Sunday, July 4, 2010

It's Been Long Time

Hello Friends,

It's been a very long time since I have updated this blog. Basically this should bring you up to date on us on everything that has happened since moving to Chiang Mai. We have lived here a little over 3 months. It has been a time of great progress in many ways.

It took us quite a while to get settled in up here as far as living is concerned. We got the office up and running quickly and then we turned our attention to our living quarters. The office, and Tom and my house share one house. The house is divided perfectly for us to be able to share the one facility. It gives us the added security of living in the same place with all of the expensive computer and video equipment. It also makes going to work in the morning easy. Just walk across to the other side of the house. Hey, it works for me. The only room we share with the office is the kitchen, but it is working out very well. Everybody does their part keeping things put away and keeping it cleaned up.

The ladies' dorm is another house right behind ours. We have steps going over the wall to keep from having to walk around the block to get to the office, so it is just steps away. The men's dorm is in a shop house down the road a little way. Noah, our Burmese translator, lives upstairs and we have literature stored downstairs. Later on, we may have to acquire another house for the men's dorm and turn the shop house into just storage, but for now this is working.

A little over a month ago now, Tom had a major accident when he fell through a plate glass closet door. He cut his arm at the elbow very deeply and had to have two hospitalizations and one surgery to repair the damages to the nerves in his arm. He is still having trouble healing and is still in some pain, but should make a full recovery, but it will take several months to do so. Please continue to pray for him.

Noah has finished re-typesetting the Burmese Bible and it is now ready for printing. This job took the better part of a year and Noah is ecstatic that it is now completed. He has now turned his attention to the many other projects in Burmese that are awaiting him. He is working hard and turning these translation jobs out as fast as he can.

Carolyn and Pook are working on various projects and are both doing well. Carolyn has found a Chinese physician who is treating her for various health related problems and she is responding well to the treatments.

We are looking forward to Jeff and Sarah Evans coming over the middle of August and also April Wilson from our home church in Fort Worth. We know that they will be a great asset as they have all proven themselves to be in the past. April will be working on video projects and the Evans family will be working on various computer related stuff and many other things as well.

The "Good and Evil" project is being worked on in several languages. We are struggling with the Russian translation of the book at the moment. There are many tribulations with the Russian language edition. Over the past many years, the devil has always fought particularly hard against anything in the Russian language and the G&E project is no exception. Please pray.

Please pray for our country this 4th of July! It seems like the news from all over the world points to the Lord's soon return for His own. Amen! Even so come, Lord Jesus!!

Hopefully things will settle down a little now and I will be able to keep up with this blog better and more often. Pray for me also. I am not getting any younger and I am definitely getting more tired by the day. I want to thank all of you who give and pray for this ministry and for Tom and I in particular. We appreciate it very much.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

We Got Moved In

Time has flown by and we have been very busy. On Monday, March 1st, Tom, Carolyn and I arrived back in Bangkok from the United States. We immediately began packing up our belongings for the move up to the northern city of Chiang Mai. Once again we were caught off guard by how much stuff and junk we have collected over the last 5 years. Much of it was left to us by other missionaries who came and went, some was purchased by us for some use for which it was no longer needed, and then some of it was stuff that we just really wanted to keep even though it had no real needed purpose. It took us just a little over 2 weeks to get it all packed and ready to ship. The last thing they took out of the house was the air conditioners. They took them out in the morning and that afternoon Carolyn and I flew up to Chiang Mai and checked into a hotel and waited for Tom, Noah and Pook to finish up in Bangkok. Although the landlady told us a price and said everything would be finished by the time we got here, when we arrived, nothing had been done. There was no security bars on the doors, the air conditioners were not all installed, and we will have to replace the toilet in one of the bathrooms because of a leak in the tank. We have been the better part of the last week getting all of these things taken care of. Most of the laundry is caught up and Noah and Tom will start setting up the office tomorrow and as soon as we have more electrical outlets installed, we will set up all the computers. The big server made the trip fine and is up and running as well as all of the laptops. The Internet is running, however it is very slow and we will need to get another plan for faster download time.

