Bright Christmas

Christmas is a very special day for our family. We wish you a very merry Christmas from the land of smiles. We would love to celebrate the birth of Jesus with you if we could. How wonderful for us that God sent His only Son for the world to redeem His people. Isaiah wrote these words down about 600 years before His birth,
'For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulders.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting, Father, Prince of Peace.'

Speaking of peace, Pun is trying to have peace as he is awaiting the second interview from the cement company that is very interested in him. Please continue praying for him. He woke up early this Chistmas morning to go shopping at the nearby market with his dad. They came back with 5 lbs of roast beef, 3 lbs of shrimps and a pound of river prawns. Thank God for these foods and they also tasted fine.
We had Merri's cousin with us, who is visiting us from Ukrane, along with Pun's parents as we opened the presents. Merri and her cousin helped Helen and Daniel draw a Christmas tree a few days earlier and Pun taped it to the wall in the living room. Presents wrapped in fancy papers and newspapers started to make thier way under the tree late Christmas Eve.

Here, Merri read to the children the story of baby Jesus. Daniel can now say Jesus!!! He often repeats words in both English and Thai. Helen understood that Chistmas is Jesus' birthday before she chowed down the cake.

Helen and Daniel brought joy to their grandparents. In a couple of weeks they will get to see their other much missed grandparents from Utah.

We have a lot of stories and photos that took place before Christmas to share with you. Please be patient with us since it may take a while to post them.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Quick Update

I realize it has been several days since my last post, and unfortunately it will be several more. But you are probably too busy with the season to notice, so no problem! Enjoy the Christmas season. I am longing for snow and a Christmas tree. :)

We are leaving in the morning to go to Chang Mai for 6 days. It is 8 hours north of Bangkok (by car) and near the Northern border of Thailand. I am looking forward to seeing the city. It is the next largest city after Bangkok.

I wanted to let you know a few things before we leave.

We just downloaded Skype (an on-line phone softward program.) It was quite easy and after trying it out with my parents, we are impressed with the quality of sound. It is also completely free. So if anyone is interested in downloading it, it is at Let us know by email and we will give you our ID and then we can chat sometime!

And the most exciting piece of news....Pun has an interview next Friday with a cement company. It looks like a good possibility for a good job. We would certainly appreciate your prayers.

Next blog: Family photos and Chang Mai....

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A Thanksgiving Story

If you are still celebrating Thanksgiving, here is a true story to give thanks for.

Pun and I met a missionary couple at our Thanksgiving dinner, and as we talked to them we heard their amazing story of how God has used and is using them in Northern Thailand.

Back in 1998, they began to work with a very small tribe (less than a thousand members) who, although was anti-Christian, desperately wanted their language to become a written language. They were willing for these missionaries to come and write down their language even if it meant they would get a Bible in the process!

So our missionary friends moved into the tribe and began the very daunting process of forming their alphabet and learning their grammar. This tribe had run out 2 of its own people after they became believers and a few other missionaries in the past. As time went on, our missionary friends also became discouraged. At the point they were about to give up, some people from another tribe in Burma came to see them. They spoke the same language! And many of the tribe were believers! They had been praying for 30 years for someone to give them a Bible in their language. Is that amazing or what?

Now, some 8 years later, with only 1 convert from the original tribe, they are still working on the translation with renewed vigor.

Give thanks to God this season for the very good gifts He gives you, but thank Him also for continuing to bring more people to Himself, even in the remote areas of Thailand and Burma.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

It is Thanksgiving today. Things will be different this year. Our traditions won't be the same and we won't be with all the people that we love and usually spend this day with. But we are still thankful.

When I think about the things I am truly thankful for they seem to boil down to 3 or 4 categories. Each one fills my life deep richness. Funny how we sometimes take for granted the most important things.

Jesus and His Word.
Pun, Helen, and Daniel.
You--all of our friends and family we have left behind.
The hundreds of little blessings that the Lord gives me each day that tend to go unnoticed.

Thank you for being apart of our lives, for your friendship and your prayers. You are priceless to us.

By the way, we do get to celebrate with some friends from church and we will even have a turkey!

Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Little Piece of Heaven

Today is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. The church we have been attending is taking next 2 weeks to focus on those who are persecuted and pray for them. This morning 7 men stood before the congregation and sang a song about sending missionaries to their people so they could hear about Jesus. They were from the Hmong tribe which is scattered through out several Asian countries. These particular men had all walked (yes, walked) to Thailand from Vietnam to escape persecution for being believers. (Check out this website to see how far Thailand is from Vietnam: They are now refugees here because the King of Thailand has made Thailand a place for religious freedom. He is the "protector of all religions." One of the men shared his personal testimony of how the Lord had saved him, used him to start several churches, then suffer years of terrible persecution. These men would meet for church from 12:00am-3:00am so they wouldn't get caught.

Following their testimonies we were served communion by these same Hmong men, rice cakes and tea. What a humbling experience...The lights were turned low and we shared communion in a dark room just as they would have shared in communion in the middle of the night. It was a sober moment to contemplate what might be required of us to serve the Lord in the future.

We closed with more worship songs. One in particular happened to be a favorite of ours from Payson, In Christ Alone. Standing there in the middle of all those people from all over the world (this church has people from 40 different nations), my mind, as it has many times before in this setting, began to think of Heaven. Just think. The Gospel is touching lives in so very many places all over the world in hundreds of different cultures and languages and some day I will stand in heaven not only with this body of believers in Bangkok, but also these Hmong brothers, our dear family of believers in Payson, and believers from EVERY other nation. Wow. What will worship be like there? I wonder. I think it will be breath taking. To realize to the fullest the love that saved and assembled all those different people and the to see that Love Himself and to be apart of the multi-culture choir that sings praises to Him without any restraint from sin is beyond my comprehension. God will be glorified. I can't wait...

After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:

"Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb."

All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:

"Amen! Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!"

Revelation 7:9-12 (NIV)
Are you ready for heaven?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Neighborhood Tour

If I had to compare September and October, they would be as different as night and day. September would rate somewhere around a 2 on a scale of 1-10 (1 being not so good and 10 wonderful.) Then October came. Things sort of evened out. Maybe it was the change of seasons from rain to winter (tropical winter, that it is, at a cool 80 degrees! :)Life became a little more predictable. October ranks around a 6-7, I would say, with some days heading towards 8-9! We are adjusting at last! There will still be rough days, no doubt, but we can see a life for our family here, and we are confident of God's leading us here. He will make a way.

One thing that has helped me has been the time we have spent with Pun's family. All of his aunts and uncles have been so wonderful in reaching out to us and making us feel at home here. We have spent many evenings out with them, and they come over often to play with the kids and visit. We truly feel like family now. I will introduce you to the family in the next post.

And oh yes, I have begun to tackle the Thai language. Wow! With 44 consonants, 32 vowels, 5 tones, and no spaces left between the words when they are written. It will be an unbelieveable challenge, but somehow, just beginning gives me a sense of being proactive in my adjustments.

Another very important factor to our adjustment is meeting other believers. We have made many friends at the church we have been "trying out." It is rather large but very friendly. The people have truly been the Body of Christ to us.

I promised a more cultural post this time so I thought I would take on a tour of the Soi (small street) we live on. When you give your address, there is a house number, a soi number or name, and then the main street name. A soi is not one straight street, either, just in case you are wondering. It is a maze of streets jetting off the main street.

So, here we are at Soi Thanom Chit (which means literally "Caring for the heart") right off of Sutthisan (the main street.) Turn on to our soi and this is what you will see...

A very narrow 2 way street where cars are parked blocking an entire lane! So if you happen to turn on the street and see a car coming straight at you, you must a) find an open spot in the other lane to pull into, or b) put it in reverse and back out. Oh boy, it will be a long time before I drive here!

Notice Helen and Daniel hiding between the parked car and the phone booth on the far left. Helen has become very good at watching for cars and motorcycles. If one is coming, we get as far out of the way as possible and wait until all is clear!
Now you know another way you can pray for us! Pray for our safety as we walk on the streets, especially for Helen and Daniel. It can be a bit unnerving..

Besides lots of cars and motorcycles and people just generally hanging out, there are a few other things that seem to be common to sois...

