Saturday, January 29, 2005

This is the little 6 yr old who lost everyone and everything except for her grandmother. Her grandmother begged John to take her with him (with a change of clothes in hand). Her name is Maow and Josiah loves her. We're praying and researching what is involved in adoption in Thailand. We'll be going back very soon to visit her and her grandmother.
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We got our pictures off our camera!!!

Hello Everyone!

As you can see we were finally able to get our pictures off our camera...we found a neat gadget for very cheap that helps us get our pictures off the camera and it's better than the cord in my opinion. We're working on getting them all on the website. Right now I've got a link off of the main website ( that takes you to our picture page but not all of the links work right now.

So I've posted a few of the pictures here on the blog. I'll be writting very soon! And I'm going to be taking lots of pictures! Wahoo! It takes about 10 minutes just to post one of these pictures and we've got over 200 that are great of our connection speed it might be a bit before I get them least the really good ones. I miss everyone! I put the one of Josiah ready for a nap just for you mom!

A neighborhood destroyed...
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Josiah and Willee - who is a new brother in Christ!!!! John, Josiah and the Pruitts spent much time fellowshiping with Willee and his son as he is a new believer who lives in the refugee camps in outside of Phuket.
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Another picture of the orphanage.
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I've learned that my son is a minister of the gospel too...he spent time with these children (orphans in the makeshift orphanage) and lifted there spirits in a way I don't think any missionary could have done...
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Little girl grieving for her family! She's in a makeshift orphanage that has been setup by missionaries from all over. Josiah and John spent quite sometime here.
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Josiah - ready for a nap!
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Anyone want a slice of Josiah for 60 baht? The lady at the airport fell so in love with Josiah that she let him do whatever he wanted - and I do mean whatever he wanted!
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This is us on Brian and MaryBeth's street. It was our second day and we took our first walk to see what we could see...
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John and Josiah with a family that lost everything. The father is building a house for what family he has left.
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Friday, January 28, 2005

Adopting a 6 yr old - Fat and Beautiful! - Dr. Visit

Hello everyone!!!!

Man, I've missed writing! I've been very busy this week as I'm sure I will be until I get out of school on Feb. 17th. Things are going very well! I can't wait to show you the pictures that we have!! We should have the cord we need next week. Last Wednesday we went to visit a school in Songkhla about 30 minutes away. This was a much bigger school than the one I attend and we watched classes with as many students as 40 in them!!

It was kind of different for me being there because there were tons of male students because it was a vocational school where they learned things like automechanics, welding, architecture, accounting...and stuff like that. The school was predominately male and the first class I observed was all male and I felt it was I who was being observed. It was a bit uncomfortable but they paid more attention to the teacher as the lesson went on. Now I know how incredibly beautiful people in America feel! I get stared at ALL THE TIME!!!! Sometimes it's unnerving...but other times it's entertaining. Mostly I'm used to it...

During lunch I went into the teachers lounge and was invited to join a table to Thai male (extremely feminine) and about 5 women. One lady just chatted away with me about all sorts of stuff - her english was wonderful and then she would tell everyone else at the table. It was quite fun...I have to say though something happend to me that has never happend to me before while sitting at that table. I was called fat and beautiful within 5 minutes of sitting at the table. They were all saying how beautiful I was and I was trying to explain to them that in America we think Asian people are beautiful and some how in the conversation I brought up icecream and the guy said "OH! What kind do you like?" I said chocolate. He said "You see, that what our problem is - we like chocolate so we sooo fat!" The whole table errupted in laughter and I giggled. I know they don't mean it in a harmful way - I found it very funny that I was called beautiful and fat in such a short amount of time from the same people!?!

LOL...anyway, John and Josiah have been in Phuket for these last 5 days. They've been in the refugee camps in Phuket ministering to the people who have lost almost everything. John has some incredible stories and has heard some incredible stories. He got to pray for many people. While he was there he met a 6 year old girl and her grandmother. The little girl has no one left but her grandmother and they lost everything else. The grandmother is old and she begged John to take the little girl so that she could have a better life. John told me about it and we decided to think, research and pray HARD about it. It's a huge decision. John seems to be very much in love with her and Josiah loved her too!

So, please keep us in your prayers regarding this. It's a huge huge decision. We need to seek God's will in the matter. It would cost over $1,000 dollars and it would be a very long process. My first instinct is to say yes...but we must seek God and research what the Thai government requires for adoption.

The air conditioner was installed on Monday and I have enjoyed it immensely!!!! Except the first night I was laying there (coughing my head off) enjoying the cold air and driffing off to sleep when all the sudden....drip drip...right on my forhead!!!!! I looked up and my air conditioner was dripping on me. AHH! So, the guys are going to have to come back and fix it...soemthing about ot having it at the right angle or something. It doesn't drip a lot...just a bit every once in a while. I just scooted over and put a towel down and continued enjoying the air! AHHH!!! :)

I have been sick - I've been coughing very very badly - Yesterday I woke up and when I coughed I tasted blood so I called the Dr. Candy a friend of the missionaries here and she saw me right away. She got me started on some antibiotics - she said I have sinusitus. The medicine is already working and I'm sure I'll be fine in no time.

I sure miss everyone back home! I love hearing from you -so please e-mail :) I have to make this entry short because John and Josiah are about to be home and I want to make them some food to eat. I'll write again soon! Please don't forget to keep us in your prayers! Oh - and forgive me if I havn't replied to your e-mail (Lisa, Tracy, Micheal ect...) I takes me (I timed it) over 15 mintues to send one e-mail recently (because of the connection) so I plan on going to an internet cafe to reply to e-mails. Love you all!

