O my Strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love.
First, I must address that we did in fact miss sending an update in September, but we are incredibly grateful for your prayers in spite of our lack of communication. It seems that we are the unicorns of “westerners” in Thailand right now, as so few have been able to get in. We are regularly asked, “How was quarantine??” with near dread in the person’s voice. Honestly, quarantine was fine. It didn’t feel like prison, though we were acutely aware of our inability to navigate outside of our confines. The food was tolerable most days, and we had plenty of activities to keep us busy. Huge thanks to those that sent the kids activities ahead of time! Most of us didn’t start to feel like caged animals until the last two days, and by then our last COVID tests were over. In the end, we were SO glad to receive our official “certificates of quarantine” and be able to bust out of that hotel.
First Steps To Adjust
While quarantine was a slow start to our new lives here in Thailand, post quarantine has been a blur of busyness. There is so much that has to take place within the first few weeks of arrival here—all kinds of documentation that needs to be processed—between extending our original Visas (we were only granted 90-day visas initially), proof of residency, purchasing a car, etc. Nothing is quick; every place we need to go is spread out. Traffic is a challenge with “lane integrity” not really being a thing here and motorbikes zipping around on all sides…plus learning to drive from the “passenger” side of the car, and on the left side of the road is an adjustment of its own. Traffic accidents are a daily occurrence here—Thailand ranks as the fourth most dangerous country in the world for driving. With that in mind, we ask for regular prayers for protection for us, our vehicles, and those around us.
Language was a barrier we knew would be an issue upon arrival, and we braced ourselves for the challenge of communication. Fortunately, most places we have been able to get by with toddler-level Thai (Traci) and their minimal English. Google translate has also been an enormous help. Much to my (Traci) surprise, more Thai has returned than I even realized I knew. Still, it’s a far cry from where we need to be in order to effectively communicate. Add different cultural norms to the mix, and the challenge to communicate grows exponentially. We will likely begin Thai language study in the next month or two, but getting a little bit more settled to even figure out our availability and bandwidth has been our first priority.
Just a few hours after we sent out our August newsletter we were hit with quite the surprise. If you missed our “COVID-19 Test Debacle” it’s worth watching and seeing how the Lord moved in a crazy situation.
A video doesn’t really do justice to all the chaos of travel, especially with children…and during a pandemic…but it at least gives a little glimpse into what it was like to move our family to the other side of the globe.
We would love prayer toward building strong community and friendships with our team.
While we’re grateful for our temporary housing we still need to find a more permanent home soon.
Learning Thai well and quickly is like drinking from a firehose. Pray against overwhelm.
ROLE AT GIS
Pray that Nick can discern how to most effectively be used for the ministry within Grace Int’l School.