Soi dogs. Lots of them, everywhere! This picture actually shows 4. You can often find them sleeping under parked cars. It is amazing to me that they all find enough food to eat. Most everyone has a dog or two to guard their house as well.

And vendors. Some stay parked in the same spot all day and some are like these two who drive in an out of the sois announcing their produce or merchandise. Some even walk the streets.

There are several little stores on our soi as well. They are mostly run out of the owner's homes, like this one right down from our house.

Sometimes when we need a break from being in the house, I will take one or both of the kids to one of the stores and buy a drink. They really enjoy taking the walk and getting to pick their own drink out.

Daniel, with a delicious Chocolate Milk, on his way home.

In these two pictures you can see the spectrum of houses on our soi. The rich and the poor live together.

Finally, here is a view of our home, the home where Pun grew up.

And waiting for us when we come home now is a new puppy! Last week, Pun's parents brought home a Cocker Spaniel puppy for Helen and Daniel. His name is Choco. Of course, they are thrilled. Daniel has even added "Choco" to his expanding vocabulary.

Life is good in the Land of Smiles...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

And a few more unrelated pics

Since we have been going to ECB church I have made friends with another "newbie" and we have been spending some time together. She has 3 children roughly the same ages as Helen and Daniel. Here is Helen with her new friend Kira. She is really having fun playing and swimming with Kira. They other day I caught her on the phone pretending to talk with Kira. She was saying "Oh, Sawadee ka, Sawadee ka Kira!" (which means "hello, hello!") Cracked me up! (sorry about the glare!)

Here is a view of our front yard. It really is a jungle here! I told Pun we were basically living in a jungle where people decided to build a metropolis. He laughed and said he had never thought of it that way. We hear the bugs, frogs, and lizards at night and the beautiful songs of the jungle birds during the day. The amazing thing is that I never hear any city sounds (no sirens, cars, or street noises). You wouldn't know you were in the heart of Bangkok if you were in our front yard. It really is a little refuge.

You will never guess what building this is! Pun and I found it on an outing one day. This is where my husband was born 34 years ago!! We were told they will be tearing it down soon. I had to take a picture!

This next set of pictures was taken at the park. Helen was helping Daniel on the slide. They had fun doing it over and over and over...

Daniel is doing this thing with his tongue now. So funny looking. I think Helen did it, too. Must be a teething thing.

Making up for missed time....

This is Pun's Great Grand Aunt (that makes 5 generations from her to Helen and Daniel!). She and Pun really love each other. We have been hoping and praying to make it back to Bangkok to see her and the Lord has given us that gift. We spend lots of evenings visiting "greatgrand aunt!" Helen especially loves going to visit. She is blind and spends all of her time on her mattress on the floor. When we first started visiting her, Helen was afraid to hold her hand or give her a kiss. Now, when we go over to see her, Helen goes in right away with Daniel and kisses her and holds her hand and then helps Daniel to hold her hand. Very sweet.

We are praying for opportunities and have begun to share God's love with this very dear woman. Pray with us...

I know this has been full of kid pictures. Consider it a post for Grandma in Utah!!

Next post will be more "cultural." And if there is something in particular you would like to know about, let me know. I love to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Very Thai

The other day a friend of mine from church recommended a book to me called Very Thai by Philip Cornwel-Smith. She said when she saw it she thought of me. As I thumbed through the book, I felt as though I was looking at my life. It was filled with pictures of everything I had been seeing and experiencing since arriving here in Bangkok. Not only were there wonderful pictures on every page, but they were accompanied with 2-3 page essays explaining the meanings of things I have been witnessing but not understanding. I knew I had to get a copy.

So Pun took me to the store, we bought the book, and all I want to do now is read it.

Here are a couple shots from the book:

This is a picture of a child's table that shows all the Thai alphabet characters with their corresponding pictures. Pun had the same one growing up and it is still in the backyard!

This picture is not so clear, but it shows how the wiring is done around here sometimes. It caught Pun's attention, he started laughing and said he had seen this before, and he didn't know why they did it this way.

The book explains why drinks are served in bags and not cups, why Thai napkins are so tiny and pink, and a hundred other mysteries surrounding daily life and religious practices.

