July 2020 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends & Family,

In this crazy time of Covid-19, lockdowns, cancellations, and general uncertainty, we are thankful for God’s blessings over the past months.  The first half of 2020 has not gone how we imagined it would but our family is well and still hoping to head back to full-time ministry in Thailand at the end of the year.

Ph.D Progress

When Scotland locked down at the end of March, I (Karl) regretfully hauled my books home from my study desk at the University of Edinburgh and started to work from home.  All five of us found ourselves together in our small apartment and it took some time to find new work and study routines but eventually we adjusted.  The kids are able to do their studies and I am able to write, although distractions are many compared to my desk in a quiet postgraduate study room at the university. 

I am pleased to report that I am now writing the final chapter of my thesis.  When that is complete, I need to write an introduction and conclusion, and then go over the whole thesis again to make final adjustments and changes.  Then I submit it, hopeful in September or so, if all goes well. Then a month or two after that, I will have my viva voce (oral defense) and, Lord willing, complete my doctorate. It has been a long road and it is not done yet, but there is light at the end of the tunnel!  Please pray for steady progress on my Ph.D with the aim of wrapping it up before the end of 2020.

Lockdown Life: the new
Lockdown Life: the new "home office"

December 2019 Prayer Letter

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!

June 2019 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends & Family,

Greetings once again from bonnie Scotland!  It is cold and wet here but we are getting on with things and marvel at the fact that our time in Edinburgh may come to a close in a year or so.

Research Progress - I am Writing!

In our last prayer letter, I told you that I was trying to finish up reading and scanning the documents that I collected over the summer. Thanks be to God that is largely done now and I have started writing. I wrote chapter one and am in the process of revising it per my supervisor’s recommendations. Trying to figure out how to make a massive amount of data all fit together into a logical and interesting narrative is hard work! 

But my constant prayer is that not only would my research come together into a coherent whole, but also that what I write will be useful. I keep asking myself, “How does this relate disciple making? How will this be relevant for the church?” At the end of the day, very few people read doctoral theses but I have a list of ideas for shorter spinoff articles that would make a contribution to the mission of the church in Thailand and elsewhere. It is my hope and prayer that my studies here would have real benefit for both my teaching at Bangkok Bible Seminary as well as writing and teaching for the broader Christian community. Please pray that I would have clarity of thought and excellent time management so that I can write up a quality thesis and our family can head back to Thailand by mid-year 2020. We are enjoying our time in Edinburgh but we are all looking forward to returning to ministry in Bangkok. 

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