Saturday, November 29, 2008

Wonderful Thanksgiving

Yes, we had a beautiful day. We had a meal with all the trimmings for the 13 of us who are here. After the meal which started around 4:30 PM, we had singing, testimonies and preaching. It turned out to be a wonderful day to remember how much we all have to be thankful for. In these troubled times, I am thankful that God is still in charge of the universe and that we have no need to worry o'er the future.

It is hard to compare today to how it was back in the 50's when we grew up. Things were so much saner and safer back then. Today it is not even safe for children to play outside without total supervision. Being out after dark used to be the time to catch fireflies and put them in a jar and keep them until the next night and let them go. Now it's not safe to be outside after dark. Our children, who have grown up in this very dangerous environment, have missed so much. On the street where I live in Texas, children are never seen out riding bikes or playing. Kids go home from school, go inside their houses and you never see them at all. There were 7 registered sex offenders living within one mile of my house last year. And our home is in a nice neighborhood, not a crime ridden slum. Our country has certainly come a long way from God, morality and honesty.

What I am most thankful for is the fact that one day the King of Kings is coming to take us to our real home. It will be safe there. No sin, misery or calamity will we ever experience again. But while we are still here on earth, it will be interesting to watch God work His plan. All we have to do is remain faithful and He will take care of the rest.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thanks to Beth

Yesterday the group from Jeff's church, Fargo Baptist Church left. It is always a very strange feeling when you get used to having people around and then all of a sudden, they are just GONE! So today has been very quiet. Beth Skeving spent her last full day here in Thailand in our office teaching all of our staff Photoshop. The things she taught us were so valuable. Thank you, Beth for sharing your knowledge and expertise with us. I know that the things you taught us will be put to use right away and for the future also.

While the group was here, passing out tracts, our office staff worked our regular publishing jobs. We usually had the evening meal together and sometimes breakfast too. The group worked very hard and never complained. They distributed over 100,000 tracts while they were here. We appreciate their sacrifice of time and finances to come over here and do what they could to get the Gospel out.

Our staff has been very busy this week getting the Arabic translation of the the book "Good and Evil" ready to go to press. It was the most difficult book that we have worked on so far. Because Arabic reads right to left and not left to right, all the artwork had to be swapped backwards. This caused some real problems, and finally, again with Beth Skeving's help, we were able to swap all the graphics around and erase all the words that were spelled backwards, etc, etc. The Mongolian translation is hopefully finished. It cost $100 US dollars to mail one DVD to Mongolia, so we really hope that we won't have to send another. Shipping from Thailand to anywhere in the world costs a fortune, but $100 for one DVD really put us into serious shock.

Almost the whole team here has been sick with one thing or another for a couple of weeks. I just got over one thing when something respiratory hit. Carolyn, Tom and I passed that around and we all finally got over it, but in the process, Carolyn and I both missed a whole week of work. That really puts a strain on the ministry here to have 2 people down at the same time, but it wasn't just us. When we went to the medical center for Carolyn, the whole waiting room was literally full of people with the same hacking cough that we had. We are all on the mend now and are back at work.

The cool season in Thailand has finally arrived. It is a real blessing to not have to run the air conditioners all day everyday. For the next 3 months, we will be delivered from the oppressive heat and for that I am very thankful.

I want to thank Anne, Carolyn, and Pookie for allowing 5 ladies to live with them for 2 weeks. It was crowded in their little townhouse and I really appreciate their willingness to share what accommodations they had with the group from Fargo.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mongolian Good and Evil

Well, we hope that today was a momentous day in our personal history. We think we finished the Mongolian translation of the book "Good and Evil." I say "hope" and "think" because until the final proofing is done and the book is printed, there is always the possibility or even the probability that there will need to be additional corrections before the book is printed. However, we have been working on this project for many months now and we are really ready to see it in print. Pray with us that it is ready to start rolling off the presses.

Tom and Alex are coming home tonight from the Burmese border after meeting with several translators who are working on various projects. Tom and I are spread pretty thin, so we are so very grateful for the folks who are volunteering their time and skills to help us over here. Alex is from Maryland, Anne is from Pennsylvania, and Carolyn is from Tennessee and all of them are doing a wonderful job helping us with the many projects that are before us. We also have 3 Thai employees that are worth their weight in gold. They all consider their work ministry, and they work very hard.

Right now almost the whole team is in varying stages of sickness. We had to take Carolyn to the medical center today. The doctor gave her an intravenous (directly into the vein) shot of a strong antibiotic and a steroid for her lungs. Tom, Pook, Carolyn, and I have all had crud and today Anne started feeling sick too. So far, Alex, Nakon, and Bunga have escaped. Please pray that they don't catch whatever this is that is knocking us all down over here. The medical center was full today, and it seemed like everybody had the same cough.

One blessing is that cool season is beginning. Today, I went the whole day without air conditioning. It is so nice to be able to leave the doors and windows open and breath the semi-fresh air. No air within 50 miles of Bangkok is really fresh, but well, you know, you have to take what you can get.