Even with all the delays, we are very happy to be up here and are looking forward to living here. By the end of the week, we should be almost up to speed. Thank you for all of the prayers that have gone up on our behalf. We appreciate them all very much.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Found Housing

Tom flew to Chiang Mai on Wednesday and scouted out areas of town for us to live in. On Thursday afternoon I joined him, and we began looking at houses in the areas he had chosen. These places had to be located in accessible areas so that our workers can travel there without problems, so basically they had to be on the main public transportation routes. One area was really nice, but had a problem with flooding. One area was new and looked good, but it was too far off the main roads. Actually there were many places that were suitable for Tom and I because we have a vehicle, but our workers do not. A friend of ours found some houses in an area that is suitable both for us and for everybody else and we were able to rent two houses very close to each other in the same neighborhood. Actually our back walls touch, so we are very close.

Tom and I will live in half of one house and the other half will be our ministry offices. The house is completely divided so that our part will be completely separate from the office area. The ladies will share another house that has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. Both houses are single storey, so we won't have to do stairs anymore. And, praise the Lord, both kitchens are actually inside the houses and not out on the back porch. All in all and for the time being, we feel that this set up will work for us well. We are all excited to be moving up to Chiang Mai. It is a much smaller and easier city to live in. It has only 3 and 1/2 million people compared to Bangkok's 13 million. By comparison, it has almost a small town feel to it. It is also cooler up there and the air quality is much better.

We have already hired our first staff member. She is a Burmese lady who will be working with Noah on all things Burmese. She starts to work with us as soon as we get up there and get the office set up.

In Chiang Mai, we will have access to people who speak many regional languages, which is the reason for the move up there in the first place. The fact that it is a much nicer city is a wonderful added blessing.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Headed to Chiang Mai for House Hunting

I am feeling pretty good today so far. I went to bed last night at 6 PM and slept till midnight then was awake from midnight to 4 AM, but went back to sleep and slept till 8 AM, so all in all I got plenty of sleep but just had a gap between. Carolyn is not much better than she was when we got back, so please pray for her. She still is not sleeping more than a few hours a night and that is not good.

I am heading up to Chiang Mai in a couple of hours to join Tom. We will be looking for housing for ourselves, our staff and for an office. Please pray that we are able to find what we need. We need the housing and office space to be fairly close together so that travel will not be too far. Tom, Carolyn and I need single storey places and we need the office to be ground level also. There are a lot of places available, but cost is always an issue. We need something that will meet our needs that we can afford. Finding places that will meet our needs are no problem, but they are not cheap. Chiang Mai is the ex-pat capitol of Thailand and housing prices are higher there.

We were able to get some packing done yesterday and that will pay off soon. It is amazing how much stuff people accumulate in 5 years. There are at least 20 boxes of just books. They really take up a lot of space, but Tom and I aren't able to get a compromise on what we are getting rid of. He won't get rid of any of his and I'm sure not getting rid of any of mine, so up to Chiang Mai they will go. If either one of us did the book pitching, I would throw 50% of his away and he would throw 99% of mine away. Some things even married people don't share. We know better than to try to dispose of each other's books. World War III would ensue. Keep the peace, pack the books, that's our Motto.

You probably won't hear from me till I get back from Chiang Mai. I am not taking my computer. It is too heavy, but I may be able to use Tom's for emergency correspondence. Carolyn and Pook will be here to hold down the fort while we are gone. I do not know when we will be back but it could be a couple of weeks. God bless and thanks for praying.

Jet Lag is Real!!! And I have it.

