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December 2017 Prayer Letter

Written by Karl Dahlfred on .

Dear Friends & Family,

Greetings from bonnie Scotland!  It’s been 3 months since we’ve moved to Edinburgh and we wanted to give you an update on life, Ph.D studies, ministry, and our family.  We appreciate your prayers for us as we take some time away from Thailand to prepare for our next phase of ministry there.
 
enjoying the beautiful landscape in the Scottish Highlands

Life in a New Country

Lots of people have asked us, “How do you like Scotland?”  We love it.  It is a beautiful country with lots of history and beautiful green landscapes.  Edinburgh is a beautiful old city with lovely epic architecture and lots of things for the family to see and do.  There are castles, palaces, museums, libraries and plenty of cobblestone streets.  We don’t have a car but appreciate the excellent public bus system.  Our kids particularly enjoy riding on the upper level of the double-decker buses.  Scots speak English and we have little problem communicating with most people. But listening to some people, we are like deer in the headlights. “I’m sorry.  What did you say?”  They are speaking English, but we still sometimes find ourselves smiling, nodding, and saying something that we hope relates to what they said to us.  Aye, it certainly makes life interesting!

our kids enjoy riding on the double-decker buses in Edinburgh

 

Home Life and Homeschooling

After settling in a bit in September, Sun has recommenced homeschooling the children.  They have found a routine that works for them and once a week, she takes them on a field trip to someplace in the city.  There is lots to see in do in Edinburgh, so it is a great city for a family.  I take over the kids’ homeschool one afternoon per week so that she can get a bit of time off.

We are getting to know some people in our apartment building, all of whose residents are international families associated with the university. There are a few Christians among them.  We hope to be a light and a witness to Christ among our neighbors here.

the road we live on

a view of Arthur's Seat and Holyrood Park from our kitchen window

Ph.D Studies

I have been enjoying Ph.D studies, which is mostly reading, research, and writing.  There are some seminars to attend and I have been auditing a class, but there is no required course work. A Ph.D in the British system is completely research-based.  I meet with my supervisor every few weeks and am doing the preliminary groundwork for later primary source research that will form the bulk of my thesis.  I take the bus from home to the university most days and work in a study cubical there.  I’m enjoying getting to know some of the other Ph.D students in my program (World Christianity) and other disciplines at the School of Divinity, some of whom are becoming friends.  To make it through a doctoral program, everyone needs friends when the going gets tough and you doubt whether you can really do this (I’ve had a few of those moments already).  Please pray that I would have good time management and focus as I plug away at my studies.  

Church and Ministry

We have started worshipping at Buccleuch Free Church (pronounced Buh-kloo), a small congregation of the Free Church of Scotland that is near the university.  It is a small church of about 50-70 people and we are enjoying the worship, fellowship, and preaching.

the entrance to Buccleuch Free Church

For three weeks in October and early November, I was away in Germany and Thailand.  In Wittenberg, Germany, I attended a Reformation conference and enjoyed not only excellent talks and fellowship but also the delight of walking the streets where Luther walked and visiting the Castle church, Luther’s house, and other famous locations (read my reflections on visiting Wittenberg).  After that, I need to go to Thailand to renew my missionary visa.  After getting a new visa stamp in my (very full!) passport, I attended Grace City Bangkok’s church camp, visited Bangkok Bible Seminary and Kanok Bannasan (OMF Publishers Thailand), and attended the Southeast Asia Network for the Gospel conference where I gave a talk on “A Brief History of Pastoral Training” (listen here).  It was a long time to be away but it was fantastic to be back in Thailand again, to visit many Thai and missionary friends, and to be speaking Thai again (there are very few Thai people in Scotland!).  When I attended Grace City Bangkok for Sunday worship, they even gave me my old job back - translating the sermon from Thai to English via headset for non-Thai speaking attendees.  It was great to be able to serve in some small capacity even though I was only visiting.  Although Sun and the kids did well while I was away, they were very happy to have me back after so much time away!

Grace City Bangkok church retreat, November 2017

Karl sharing a meal with students and another teacher from Bangkok Bible Seminary

Thank you for remembering us in your prayers, and thank you to all of you who financially support us.  We may not send out prayer letters quite as often as we were while in Thailand but we want to keep in touch as studies progress with the aim of going back to Thailand.

May you and yours have a blessed Advent and Christmas season.

by Christ’s grace,

Karl & Sun Dahlfred


PRAYER POINTS

  • Good time management and focus for Karl in his Ph.D studies
  • Being salt and light for Christ to our neighbors

PRAISES

  • Good transition to life in Scotland
  • New church community and forming friendships
  • Successful visa renewal and trip to Thailand

CALENDAR 

10/25-30 Reformation Conference, Germany

11/2-13 Thailand trip, visa renewal and ministry

11/19 Karl share about Thailand ministry at Buccleuch Free Church

11/30 End of first school term University of Edinburgh (but I am doing Ph.D research so my work never REALLY ends)

Merry Christmas from Edinburgh, Scotland!

 


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