Pun's cousin said she had read parts of it as well and thought it was really a neat book. She said if I read it all I would know more than her about Thailand! I thought that was sort of funny. There is so much in our own cultures that we take for granted and really don't fully understand.

Really, if you are desparate from something to read, and want to get a feel for what we are experiencing, you can see our life in this book. Maybe you can check it out at the library?? :)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Part 2...Hua Hin and Misc Pictures

A few weeks back we were able to spend some time at a condo Pun's uncle has in Hua Hin, a well known tourist spot south of Bangkok and right on the gulf. We really had a great time. The pool was the best! We went swimming nearly everyday. As you can see it overlooks the gulf. Since it is the rainy season, flooding can be a problem so very few people come at this time. We always had the whole pool to ourselves.

Pun would take the kids down to the beach when the tide was low and they would look for crabs and all other forms of sea life. They would bring back a big bucket of shells and crabs to show me. Then we would get the crabs out and let them walk all over.

A bucket of treasures...

Here is Helen holding an unsual beetle we found. She really seems to have no fear of bugs of animals unless we tell her they might hurt her. I think she is turning into a tom-boy!

Another highlight for the kids and me was our first hamburger. We (especially Helen and me) have a weakness for all that awful American food, namely cheese- burgers and fries. On our way to the airport in Salt Lake, we even stopped to pick up one last greasy burger. I thought that might be the end of them for us, but I am happy to say, they taste the same here!

This is a lady we met at a foodcourt where we were eating lunch. She began talking to the kids and then feeding them her fried bananas (which they devoured!) You can see she and Daniel got real close. He likes anyone who will feed him. People here are very friendly, especially to our children, and are always giving them food and little gifts.

Helen and Daniel riding in a car.

This was in another foodcourt that had an arcade geared towards very young children.

And for one final picture, here we are at the supermarket. We are standing in front of a fresh seafood display. I'm no seafood expert, everything looked unique to me. Pun thought you might like to see this. At the back of the table there are several kinds of fish and at the front right is a display of large crabs. Daniel's face says it all!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

High Tech Kids and Other Stuff Part 1

Our kids are getting a little tired of the few toys we were able to bring with us. Our container hasn't arrived yet so I was getting a little desparate for something to keep them busy. I set up the word processor on the lap top and let Helen type. It kept here entertained for quite awhile. At one point I turned around to check on her and saw Daniel next to her pretending to talk on the cell phone. They look so serious. Pretty funny.

I just had to show you some lizard pictures. We really have fun finding and watching them. This particular night we found 5 or 6 on the outside of the screen door. Usually we only find a few every night.

We find this one every evening in the kitchen it seems. They really are great to have around. They eat bugs, stay high up on the walls and are very fast. The kids try to catch them sometimes.

In our previous post, I mentioned that the typical Thai house has an outdoor kitchen. Here is Pun helping the maid cook outside. She was shy and I couldn't get her to face the camera for a picture! You sort of feel like you are camping out when you are cooking out here.

One last picture for now. There is a Thai desert called rhotee-saimai. It is a crepe filled with fibrous sugar strings and tastes really good. This morning we happened to see them making it on the TV. It really is quite a process. The man who was making them said he had been perfecting his technique for 44 years! We decided it is much easier to buy it from the street vendor (8 servings or so for 50 cents). The fibers inside look like coarse blond hair and taste like cotton candy in your mouth. Very good!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Thai Home

What does a home in Thailand look like? Even since I wrote the last post my ideas about houses here have evolved. I visited a new friend's home Thursday. She and her husband are Americans. It was a beautiful apartment and looked much more familiar to me, so I now know there are more options available. The catch will be the cost involved.

To live Thai=cheap.
To live American=expensive.

Not that I want to live completely American, but it is amazing how quickly we miss the luxuries we take for granted in America.

I do not want to be negative on this blog, nor dishonest. So understand when I write these things I am myself am in the process of adjusting. I have been convicted lately about being content where I am. And I pray that God will make me so.

Wherever you live, homes our usually built with considerations of the climate, the enviroment, the available materials, etc... Eskimos don't have air conditioner, jungle homes don't have heaters; you get the picture.

In Thailand, heat, burglars, and wildlife are the main concerns when designing a home.