Today is March 3rd. I am barely functional as I write this at 5:20 P.M. I have been awake since 1:00 A.M. and I am about to crash and burn. Tom woke up at 3 A.M. and we both got up and had breakfast at 4:00 A.M. This is what happens when we fly half-way around the world in one day. We went from winter to summer and from day to night and our bodies are screaming "What day is it? What time is it? The older we get the longer it takes to get our days and nights turned back around. The first day back I slept for 20 hours. I thought that would fix me right up and I would be OK, but voila, it didn't work. So now i AM WRITING THIS blog and pushing wrong keys and spelling things wrong and am in an almost stupor trying to stay awake just a little longer, so I can go to bed and sleep all night and wake up in the morning. It is very hard to type with your nose on the keyboard, so I am not correting any more speling errors. Just raad it and try ti figure it out. I have to go to bed, ever if it isnt dark outsied yet. Good night.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Back in Bangkok

We made it back to Thailand safe and sound on Sunday night Bangkok time. We made it through customs, stopped by the grocery store, and still made it home by around 11:00 PM. By the time we found the essentials, and got settled down for the night it was around 12:30 AM. Both Tom and I were able to sleep all night without waking up and right now we are feeling good.

Thanks to all of you who prayed as we traveled. We had a safe, uneventful flight, which is always a plus. No trouble getting through customs in Bangkok and hopefully we will have our days and nights turned back around in record time. Carolyn, however did not fare as well. She is fairly wrecked and exhausted. Please pray for her as this transitioning back and forth half way around the world usually takes a heavy toll on her immune system.

The first thing I noticed upon arriving back was the poor air quality. All of us are having breathing difficulties, which is normal for Bangkok. We are now unpacking our totes...actually Tom is unpacking and I am sitting here blogging and drinking coffee. First things first, right? Pook had the air conditioners turned on and the houses cleaned and that was a real blessing. Coming home to a clean, cool house is incredibly helpful to the tired mind and exhausted body.

For those of you who may have forgotten, Bangkok time is exactly 13 hours ahead of Central Time right now since Texas is on Daylight Savings Time. So when it is 10:00 o'clock in the morning in Texas, it is 11:00 o'clock at night here. This is a gentle reminder to those of you who might try and call us. Three o'clock in your afternoon is not a good time for us. We will be sound asleep and grumpy if we answer the phone at that time.

I will have to remember the same thing if I call my daughter in Lithuania. I am now 8 hours ahead of her and not 4 or 5 hours behind. She probably wouldn't appreciate a middle of the night call from me either.

Please keep us in your prayers as we begin preparations for our move to the city of Chiang Mai. Pook has already done a lot of work here in packing up all of the books of which there are many. I will begin immediately packing and sorting thru the things we are taking and those that we will be giving away. Pook was helpful in not watering the plants, so they all died. Since I wasn't taking them with me anyway it worked out perfect. God is in the little things, too.

Right now, as I sit here at my desk, it seems like we never left here 5 months ago. Our lives are truly like a vapor that appear for a little time and then pass away. Our days are flying by swiftly and there is much work left to do. Pray that our strength holds and that we are able to finish the job that the Lord gave us to do. To all of you that we left behind, we love you and we miss you. Leaving all of you is the hardest part of being here.

Monday, February 22, 2010


For any of you who have packed up for a move overseas, you will understand this. I have hit a "stress crisis." I have 5 days left to finish packing, get the house in order, and get my head organized. Getting my head in order is the hard part. Everything else is easy. Saying goodbye to friends ranks fairly close to somebody dying. Sunday was hard, but Wednesday night will be harder. Pray for me that my physical strength will hold out and that Tom, Carolyn nor I get sick at the last minute.

We want to thank all of you who are praying. I will try to post another update before we actually leave the country, but if not, church family, know that we love you and will miss you all very much. Thank you for all the prayers, love and support. We will be praying for all of you also.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Last Meeting Before Leaving

Tom and I are headed to Temple, Texas for a missions Conference. This will be our last meeting before leaving the country on Saturday, Feb. 27th. We are looking forward to this meeting and for a time of fellowship with this great church.

