After a rough week of 6pm bedtimes (for US!) and 2am cinnamon oatmeal breaks for Fern, we are back to our usual routine! We had an amazing, two and a half week, whirlwind trip around Thailand. We were able to meet several TMS Global workers, see some old friends, and make many new friends.
Our discount flight on China Eastern Airways landed us safely in the middle of a steamy Bangkok night, followed by an Uber ride to the bus station, and we were quickly on a rickety old city bus, headed toward my favorite place in the country. Nine long, warm hours later, we arrived in Sangkhlaburi – the village where Andrew proposed to me seven years before. My dear friend Nimar met us at the bus station, so excited to finally meet Fern – her “morning star”. Immediately, she became Auntie Nimar. Of course she has three adorable cats, so she couldn’t get Fern out of her house if she wanted to!
After meals with many local friends and invitations to teach English, we were quite sure this was where God wanted us to be. We certainly didn’t want to leave after just a few days. Fern even asked if we would leave her with Nimar and come back for her when we officially move! So the feeling was a mutual one among our family.
After Sangkhlaburi, we traveled to the northeast to visit some TMS workers. Two families live there, teaching English in a number of small villages. They then invite all of the children back to their home for an English class once a week. They have built some amazing relationships with these children and their families. It was awesome to be there to experience what they are doing. We are dreaming of doing just the same thing in our village when we move.
Our next stop was in Chiang Mai at the ECHO Asia office. This organization exists to provide cross-cultural workers information and resources to help increase the effectiveness and productivity of farmers, and alleviate hunger problems around the world. We were so excited to make a connection with them and have all of their expertise in our back pocket!
Finally, we were in Bangkok for a couple days, meeting the last of the TMS family in Thailand and meeting with local Thai church planting partners. We were also able to scope out a few possibilities for language school – which is where our adventure will begin, language school in Bangkok!
After our meeting with the local partners, our vision was more clear. We definitely want to be living and working in Sangkhlaburi, the village along the western border. We plan on mimicking the English teaching plan the other TMS workers are using in the northeast – teaching in several schools and then inviting students into our home for English club. Parents and communities asked us almost wherever we went to come and teach English to their children. Even just having down conversational English can open up another whole world of job opportunities for children in Thailand as they grow up. Andrew has also been asked to consider teaching an English class for the Thai soldiers!
Thank you all for your support, encouragement, and prayer for our family! We appreciate each of you and are grateful to know you are beside us as we continue on.