Sawtdee ka!

Friday, January 21, 2005

More Firsts-John's first time preaching-Steph's first time teaching a Thai class

**Clarification - John's first time preaching to a group larger than 4 people**

Wow! It's been almost a week since I've written! Sorry it took so long! I started school on Monday and found out that my schedule goes like this:

7:30-8:00 - Wake up
8:00-8:45 - Get ready - shower and all
8:45-9:00 - Review for classes - make sure I have correct books in backpack
9:00-9:10 - Walk up our road and catch a "Songtao" at the end of it
9:10-10:00 - Ride to school (sometimes it only takes 30 min. depending on the stops)
10:00-1:30 - Learn and Study
1:30-5:30 - Break. Spend preparing the night classes lesson and getting lunch
5:30-7:30 - Teach a class for 30 minutes (45 next week) and peer review other lessons
7:30-8:15 - Ride home...
8:15-Whenever - Spend time with family, have/cook dinner, do any homework or read any book that has been assigned, e-mail if possible and most importantly - make time for God.

Very hectic week but it has been good! I've learned a lot!!! I taught my first Thai class on Wednesday night. And something wonderful has happened. When I got home John told me that Brian had invited him to come and speak at the church that Wednesday night. Now, for those of you who know John and I you know that I'm usually the one who stands up in front of people and preaches/teaches and John is more of a one on one kind of person and that's how he ministers...

So when Brian asked him - he resisted but Brian succeeded and John spoke for 45 minutes at the church in front of lots of people and the most incredible and wonderful thing about it is that the message that God put in John's heart really hit the people and afterward they wanted him to pray for them (most for healing) and a woman who could not bend her thumbs was completely healed!!! She can now bend her thumbs wonderfully - and the whole church knew this woman couldn't bend her thumbs!!! Praise God!

Anyway, there are some more praise reports but I just don't know the details and I'd rather not write anything and get it wrong. I am sooo excited that John took that leap!!! I am SOOO proud of him. So, it was kind of neat in that the same time I was teaching my first Thai class John was preaching his first message to the Thai people (with a translator of course). God is good!

I've gotten so many e-mails this week and I love it!!! From some new people too (Chancey and Teresa!! HELLO!) I've been so excited to get the e-mails but have not had the time to responds to many but I'm going to have time this weekend. :) My classmates are great people. There are five in all - 1 Frenchman (who hasn't lived in France for ages), 1 Englishman, 2 Englishwomen, and another American named Jim (from St. Louis I think).

The funny thing about Jim and I (the Americans) we're giving Americans kind of a accident prone name because Jim has banged his head on a low awning - stepped out infront of a truck by accident and bumped into something the other day and I fell off a motorbike and Thursday night I fell when I was coming out of the bathroom. There was a small step and I tripped and hit my head on the ground! I fell hard! I fell soooo hard that I had my first nose bleed (in my entire life) and I had a slight bump that has since gone down on my forehead. It wasn't fun!

But you know how when you fall you laugh? Or is that just me? I don't know...I fell down and I was laughing and crying at the same time - with blood coming out of my nose!!! It wasn't a pretty picture. I was like "OK...I'm going to cry but I'm really ok......really".....I couldn't stop the tears from coming and I was laughing like a luni!!!! Pretty soon my teacher and classmates realized I really was ok and started laughing with me.

I still giggle everytime I think about it. The poor Thai guy that saw it happen didn't know what to do...because he didn't want to touch me so he just stood there and went "OH! OH! OH!" looking around for another english speaker to help. I just kinda sat there trying to figure out what happened! I've never fallen so hard in my life!!! Anyway - *giggle* hopefully Jim and I won't give them any other reason to think Americans are particularly clumbsy and accident prone!!!!!!!

This school is quite intensive - On Tuesday he handed us a book that we are to have read with a book report completed by Tuesday - normally a week is a good amount of time to have that done in...but not with our schedule! So - I'm going to be doing TONS of reading this weekend. OH!

I got to feed and pet an elephant last night. My classmates invited me out to eat with them and while we were sitting there talking a guy with an elephant just strolls up and sees us as easy targets and starts waving food at us. I wasn't going to do it for money reasons but Jim went and bought a bunch of it and he gave us all some to feed the elephant! Man - elephants really are incredible and beautiful creatures. There is nothing like being right next to one (a short one as in this case) and looking it in the eye - they're just gorgeous!!! I never thought I would say that about an elephant! Then he put a hoop on it's trunk and he started swinging it like a holahoop and he got on his back legs, which worried me because he was literally 1 foot away from sitting on a car!!!!!

It was quite the experience. I had an interview with a Dr. here who has 2 boys and she wants me to teach them English and I got the job - I'm going to start comign to their house on the 29th. I'm a little worried because she wants me to bring Josiah. Her two aims are:

-I want me boys to have fun
-I want my boys to knwo the difference between Thai thinking and Western thinking

I went on to confirm that she wanted me to bring my son to the lesson and she was like yes - so my sons can play with him....I'm thinking - how in the world can I teach a lesson to her boys while they're playing with my son...ehhh...I dunno - I just won't bring him the first lesson and take it from there. We'll that goes.

I absolutely love teaching these students! They are incredible and sooo bright! They are sooo interested in me and what I like and don't like...ect. There are incredible ministry opportunities! The crazy thing about these kids are that most of them LOVE linkin park and Korn- for those of you who don't know they are extremely hard bands and horrible lyrics. Marybeth said that Thai people like dark things - all their movies are incredibly gory and dark. I was just shocked to see this cute innocent looking face look at me and say "I live for Korn!" And she was not talking about the kind you eat!!!!

