April 2021 Prayer Letter

Written by Karl Dahlfred.

Dear Friends & Family,

Greetings from sunny Florida!  At the beginning of March, we finally moved from Scotland back to the U.S.  Many people have asked us, “Why Florida? I thought you would go to California.”  In short, it was a “God thing.” Let me tell you the story…

 

Why Florida?

Affordable housing options in California were hard to find and since it seemed like we would have to meet with churches via Zoom anyhow, we started looking for other American locations that would be both affordable and allow greater freedoms in terms of COVID restrictions. With this in mind, we got in touch with Bobby and Katie Hamlett, former missionaries to Thailand who live east of Orlando, near the Florida coast. In a clear case of God’s providential timing, the Hamletts were about to purchase the house next to them with the intention of renting it out to missionaries on home assignment, for vacations, etc. It would be furnished and available in late February. The timing was perfect for us. We moved in early March and were immediately blessed with not only a place to live and a car to use, but also friends for us and our kids. We don’t know how long we will be here but with a month-to-month rental house and people we know just next door, we are well situated to be here for short time or long. We are thankful for God’s provision!

Thailand Visas and Missionary Support

In February, we got the good news from the OMF Thailand office that the Thai government is once again accepting applications for missionary visas!  Praise God!  As you may recall, I lost my visa in June 2020 because I couldn’t return to Thailand to renew it and the government was not accepting new applications. Alternative visa options were not promising.  But lo and behold, the OMF office can now apply for new visas on our behalf.  Currently, we are waiting to receive renewed passports for Sun and Joshua, after which the Thailand visa process can go forward.  Please pray that we will get those new passports in the mail soon and our Thailand visas can be processed promptly.

In addition to visas, we also need to raise additional financial support in order for OMF to give us the green light to return to Thailand. We lost some support over the past couple of years and we need to make up for that. When we were doing our budget worksheet for 2021, we tried to trim down all the categories we could so that we would not have financial obstacles to returning to Thailand. However, somehow we are still falling short of budget by approximately $1400 per month. In our present situation, we are doing OK financially, but that is partially due to the fact that we are not paying into various ministry and other administrative funds and savings accounts (like retirement, future home assignments, etc) that are part of our normal missionary budget. When we return to Thailand, all those budget categories will be reactivated and will need to be funded.  We’re hoping to make new connections and find new partners (both churches and individuals) here in Florida (and elsewhere), but we are not entirely sure where the money will come from. But if it was easy, there would be no need for God. 

Please pray with us that God would provide all that we need to return to Thailand. We are thankful that one supporting church recently told us they are increasing their giving by $50/month and a friend from Edinburgh has also said he wants to start giving something regularly.

If you or anyone (or any church) you know are interested in pledging monthly support (or giving a one-time gift), please visit the OMF’s online donation portal at https://partnerhub.omf.org/KSD1

What We Are Doing Now

Since we moved to Florida a month ago, we’ve largely been settling in, figuring out where to get supplies, updating addresses and phone numbers, getting back to homeschooling, exploring the area, etc. We have visited our friends’ church for a few weeks and will check out another one this coming Sunday (in-person!). We enjoyed Bible study, fellowship, and food with Thai Christians in Central Florida when they met at a local park. I have gotten our sons involved in Trail Life (a Christian version of the Boy Scouts) and we all went on a campout. I built a chicken coop and we now have some egg-laying chickens. I got the kids up before dawn one day to watch a rocket launch from our front lawn (because we are really close to Cape Canaveral). Sun has been going on morning walks with some of the neighborhood women. I hope to soon dust off my PhD thesis and re-examine it with a view to submitting it to a publisher so that it might become a book. Also, we’ve only had a week of vacation in the past year, so it may be time to take some time off since we are in a place where it is possible to do more than a staycation.

Central Florida Thai Christian Fellowship and Picnic (March 2021)

It is not hard to find things to keep busy, but we want to be sure to focus on the right things and to listen for God’s leading. We are aiming to return to Thailand and the world situation is looking hopeful in some ways, but there are still many challenges. There are many divisions in both American and Thai society and the specter of COVID still looms as there is no clear consensus among political leaders about whether restrictions should be loosened or maintained for the foreseeable future. Thailand still has strict quarantine measures in place for incoming travelers, although they have recently dropped the requirement from 14-days to 10-days mandatory self-funded hotel quarantine (or 7 days for the vaccinated). It doesn’t look like quarantine will be dropped anytime soon, so we’ll probably need to budget for at least 10 days of quarantine if we return to Thailand later this year (as we hope to do). Please pray with us as we think and plan for the future even as so many things remain uncertain. May God help us make wise, faithful decisions.

We look forward to being in touch over the coming months of our sojourn in the U.S.  It would be wonderful to see some of you in person. We expect to mostly stay in Florida although we have tentative plans to visit Southern California in August and/or September. Those plans depend on when we can get visas and sufficient financial support to return to Thailand, and whether in-person meetings are possible at that juncture.

Thank you again for your prayers and support, and please continue to pray not only for us, but also (and more importantly) the advance of the Gospel in Thailand.

by Christ’s grace,

Karl & Sun Dahlfred

PRAISES

  • Thailand is accepting applications for missionary visas again
  • God’s provision of house, car, and friends in Florida

PRAYER POINTS

  • Please pray we’ll receive new passports for Sun and Joshua soon and our Thailand visa applications will be processed promptly
  • Please pray God will provide an additional $1400/month to meet our support budget goal for 2021 (this money needs to be pledged before OMF will give us the green light to return to the field)
  • Wise use of our time in the States. We need to prepare to return to Thailand but also need some rest.
  • Advance of the Gospel in Thailand, including training of leaders at Bangkok Bible Seminary and discipling of believers at Grace City Bangkok church


To Pledge Monthly or Annual Support, Please Visit OMF International

 

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