April is usually sweating hot and celebrations in Thailand, but this year was so very different.
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should've been a party in the streets

In Thailand, April is a time to sweat and celebrate. It's HOT season and we do mean hot! April is also when Thais celebrate New Years (Songkran). Typically the 13-15th are national holidays where people travel en masse to their home villages, elders are honoured, and the once peaceful tradition of pouring water on others as a sign of blessing has morphed into wild water fights that draw crowds in the thousands. The government postponed the celebrations and Thais were told to expect 3 days of holiday at some point in the future. The deferment of Songkran is probably the most visible example of just how much COVID has impacted everyday life.

The initial Emergency Decree, set to expire at the end of April, was extended to the end of May. With this extension comes a relaxing of some restrictions. These easements will be done in phases to monitor if they result in a rise in infection numbers. Provincial governors can, and have, make their own stricter rules, but they cannot relax more than the Emergency Decree allows. FOR A FULLER UPDATE ON COVID19'S IMPACT ON THAILAND, ON OUR MINISTRY, AND US AS A FAMILY - CHECK OUT OUR BLOG POST.
Check out our COVID19 update video we made for PAOC
With a newborn, we've been strict with our physical distancing. Our guestroom and dinner table have been so oddly empty. Separation sucks!

Matthew was supposed to preach at a local church for Easter, but instead we did church online and in the evening we ZOOM'd with family in Canada and did communion together. It was beautiful and weird. And that is how a lot of life feels right now.

At our church in Bangkok, the downtown plant of a church on the edge of the city, Matthew has been leading the children's ministry for 10 months. Tracking with the team, preparing lessons, and online kids services have all become our normal - but we miss seeing our church community. Along with another family, we organize a weekly soccer club (football here). The finances, schedule, and field bookings are things we don't miss too much, but we do grieve not having Thursday evenings together.

When Izelle arrived, Matthew's parents were here to help. Amber's family was supposed to come after them, but obviously that did not happen. We miss having family here at a time like this. Friends and family from around the world have tracked with us. We feel loved. We do not feel isolated. Whether ZOOM calls from across the globe or homemade food dropped off at our door, we have community. With a newborn though, there is nothing that replaces handing a child over to another loved one so that you can nap or shower or shower then nap. Daxon and Zala are doing online learning. Wren just turned 2. Izelle is lovely but our evenings are screamy as she has colic. So how are we? We are stretched but not broken.

We were recently reminded that somethings only bloom in darkness (CHECK OUT OUR BLOG FOR THE FULL STORY) and this season is an opportunity to learn.
Easter Communion with family on ZOOM
Daxon (8), Zala (6), Wren (2), Izelle (2 months)
Homemade water table for balcony fun
Wren turned 2
Our sending organization, the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (PAOC) was all set to have our biannual General Conference in Halifax in May. This has now moved online. Matthew was set to attend. On some level not going is a pragmatic loss - we get to connect with our PAOC world in person and we buy all the things we cannot get here. Relationally, it is hard knowing that we won't see people. The plan was to have lunch in person with his Mom on Mother's Day. So whether it is family not being able to come here or us not being able to go there, there is a little relational grieving right now. That seems normal and healthy.

We don't know when the world will open again and we don't know when we will see family again. We're blessed to be here and it is okay to miss those who are there. Fellow Global Workers and friends, Kim Steinfeld and Sheldon Armitage, have facilitated some great conversations on what grieving can look like in this season.

Many NGO workers here from other organizations were recalled to their home nations. It was hard to say unsure goodbyes to friends. We were given the power to chose and we're grateful for that. Murray Cornelius, the head of PAOC Missions, has hosted multiple, weekly calls where people can connect. Our Regional Director, Peter Dove, has been in touch and we had a call with him just yesterday. We are grateful for this organizational support. The majority of us stayed overseas (even if we had wanted to, Izelle wasn't going anywhere without a passport so neither were we), and we are well celebrated and supported. We support those who did chose to return to Canada. Some were facing lockdown restrictions far worse than ours. Some had health factors. Some went to support family back home. Some went to protect others in their communities. Some happened to be in Canada and got stuck while there. The choice to stay or go was hard and made when news was changing hourly. Global Workers in Canada are torn between two worlds right now and if you have the chance to encourage one who is in Canada, please do so. We believe in them.
BLOG POST: celebrating those who stayed and those who returned home. God has purpose for everyone - wherever they are.


This month we continued with dropping off food and hygiene supplies at our local Immigration Detention Centre (IDC). Visits are still not allowed, and so we pray over the items before we drop them off. Matthew was also invited to join an IDC Working Group to help build more collaboration between some of the NGO's serving those detained by the IDC system.

A friend of ours, who we normally see weekly, has been approved to resettle to Canada. He is awaiting his final interview. Even before COVID it was delayed twice by 4 weeks each time. Talking with him about the emotional ups and downs of it all is heart wrenching. Even before COVID, he felt hopeful and uncertain.

On March 17th, the Canadian Government suspended refugee resettlement. This leaves around 7,500 refugees in a state of limbo. The UN's IOM is quick to point out that this global issue puts the vulnerable into even more dire positions.

Those who have been resettled to Canada have been hit hard by the COVID19 restrictions (check out this CBC article from BC, this one about everyday challenges for newcomers amidst COVID19, and this article from Manitoba). God's heart is moved by the plight of the vulnerable. That person may be your neighbour.


We were reading an article from Charitable Impact and 2 things stood out to us. (1) even before COVID, charitable giving is on the decline in Canada and (2) there are some awesome communities doing a lot. We have felt these changes in our finances but we know God will keep on providing so we can keep on supporting.


how we can all partner with people in Thailand

Through Amber's work with Impact School of Mission (ISM), she has engaged with NightLight International, an ISM partner. Their work in one of Bangkok's largest red light districts is not for the faint of heart. As sex tourism has dried up, it has left vulnerable people in a desperate place. We've been helping with sourcing and purchasing hygiene supplies that they can include in their hygiene packs. They are distributing them twice weekly, but as word gets out, they are pressed to keep up with the growing needs being presented.
Through Matthew's involvement at the IDC, we have been helping to provide food for refugees. Through Step Ahead and Life Raft International. Basic food staples and cooking supplies are in need and we're helping as we can.

If you are able to help with food for refugees or hygiene supplies for those in the red light district, please get in touch.


children matter

Because of the hot season, this is summer break in Thailand. School was set to resume on May 16th. However, the Thai Ministry of Education has postponed the new school year to July 1st. This will have a ripple effect on subsequent school terms, but it is made in the interests of safety. We spoke with our team of 17 Program Managers and we decided to not send school funds in May as usual, but wait until June to ensure school money is used for school.

Of course the needs faced by many of our CCP families are immediate. We used some of our camp funds to help a small group of families. With the help of ERDO, we will be able to assist even more. We asked our team to identify those with the highest need and so we will be providing food assistance to 283 of our sponsored families. As the virus has impacted provinces and industries differently, we are working hard to customize our response.


we believe there is strength in numbers

  • thanks for praying with us for Izelle to receive her citizenship papers and passport. She has not yet received her citizenship, but we did apply for a travel document called a "limited validity passport". Izelle received that and so if needed, she can travel.
  • pray with our CCP team for children who are home more now and home is not always the best environment.
  • pray for health as Thailand enters this next phase of life with COVID19
  • pray for us as parents, like countless parents, who are trying their best to be teachers on top of the rest of life

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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