John just told me a hilarious story that I have to tell you! He has strapped a car seat onto the back of the motorbike so that John can go on the motorbike when I'm at school with Josiah. Dont' worry is strapped to the motorbike VERY VERY well. So anyway, John and Josiah go out all the time during the day and he was just telling me about a time he was out trying to locate the store to buy a cable for our camera and Josiah fell asleep in the car seat. The car seat sits straight up on the motorbike whereas in a car it has a slant to the back.

So when he fell asleep he was hunched over and his poor little head was just bobbing up and down and everytime John would turn a corner he would sway in the car seat (the carseat wouldn't sway - he would-so don't worry mom!!!) So, some thai ladies saw this and they started trying to get John's attention to tell him that Josiah was hunched over...keep in mind that they idolize our little white baby. A lady came across the street into the middle of the street where John was waiting at a red light and was trying to put his head back...but it wouldn't stay!!!! John said he didn't know if they thought something was wrong with him or not - he just kept saying he was sleepy but they kept trying to help his head stay up ( he was soo sleepy )!!! John said he started trying to wake him up - but it was almost impossible.

I thought that was sooo funny that the Thai women were so concerned that they came into the middle of the street to hold his head up!! I have to get off because John just got home and needs to get on the internet fast. John is probably leaving Monday with Todd Pruitt to go to Phuket again up into where there are tons of refugee camps (people who have lost everthing because of the Tsunami).

He's going to have to take Josiah with him - which is good and bad because I'll definately miss him and it will be rough on John having him with him. Todd is bringing his 2 daughters who are old enough to help watch Josiah so that is good. They'll be gone for about 5 days!!!!!!!!! That will be rough but that is the reason why we came! Ok...gotta get off :) I'll write again soon! Keep us in your prayers!

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Firsts - First fall off MotorBike - First time in Thai Church

God is wonderful! I just am more encouraged by the day about what God is doing!, I decided to ride the motorbike for the first time by myself yesterday. (Don't worry Mom - I'm not hurt badly!) It was just a short distance to MaryBeth and Brian's house. I needed to go over there and start a load of laundry at their house and bring back the laundry that was done. Welp, I jumped on - John gave me a quick lesson and off I went.

I though "Hey! This isn't soo bad!". Then I got onto the main road and noticed another motorbike was going the wrong way on the street (extremely commone in Thailand) and a truck was coming up behind me so I couldn't get over anymore and there was a truck on side of the road I was a little panicky...cause we only had about exactly the amount of space ABSOLUTLY necessary for him to be able to get by. So anyway, I made it through that ordeal only to realize it was time to turn and I realized it a bit to late and I tried ot make the turn but I just slid and CRASH! It really wasn't that bad. I just have a pretty big wound on my left knee and elbow - I was wearing a helment.

I dusted myself off and jumped back on and headed to MaryBeth and Brians where she poured WitchHazel on my wound and I gritted my teeth and bared it. That stuff hurts worse than Peroxide man!!! I headed back thinking all the way back about how John was going to laugh. Don't get me wrong - my husband is a sweet - concerned guy but he definately was going to laugh and laugh he did. I fell my first time out....just figures. Welp, I got my first accident out of the way right?!?! RIGHT???? ehh...ahwell...I think I'm definately going to stick to public transportation if I can ever figure that out - AND I'm starting to pray for a car NOW! :) It was pretty low on the priority list but umm...after the's been bumped up! :) lol!

Yesterday Josiah woke up yesterday saying "Iammmpak...iammmpak...iammmpak mommy...iammmpak" Translation: I want to go to the park mommy! John loves to take Josiah to the park, not that I don''s just kinda like their special thing. So we jumped on the motorbike and headed off to where Brian had told us that there was this huge park...I was expecting some big area with some kids play toys but I was sooo wrong! Brian was not joking...there is even a small zoo, a bird atrium thingy and a pond you can ride paddle boats on!!! I almost forgot I was in Thailand when we started to ride up into the park. It's at the base of mountain. It is absolutly beautiful. Josiah LOVED LOVED LOVED It! We first stopped over by the pond because we couldn't find the kids stuff...and we looked over the railing and there were these HUGE HUGE fish down there! I couldn't believe it! They were the size of the bodies of large dogs! No joke!

So a Thai gathering soon formed around Josiah as usual and a lady started giving him fish food to throw in the water and he just thought that was awesome because all the fish gather and literally jump out of the water for the food. I mean...not like a dolphin or anything but they really clamor for the food. It was neat! So John and I then found the kids stuff and let him play for a while. I felt bad though because when Josiah got on the play ground equipment the other Thai kids got off and watched...they didn't play with him - which was unusual in our experience so far...they just watched him and laughed.

We get laughed at a lot! :) Goofy Americans piled on a motorbike! ahhahahah! So funny! OK so now I get to the part about Thai church! Man - it was really awesome! You know what though - I was able to worship the Lord more when I didn't understand any of the songs! You should try that at church - forget about singing any of the words and just sing to the Lord - tell him worship that comes straight from your heart instead of straight off the projector or overhead (not that worship can't come straight from your heart if it comes in that form in any means). I remember if I couldn't get into or didn't like the songs that were being sung I would just turn around in the pew and worship the Lord with my own praises and I think that that is just the best time with God for me.

It forces you to be completely real, intimate and open with God. Anyway, Brian preached in English this morning because he didn't have enough preparation time to speak it in Thai - which was good for us! I only got to hear part of the message because I had to take Josiah upstairs with children's church but I couldn't leave him there because he was really unsure about everything and didn't want me to leave.

