ADVENTURES IN THE MOUNTAINS
This New Year’s was as unique as we’ve ever had. First of all, as a family we didn’t celebrate together. Instead, I (Peter) took Cavelle’s brother, Roger and niece, Deanne along a short ministry trip with about 25 Thai young people to the far north of Thailand. The destination was two extremely remote hill tribe villages in Mae Hong Song a mountainous province bordering Burma. One of our churches has been working with these communities for some time now, and they asked if we could help them out.
The first lacked running water, electricity and, of course, the beloved Starbucks that most of our city kids have come to know and love. Everyone lived in basic bamboo huts. The temperature was cold--+5º C overnight, but warm hearts welcomed us. This Karen village was 100% Christian. We enjoyed an evening of worship, songs, some games sharing from the Word and prayer. By morning we were back on the road to the next village, a few kilometres away if we were to hike, but hours by vehicle. This community had Catholic roots, but few had ever come to a place of putting their trust in Christ. We walked around the village introduced ourselves, and invited the community to an evening outreach. Much of the community came that night unsure of what to expect, but by the evenings close about 20 stood to indicate their desire to turn from their old life and put their complete trust in Jesus Christ.
MISSION IN THE TSUNAMI-ZONE
In the middle of March we brought a team of eight Vanguard College students and staff to Takua Pa, the region hardest hit by the tsunami. The team had two objectives: one, to serve the local church by ministry at the church by conduct an English camp at the local high school where a small group of students have put their trust in Christ This camp was another step in strengthening the relationship between the church and school and. The second objective was to assist local missionaries (and members of our church in the south) in building access bridges to a remote Burmese village in the jungle. The bridges will lead to a new ‘tree house’ school for a community that has no access to education. They endured lots of heat and torrential rain in completing construction on a bridge, but the fruit was not just a bridge--on the final day of their ministry a gentleman from Ban Nam Khem, a family member of another new convert decided to put his trust in Christ.
CAMPUS MISSIONARY IN TRAINING
Every Thursday I met with our initial group of Campus Missionary Interns. Yoke is already a Campus Pastor, Oun is a full-time university student, and Nud has dedicated a year to service and ministry training.Each week the interns have homework related to a program of study called “Bible-Centred Leadership” by Bobby Clinton. We talk about specific Campus ministry issues; personal mentorship issues, and explored the differences between Western and Thai university students. We also had guests: Ian and Heather Clemons from Michigan, former Campus Ministers at MiT in Boston; Pastor Mark Running from Alberta and Daniel Sauve from St. Fancis Xavier in Nova Scotia. These provided for ‘roundtable’ opportunities where our guests could become orientated to nature of Campus Ministry in Thailand and share the vision as well. At the same time our interns were encouraged by the testimony of our guests as they shared about what God did in their lives during the university years. During the week Yoke, Nud and Oun are busy on campus meeting students and leading small groups. Just this past week we had the fun experience of baptising two students in our bathtub!
ON THE HOME FRONT
Two big developments have happened since we last wrote. The first is, well, how should we say…Cavelle is pregnant! We are looking forward to Matthew having a sibling by early September. The first fours months of the pregnancy were very difficult for Cavelle. She was very sick much of the time, but it seems that the worst has passed. Knowing that another child is on the way we realized that we needed to do something about our housing. Our home was large enough, but with the living spaced spread over several lessons and 47 stairs, we had trouble imagining what it would be like to chase Matthew up and down the stairs with another child in tow. We also were spending 2-3 hours a day in traffic as much of our life is downtown. So after a lot of prayer and looking at lots of different options we decided on a smaller, but modern two bedroom apartment downtown close to the subway, our office, Matthew’s nursery and the church. We are thrilled with the place. The name of the street means cool weather, and really, with all the trees it feels about 5º cooler than our former location, and for a pregnant person that’s a nice benefit. We are two hundred metres from our office which we have set up in another apartment nearby. This apartment will also be home to a new face in Bangkok. Melissa George is coming from BC to work with us for the next two years as a Missionary in Training.
As for Matthew, well he is a very busy, excitable little boy. He is learning new words, love to kiss ‘good night’ and very happy with his lot life. One of his favourite things is to swim. He loves to jump into the deep end, but only if someone is there to catch him. We have a lovely city park nearby with a great play area for kids, so he’s delighted about that. He also enjoys his mornings in nursery school and of course Winnie-the-Pooh and Barney are faithful friends.