I have officially hit panic mode in the quest for leaving the country. I have all the big stuff done, but the little things are the things that drive you crazy. Making decisions about trivial things drives me crazy. Things like "Should I take this or that back with me this time or get it next time through." We are limited to 100 pounds of stuff each. That is 2 - 50 pound bags each. Two of those bags carry nothing but computers, cameras, hard drives, our office and paperwork. That leaves only one bag each for clothes and personal items. Personal items include all our vitamins and supplements that we take and that is usually quite a big chunk of space. As you may be able to discern, we have very little room for clothes.

Another thing is getting the house ready to be "in storage." We have friends staying in the house for a little while and then it will be empty. Fortunately, we have folks to watch over it for us in our absence, but we still have to show people where everything is and what to do while the house is empty. Also, after we leave we have somebody clean the house because on leaving day there is not time to tidy up.

Myra Noel, who has been house sitting for us the last few years is buying her own house. I am so excited for her. Right now the negotiations are going and we are praying that it is settled in the next few days. The house is beautiful and in perfect move-in ready state. Please pray with us that it passes all the inspections for FHA approval. If it passes inspections, she should close on it quickly.

I will let you know in a few days how the meetings went. I hope to be able to post some good news shortly. Pray for this meeting, it could be crucial to the next steps in our ministry in Thailand. This church is heavily involved with us on several levels and we own them a great debt of thanks. Also you must remember that no work for Christ goes unchallenged by Satan. He is a relentless foe. Pray.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow in Texas...A Perspective

I am writing this blog as I look out the window at the melting snow. It was an amazing winter for us to be in Texas. We haven't seen snow here for years and it was truly enjoyable. We got a little over 12 inches, which was a record for Fort Worth for snowfall in a single day. When we lived in Colorado, two or three feet of snow was normal, but depending on where you are located the definition of "normal" changes.

And so it is with living in another country. What is normal here would be not only shocking somewhere else, but maybe even critically life threatening. When the cool season in Thailand hits the temperatures can drop to the high 60's and low 70's. Thai people wear heavy coats, even parkas in these temperatures. There have been a few instances of Thai people dying from exposure if rain mixes with 70 degree temperatures. Our Hmong brethren suffered in these conditions during the last cool season in the refugee camp. We struggled to get blankets and warm clothing to them in time for their "winter." Yes, perspective is everything. When Thai people are wearing coats, our team is in short sleeves and thankful for the cool.

Right now it is exactly 2 weeks till we leave to go back to Thailand and one of the things that I really dread is the heat. Another thing that I am not looking forward to is packing up 2 apartments and our large office and getting ready to move. I don't like packing.

However, I am very much looking forward to living in Chiang Mai. Every person who has ever been on our team like Chiang Mai much better than Bangkok. Compared to Bangkok, Chiang Mai is a small town. If you can call a city of 3 million small. But compared to the 13 million people who live in Bangkok, it has a small town feel. Like I all goes back to perspective.

Neither Tom nor I were able to see any of our family members this trip home. Sometimes we just can't work things out for a myriad of reasons. We are hoping to return to the United States this summer. We have a wedding to attend and we hope to see our daughter and her family if they get to come home for their first furlough in more than 5 years. Hopefully we will be able to purchase a dependable vehicle and maybe then we will be able to see our extended family. Until then, we are thankful for email, facebook and other means of communication that modern missionaries are privileged to have. The problems of today's missionaries compared to the problems that the missionaries of yesteryear's all a matter of perspective.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

We Have Confirmation

We have confirmed tickets to go back to Thailand, leaving Texas February 27 and arriving Bangkok February 28th. It has been a wonderful furlough and a restful time for us, but now we feel the pull to head back and prepare for our move to the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai. All of our team look forward with pleasure to living in this new city. We don't look forward to the move because it will be massive, and we will probably be "out of commission" for a couple of weeks while we move and set up our offices and living quarters in our new location.

