The temperatures dropped to the low 20's and so it has been a cool month in Bangkok - and not just for the great weather.
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Midway through December, we were feeling bashful about posting our Christmas activities on social media. So much of the world is under heavy restrictions while Thailand has been a relatively COVID-free bubble. That changed in the 3rd eek of December as Thais snuck across the border from Myanmar in the north and then migrant workers on a Thai fishing vessel tested positive when they came ashore. Thailand has gone on high alert and we weren't sure if Christmas would happen. Authorities moved quickly and locked down certain provinces, but life in Bangkok endured with our new normal. This changed when the government introduced a colour coded tier system - with red being the "highest control". Bangkok, along with 27 other provinces are in the red. Fear is spreading quickly and the rhetoric that was aimed at Western foreigners a few months ago is now aimed at migrant workers (who don't have the protections of Western privilege).

This update comes to you late as we prepared for our kids to return to online learning, rearranged some of our own plans as we rung in New Years outside of Bangkok, and generally battened down the hatches for Thailand's second wave (though officially it's not being called a second wave).

Before the bubble burst, we were able to host Christmas gatherings in our home every weekend of the month. We invited all of the families over from church and our kids ministry team. It was a lot of fun. We hosted the staff and core team from LifeRaft International and it was great to get to know people better. Our table was filled with an array of amazing food when we had a few refugee families over. And on Christmas Eve, it was good food with great friends by candlelight. We're blessed in so many ways.
it was our 4th year exploring the lights and decorations at the mega malls. #ChristmasMallCrawl
Zala and Daxon playing their part in the church Christmas production on a very big stage.
the soccer club we run had a beautiful finish to the term - sunsets and a picnic and good conversation.
we joined another church for a lovely evening of carols and candlelight - and nothing caught on fire!
Our church was given a great deal on a huge theatre stage and in about 10 days, everyone pulled together to make a Christmas production happen. Our 2 oldest had a small part on stage and then Matthew ran the kids program. A major lesson learned = hot glue is very hot and while the kids loved the craft, Matthew had holiday blisters!

In addition to Christmas, December always brings added celebration in our family. Both Daxon and Matthew had birthdays. One turned 9 and the other turned 37. For Daxon we held a joint birthday party with one of his friends and it was awesome to have many families from the soccer club we run come and engage. Even there we see the desire for community as we held an end of term picnic for the families after our last training. We believe COVID has reminded us that we are designed to connect and we all want community in some form.
admittedly biased, but we think Zala was a great elf in the Christmas show.
Daxon did an excellent job as a Christmas elf in the school production.
Wren expressing the joy of Christmas morning.
Izelle was right into the gift unwrapping action.
Daxon earned a silver medal in javelin as part of an inter-school track and field meet.
kids and adults alike enjoyed decorating cookies when the families from church came over.
An unexpected but amazing element to December was gingrberbread. One evening we were on our couch chatting about how we could further support some of the refugee families we know. We believe strongly in hand-ups and not hand-outs. Employment and income are a challenge for refugees here as no legal employment is allowed. So as we brainstormed ways that we could legally give an honourarium, our thoughts turned towards this holiday classic. We could make and sell gingerbread and involve people from this unemployable community. We jotted down some quick plans, made a logo, threw it out there on social media, and went to bed. We had no idea how much it would grow. Amber is an awesome baker and was able to find genuine ingredients - add in people's desire for a taste of home as COVID kept them grounded, and the orders began rolling in. Then 3 food bloggers (with a combined readership of 700,000) mentioned us. Our apartment became a perpetual cookie factory. In the end, we had to stop taking orders because we could not keep up (and by keep up, we mean we could not stay awake enough to make it all happen). We were able to bring people on to help decorate, package, box, and deliver. Honourariums were paid, connections in the small business community were made, and a lot of fun moments involving gingerbread were had. We are so tired, but so encouraged.
over 2000 cookies came to life in our home this month.
these custom COVID cookies were our favourite order.


2020 is gone but the many people face the same challenges in 2021. Consider starting the year by engaging with Thailand in one of these ways:
With no legal standing, refugees are detained in the Immigration Detention Center (IDC). Living conditions are harsh and detainees must be bailed out. $2,200 covers bail for a refugee allowing them to reunite with family and work towards resettlement.
Through ChildCARE Plus (CCP), you can sponsor a child connecting them to education and an opportunity to know Jesus. For $41/month, you can create lasting change in the life of a child and their family. CCP Thailand works in 20 communities across the country.
CCP partners with a boarding house in northern Thailand where Hmong (hill tribe) children live to be able to go to school. Normally their parents sell their crops to restaurants and hotels in the city, but COVID has ended that. With little income, the parents are unable to pay the boarding house. The children's meals need a boost. $22 provides one child with a month of nutritious food. There are 150 children at the home.
The Full Gospel Assemblies of Thailand (FGAT) is our national church partner. Many of the pastors have day jobs in addition to pastoring. Working in small communities means that their church salary is low. Because of COVID, many churches are unable to pay pastors. The larger economic downturn has also left some pastors without their day jobs. FGAT has an assistance fund to support these pastors. $640/month supports a couple in ministry and $340/month supports a single person in ministry.


The Immigration Detention Centres have only been allowing food drop-offs with no visitation for detainees. In December even food drop-offs were closed. People on the outside can only give cash, via the guards, to detainees. At that, this can only happen 3 times per week. It cuts a vital lifeline of supplies and human connection. Then on December 23rd, Matthew got to be part of a little Christmas miracle. A group of refugees on the outside, arranged with the guards to drop-off food packages for 100 detainees. The man organizing it needed some help getting the food in (you have to be a visa holder and so Matthew was asked to come and help sign for the food). This was unheard of and even up until it happened, we weren't sure it would all work. The man who organized it sent in enough food for everyone in 2 rooms. He only knew a few people in each room, but he did not want some to watch others et. Often those on the outside, only help their community on the inside. So Christians help Christians, Muslims help Muslims etc etc. He was determined that everyone in those 2 rooms would get food to show that God cares for them all. Merry Christmas.

Each month we have a refugee lady cook food for us to take to detainees and she earns an honorarium. With food drop-offs closed we brought that food to a refugee community in the city. We believe COVID restrictions will make new connections.

At the start of December, Matthew was invited to join a meeting hosted by the UNHCR, Canadian Embassy, and other refugee agencies. It was a time of fighting imposter syndrome as it was out of our normal waters, but so much was learned.
a cup of chai made in our kitchen and enjoyed at our table with a lovely refiugee family
Canada's Ambassador to Thailand giving the opening address at a refugee stakeholders meeting.


A special thank you to Newcastle Pentecostal Church, one of our partner churches, who provided funds to Abundant Love. This boarding home allows Hmong hilltribe children to live closer to town and attend school. COVID has left many of their families with no restaurants or hotels to sell their crops to and so the boarding home has been struggling for funds. CCP Thailand sponsors over 100 children at this home, but with the help of the church, we were abe to provide funds for all of the children, not just the sponsored children, to receive a boost in their food - including watermelon (a special treat for a special time of year).
a meal enjoyed outside in the cooler December weather.
watermelon and smiles are a great combination.


we believe there is strength in numbers

  • Jade Kenyamanyara suffered a series of fatal strokes. Please join us in praying for her husband and 3 young boys.
  • please continue to pray for our friend who has filed resettlement papers.
  • the worsening situation with COVID has rocked Thais who grew accustomed to zero being the normal number of new cases. Pray for safety and a clear way forward.
  • the political situation seems calmer, but many rifts remain. Pray for a deep and meaningful peace to be found.
  • pray for refugees in detention who have more questions than answers at this time

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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