November 2020 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends & Family,

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. 

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!

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