Dear Friends & Family,
Greetings from dark and rainy Edinburgh! We have limited sunlight these days (sunrise 8:30am and sunset 3:30) and none of the snow for which are children are desperately hoping, but during this Advent and Christmas season, we praise God for the Light of Life who has come into the world. And good stuff is happening here, so without further ado… our news!
Ph.D Thesis Progress Update
Now that I (Karl) am in my third year of Ph.D studies, people are asking, “When will you finish?” I can’t say for certain, but hopefully I can submit my thesis by spring or summer 2020 and we’ll be back in Thailand by the end of 2020. But, of course, this all depends on how quickly I am able to write my thesis. I have 6 chapters planned (not including introduction and conclusion) and I have written drafts of 3 chapters so far. Those 3 are my background chapters, and now I am writing my first “substance” chapter (#4) which deals with what I have found in my primary source archival research. It is great to be finally writing the real “meat” of my studies. If you’re curious to know some of what I’m learning, check out my Facebook photo album called “Interesting Tidbits from my Research”, a collection of fascinating nuggets I’ve found along the way.
In November, I was in the U.S. for 2.5 weeks, visiting (again) the Presbyterian Historical Society in Philadelphia, and then the archives at Wheaton College near Chicago. It was a productive trip and is (hopefully) my last research trip. That’s good because I am tired of doing research trips away from my family. I just want to stay in Edinburgh and get this thesis written! Please pray for discipline of time and lucidity of mind as I push on in writing!
Karl grew up in New Hampshire and became a Christian through the ministry of a Presbyterian church youth group. During college, he was a student leader with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and got his first taste of missions through a short-term trip to Poland. Following graduation, Karl briefly worked for a publishing company before heading to Thailand for two and a half years to teach English and aid with evangelism and discipleship as part of an OMF church planting team. Karl earned a Masters of Divinity (M.Div) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a Master of Theology (Th.M) at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University. In 2017, he began research for a Ph.D in World Christianity at the University of Edinburgh. Karl is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).
Sun and her family fled from the killing fields of Cambodia and arrived as refugees in California. Sun heard the Gospel in Sunday school and later prayed to receive Christ. After high school, Sun sensed the Lord calling her into missions and pursued a degree in Biblical Studies from Biola University. Following graduation, Sun went on a short-term mission trip to Cambodia and then taught elementary school for a few years before returning to Asia to teach English in Laos. During her four years in Laos, she also earned an M.A. in TESOL through Azusa Pacific University. After Laos, Sun sensed God leading her to a very large Asian country where served for two years. Sun and her team shared the Gospel with top university students and partnered with churches.
Karl and Sun were married in 2005 and have three children, Joshua, Caitlin, and John. They did church planting ministry in Central Thailand during their first missionary term and then moved to Bangkok where Karl teaches part-time at Bangkok Bible Seminary, assists with editing and translation of Thai Christian books at Kanok Bannasan (OMF Publishers Thailand), and they are both involved with Grace City Bangkok, a new church plant in downtown Bangkok.
Karl teaches church history and missions at Bangkok Bible Seminary, and assists with translation and editing at Kanok Bannasan (OMF Publishers Thailand), one of the few publishers of Thai Christian books. Living right next to the seminary campus in downtown Bangkok, both Karl and Sun have opportunities to invest in the lives of students, the next generation of Thai church leaders. They are also involved in a new church plant called Grace City Bangkok, and Karl does itinerant preaching at various churches in the Bangkok area and beyond.
Karl and Sun and children are currently on study leave in Scotland for Karl to pursue doctoral studies. Upon completion, they will return to Thailand.