One really funny thing today. The taxi driver who brought us home from the medical center spoke absolutely NO English and I think he only had about 5 teeth, none of them in the front. He kept talking and gesturing and having a meltdown because we didn't speak Thai. It was very funny to watch. I pointed and gestured and he gestured and talked incessantly. I thought I was going to have to beat him over the head to keep him headed the right direction, but we did make it home.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Here are some of our "little" buddies who live here in Thailand with us. One just like this and about this size took up residence in my house when we were gone for a few days a couple of months back. To give you some idea of the size, the tiles in the photo are 1 foot square. Lizzie is about 2 feet long and smells like sewer water. She is a type of water monitor which live around here. Last year a 4 footer was walking down the middle of the street headed to the canal near us. The dogs were going nuts barking, but none of them would go near. They bite and the filth from their mouth can cause life-threatening infection.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Wonderful Saturday

Another blessed, wonderful Saturday is coming to a close. Today was a great day for Tom. He got all the computers tweaked just right and everything is ship-shape in that department and the new server is online and doing it's thing. I am not quite positive what that thing is, but it has to do with keeping everything we're doing over here backed up automatically. Almost everything done here is done electronically, so backups are very important. My day went well also. I was able to rest, relax, read, and write. A perfect day.

The first thing I do tomorrow morning before we go to church is cook 70 eggs. It's not as difficult as it sounds. Two 35 egg omeletts with ham and cheese takes about an hour and 15 minutes from start to finish. Fifteen minutes to break all the eggs and add the ham and cheese and then an hour to cook it. There is a group of 20 people coming to help Jeff from his church in North Dakota. They arrive in the middle of the night as usual. Breakfast is planned for 8:00 AM. I hope they don't fall asleep face down in the eggs!! If they can stay awake long enough, they can fall asleep in their lunch meal which will be at the mall. Good entertainment for the Thai folks watching. There are 10 women and 10 men. Five of the women are staying with my girls and 5 at Jeff and Theresa's house. The guys will stay at what we all refer to as the "Cage." It is a 5 storey shophouse that we rent to store the literature. The 4th floor has been set up for male guest quarters. That's because no sane woman would stay there. It is mostly "rustic." You may define that for yourself. Those of you who have seen it know what its like. In a word, well, there isn't a word I can think of that would describe it properly. BUT--and this is VERY important, it IS air conditioned. This makes up for all the other less than ideal aspects of the place. It has two bathrooms, if you count the one that is cracked off of the back of the building downstairs. I personally don't count that one since I refuse to even set one foot inside. Too scary. However, the men may use it, you never know about men. Jeff at first mentioned putting the 10 ladies in there to share the ONE half way decent bathroom. I couldn't stop laughing-- hysterically. Ten women--one bathroom. Not a great plan. So I volunteered the girl's house and our 4 bathrooms. Tom nixed loaning his bathroom; he is very territorial about his bathroom. So, they are now divided up with 5 girls sharing 3 bathrooms at our place and the other 5 girls sharing 2 bathrooms at Theresa's house. So the guys have the dump, excuse me, I mean the "Cage," sharing one or two bathrooms depending on how brave they are or hygienic they desire to be. I will keep you posted on the progress of the "Bangkok Blitz" which is what Jeff is calling his campaign and on what the girls, Tom and I are doing in the office as well. The group will be traveling, but we will be here in the office, so feel free to e-mail us.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

What a Surprise

Well, the election is over and disappointed as we may be, God is still on the throne. Tom and I have been traveling some over the past week, therefore there has been no news reported from our corner of Thailand. We flew up to Chiang Mai to get visa work taken care of and were able to meet with some translators who are working for us on several projects that are in the works right now. We were able to have one wonderful meal at "The Duke's," our favorite restaurant in Chiang Mai, have lunch with some new missionary friends, and then meet a young first term missionary at Starbucks for coffee. Does everything in the world always around food? Yep!! Might as well not fight it. We were able to go to the printshop that is printing the "Good and Evil" book in Chinese and see it in stages of completion. This printing facility is so clean it's scary. I have never seen a print shop this clean. It looks almost like a fake showroom. However, stuff was rolling off the presses. Wow, somebody pinch me, I must be dreaming.

Another reason for the long delay in writing is the fact that the night Carolyn arrived, a week ago, I got deathly ill in the middle of the night. I had chills, fever, diarrhea, and hurling, dry heaves. It was a very long night, and the next day I didn't get up at all. When I finally got things under control long enough to sleep, I slept for approximately 28 hours. I missed a whole day in there and that was confusing for the rest of the week. Nobody else got sick, so I really don't know what caused it, but I do know that already being overly tired didn't help matters any. If I ever learn that I am not 25 any more, that should help. I usually don't remember that until it is too late, however. That is the way it usually happens to both Tom and I. We both go full bore until we hit a brick wall, are knocked unconscious for a few days and then wake up vowing to do better, which we never do. Good grief. people are so dumb. Us included.

Moral of the story? Take a break before you hit the wall. God really doesn't need your help as much as you think He does.