The French Are Coming!

Commemorative plate in the palace ruins of Lopburi showing King Narai The Great giving an audience to french diplomatsThe city of Lopburi recently celebrated their annual Narai festival, in honor of King Narai who reigned over Thailand from his palace here in Lopburi about 400 years ago. Part of the story of King Narai includes ambassadors from France who came to visit the king and initiate diplomatic relations between Thailand and France. Later on, the ambassors, together with some Jesuit priests, all got knocked off because some higher up folks in the royal entourage were afraid that the priests were getting to close to converting the king to Catholicism. So, for the Narai festival parade, the organizers needed some white guys to be the French ambassadors. I thought it would be fun, so I volunteered. It was, kind of, but I felt somewhat ridiculous in my ambassador's costume, especially the wig. Even more ridiculous than the guy with the cone on his head in the picture below.

 

I was a serious French ambassador marching in the hot sun. I look silly enough being a white guy in Thailand, so why not put on some funny looking clothes to top it off?

Work Permit

Finally got my work permit after a number of months of waiting. Now I am official authorized by the Thai government to work as a "missionary" and to "propagate the Christian religion among those interested, to instruct [church] members in the fundamentals of religion, and to teach the Bible." Well, I better get to work. I wouldn't want to violate my work permit, would I?

New Wheels

We were very pleased to finally get a vehicle a couple weeks ago. Up until now, we had been walking most places (with baby in a backpack) or taking public transportation (with baby on our laps and no seat belt). Sometimes we got a ride with other missionaries but even then there was often no seat belt or car seat for baby. May cars (and especially vans) in this part of the world don't have seatbelts aside from the driver and front passenger.

In any case, we got a 2002 Isuzu Grand Adventure which is basically a four door pick-up truck that has been modified to include an extra bench of seats in the far back that can fold up for extra room. We were looking for a vehicle with a little extra room for people and/or things so that we could be a blessing to others in using the truck for ministry and also in the event of any future family expansion.

We praise God for the generous gifts of our supporting churches and friends back home that have enabled us to get this vehicle. It is rather funny to think about, but this is the newest vehicle that we have ever owned. Up until this point in life, Sun and I have always owned rather old cars with high mileage because we were trying to get through school on a limited budget or whatnot.

A Letter from a Fellow New Missionary

It is never a good idea to toot your own horn, however one of our fellow missionaries here in Lopburi approached us the other day to say that she'd like to toot our horn for us. Judy had it on her heart to write a letter to our supporters to let them know about what she & her husband have observed in the lives of our family since we moved in down the street from them this past year. Both Sun & I think that Judy speaks WAY too kindly of us and that our lives certainly don't live up to the picture that she paints. However, I include below the full text of Judy's letter, for those who would enjoy reading an outsider's perspective on our lives and ministry in Thailand.

February 10, 2007

Dear Friends of Karl & Sun,

It was an amazing Christmas Eve, one we will never forget, and one that is already altering the future.We are so blessed to have Karl & Sun here, living just down the street from us.You see, Christmas approached way too fast this year, and all of us [Thai language] students has so many other outreaches and extra things on the go that we thought, when could we ever do something for our neighbors?

Another Coup?

Sun and I went down to Bangkok last week to shop for some baby items that we couldn't get up country and everything seemed "business as usual" in the capital but as I have been reading the Thai newspapers recently, there is talk about internal dissention in the current interim administration and maybe more bombings or another coop. Please be in prayer with us for the Thai nation and people. Below is a brief update from the our mission's field director here in Thailand.

"OMF Thailand is presently monitoring the unrest in Thailand. These struggles are political, and not against foreigners, or religious based. There are rumors of another coup, and the army has stepped up it's presence in Bangkok and other major cities across the nation. OMFer's are staying away from large group gatherings, and government/military offices and bases. Please pray for God's daily protection and also for His peace. Even though most Western countries are advising their citizens not to travel to Thailand at this time, OMF leadership believes that it is still safe to come and to be here."

Bangkok Bombings

Last night in Bangkok, on New Year's Eve, there were a number of bomb blasts in Bangkok, killing three and injury several others. We are in the city of Lopburi, a couple hours north of the city, and so we were well away from what might be called the "danger zone". Funnily enough, we didn't find out what happened until my Mom called us on Skype this morning and told us the news. I had been out to the market already this morning and hadn't seen or heard anything out of the ordinary but then again we live quite a distance away from Bangkok and it is not so easy to accidentally overhear things in a second language.

I went back out around noon to pick up some noodles for lunch and decided to get a Thai newspaper to read about what happened in Thai before I got online to check it out in English. Sitting in our living room with the newspaper and my Thai-English dictionary, I learned several new Thai words and phrases, like "die on the spot", "critical injured", and "sniff out evidence". Language learning aside, it appears that several small bombs went off at eight locations throughout the city, bringing New Year's festivities to an anti-climactic halt as people who had gathered for "Times Square" type celebrations headed home well before midnight as a safety precaution.

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