October 2016 Prayer Letter
Dear Friends & Family,
Thank you everyone for praying for us and for the Thai people. Our ministry is a long-term endeavor and we appreciate the many people who stand with us in prayer and finances.
New School Year
The new school year has begun for all of us as the seminary started up again in August and Sun picked up again with homeschooling Joshua and Caitlin. For toddler John, his lessons are more informal, such as learning what happens when he puts his face too close to a hot pot (don’t worry, he’s fine). Pray for Sun to have wisdom and patience as she teaches the kids. Some days are difficult.
I (Karl) am enjoying teaching 2 church history classes this semester, although the classes are abnormally large (nearly 40 students in each class), which makes class discussion unwieldy at times. Some days of teaching are much more interesting and engaging than others, but I am encouraged when students ask good questions. One student asked, “My friend said that worshipping on Sunday is sinful because it is worshiping the sun, syncretism introduced by Constantine. Is that true?” So I provided the historical and biblical reasons why Sunday worship is valid, and not a compromise with paganism. Lots of misinformation about church history gets circulated in popular culture and among Christians, so it is great when students can see how learning history can help them answer practical questions of Christian living and discipleship in the present.
Simply the Story at Northeastern Bible Seminary
At the beginning of the month, I traveled to Khon Kaen, Thailand to assist in a 3-day “Simply the Story” (STS) workshop at Northeastern Bible Seminary. STS is a method of oral inductive Bible study, focusing on telling Bible stories and asking questions to help people learn what God is saying in the Scripture. While people of all levels enjoy stories, this method is particularly good for those with low literacy, which is exactly the kind of people that most of the students at the seminary will be ministering among in northern & northeastern Thailand and neighboring countries. It was an intense few days but it was enjoyable to work with this set of students and get to know some Lahu Christian leaders who were also helping with the workshop. Chatting with them about their ministry experience up in the mountains, I was reminded of the great diversity that still exists in Thailand. On the one hand, there are highly educated people with substantial wealth in Bangkok, and on the other hand some people live their whole lives in tribal villages high up in the mountains between Thailand and Burma without ever learning to read. At BBS, the majority of undergrads are from tribal areas up north, while the majority of grad students are more urban Thai students. In my teaching, how can I best serve these students who will be ministering among people from very different backgrounds?
Home Assignment Planning
In late January 2017, our family will begin a 6-month home assignment in the U.S. (Why do missionaries go on home assignment?) We have a lot to do to prepare for that move, selling or finding storage for our stuff, selling our car, and wrapping up many other loose ends. We are looking forward to spending time with many of you, our supporters, and sharing at churches. Our kids are looking forward to snow and other American experiences. Only 1 of our kids remembers the United States, and 1 has never been there. I get tired and stressed just thinking about all the planning and packing that needs to be done. Pray for our family as we look ahead to this transition.
There is also a strong possibility that I (Karl) will start a Ph.D after our home assignment. I have submitted my application and am waiting to hear from the university. The things I would learn from doing Ph.D research would bring added value to my teaching at Bangkok Bible Seminary. Pray for God’s guidance and provision in this matter as well.
by Christ’s grace,
Karl & Sun Dahlfred
Karl’s seminary teaching and Sun homeschool our kids
Preparation for 2017 home assignment and Ph.D
STS workshop in Khon Kaen
BBS students who ask good questions
Upcoming time in the U.S.
9/30-10/2 Simply the Story workshop in Khon Kaen
10/30 Preach Wattana church
11/10-12 SEA Network for the Gospel conference
11/15-25 Pre-Home Assignment Workshop
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