Oh - ok...I get e-mails of people wanting to know what the need is in Thailand. Today I was speaking with Elizabeth (Pastor Simon's wife) and she expressed a deep concern because they have very bad curriculum. It's in Thai but it's very dry and boring and the kids don't like it...they don't even like the coloring pages (I agree by the way - very bad). So I told elizabeth that I would let everyone I know know about this need and hopefully we would get a response from the Christians in the states.

She said that it doesn't have to be in Thai- she is willing and can translate it into Thai for the children - she said she is just desperate for a good curiculum for the children to learn from with game ideas and such. So - Christians of America - please if you know of any or if you can rally together (Liberty Lighthouse) please research and find some good curiculum for children (it doesn't have to be new) and help us help these Thai children learn about Jesus.

I will probably try to volunteer one Sunday out of a month to teach Sunday School - and help out so be praying for me because I'm not really the best with ministering to children. My area are teens and adults! So keep me in your prayers for guidance and wisdom regarding this matter.

OH! Very important - a really awesome thing happened this Sunday morning! John had had a vision before leaving the states of a fire staring in southern Thailand and working its way up - it engulfed all of Thailand and Asia. This morning we discovered that Pastor Simon had had this exact same vision! So John went before the church and shared his vision and they all started clapping because they believe the fire is a move of God that is going to sweep across Thailand beginning in the South. So this is what we are praying for! The missionaries that have been here say that they can tell a difference and they can tell that something is going to happen because the name of Jesus is becoming known and miracles and healings in his name are spreading all around!

God is definately doing a work and the Thai people - I have so much more to write but I forgot to finish this blog last night (dinner called) so it's morning time and I'm off to my first day at TEFL school! ehh..! I've got butterflies! :) I will write more later! Aurevoir!

Saturday, January 15, 2005

The BUG battle - First night in our new house

It’s definitely been a while! I think it’s been at least a couple of days. It seems like a lot has happened but not a whole lot has happened. When John got back Curry held a DHTT (Divine Healing Technician Training) for the missionaries here before he went back to the states. It went really well. I mainly watched Josiah and attempted to study for my classes that start on Monday (Jan 17th).

So after the classes Brian took us out to a place call Makro to shop for necessities like a refrigerator and other stuff. We didn’t buy anything that day because Makro doesn’t deliver and we didn’t have a way to get it to our house. So the next day we went to a place called Carre-Fourr (Pronounced: Car-Four). We found a lot of neat stuff there and it was pretty cheap considering what it would cost in America.

John and I have learned one thing: the Thai people are notorious for deciding things for you. For instance, if we order food at a vendor and we don’t specify what drink to have with it they don’t ask you what you want…they just pick a drink for you. Or if it’s just John and I ordering food and we order enough food for John, Josiah and I (not ordering Josiah a kids meal) and they don’t see a 3rd person standing there they will literally resist selling you 3 meals. Sometimes they will even continue on and only ring up 2 meals. The Thai mind thinks: “Surely they don’t really want to order 3 meals for 2 people!!! I’ll just put down 2 meals…”

So I told you that to tell you a funny thing that happened to John and I. John was hunting down a pillow (he’s very picky about his pillows) so he’s feeling them all and he finally finds one that he is very happy with and it’s reasonably priced. So a Thai salesperson walks up to us and takes the pillow out of John’s hand and hands us this flat plastic bag that has a blanket in it.

We all look at him puzzled and stuff and he tries to take the pillow back. We’re thinking…ehh…this guy thinks we should buy a blanket instead! (we’re humoring him…trying to explain we REALLY want the pillow). Then he starts making this motion with the bag…and we just stand there cluless…until…DING DING DING!!! A light went off in my head!!! OH!!! The pillow is vacuum sealed! The pillow is in that flat plastic bag…he doesn’t want to sell us a blanket!! J We all laugh!

Poor guys was probably thinking “Goofy Americans…I thought they were up on all the latest things?!?” You know I think one of the things that I’m having a hard time getting used to is riding on a scooter. When John, Josiah and I need to go some where we jump on a motorbike that one of the missionary families let us borrow. It’s soo fun…but scary because of Josiah and the traffic. We feel truly Thai because we’re now one of those people carrying all sorts of sacks with a kid going down the road weaving in and out of traffic.

We get laughed at a lot. I don’t know why – I suppose it’s because Americans normally have enough money to buy a car when they come over so their not used to seeing 3 Americans trying to make it around on a scooter. We do what we must! J I won’t deny that it is fun but I still can’t get that scared feeling in the pit of my stomach out. With Josiah right in between us…if we were to fall…ahh…well…God is watching out for us and John is being very cautious.

We spent our first night in our house last night. Let me just say – it was hot! We don’t have enough money for an Air Conditioner yet. There are quite a few things we haven’t been able to get yet. Josiah keeps asking to watch Veggie Tales and Dora but we don’t have a TV. I just try to keep him occupied with other stuff. It’s good though – it will really spark his imagination having to be in constant play with toys instead of watching a movie every once in a while.

Anyway, I slept pretty badly – John and Josiah slept soundly. I kept waking up all throughout the night. Let me just say – our mattress is as hard as a rock! Ouch! I was sleeping on my slide apparently in the middle of the night and I woke up and my arm was dead! Competely and totally dead! I couldn’t feel a thing. You know, normally when your arm goes to sleep you can feel a little bit…I literally had to squint in the dark and find my arm…grab it with the other arm and move it. It’s quite humorous…NOW! Hehehe.

I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m complaining because believe me – I’d rather be no other place in the world! I know that God has us here and I can feel his hand at work in all that we do. I am really using this blog as a place just to vent about the every day stuff.

