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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Enough Already

Spencer telling me “no more photos” after I was stalking him for a nice shot!

Now I know that December is not quite over yet, but have you ever come to the end of a really busy month and just thought, “enough already!” ? Well I think that’s about how our kids are feeling at the moment. It’s been a great month, but a full month, and the last couple of days there’s been some melt downs, there’s been some tears and there’s been a general feeling of “that’s enough now!”.

I don’t want to focus on the ‘melt downs’ though so I thought I’d give you a summary (in photos) about our highlights through the month of December.  
CLICK HERE! 

(Sorry these photos are all still on our old blog).

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Guest Blogger: Marlane Cross


We said goodbye to “Nanny and Grandy” today at the airport.  
Thank you for visiting us and for celebrating Christmas here in Thailand.
Here’s what Dave’s mum had to say about her trip:

What a joy for Darryl and I to have almost the whole month of December with David, Andrea, Tobiah, Eliana and Spencer in Thailand.
The first 10 days was spent at the Juniper Tree –a respite/holiday venue for missionary families.
This was a special time of blessing as we shared in the journeys  of other workers in Asia, as they served in Laos, Cambodia, Korea, India and China.  Three of the families had come to Chiang Mai to await the birth of their next baby.
Whilst seeing our family again, visiting their home and learning more about the work at ZOE was the major reason for the journey, we also came to celebrate three birthdays; Eliana’s, mine and, the most important birthday of them all, Jesus.  
The children had participated in the lead up to Christmas day with a daily portion of the narrative and a treat from their advent calendars. At last the final pocket was empty.  On Christmas morning, David reminded us that God had given us the greatest gift of all in His son.  Now it was our turn to share the love by giving and receiving presents. What fun that was!




A couple of days before Christmas some of the ZOE team were able to distribute a gift (that was provided by an overseas donor) of 2000 pairs of shoes.   The ZOE children loved to receive these new shoes and were just as excited to help with the distribution as they gave shoes to children in surrounding children’s homes and schools.    (We’ll blog more about this soon)
In some ways it has seemed surreal celebrating Christmas in Thailand. All the shops are open, even a friend of David and Andrea’s had 4 examinations for her teaching course on the 25th.   Some of the hotels and shopping centers are playing Christmas carols, advertising special lunches and displaying decorated tree and snowmen!  Although it is winter here, I think the snowmen would melt very quickly in the 28-32 degree heat!




Despite this display of western commercialism, the fact remains that Jesus is the reason for the season. We, who have accepted the gift of God’s Son, celebrate with thankful hearts and stand in awe of His great love that is poured out for all humanity.
                Marlane
Saying 'goodbye' at the airport.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010


A Christmas Blessing by Helen Steiner Rice
 
May the love of God surround you
May his peace be all around you
And may your day be blessed
With everything that’s happiest.
 
God bless you with everything
Bright and beautiful at Christmas time
And in 2011!






PS Thanks Ann for sending this poem to us!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

STICKY FALLS



Recently, on holidays, we were debating whether to go to the Chiangmai Zoo or try to find a waterfall referred to as “Sticky Falls”. I am so pleased to report that we decided to take the road less travelled and discover the beauty of the falls. 
I was thinking, ‘We’ve been to a waterfall already, how much better can it get?’ but how wrong I was. 
Sticky Falls is almost indescribable. I hope from the photos below you can understand just a little bit of how amazing this place is. 
We had fair walk to get to the falls but once there, we had the most amazing time. These particular water falls are lime stone so we were able to climb up and down them- the rocks weren’t slippery at all.
We were also pleasantly surprised to see that we had the waterfalls to ourselves this day (apparently it can get pretty busy).


















What do you think? Beautiful hey?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

So Proud



Last Friday was a cause for much celebration for Dave and I.  We watched all three of our children participate in a Christmas concert.

What proud moments as Eliana danced a Thai dance in traditional costume, Tobi remembered his lines in the play (word perfect) and Spencer did what he does best-  DANCE!

Dave’s put together this little movie with some of the highlights from the day. Enjoy!!


Thursday, December 16, 2010

How Long?