Heat: Bangkok is the hottest (or the 2nd) city in the world on average. No need for heaters here. Also, no water heaters either. Some people do heat the water electrically as it comes out the shower head. Kitchens used to be outside. It definitely helps with the heat and the mess. More modern and well off people have moved their kitchens inside. Ovens are not in the typical Thai home. Pun's parents bought one just before we arrived, but I feel guilty using it because I know it will heat up the house. Windows are left open continuously for air flow (unless it is a bedroom that you use an air conditioner in). No one has carpet here. Wood and tile floors are cooler and healthier (we heard of a man who died from mold in his lungs that had built up in his carpet!)

Burglary: It is a huge problem. Most everyone has a tall concrete fence with metal spikey things on top and a metal gate protecting there property. All the windows have bars on them. It feels a little like prison to me, but I see the necessity. Everyone has one or two watch dogs. There are dogs everywhere in the streets as well. If someone comes to visit you, they just yell at you from the fence. When we first arrived, I thought it was funny that Pun was in the bathroom helping one of the kids shower and at the same time was yelling out the window to the maid to order our breakfast. I felt spoiled!

Wildlife: Ants are a constant problem for everyone. I asked Pun if maybe we could make a peace offering of food for them outside and then they would leave us alone. He doesn't think it will work... Cockroaches come for food as well, and they are rather large. Then the lizards come. We really enjoy them and they feast on flying bugs. We are not sure there is any way to bug proof a home here.

It seems most houses are built out of concrete and cinder block. I suppose the reason is because it is cheap. The other side of that is once it is put in place it is difficult to work with (ie. hanging a picture or curtain rods). Also electrical wiring gets a little tricky, also. Many people use wood for the flooring. The wood floors and staircases are beautiful!

While we are waiting to build our own home, Pun and I are helping his parents remodel/redecorate their home. Though we are just beginning I think it will be very educational process as we learn what materials are available and how things are done here.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Wecome to the 21st Century

We now have unlimited access to the world via internet, thanks to Pun's dad and brother. It felt like Christmas morning after Pun had it all set up and we got on-line. I couldn't stop grinning all night. You just don't realize how disconnected you feel without it until someone pulls the plug... Now, as long as Helen and Daniel cooperate, I should be more regular in posting.

By the way, for those of you who make comments--thanks so much! I love the feedback. And I do try to respond to all of the comments on the same page where you leave them.

Home Sweet Home?

Since we have arrived in Bangkok, we have been on the lookout for a place to build our home. We have taken a couple of survey trips to look at various pieces of land that Pun's dad owns. To be honest, it has been a difficult process, and I know it is only beginning. It seemed like everything we looked at was lacking something really important like a church nearby, phone lines, or was not in a safe area. Not to mention, I am learning that I have to readjust my idea about what a home will be like here. It's not necessarily bad, just different. I keep trying to picture my kids growing up American in a house like I am familiar with, and forgetting we now live in Bangkok. Things will definitely be very different, but they can be very good, too. Pun and I have alternately been encouraging each other that God already knows the perfect place for us to live and the job He wants Pun to have, and when the time is right, He will reveal it to us.

Sooo, Monday when we went out to look at land again, I tried to prepare myself with different expectations. And here is what happened.

We looked at 3 pieces of land. The first one was in a good residential area and not too crowded. When we got there it looked as though people had set up makeshift homes on the land and moved in. As we got closer, we realized they were on the access road and the land was surrounded on all sides by houses of wealth and poverty with only a tiny access road out of the property running by the little makeshift homes. I was able to picture our home there, though. The neighbors who greeted us were very friendly and although it is a residential area, the traffic did not seem to overwhelming (more on Bangkok traffic soon). The only draw backs were no public transportation, no church remotely close, and no major shopping areas nearby. Above is a picture of it.

I was even more excited about the second piece we saw. Although it was flooded and filled with banana trees (yum--I was already plotting to keep as many of those as possible), it was even less crowded with even better access in and out. It is a developing area as well.

