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It's the first day of the week but the last day of the month. Take a moment to look back with us at an action-packed October.
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HITTING THE GAS

life changed tempo this month


We began Thai language school at the end of September and those lessons and our homework form the core of our day. Last week we started Speaking Level 2 (the modules are separated by speaking and reading and writing). The grammar is not nearly as intense as Polish, but tonal languages make pronunciation a challenge! Language learning is not a linear process, but our skills are growing. We even had a taxi driver say she couldn't believe we'd only been learning Thai for a month. We'll take that compliment!

This month we were invited to help with an English for Pastors course at Thailand Pentecostal Seminary. Thailand has long prided itself on not needing English, however with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) deciding to use English as the common language, there is a felt and expressed need for English. It was great to meet pastoral leaders from the region.

We celebrated our first Thanksgiving in Thailand in the company of workers who have been serving here much longer than us. It was enriching to sit and learn from them. We also celebrated Janice Hamman, who has been in Thailand for 50 years. Read about her thought which resonated with us by clicking here.

At Daxon's school, we have been intentional with getting to know people. We joined the parents volunteer team, called FROGS, and this month we had our first meeting and event. It's fledgling at this point but it is another avenue for connecting with our community.

Last month we shared with you Imagine Thailand's work with water systems among the migrant and refugee communities in Mae Sot. This month our team has been working across the border to install larger systems in schools in Myanmar. We'd stand out if we crossed, but the Imagine team doing the installations have sent back great reports of the inroads they are making and the relationships they are building as a result of installing these systems.

And just when we thought our items to share were complete, Matthew went and added some more news. This past Saturday we were heading to a nearby market. It was POURING (in the monsoon sense of the word) and so we decided to run for the market. It was a great plan until Matthew hit the wet tile in front of the market, bailed, hit his head, and slid on his back into the closed metal rolling door of a jewellery shop. It was like human bowling! Yesterday he went for an X-ray and it turns out that Matthew broke his left ankle. It's a clean break and 2 months on crutches with a cast should heal it nicely. Living on the 4th floor with no elevator should be good for his health!

VISA PROCESS

the paperwork to stay


Our experiences in Poland have made visas a close-to-the-heart matter. They're not just stamps, they are the key to letting you stay, to feeling at home, to having space to dream about the future. They represent a lot.

Our goal is a one year visa coupled with Matthew having a work permit. There's a journey to get there and the rules change often. Here are the steps:
  • in Canada each of us applied for and received our own 90 day visa to enter Thailand.
  • Matthew needs a work permit so we can all apply for a 1 year visa under his work permit.
  • you must wait 60 days after entering Thailand to apply for a work permit. With great help from the Imagine Thailand team, Matthew received his work permit this month.
  • to apply for a 1 year visa you must have your work permit (check) and 60 days remaining on your current visa. For those doing the math, you cannot wait 60 days to apply for a permit and still have 60 days remaining to apply when you only have a 90 day visa.
  • to solve this we are each going to apply for another 90 day visa, however this cannot be done within Thailand.
  • On November 2nd (Amber's birthday) we are going to neighbouring Malaysia to apply for our next visas.
  • We will apply on Nov. 3rd and we hope to receive them the next day.
With our new visas and Matthew's work permit, we will be able to apply for 1 year visas and moving forward we should be on a 1 year renewal cycle.

THAI PERSPECTIVE

understanding the loss of a national father figure


There are times when words fail us. We admit that as Canadians we do not know what it is like to have a national and cultural figure to liken to the current situation. So we are at a loss to help our non-Thai friends understand something that we barely know.

What we do know is that the monarchy, especially over the last 70 years, has been a unifying and stabilizing force within the nation. Even the Thai flag reflects this as it is made of 3 colours - red (land and people), white (religion), and blue (king). This is a landmark time for the Thai people.

To bring understanding, we turn to the words of Thais to bring understanding and insight. Below are two posts from Thai nationals. Also, CLICK HERE to watch a music video in English documenting the life of King Rama IX or CLICK HERE to watch Samantha Power, US Ambassador to the UN, deliver remarks before the UN General Assembly.
 

As a Thai who has lived most of his life abroad, I’m often called upon to explain to foreigners what appears inexplicable and anomalous — the special relationship between the Thai people and King Bhumibol Adulyadej. In the rest of the world, there seem to be two kinds of monarchs: those with absolute power, and those whose function is ceremonial and symbolic. Our king fell into neither of those categories because on the one hand, he did not wield political power, yet on the other, he possessed a moral authority more powerful than that of any government this country ever had; he was literally the fabric that held this country together, the living embodiment of this country’s identity

Because this relationship has been unique in modern monarchies, it’s been hard to explain it to those who have not experienced it themselves. What I tell my international friends is that they’re wrong if they believe this is only to do with the force of tradition, or with some kind of prescribed “godlike” status.