Last night was Dr. Candy and Pii Thak’s Birthday. So the missionaries had a big birthday party set up at this seafood place near downtown. Dr. Candy is a Christian friend of the missionaries and Pii Thak is a Thai member of their team. It was absolutely beautiful! We were surrounded by palm trees and there was a park right near all the tables for the kids to play in. Josiah had a blast. While we were there Dr. Candy said that she had a friend who needed a private tutor for their two boys and wanted to know if I would be their private tutor for English! I told her of course! So, she’s going to be calling me with details soon. I am sooo excited about that. I think that private tutoring will be such a awesome way to be able to minister to people!

The crazy thing is that I’ll be getting paid to minister the gospel and love to my students! !!! Praise God! John and I really need me to start working as soon as possible so it’s also totally God’s timing for this to happen now anyway. We almost don’t have enough money to pay the landlord. God will work it out though.

Josiah is upstairs sleeping right now and John went down to some hardware store to try to find a board to cover up the sewage drain in front of our house – because it STINKS BAD! WHEW! Plus it’s deep and Josiah could fall in and that would be really bad!

We still do NOT have a cord for our camera so we are still unable to post the awesome pictures we have. We’ll get one soon though. We’re going to church tomorrow and Brian is preaching! He preaches in Thai sometimes but tomorrow he’ll be preaching in English with an interpreter because he didn’t have enough preparation time to do it in Thai.

LOL…I just thought of another funny thing. Yesterday John and I were working in the house and Josiah and I are downstairs while John is upstairs. I hear John upstairs making some noise and then I hear him saying stuff like “How’d ya like that! HUH!” I hear the sounds of something spraying and then I hear John kind of scream. I said “What are you doing?” He was trying to kill a cockroach a little smaller than your hand and it was flying AT HIM! LOL. He was having his own private war with this cockroach!

He told me to throw the broom up and I did and the battle ended soon thereafter. John won. You know I’ve seen a couple cockroaches but mostly I see geckos everywhere. I don’t mind them at all! They remind me of living in Haiti where I used to pull of their tails! I was a mean kid! I thought Josiah was going to be horrified of them but we told him that they eat bugs and he was sooo happy!

OH! That reminds me! Yesterday John, Josiah and I were in our room upstairs with the patio door open. There was this gargantuan green grasshopper! So, John and I decided to get Josiah to look at it so he wouldn’t be so scared of bugs. So we cohersed him over there and had him looking at hit. John was on one side of it and Josiah and I were on the other. John had a stick and kind of pushed it toward him but the grasshopper went the opposite direction—toward us!!!! Josiah started freaking out! MAJORLY! AND THEN the unbelievable happened. That grasshopper JUMPED ON HIS FOREHEAD AND STUCK THERE! He was screaming like he was being beaten! I grabbed him and swatted it off (1st attempt was not successful) and grabbed him up to calm him down. He was completely in shock! He was shaking and crying. We started out trying to help him get over his fear of bugs but instead he is probably scared for life!!!!!

The things parents do…He was fine just a couple minutes later – but I don’t think he’ll ever go near a grasshopper or bug again! We’ll just have to pray that he gets over his fear of bugs regardless of our futile attempts.

Oh – man…today I connected to the internet and got a whapping 28.8!!! I couldn’t believe it! (OK…for those of you who are not internet savey…that just means that I’m being sarcastic…and you pretty much wait…literally…5 minutes or more to load one web page at a connection rate of 28.8). So I will be logging on when I have A LOT of time on my hands. OH- for all of you out there- hello – I would love an e-mail from you.

I honestly thought my inbox would be flooded when we got over here but nope! I log on (on my 28.8 connection – WHICH TAKES FOREVER) and I have “No new messages!” ARGG! Hehehe. I miss everyone soo much! I’m going to have to get off here – I need to go spend some time with the Lord since I’m here alone and Josiah is ASLEEP!

I will write as soon as I can! Oh- I’ve gotten quite a bit of people wanting to know what our needs are so I’m going to put a little bit right here. Some of the needs are things that we’re going to have to work towards (such as a motorbike).

Air Conditioner: $ 400
Washer: $ 200
TV: $ 175
DVD Player (for Josiah’s videos): $ 60
Couch: $ 200
MotorBike: $ 500

Our monthly need is a little less than: $1,000 a month
We currently have monthly support of about: $175

Once I start working in a month (after school) I will be bringing in about $500 a month or maybe a little bit more. So then our monthly need will only be about $400 with current pledges. We are not worried about this at all…wait that would be a lie…I, Stephanie, have been worried about it but I have just been giving it to God because we know that he has called us here and we know that he will meet our monthly needs.

John and Josiah on the other hand have no worries about the money situation. Like I said – I have to continually give it to God because it’s in my nature to worry about things…but I have seen God time and time again provide for our needs in life and he definitely provided for us to be able to get here and setup as much as we have already!

Anyway, enough the money aspect! God is so awesome and I’m going to go spend sometime with him while I have the time!!! All Glory to God!! He is truly worthy of all our praises!

Sunday, January 09, 2005

John’s Back – the Lotus Experience – and no boundries!

The very next day after my last post John left for Phuket with some members of the team here. He was gone for about 3 days. The second day after we arrived Josiah and I took a tuk tuk to the local “Lotus” which is really the equivalent of our Super Wal-Mart. It was incredible. I really don’t think I’ll ever get used to the traffic here. I don’t know if I’ve written this yet but the steering wheel is on the right side of the car and everyone drives on the left side of the road. AND they drive absolutely crazy.