But the third piece.... it stole our hearts. It is currently a the rice patty! But it is beautiful land, about 3 acres Pun says, and has palm trees lining one side and bamboo trees on another. We can have a phone line ( a must!), get to a major department store and grocery store within 10 minutes, and they are building a major freeway that will come right by the land. As we looked at the land, we saw a building right across the field with a red roof and a white cross on it. It was too good to be true. It really was, because it turned out not to be the kind of church we are looking for, but that's ok. Pun thinks the new freeway would get us to church quickly.

Could this be the site of our new home??
Only the Lord knows...

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Culture Shock, Jesus, and Coup

This post has been evolving in my mind for a week or more. Hopefully you will make sense of my ramblings.

We have been in Bangkok now for 17 days. It sure feels like more than that. Maybe that is because everyday is filled with tons of pieces of information, some I can understand, but most I cannot. I have to ask about almost everything! Things we take for granted I just don't understand. Like using a public toilet. Completely new experience. I will save you the details! Or which water is acceptable to drink. Why can't you have a snack in your room (answer: the ants will carry it off before you can eat it yourself!) And don't even ask me about driving in Thailand! It will be years, I am afraid, before I will fill confident in either my ability behind the wheel or my sense of direction. People who have lived here for years still aren't sure about directions. Everything here is new or different. Did I expect to be the same? No, at least not in my head. But it is still unnerving (even for my native husband). And humbling.

Every once in awhile, though, I catch my self feeling "familiar" here. Like, I know the way home on the side streets (its like a maze). I ordered what I wanted at a restaurant in Thai. Ok, it was just water, but I did it, she understood me, and I said thank you, all in Thai. Yeah! And my favorite is when Thai people talk to me in English. I know, I know, that is not really being "familiar" in the since of adjusting to the culture, but it is relational, and I am longing for that, even if it is superficial. A week ago, we were at my in-laws "ranch" in the country. We stopped at a road side vendor for some food. When I finished, I decided to walk along the little strip of shops to explore on my own. In front of one shop, there was a 20 something year old girl who began to talk to me. We talked for quite awhile, as she was very friendly. When it was time to leave, I felt like I made my first friend. Our children are definitely an asset in relationships. Just about anyone will stop and talk to our children and then us. I love the interaction. Thai people are so friendly, so kind, and so giving.

When I am week, discouraged, vulnerable, or sad, the Word seems to have so much more impact on me. I am sure this is why the Lord uses difficulties in our lives (culture shock being the one for me right now.) We tend to "listen" better. Such is the case these last few weeks. Everything I read seems so incredibly relevant.

The first week we were here, I read a little devotion based on 2 Corinthians 5:1-10:

For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord-- for we walk by faith, not by sight-- we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

My mood about our circumstances was not a good one. I began to read this passage and realized that I was longing not only for temporal things but a perfect life. I was longing for something that would not happen until heaven.

Christ left the PERFECT culture to come here out of submission to the Father and love for us. And when He got here, He didn't try to live near the same standard of living (I am speaking of the comforts of heaven) that He was used to. He had a purpose and He sacrificed for it. His one goal was to glorify the Father by saving those He chose.

I wonder, did Jesus suffer culture shock? I think living surrounded by sin was difficult for Him.

I want to be pleasing to Him, to have a right perspective about things that won't last and the things that matter most. And I want to long for Heaven more.

We sing a song at our church in Payson. I happened to see the lyrics right after I read this passage.

I'm Forever Grateful
You did not wait for me to draw near to You
But You clothed Yourself with frail humanity
You did not wait for me to cry out to You
But You let me hear Your voice calling me
And I'm forever grateful to You
And I'm forever grateful for the Cross
And I'm forever grateful to You
That you came to seek and save the lost
Finally, about the coup, it seems to be a very low key thing here. You probably know more than me, since A) I don't understand the Thai news broadcast, and B)those responsible for the coup are controlling the news anyway!

Regardless, those around me seem unbothered and unaffected at this point.
More later.
PS We went to church today and I ran into an old youth leader of mine from KC who is now a missionary here. I'm still in awe...

A Sad Day

I have been looking forward for so many days to get my hands on this computer and let you know what's been going on. Now that I can finally have some computer time, the news is not what I was hoping to share.