Apparently, as I write this, there are 8 days 16 hours and 20 minutes left till Christmas... Or is it 19 minutes now? But who’s counting hey?
Many people have asked us what it’s like at Christmas time in Thailand.  So I thought I’d try to describe it. 
Well, for starters, we don’t get junk mail or have television so it’s a bit unusual not to be bombarded with advertising this year.  There are some Christmas decorations available at the shops such a tinsel, balls, bells etc but what I notice is the lack of items reflecting the true meaning of Christmas (e.g. no nativity sets etc).  Christmas paper is quite hard to come buy, but not impossible- I have settled for plain reds and golds though just to save time looking!
Thai people love to celebrate, so it doesn’t seem to matter if the Christmas festival originated in a different country or comes from a completely different religion, they still enjoy celebrating the “fun” side of the festive season. To them, Christmas means, Santa Claus, angels and Christmas carols and is mainly linked  to the upcoming New Year holiday.   Unlike other countries, Thailand is very tolerant of other religions.
Christmas Day is not a public holiday in Thailand and many Thai schools and universities even have exams running on the 25th this year.  Our children go to a Christian, international school/ kindergarten so they will finish second term tomorrow and resume for Term 3 at the beginning of January- if you remember their school year ends in June and begins in August (similar to the American school year).
Okay, so here’s my top ten list for you.
10 things that are or will be DIFFERENT this year  
(NB “different” doesn’t mean good or bad, just different!)  
  1. 1.Having a little plastic tree.
  2. 2.Celebrating at ZOE on Christmas Day.
  3. 3.Being away from most of our family 
(we’re blessed to have Dave’s parents here though)
  1. 4.It’s winter!!  
(okay that doesn’t really count as it’s still 30 degrees)
  1. 5.We won’t be eating roast, pudding or custard :(
  2. 6.All the shops and businesses will still be trading on Christmas Day.
  3. 7.No Boxing Day sales!  or Test Match for Dave to watch!!
  4. 8. We won’t be able to watch the carols at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl on Christmas Eve.
  5. 9.Or visit the Myer windows (okay so we probably weren’t going to do that anyway LOL)
  6. 10. And there’ll be no presents this year.... Ha ha ONLY JOKING!!!!!!
Alright, well now there’s 8 days 15 hours and 29 minutes left till Christmas ... AND you can calculate how long it took me to write this blog!!
Enjoy your week.  Blessings,
Andie :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

SEATTLE MEDICAL MISSIONS TEAM


The ZOE family has such a sense of fun. I love it how the Tang family organised for the ‘welcoming’ team to bandage themselves up at the airport to welcome the Seattle Medical Missions Team.

"My doctor gave me six months to live, 
but when I couldn't pay the bill he gave me six months more!"   Walter Matthau.
I love the ZOE family.  Pictured above are some staff and students that met the medical team at the airport all dressed up in bandages to welcome the medical team.  So funny!  
I heard it actually took a few minutes for team of traveling doctors to realise that it was all just a big joke though... they all appeared very shocked and concerned as they walked through customs and almost set straight to work on the sad and sorry looking bunch. 
~
Proper medical care is something that many of us simply expect or take for granted, but to be able to go to a doctor and receive treatment and advice is a service that millions of people, in other parts of the world, miss out on.  
You may remember back in June when I posted on ‘A week of goodbyes and hellos‘,  I mentioned our dear friend Aunty Joyce who was returning home to the States for a time.  Well, for the past week she has been back at ZOE with a team of medical experts.  The team consisted of doctors, nurses, pediatricians, orthodontists, optometrists etc.   At the start of the week ZOE was transferred into a series of medical clinics, and the team treated the ZOE children, staff, students and children from a nearby children’s home.


As the team relocated to a more isolated hill-tribe village (where medical facilities and trained practitioners can be few and far between) the ZOE staff and students oversaw all the logistics and provided the translation service for the team as they conducted a four day medical clinic.


As we’ve been away the past couple of weeks, we only got to meet the team (and see Joyce) this morning at the airport.  They departed today :(

I loved hearing the stories this morning of the team testing the villagers eye sight and being able to match donated eye glasses to people who would otherwise not be able to see properly.  Though we were unable to be with this team we wanted to share some of the joy with you.


Thank you so much Seattle Medical Missions Team- what a blessing you are!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Something OLD, Something NEW, Something BORROWED, Something BLUE

From left to right: P Am, P Penn, P Wep, P Nid, P Three and P Sakon

Recently we attended our first wedding in Thailand. We were so excited to be able to be a part of celebrating P Wep and P Nid’s marriage.  Although they are both originally from Karen villages, they chose to have a city wedding.

P Wep has been so kind to us.  He was one of the men that helped us to move in to our current house and  P Nid was one of the first people I got to know at ZOE Children's Homes.  She had spent some time living with a family in Australia and so our accents were never a problem to her.  She also has very good English herself and, besides being an extraordinary cook at ZOE, she is also a fantastic translator. 


PS.  I must explain, we’d come straight from the Juniper Tree where we did not have our Sunday best clothes, so please excuse our more ‘casual’ look!  

I think I was the “something blue” LOL!



Monday, December 13, 2010

The Juniper Tree


Why 'The Juniper Tree'?
There’s a story in the Bible about Elijah who was a great prophet. His obedience to His God was often rewarded with great signs and wonders. Jezebel a wicked queen wanted to kill him so Elijah literally had to run for his life. Weary, afraid and frustrated he sat down to rest under the juniper tree. There an angel came, comforted him, fed him and encouraged him. His call from God was renewed and he returned to ministry with even greater purpose and power than before.
The Juniper Tree in Chiangmai is also a resting place for Christian- workers overseas who may be in need of refreshment as Elijah was.   This peaceful get-away ensures that they return to their work with new purpose and focus.
Here’s some snap shots from our time away.










We look forward to catching up on all the emails and news from back home in the next few days as we settle back in.

Love to you all,
Andie.