January was a return to restrictions as COVID numbers spiked. It was not the start to 2021 that we anticipated (or even wanted), but it was still good.
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Unlike Thailand's first COVID lockdown in 2020, January 2021 was a return to restrictions but not like before. The numbers of the COVID spike here are still so much better than daily averages coming from other parts of the world. After being used to the number being zero, anything seems high. The government developed a colour-coded tier system and 5 provinces were considered under maximum restriction. Even a single case was enough to put a province into the red tier. Learning moved back online, entertainment venues closed, and a new tracing app was introduced for interprovincial travel. As before, the measures were fast and far-reaching, but the COVID cases declined rapidly. On February 1st, the provinces were re-assessed and many were moved to less restrictive tiers. For us, the big win was our 2 oldest going back to school.

We had left Bangkok to celebrate New Years in nature (and not the urban) and so we were outside of the city when the restrictions came into place. We considered rushing home but crossing provincial lines seemed questionable, Bangkok had some of the highest COVID numbers, the air quality in the city was deemed "hazardous" (happens annually at this time of year), and the protests continued after a Christmas lull. So we found a little house in a tiny village in the jungle - complete with monkeys and mountains. With work and school being online, we were able to hunker down in a place where the restrictions allowed our kids to be outside. As the restrictions lifted, especially about travel between provinces, we made our way home to Bangkok.

Technology has made these lockdowns productive in different ways as we were able to stay in touch with our CCP team and with refugees using apps, texts, and phone calls. A meaningful phone call or a well timed text message are hard to showcase in an update like this, but the reality is that under these restrictions, we were able to be a safe space and encouragement for people and that is worth celebrating.

This lockdown was especially harsh on the migrant community who were largely blamed for this new wave. At one migrant worker dormitory in the city, police forced all the residents inside the building, surrounded it with razor wire, and told the people they were now in quarantine. In many countries during this COVID era, those who are "other" are facing the brunt far more than those who "belong".
That time Matthew hung out with Bernie back in the snow.
January was a month-long reminder of how grateful we are for teachers.
Izelle walks, she talks (2 "words"), and she's still mastering a spoon.
A little cuteness overload from none other than Wren.
Time in nature was a true gift for these city-slicker kiddos.
There was a simple swing set in the village and it was a simple joy.


In reading reflections on last year from others, we've found very binary thoughts - it was a horrible year or a great gift. For us the reality is a mix. It was a year with challenges that were new and unexpected. There were also pockets of beauty that would not have been possible were it not for a pandemic. As we look back on a year where the use of the word "unprecedented" was truly unprecedented, we don't ignore the hard parts, but we do want to celebrate the good:

Personal Highlights
  • Izelle, healthy and courageous, joined our family just before Thailand entered a strict lockdown.
  • Daxon and Zala have continued to do so well in school despite the shifts between the online and classroom spaces.
  • Matthew's parents were able to visit Thailand for the first time and welcome Izelle. It was a treat to have Matthew's Dad preach and teach in several churches and we showed off the country we call home.
  • We grew in our appreciation of technology and attended our first online wedding.
Work Highlights
  • our relationships within the refugee community grew.
  • we began to work more closely with LifeRaft International to support refugee communities in Bangkok.
  • pre-pandemic, we were visited by David Adcock (Executive Diretor of ERDO - CCP's parent NGO).
  • on a whim we sold gingerbread for Christmas to be able to provide honorariums for refugees and the entire thing took off in ways we did not anticipate.
  • we were able to adapt our church's kids' ministry to online in both Thai and English
  • we began as Advocates with a refugee as part of Life Raft's Advocacy Program
  • we helped a refugee make an asylum application for resettlement
  • we were honoured to speak in churches across Canada digitally and regularly at OASIS here in Bangkok
ChildCARE Plus (CCP) Thailand Highlights 
  • 61sponsored children graduated from primary school
  • 24 sponsored children graduated from secondary school
  • 31 sponsored children began skills or vocational training  
  • 23 sponsored children began meaningful employment
  • 23 sponsored children began post-secondary education 
  • through CCP programs, 1,586 people heard the gospel message 
  • 64 people made decisions to follow Jesus
Honestly, we could not do this without you - and we really wouldn't want to. Having you in our corner is hugely powerful and we are grateful. Whether it was encouragement, prayer, finances, advocacy, or people power - we can look over this list of highlights and know that we did this together.


In response to the new wave of COVID, the Immigration Detention Centres (IDC) remained closed to visits and food drop-offs. This is challenging as it severely limits contact with those who are detained. As we talked with refugee families, the stress of not really knowing how their loved ones were doing was ever present. The refugee women who cook food for detainees, and also earn money for their family, are increasingly concerned that it may be a long time until food drop-offs are allowed again. To keep this financial lifeline open, we arranged for the women to keep cooking and had the food sent to other refugee communities. Yes, we used a courier service to send boxes of curry!

As refugees cannot legally work in Thailand, many rely on the informal economy. This latest lockdown has shuttered most of those income earning options. It is a very stretching time for everyone, but especially those who are were vulnerable.


Under the COVID restrictions, schools and learning centres around the country were closed. Those that could, moved learning online. On February 1st, every province reopened their schools with the exception of 1 which is still considered a high COVID risk. CCP programs in different communities are based around the school calendar and so the last 12 months have been a challenge. Each province was able to add more restrictions on top of those required by their government issued tier. Our CCP team members faced very different situations depending on where they are. Everyone is thankful for the reduction in restrictions that came with the start of February.

We've shared about one of our CCP team members who is battling cancer. The cancer treatment is taking a toll on their heart. Doctors decided to pause treatment for a month to allow the heart muscle to strengthen. Please pray with us that the heart heals quickly and that the cancer is held in check during this time.


we believe there is strength in numbers

  • pray for healing from cancer for one of our CCP Program Managers
  • with the return to the classroom, please join us in praying for students and educators
  • Izelle is almost 1 year old and her birthday will be fun, but a reminder that most of her family have not met her. Pray for us as distance feels bigger these days.
  • pray for Zala who has broken her big toe.
  • pray for peace in Thailand as there is ongoing political differences.
  • pray for neighbouring Myanmar as the government was recently overthrown. There are many Burmese migrants within Thailand who are greatly impacted by this.

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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