One of the most shocking things about the traffic is how many people they can fit on a tuktuk or songtaw. I’m going to post pictures of these as soon as we get a cable for our camera. Sometimes you will see upto 15-20 people all piled into the back of this little truck with a roof on it! Also another thing that is very common is to see tons of motorcycles with up to 4-5 people on it!!!!! John saw a motorcycle with 3 people on it – one being a lady who had a newborn baby in one hand and a gigantic bag in the other riding down the road. No helmet or anything!

Anyway, we took a tuk tuk to Lotus and shopped a little bit for some little things for the house that we would need. John wanted me to wait so he could help pick out some of the bigger items like a refrigerator or mattress. So here we are, two “farangs” (whities) inside this huge store with people everywhere. Everything is decently easy to understand as far as money goes because they put the number amount in English on almost everything. Josiah desperately needed sandles as did I. So as we started off into the store I start hearing “WOW!, OOOOO!, AHHH!!!” and people start clamoring around my cart poking and pinching and yacking away at Josiah.

I literally couldn’t walk a foot! They eventually let us go on our way but every couple of feet poor Josiah would get rubbed or touched in some shape or form. We finally made it through this madness to the shoe section and the ladies in the shoe section went crazy over him and wanted to pick him up and by that time he was straight sick of being touched and prodded and I had to tell them no.

They kept messing with him and he got madder and madder. He kept saying NO! No! Stop it! And they kept doing it! They thought it was cute so they kept agitating him. He was getting to the point of tears and I put my foot down and said No more! Stop! Khorb khun ka! Mai Mai! (which means: Thank you but NO NO!). I should have stopped it before but it’s like they have no definition of personal space.

We finally made our way to the check out and I had picked up a couple groceries to replenish what we had eaten of MaryBeth’s and Brian’s and gotten in line. The lady rang everything up and then she came to some apples (the equivalent of Asian apples in America) that I had picked up. They were in a sac and she said something in Thai while holding up the apples. She shook her head and said no…and put them away. She called for a lady to come and take the apples and I’m sitting here going…”What? I don’t understand…can American’s not buy apples? Eh…I just wants some apples lady…can I pick out different ones and buy them????”

She shook her head and said “You pay now!” My apples were gone and I surrendered and paid and headed out the door completely confused about the whole situation. When I got home and talked to MaryBeth she said that the apples have to be weighed at the back of the store and if their not they take them from you and you can’t buy them unless you get out of line and go weigh them.

She also said that if you buy anything that doesn’t have a price tag on it they will simply put it under the counter and won’t make any attempt to find out how much it is. They simply don’t sell it to you. She also said (about the pinching and rubbing of Josiah) that the Thai people think it’s funny to annoy a child and that they don’t have much of a regard for how the child feels so you have to watch your children very closely or they will torment them thinking it’s funny.

Most of my time while John was gone was spent cleaning and taking care of Josiah. John was like “Did you get a lot of reading done while I was gone?” I just looked at him and laughed because I had been sooo busy. MaryBeth is 8 months pregnant and having a bit of a rough time. She’s having contractions and some lower pain and she is supposed to resting completely for 10 days. She’s not due until February. So for the most part I’ve been trying to help out around the house.

It’s a real chore just doing everyday things here. For instance, I wake up and get Josiah dressed. Get a shower if I’m lucky – then we go downstairs and I make some kind of breakfast. Josiah is eating really well and he makes a horrible mess with everything. There are sugar ants everywhere. So after Josiah is done eating I have scan the perimeter for any left over food or we will be over run with ants. After that it’s on to laundry of the day and dishes. No hot water for dishes and no dryer for the laundry. So it takes quite a bit of time. By the time I’m done with that it’s about time to start thinking about lunch and what to make.

House work is very extensive. Everyone here has someone come and help with the housework because it is so intensive. At first this was a funny thought to me – I thought it was inappropriate because I felt like we have come to minister to the Thai people – not make them our maids and show them that we’re rich lazy Americans because that’s how I thought they would take it.

But what I have found out is that having a Thai woman come and help in your home is a ministry to them. What we pay them sometimes is better than they would be able to make in their lifetime. And there is no way for a missionary family to be able to function and minister to the Thai people because they would always be overrun or exhausted from just keeping up the house. It sounds like we’re just lazy Americans…I know. But it is really hard to keep everything sanitary and bugs out of the house and food cooked here.

I’ll write more sometime about that to help everyone understand…because in my American mind it wouldn’t sound right at all unless I had seen it for myself. I would have been like – yeah…you just don’t want to have to do the work! J Anyway, Josiah and I have been a mosquito buffet and it’s not fun but we’re taking measures to stop the neverending buffet. When I get bit it looks like I just got bit by a spider and it’s just a mosquito bite. But on Josiah they are little bitty round bumps because of the way his body reacts to the poison.

MaryBeth and Brian’s phone lines aren’t working now so I’m going to have to walk to the local “Internet pub” lol…more like garage with a couple computers stuck on a table…and upload my entries and do some e-mailing.

I will write again soon! God bless you! Please be praying for us.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Finally Home!

We’re home! After 32 hours of traveling we’ve finally made it to the end of our journey…or so my husband put it – we’ve made it to the beginning of our journey. When we got off the plane and got our luggage everyone was waiting for us out side of baggage claims with signs that say things like “Welcome Home!”. “We’re glad you’re here”. It was soo awesome to meet everyone.

After greeting and meeting everyone we headed off for our first Thai meal. It was incredible. The driving was crazy because the cars are all backward. The steering wheel is on the right side and you drive on the opposite side of the road. We finally got to the restaurant and I was shocked at what I saw because they said that that restaurant was famous – but it looked so simple and very humble…I guess you would say. It was like…well, how do I describe it. Almost like a garage – the front of the store was completely open in the front. They brought out these little bowls that had 3-5 little weird looking Thai food. It was either shrimp or pork in this noodle stuff. In the middle of the table they put some “DimSum?” I think that’s how you pronounce it.