Yesterday, we had our first prenatal visit with our doctor. We went in and interviewed him. I had some reservations about him but he was very kind and we decided to proceed with the first visit. He wanted to do and ultrasound to check the due date. I really didn't want to, but he insisted. I just wanted to hear the heart beat. But he couldn't find one. We went to have another ultrasound done and the second opinion was the same.

Pun was amazing. He prayed with me and encouraged me all day. He was a rock for me. We are both sad, but not without hope. When things like this happen, God's Word becomes even more alive and meaningful. That is what we are experiencing now. God's peace and His Word.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Finally Living in the Land

It's Monday and we have now been in Bangkok for 4 days. Wow. I still really can't believe we are actually here. Let me back up and give you a preview of the last 6 days.

We left SLC Tuesday. Very difficult goodbyes with family and loved ones. You should have seen us with all of our carry ons. We forgot that our 2 toddlers, who could each have 1-2 carry ones, would also need to be carried on! It was quite comical actually, trying to pass through security taking off 4 pairs of shoes each time and then putting them back on, then carrying bags, and more bags, and car seats, and 2 sleepy children, and me blubbering all the way! And we were late! We were the very last to board!! Agghh! But due to very kind airport and Delta employees, we made it. And so it seemed to go the rest of the way to Bangkok. Not that there weren't any difficulties, but overall it went fairly well.

Upon arrival in Bangkok, the traffic overwhelmed me. Oh my! I can't see myself ever having enough courage to drive here. It is absolutely crazy! Thank goodness for public transportation.

Since arriving we have been able to see nearly all of Pun's extended family. 18 of them and most of them live right on the same block. They are a very kind and generous family. Pun and I have also spent some time with his great aunt. She is 102 years old! She is blind and pretty much house bound. Helen and Daniel are warming up to her. Actually, Helen really enjoys going to visit her. As many of you know, Pun has a burden for his whole family to know the Lord and especially this aunt. Yesterday, Helen told Pun they should go tell her about Jesus dying on the cross for her. We were both touched. She and Pun went to visit and begin to share with her. Pun is praying for more alone time with her.

As I sit here typing, my mind is going in 100 directions. There are so many new experiences I want to describe for you. To say the least, it is overwhelming, exciting, emotional, scary, and fun. Maybe I am just tired! But it is impossible to tell you everything so as the days go by, I will try to give you little pictures of what life is like.

If you are wondering...Yes, it is extremely warm and humid here. Unusually so for this time of year. But the thunderstorms are awesome!

The first night we were here, we all woke up around 3am (2pm MST) wide awake! So we went outside in the yard and began exploring the night life. Among the highlights were the lizards and the giant snails (in there shells). The lizards climb on the walls inside. I can't figure out how they get in, but they don't bother anyone and they are fun to watch. Helen and Daniel and I love to find them! Pun's parent's yard feels like a tropical paradise. You really don't feel like you are in the middle of Bangkok at all; there are too many exotic plants, trees and flowers, not to mention the little creatures! Maybe I have just been in Utah too long.

Eating Thai food has become adventure in itself. There are many wonderful new foods and fresh fruits and then there are some that I will need to acquire a taste for. I have never been a big fan of vegetables, nor much of a healthy eater. That is all about to change! The pineapple and bananas are incredible, and the grilled meats delicious! There are just so many new flavors. The children are doing fairly well with it all, although Helen has a craving for pancakes! Funny, since she never asked for them at home.

I am surprised at how much is written in English here. Street signs, store signs, and products in the store have a fair amount of English. And there are so many US brand names here. At times I find myself thinking how similar things are here compared to the US. At other times I am shocked by the differences.

Other news some of you may not know, is we are expecting our 3rd baby in April. His family took the news well. We were waiting to tell them when we arrived so we didn't post anything on line. Birth in Bangkok will definitely be a new experience. No more homebirth, it is illegal here. So we have found the only hospital in SE Asia that does water births right here in Bangkok. Thank you, Lord!

Tomorrow we will be leaving to go to Pun's parents ranch for a few days and then on to the ocean for a few more. It should be very nice to see some of the country side.

My computer time is extremely limited right now. If you email and I don't respond, it is most likely because I can't get to the computer. This may go on for the next month or so until our container arrives. I also have no way of uploading pictures for now, either, which is a shame. There is so much I want you to see. It will have to wait.