Tom and I both need housing on one level. Stairs are too much for us now and Tom has learned the hard way that they are dangerous. He still has a large knot in the flesh of his upper leg that may take a couple of years to heal according to the doctor. We need housing and offices close together like they are in Bangkok. This means walking distance. Please pray with us that we find just the right place to house our staff, our offices and ourselves.

We have just over a month to get all of our business in the U.S. taken care of. It will take most of the time remaining to finish the repairs on our house and shed as well as getting all of our paperwork and banking, etc. taken care of. I still have not had the opportunity to see my family because of transportation snafus. The van that we borrowed was totalled by a little old lady in a big caddy who ran a red light, but I plan to make my way to east Texas in a week or so, in a rental car. I sure hope that works out.

April Wilson just completed a very short video for us that will be on our website soon. Also Myra Noel is in the process of buying her own house. I am so excited for her. I only wish I could be here to help her get moved in. If she does it really fast maybe I can. We go to look at some houses with the realtor today. Hope she finds her dream house in the next couple of weeks. Also Sue Domangue Yaksh just gave birth to their first child yesterday. For those of you who may not know, these three ladies have served as short-term missionaries with us, for varying periods of time in several different countries. They have all been a great help and blessing to us many times over.

We plan to return to the U.S. in the summer to attend Nat Williams and Anne Hammond's wedding. We are hoping that our daughter and her family will be home on furlough at that time also, but they do not know for sure if they will be able to afford to come at that time. So things are iffy. They usually are. More later.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2010 Has Arrived!!!

The holidays are officially over. My grandkids finally got their gifts and only about 10 days after Christmas. Thank you to those of you who were praying that it would get there. What should have taken 10 days actually took 38. So much for mailing early.

I really like January. It is the month that the days start getting longer and the nights shorter. I like long days and lots of light. I would not like to live in a place like Alaska where in the winter months the sun comes up just in time to start back down. I have SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), and it causes me to run into walls if I don't get enough sunlight. The first time I had it, I thought I had an inner ear infection, but the doctor who was familiar with SAD, diagnosed it quickly and told me to buy a sunlamp and use it for 10 minutes a day. Voila!! I was cured. At the time I was working in a building with no windows. I went to work before sun up and did not get home until after sundown. Some people get depressed, but with me it was a balance issue. I would head through a door and hit my right shoulder on the door frame. I was disoriented and dizzy, but the light therapy cured it in just a matter of days and now I recognize it and head outside for the cure rather than sitting under the sunlamp.

I want to thank all of you who sent cards and gifts. They are much appreciated. We have sent out thank you cards, but invariably somebody gets missed, so please accept our thanks via this blog, if your written card does not arrive.

Two or three weeks ago an elderly grandma ran a red light and totalled our van. Alas, master, for it was borrowed! Tom suffered a broken rib, but was otherwise unhurt. The lady and her small grandson were not hurt. The unfortunate part, other than Tom's rib, was the fact that the van was worth a lot more than the blue-book value. It was immaculately maintained, and had been promised to another missionary after we were done with it. I feel really bad about it. The man who loaned it to us gave us the best car we ever owned several years ago. He has been a blessing to us and others many times over. He paid for the rental on 2 of our storage facilities in Thailand for a year. Pray that the Lord will bless him for what he does for missions and missionaries.

On New Year's Eve, we made a mad dash to Temple, Texas, to see friend, mentor, and missionary Milton Martin. He had a life- threatening heart arrhythmia that he had had for over a week. The doctors said that he needed to have a shock treatment to put it back in sync. They had to do some blood tests and it was found that he had leukemia. To say the least, it did not look good, and we were all quite concerned. However, the shock therapy worked and by the time he was back in his room at the hospital, he already looked 100% better. The doctors also said that the preliminary tests indicated that the type of leukemia that he has is non-aggressive and that he can live for years with it. For these things we are most thankful. All holidays come and go, but Thanksgiving never ends. It is my favorite holiday, because if celebrated properly it is everyday of the year.