I was pretty daring – Josiah wouldn’t eat because he had just woken up and was in his shy/embarrassed by all the new people mode. John ventured out a little but stuck to the rice. J After we left we went to MaryBeth and Brian’s home where we’ll be staying until we get settled in our new home.

It’s very nice. It reminds me so much of Haiti. Brian took us over to our house to check it out and I have to say I was a little overwhelmed. There is a lot of things that we’re going to need in order to make our home livable. I was really overwhelmed when he started talking about how we have a pump to pump water upstairs and that sometimes it stops working and you’ll have to do this and that…and this is where your grey water is.

Excuse me…ehh….what is grey water? Lol…turns out grey water is water that comes from your sinks and washer. It’s really gross. I really do love our new house! But it is going to be A LOT of work setting it up…not to mention A LOT of money.

During the day I went up stairs to put Josiah asleep and we all fell asleep and slept for about 7 hours. That was the hardest sleep I have slept in a long time! I woke up and felt like I had slept as hard as a rock. My eyes were even poofy. MB said “There’s nothing like that jetlag sleep”

We later came down for dinner. A lady named Alice is here too. She’s from Africa – she made dinner – a dish called African Soupie. It was basically rice with this potato soup stuff on it. It was delicious. After chatting for a while we went up to our room to try to get ready for bed.

We have an AC in our room and it felt SOOO GOOD! Man! I praise God for air conditioners. We’re in their cool season and it’s hot. Not horribly hot but it’s still pretty hot! We woke up this morning at about 4am! That would never have happened in the states. I don’t know if it’s the different atmosphere or if it’s the jet lag and off schedule. I just know that it is sooo neat to watch the neighborhood waking up.

It feels weird without my best friend Micheal being here. He’s pretty much been around for almost the majority of my life and now John and I are having these new experiences and there is no Micheal to share it with. I can’t call Lisa and share what’s going on…and my mom isn’t a phone call away to chat with. It’s ok though.

I really need to go get ready for the day. MB and Asia will be waking up soon. I’ll write again later. J

No such thing as personal space in Thailand!

Flight 2 - From Seoul, Korea to Bangkok, Thailand

Wow! That 14 hour flight was very rough on us! Mainly because of our 2 year old Josiah. We literally had to get up and make laps around the plane with him. He would just have spirts of energy and he was jumping up and down in his seat and just about to explode!

A very crazy thing happened! We almost missed our flight to Bangkok. Right after we got off the plane we headed for food. We were starved and were under the impression we had 4 hours of waiting time until our next flight. So I got some Shrimp fried rice and John headed for KFC and got some chicken sandwich. After we were done eating we headed for an internet café we had seen. While we were there trying to figure out how to pay to get on the internet I heard something about Bangkok on the overhead.

John went over to the screens that show flight and we saw that our flight was leaving. So we hussled back to the information desk where we had given up one of our tickets to rent a baby stroller – exchanged the stroller and she informed us that we had a long way to go and we had better hurry. So off we went. I’m sure we looked quite comical – we were almost in a full run trying to get to our gate. John was playing it cool but I was kinda panicy because I had made a joke on the plane earlier and I said wouldn’t it just be terrible if our plane was so delayed that we missed our connecting flight! AHHH!

Well, we made it. We got settled in and we all pretty much slept the whole way – which was awesome! When we finally arrived in Thailand and the plane stopped…Josiah woke up and the first thing out of his mouth was “Where’s Micheal!?!” That about broke my heart. Micheal is our best friend that lived with us up until we left. Then about 5 minutes later he was asking for the “Baba” – which is my sister-in-law’s baby – Elisha.

He’s already missing everyone. So here we are sitting in Burger King in Bangkok, Thailand. The most shocking thing to me is the way everyone is flipping out over Josiah. Men and women alike are touching, hugging and kissing my son. This would be totally an invasion of space in the states but these people don’t seem to know that or have any understanding of the fact that Americans typically have a safety bubble and 6 inches away is definitely invading that bubble.

Every corner we turn someone is ooooing and ahhhing at our son and patting him. Some of them have gone as far as to pick him up and walk off with him to show him to their friends. That’s where John and I say no. I can’t tell this is going to be something we deal with everywhere we go. Ahhh! Ah well, God will give us the strength and the wisdom to deal with it.

I went into the Post Office place here and used the internet briefly and told a few people that we were in Bangkok but I couldn’t’ write much because John was waiting for me outside with Josiah with finger happy Thais.

John and I were really confused after we got our luggage because we had been through immigration and gotten our luggage and then through customs without any problems what so ever – and I hadn’t been given a VISA. I was really concerned so we made a couple circles and had a couple of conversations that went in circles…and I finally called MaryBeth and Brian and it turns out that your passport serves as your 30 day VISA. Whew! People kept telling us to go through this door that said EXIT and I just knew I didn’t have our VISA’s and so we kept going different places trying to figure out where to get our VISA’s. It was quite humorous…after it was done!
Welp, I must go because I don’t have much battery left on our laptop. I’ll be writing again soon!

14 hours on a plane with a 2 year old!

First Flight - From DFW to Seoul, Korea

The sound of the plane engine is so soothing! We are in the air…flying around 600 miles per hour. You know I think the hardest part about all of this has been the goodbyes. I didn’t know this until recently but ever since 9/11 people can no longer see you off at the gate.

