After being back in the states for 5 months traveling and reporting on the past 2 1/2 years of our life and ministry in Thailand we were way past ready to get back home and to finally be settled and to return to our somewhat “normal” Thai life again. When we arrived at the airport we were surprised to be greeted by several of the young adults from Somprasong 4 church! They made a cute “Sawadee” (Thai greeting) sign and all showed up with their sweet, smiling faces! Getting back to the “Land of Smiles” never felt so good! It was weird how it felt as if no time had passed. The same night that we arrived (2 hours before our flight landed) the Abilene Christian University (ACU) students arrived for their internship over the summer. So we really hit the ground running! Is there any other way?!
Right after we landed, Gary was asked to speak for the Wednesday night bible class. So Gary put a lesson together and taught on our first full day back. He also preached Sunday morning and taught a combined bible class. It was nice to share with them what we’ve been doing the past few months and about what our future plans are in Thailand. It was awesome to see so many that we’ve missed. Our first Sunday back was a fun, warm and welcoming day of fellowship with our Thai family.
International House Hunters: Bangkok Edition
When we arrived back we stayed at the church building and moved between 2 different rooms. (We moved out of our old apartment before we left since we knew we’d be in the states for a while). We were grateful to have the room at the building but it was pretty cramped and we were exhausted and ready to start getting settled so that first week, we started apartment hunting knowing it could take a while to find a place.
So thankful for these guys for helping us move in, even after working all weekend at English Camp!
Looking for apartments in Bangkok takes a lot of communication skills and persistence. We had to do a lot of research online of areas and companies to connect with to see places. Lots of sorting and looking through places that the agencies emailed us. Most of these places would turn out to be not what we were looking for at all. They would either be too small, not a style we like, too far from public transportation, too expensive, etc. So before we were able to go see a place physically we had a lot of work to do. Once we found something that we were interested in, we went to see it with an agent. We did this for nearly 2 weeks and hadn’t found anything like what we were hoping for. This time of year is hard to find a good place because a lot of people move in the summer so most of the good places were already taken. We were tired of looking and not feeling confident and satisfied about it but we knew we’d seen most of what was available and thought we might just have to settle. In our last attempts to find something, we decided to check out one last area. It was the day before we were leaving for English Camp and we went looking at one last building that people had told us about. We met with the agent and after seeing just one room in the building, we knew this was the place! We saw a few rooms there throughout the day and decided on one by that evening! We made a downpayment that night. Went off to English Camp the next morning for a long weekend, then the day after we returned from Camp we closed on the apartment and moved in! Just when we were about to give up and give in to one of the apartments that we only halfway liked, God opened our eyes to a great apartment that exceeded our expectations! And as always at just the right time! God is good and we are so thankful to have a beautiful place that we can finally settle down in and call home!
Just a week and a half after arriving we had English Camp with nursing students from Suan Dusit University. The days before camp we were busy trying to find our apartment so all of our preparation for camp were in the middle of apartment hunting craziness. Which included choosing a theme, writing lessons, preparing games, and designing and printing camp shirts and stickers. This year we had over 40 students attend, which is more than we’ve ever had.
We arrived to camp a day before it started on Thursday to clean the grounds and set up all of our equipment and tents. Most of the students that came this year were Freshmen so we didn’t really know this group yet. Glome and Nueng did a great job breaking the ice with some welcome games and activities and it wasn’t long before the students and staff were laughing and getting along like good friends.
Our theme for Camp this year was Electric Summer and we truly had an electric time together at Cha Am!
Aside from a few of Somprasong’s church staff, young adults, us and the ACU interns, we had extra help from three of Somprasong’s Filipino members and one young American member, also a member from the church in Phuket, Thailand. It’s always an encouraging time getting extra time with our staff from church who volunteer to help, most of whom are sacrificing vacation time to be with us. I was especially proud of how well the staff showed love and kindness to all of the nursing students throughout our time at camp.
Click here to see more pictures from English Camp.
Click here to see the video that we put together for the students from camp.
Time with the ACU Students
The ACU girls with Bhee and Sam.
Since we knew that we would be really busy returning to Thailand just as the ACU team arrived, we decided that we wouldn’t be mentors for this year’s ACU team in Bangkok. So this year Bhee and Sam worked primarily with the team and we assisted as we could but mostly at the end of their time. While the girls were in Bangkok we showed them a few of areas that we’ve been involved with in the past. We love introducing the interns to all of the craziness that comes with living in Bangkok. It’s always fun to see the look on peoples faces the first time that they see the endless expanse of skyscrapers, never ending number of spirit houses and temples, see all the fancy and massive shopping malls, experience the humidity and heat, witness how crowded and busy the streets are.
During our time together the girls learned about Thai Buddhism and animism, we also took them to visit the red light district to learn about the issue of Bangkok’s sex industry, to the slum community in our old neighborhood to show them the challenges and dangers of people living in extreme poverty face since they can be easily taken advantage of by the mob or others with no one to stand up for them.
Even though our time with the ACU team was short this year, it was a joy to have them here. After their time in Bangkok they went up to Chiang Rai where they’ll be teaching English for three weeks at a Christian school. Please keep them in your prayers as they finish up their summer here in Thailand and return to the States soon.