Our king grew up in what could be called “ordinary” circumstances — going to school in Switzerland with normal children, being raised by a loving and resourceful mother, never being “groomed” for the role of a “demigod.” But it is precisely because he could remember what it is like to be an “ordinary” person that he achieved such extraordinary things. It is because he could look ordinary people in the eye and understand their lives, their struggles and concerns, could truly empathize with them, that he inspired this level of love and devotion and reverence.

In the end it was not his exalted status that commanded all this love — it was he himself — his actions, his selflessness, his heart.

There is tremendous sadness in this country today, but, with the inspiration of our King’s life and deeds, I hope that from this sadness will come other things; gratitude for the past seventy years; love for this magical kingdom that has survived so much and come so far in those seventy years … and a continued sense of unity and identity that will keep this kingdom safe and allow it to progress confidently into the future.

Somtow Sucharitkul
Composer in Residence at Rangsit University.

Posted on his personal Facebook
 

Dear all my Non-Thai friends,

Some of you may have heard about the most tragic news in our lifetime for all Thai people, the death of our beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej who passed away yesterday at the age of 89 and during the 70th year of his reign.

Then, you may notice that not only all your Thai friends have changed their FB profile pictures and covers all into black to mourn our beloved King but you may notice also through several news sources about the nation's deepest grieve. Not a single face without tears. Not a single word well enough to express the sorrow. The whole nation has once again united as one to share moment of the darkest hours in our history, losing the heart of the nation who we love unconditionally and wholeheartedly.

For those who are not familiar with the strong bond between Thai people and the royal family, especially King Bhumibol, you may not understand why Thais are so much in deep sorrow when the King passed away. Let me proudly and humbly share with you some of his stories I know......

Born on the 5th of December 1927 in Cambridge, MA in US. He was named "Bhumibol" which means "The Strength of the Land" by his mother who was originally born as an ordinary people and well raised him and his brother and sister in a simple ordinary way, not in a royal luxurious way.

At the age of 2, he lost his father from a severe illness. At the age of 19, he lost his brother, King Anandamahidol from a mysterious accident. So, he had to accept the request from the government to start his service on the throne ever since. At the age of 20, he lost one eye from a car accident and he had used only one eye to work for his people throughout the long service of his monarch ever since..... The long 70 years of service without a rest.

His first royal statement as a king was " I will rule the land with righteousness for all the good and well-being of all Thai people" .... And he had done what he promised every single day of his life until his last breath.

Throughout 70 years of the reigning monarch, he had traveled to almost every bit of the kingdom, mostly remote areas where the names are not eventually known to us in order to visit his people and helped them getting rid of the problems they had and leveling up their quality of life. He created thousands of royal projects to create foods, jobs and wealth for his people.

His palace is the only palace in the world where there are no luxurious decorations or fancy stuffs. There are only testing farms, agricultural inventions, cows, school, satellite radio station and other stuffs you wouldn't imagine other kings would have in their palaces. He had sacrificed his happiness, time, money and put all his devotion to his service for one single purpose, to create good lives for his beloved people. He had unconditional love for all the people, regardless of races and religious. His supports were equal for Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Hindi, etc. This is why Thailand is one of the most free country in the world, religious-wise. He was a great teacher, creator, scientist, commander, farmer, musician and above all, he was the only man in the country who could truly unite all the people as one.

He once said "My place in this world is to be among my people"............ He taught us with words and without words via his actions to love, help and give peace to each other.

For the one who could have had a happy luxurious life if he wanted to but, instead, he had chosen a very simple life and rough road to complete his given mission. His reward and life-time achievement was only one thing, the happiness of his people.

This is why we love him........so much......"

In remembrance of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej 1927-2016
Always our beloved King

Cr. Kavil Navanugraha
originally posted on Pantip.com
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PRAY WITH US

we believe there is strength in numbers

  • our 2014 Dodge Caravan SXT has yet to sell or have someone take over our payments. Pray that God provides a buyer now. It's a good chunk of our monthly personal money that we would like to free up.
  • pray for quick healing for Matthew's ankle. Pray the bone would heal in perfect alignment to avoid any future surgeries.
  • pray for the inroads and relationship being forged by the Imagine team working in Myanmar.
  • the nation remains in mourning. Pray for divine comfort and peace on a way forward.
  • pray for our visas later this week and for Matthew as we travel. Pray for Amber as she will be taking on so much as the four of us head out of Thailand on this visa run.

CANADIAN residents can partner with us through the International Missions department of the PAOC to receive a tax receipt.
AMERICAN residents can partner with us through our American sister organization to receive a tax receipt.
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