So last night around 10pm after I got off work I said by to my mother at her house. I couldn’t believe that I couldn’t stop the tears. It was the kind of cry where something in your chest just wells up. You know what I mean? She had cried all of her tears out the day before at church. Where as I hadn’t cried at all yet – so I cried like a waterfall.

We drove to Dallas and stayed in a hotel. Our two best friends stayed with us…Micheal and Lisa. We were so tired after grabbing a bite to eat we went straight to bed despite the fact that Lisa had brought every cool game she had (Cranium included). We woke up early and headed to the airport.

We had to say goodbye at the curb! It was sooo rough! I cried sooo hard! I’m going to miss these people soo much! My heart aches when I think about it. I’m really excited about our trip though. When we made it up the escalator in to baggage check in we were told that we could only have 1 carry on. We had brought 2 each as we had been told. !!! My heart dropped to the floor! It’s hard enough trying to fit everything you own into 6 check-in suitecases and 6 carry ons…and now we had to fit everything in our 6 carry ons into 3 carry ons!!

I plopped down and began to work while John rangled Josiah and by some miracle I did it. John and I are astonished and wonder if God didn’t work some kind of small miracle. It just doesn’t seem possible. With kid and 3 carry ons in tow we were off to our gate. We ate at McDonalds for the last time for a long time and waited for about another hour. Our plane was delayed a little bit.

I have to admit I was a bit nervous about the whole plane ride. I don’t know why but every time I’m going on a plane ride I have this anxiety about it because I have such a vivid imagination. I just pray and it goes away. Josiah did wonderful with take off. He was sooo excited about getting on an airplane.

You know one really neat thing happened while we were waiting for our plane to be ready. We were sitting infront of this windowed in area facing outside. About 5 feet on the other side of the glass American Soldiers started walking by. There must have been at least 50 of them. As they walked by in full camo I wanted to do something. Like stand up and clap or wave…er…something. I know that would have been cheesy but I wanted to show them how much it means to me that they are serving our country. John felt the same way but by the time we had talked about it most of them were already gone.

I praise God for the people who fight for our country and show such courage. It’s been nice for the past 2 hours on the plane…Josiah’s been napping. He’s awake now and it’s John’s turn. Lunch was neat. It was almost like we had the choice of an American meal or a Korean meal. It was either BBQ Beef with Mashed Potatos or Steamed rice, soup and some salad thing with salmon in it. I wasn’t dareing…I chose the BBQ beef but later regretted not getting the rice and such.

It’s amazing how advanced everything is now. There are TV’s everywhere and every once in a while when a movie isn’t playing it will show a picture of the plane over where we ware…like what state we’re passing over. There is even an exercise program that comes on every couple of hours with exercises to do in your seat. Right now they are going around selling stuff from carts.

There is a Korean movie with subtitles playing that I just can’t seem to get into. I usually do ok with subtitles but not this one. It’s the equivalent to one of our “B” movies or worse. The best I can tell. I’ll pass on the headphones thank you!

Well we’re only 4 hours into our flight. 10 more hours to go! Man, the book I brought to read had to be stuffed into the last space available in one of our check ins. John was able to hang onto his Bible, Thank God! J Welp, that’s it for now. I’ll write again later!

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Yes!!! We're still going!!!

The past week has just flown by. I can't believe what I have seen on CNN. A relative taped some of the reports on the disaster that has hit Southeast Asia and I was blown away by the devastation! Our family really thinks we're crazy now. On my side of the family we actually have people that won't support us at all because they don't think we should go. They say that wouldn't feel right about supporting us to go over there.

You know, at first I was kind of offended but then I just realized that these people don't understand what we're doing. They don't understand why we're going. We're not going for some vacation or to say we went to Thailand to "help" some people. We're going to make a difference and because we believe God has called us to go. God knew about the bombings and about the tsunami before it happened and he still has us going now. We are in his protection...

John and I were going to leave in August but we felt like we should leave in January. If we had left in August we could have been near that devastation and amongst it. I had been looking at a school in Phuket where Thailand was hit the hardest. I don't know if I would have been there when the tsunami hit but I know that there was a chance. But instead we are leaving a week after the initial shock. I believe that that is completely God's protection on us.

It truly amazes me how people get mad at us. We went in to the Health Department to get some shots and the lady was literally mad at us because we were still going to go. She was rolling her eyes and sharing her opinion on how ridiculous she thought it was that we were still going to go. I couldn't believe how mad she was and she didn't even know us. By the way we didn't get the shots because it would have cost over $450 dollars just for our shots and then we would have had to get malaria pills on top of that. Following advice from missionaries that are already over there we're going to get the shots and the pills when we get over there for half the price. :) That is an answer to prayer because we did not have that money to spend at all! But you know what - if we had had to spend it God would have provided so that we would have it back. He's taking care of us!

We are getting more and more excited. Although I've actually been having an extremely hard time the past 2 days. We've been trying to get out of our house and clean it up and it has been sooooo hard to do. We, unfortunately didn't have any help (because of holiday time) and my body has been trying to shut down. We're almost out though - a little late - but almost out! Praise God! Now it's just finishing up loose ends and saying Goodbye!!! AHH!

Some friends of ours are throwing us a Goodbye party tomorrow. We've got church in the morning, goodbye party, and then finish the house. Monday is run around like crazy day getting stuff done and then at night our father in law has rented us a hotel to stay in (in Dallas) so we don't have to wake up at the crack of dawn on Tuesday before we leave.

I hope this blog makes sense...I'm extremely worn out and tired. :) Please forgive me if I've rambled. I'll write again later. Please keep us in your prayers and especially the people of Thailand.