Happy New Year! I hope you’ve enjoyed a pleasant Christmas despite drastically scaled back celebrations for many of us. Though is easy to complain, as Christians we need to choose to be hopeful because God reigns and rules over the circumstances of our lives. I can sometimes be pessimistic and need to continually re-orient my mind to God’s good promises in the long-term, and give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thess. 5:18). There is always something to be grateful for when we make the effort to look for it. In this letter, I want to share briefly some things from this past year for which we are thankful, and then outline what is likely ahead for us in 2021.
As we approach the end of 2020, we wanted to update you with some good news and not-so-good though not unexpected news. Yet, God is forever sovereign, so we look ahead with hope.
PhD Thesis Submitted!
On the plus side, at the end of October, I submitted my PhD thesis! Thanks be to God! This was a great relief and important milestone, but don’t call me “doctor” yet. I am now waiting to get a date for my viva voce (oral defense). I hope this would happen before the end of the year, but I just don’t know. In the meantime, I am working on some other reading and projects, and doing more homeschool supervision for the kids and cooking to allow Sun to have more time for what she’d like to do, which includes meeting up with people and a new blog.
I’ll soon need to do some concentrated preparation for my upcoming thesis defense. Hopefully, the outcome will be “pass, with minor corrections.” If that is the case, I would have a few months to complete the corrections. That should not be a problem, though, because we don’t have anywhere to go.
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.
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.