For now, know that we miss you all and think of you often.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

One Week and Counting

Well, actually it is only 5 days. Boy, you should see how excited Pun is!! Me, too, for that matter. He is really ready to go home, and I am ready for him to take me.

Last weekend our shipping company dropped off a rather large shipping container. We had 3 days to get it packed and ready to ship out. Thank you to all of you who helped us load up. If it hadn't been for many friends from church and our family, we wouldn't have made it in time. And I just can't tell you how glad I am it is all gone. I hope it gets to Thailand eventually!

The rest of this time has been spent saying goodbye. My dear friend LaVonne came all the way across the country to spend one last weekend with me. We had the best time together. Thanks, LaVonne, for coming so far to to say goodbye. Thanks for all the good memories and for your friendship. I will truly miss you.

Another highlight has been the chance to spend many evenings with the families from our church. We have been to so many special dinners with friends. It's just making it more difficult to say goodbye. But we wouldn't trade any of the memories.

On Monday night our church had a surprise party to send us off. We all ended up the canyon at a park where Pun and I had our wedding rehearsal dinner. It was an evening we will never forget! To our church body: You will never know how much you have come to mean to us. We will sorely miss you... And we won't forget all of you who promised to come see us in Thailand, too! We are holding you to it!! Thank you everyone -- We love you soo much!!

You know, Pun and I have talked about many things we will miss here like the seasons of the year (especially fall time), the mountains, snow, certain types of food, but we always end with talking about the people we will miss. Your friendships have been our true treasures.

PS I had planned to put more pictures in of our party and gatherings with friends, but none seemed to capture the essence of the events without too much explanation so I decided to add a couple other of my favorite pictures!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

So much to say...

I am painfully aware at the time that has lapsed sense I last wrote. When I started this blog, I knew there wouldn't be too much to say until we actually moved but 5 weeks have passed since my last post and I never intended to go that long!

Thank you to those who still check up on us during this time. I know you keep coming back, I see it on the stats (although I don't know who you are.) Just a few things have kept me preoccupied: taking care of mom (more on that later), taking care of sick babies, computer problems that kept me off-line, being sick myself, company for a week, and family camp with our church to name a few.

As I write, Mom is off to her first check-up since the surgery. She is doing really well at this point. It has taken time to recover, but her headaches and nausea are finally subsiding. She is rarely sick, and her headaches are manageable. Thank you so much to all of you who prayed for her. I think she is finally seeing the good results we were hoping for.

We have finally purchased our tickets. We leave on September 5th. It seems like we have been standing at the edge of the cliff for so long, that to think we are actually going to jump seems surreal. There are several hurdles to cross before that time. We have yet to ship our things. It looks like that will happen the next weekend. Pun may have to make a trip to the Thai embassy before he leaves to clear up a problem with his passport. And of course, we want to spend these last days with family and friends.

Some of my family made special trips out to visit us one last time this summer. Earlier this summer my, mom's youngest brother and his family came for a week, and just last week my mom's oldest brother and his wife came. We had such a wonderful time with all of them, and felt so loved that would come so far to say goodbye. We will miss each one of them...

I have pictures to post, but the website is not working right. Pun somehow was able to get me in so I could at least write a quick update. I will post more when the website is up again.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Brain Surgery

Well, it's over!! Mom now has a dime size whole in her head with a shunt running from her brain down to her abdomen! She did excellent and so did the doctor. We are hoping and praying for immediate relief from the symptoms. If all goes well, she should be home on Monday.

Here's how the day went:

When we arrived at the hospital, Mom's tiny room was already filled with visitors. Although she was feeling lousy, she was definitely enjoying the company.

"You're going to do WHAT to my grandma?"

Helen tried in her own way to fix Grandma's "ouch" on her head. Check out the bandaid!!

Though the surgery was short, it seemed like such a long time to wait for Mom. Some of us got very sleepy.

When we heard she was on her way back to the room, nothing could slow this man down from meeting her at the elevator!!

She looks pretty good for just having brain surgery!!

Thank you, everyone who prayed for Mom. We appreciate your love and concern.

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