International Ministries

Life in Ban Luang

March 7, 2004 Journal

Dear Partners in Ministry:

Well, a 260 lb. porker just ran through the yard. We were just finishing off dinner and sitting in our dining area (carport) when we looked up to see one of our neighbor's pigs wandering through the yard. At one point it looked like it was about to go into our landlord's place and I skirted around it to shut their front door. It then wandered towards our carport where Larry headed it off with the washing trolley then it wandered down the street. I called out to the owner and he came out with a bucket of swill to try and attract it back to its pen. Unfortunately a pickup came down the street and even though it slowed down, it chased the pig off in the wrong direction. Eventually it was turned around and herded back to its pen where it was fed. Right now it is tied up. Tomorrow the walls of the pen will be raised to stop any further attempted escapes.

Country living can be interesting.

We are often asked what we do on a daily basis: Good question. Sometimes I wonder that too. We teach English up to 20 hours a week each. Teaching in 5 primary and one junior high school as well as evening classes in our home. This gives us an identity in the community that people can understand. It also gives us relationships in which we can share our faith.

As team leader I have some administrative functions and a role in helping and encouraging other team members. Sometimes this is done in person and other times it is done by phone. One instant recently a tradesman was taking advantage of one of our staff. I was called and I talked to the tradesman over the phone. John then went around with him and renegotiated the price. I talked with John later and asked him how the guy was and how it all worked out. John said he was fine with the new price structure he said and asked what I had told him. I had actually been a bit strong with him and told him what we were willing to pay like it or leave it - full stop.

We try to get involved in local events. Over Christmas / New Years we were involved in local sports events. Larry ran and won the long distance race. We both competed in the tug of war (lost). Jan danced with the ladies in a marathon dance/cheer squad event (8 hours a day for 2 days) (4
th place). Larry played goalie in the soccer (let in a couple too many 4th place).

We are learners. Yes, even after 10 years in the country we don't know it all yet language, culture, customs, cooking there is always something new to learn. It seems each time we move we have more to learn and even though the learning curve isn't as steep it is still there.

We don't go to church, or not very often any way. We are living in an area where there are no churches and our hope is to see a community of believers emerge in this area. But at the moment we have no avenue for Christian fellowship in our community. To maintain our spiritual vitality we read both the scriptures and look for books to challenge us on a spiritual plane. We have been grateful for the books that we have been given over the past year.

We exercise, this is of double benefit as we get the work out and get out in the neighborhood and chat to neighbors and students as we go. Often Larry comes in from his 6k run after about an hour - no, he doesn't run slowly but he will have stopped and chatted to someone on the way. I have a foot injury and am taking to the streets on my bike as the Doc says no more walking for a while. Biking takes me over more territory but conversation is a little difficult. I'm looking forward to being able to walk again.

We manage interruptions, we seem to have a constant stream of people coming around for this and that, phone calls, visitors, requests for help with home work, neighbors calling by for a chat.

We chase pigs. We chase chickens too, but a chicken running into the carport seems insignificant in comparison to a pig.

We are constantly challenged to find appropriate ways to share the Gospel. We see our neighbors in a spiritual fear, unable to do things because of superstition and fear. Please join us in prayer so that the Thai people can be reached for Jesus in a meaningful way.

Prayer Points