January 2019 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends & Family,

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  We hope you’ve had an enjoyable holiday season and you are feeling hopeful as we head into a New Year. 

Thailand Conference & Still More Research

From January 4-13, I (Karl) am in Thailand to present a paper at a conference.  My paper topic is “Missionary Communication When Locals are Listening.” If all goes well, this paper will show up as a chapter in a published book next year.  If you’d like a “sneak peek”, let me know. 

After that brief trip, I’ll be back in Scotland to continue pushing through the remaining stacks of documents that I collected this past summer.  I really thought that it wouldn’t take this long to read through and scan these docs, but such is life.  Please pray that I’ll know what to skim and what to read in-depth so I’ll be ready to start some substantial writing in the not distant future.  My supervisor has counseled me to start writing this year instead of waiting for my third year.  Thus, I hope to get writing this spring sometime. I probably need to do a 2 week research trip to Wheaton College sometime this year as well.  Please pray that I will have the discipline, diligence, and discernment to make all that happen.  I’ve been at this 1.5 years so far and am hoping to finish this dissertation within 3 years total (mid-year 2020).  But I’ll only have a chance of reaching that goal if I stay on task.

October 2018 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends & Family,

Greetings from bonnie Scotland! After a productive and busy summer, we are all back in Edinburgh and into the swing of life, school, and ministry. In this letter, we want to give you a brief overview of what we are doing, what’s coming up, and how to pray. 

Back to School

Sun and the kids came back to Edinburgh in early August so that the children would be ready for the start of the Scottish school year on August 15th. Caitlin and John are now both in elementary school and Joshua is in 7th grade, the first year of high school in the Scottish system. They are all getting on well but it has been challenging to make friends so if you pray for them, you could remember the need for good friends.

Karl has also gone “back to school” as the new academic year has begun at the University of Edinburgh. However, since he was doing archival research most of the summer, it doesn’t feel like going “back” since he never really left his work during the summer. He returned from Payap University Archives in Thailand with a veritable mountain of photocopies, which he is now reading through, taking notes on, and adding to Evernote in order to organize his data and prepare for writing. In light of what he is learning, he is also revising his outline for the thesis, shuffling around information like a jigsaw puzzle to see how to best fit it all together. Please pray for clarity of mind, discipline of time, and dogged determination.

Payap University Archives

July 2018 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends & Family,

Greetings from Thailand!  I know you probably thought we were in Scotland, and a month ago, you would have been correct!  The whole family is now in Thailand for the summer so that I (Karl) can do research at the Payap University Archives in Chiang Mai (Northern Thailand), and then we’ll be back in Scotland in the fall.  God has graciously provided for us car to borrow and a house to live in, which we are subletting from a missionary family who is back in their home country for a few months. 

Hills of Chiang Mai seen from airport

Research and Travel (LOTS!)

For me, this is a busy time of research and travel, starting from the beginning of May up through the end of August.  In May, I was in Philadelphia for 3  weeks to examine and collect old mission documents at the Presbyterian Historical Society.  Three weeks was a long time to be away from the family, but it was a productive time of research and I was able to gather a lot of relevant documents.  Thank God for smartphone cameras and Evernote! 

After Philadelphia, I was home in Scotland for 3 weeks and then off to Thailand where I renewed my Thai missionary visa and Thai driver’s license, did a wee bit of research at the Payap Archives, and taught a couple sections of the Perspectives Course on the World Christian Movement at Bangkok Bible Seminary.  If you are not familiar with Perspectives, it is a course developed many years ago by missions advocate and scholar Ralph Winter, for the purpose of educating and mobilizing Christians for involvement in world missions.  I myself took the course 20 years ago when I was in my last year of college and found it very helpful in getting the big picture of what world missions was about and how I might be involved in God’s work around the world.  For that reason, I was really glad to have the chance to teach sessions 6 and 7 (the history sections) of Perspectives for Thai seminary students and church leaders. I was also very glad to chat with 2 of my former students (a married couple with a young child) who are actively applying to do mission work in Japan.  Its great to see those I’ve taught go on to minister not only in Thailand, but around the world.

May 2018 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends & Family,

Hello again from Edinburgh! We hope you are starting to see signs of spring where you are because here in Scotland it is still cold.  Theoretically, spring should be coming but we are doubtful.  We haven’t been sending updates as often as we were in Thailand but as the end of the first academic year approaches, we wanted to give a brief update on where we’ve been and where we’re going.

braving the weather at Highlands Wildlife Park, Aviemore, Scotland

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