Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Two Years, Two Weeks and Three Days

Whoops.  We realized the other day that we'd missed our two year anniversary of being here in Thailand.  Not on purpose, just because... well, you know how it is.  
But before the month ends {I still have a few hours left} I'm going to take a minute to reflect on the past two years and look back on the some of the highs and the lows.
Like week 1 before we even had a car, when Spencer had curly hair and when everything was still new and exciting.
Or what about The Good, the Bad and the Ugly?  
Do you remember the fright I got when trying to roast my first chicken?
And what about getting used to the traffic conditions and the differences in parking and loading cars or just feeling... plain... old home-sick and wanting to jump on a plane and run into the arms of family.
Yep, it's certainly has been quite a journey.  
Oh and that's not even scratching the surface... what about learning Thai?  Now there's an area that we're still trying to master.  
So, just like on our one year anniversary, I thought I'd include some "then and now" shots to see how much we've grown!

THEN                   NOW

Thank you for journeying alongside us over the past 2 years. By visiting this blog, writing emails and sharing your comments, we feel like we get a glimpse in to your life also.  If you’re visiting here for the first time, we hope that our journey can bring you a few laughs as well as some encouragement. 
God bless,

Friday, January 27, 2012

Australia Day 2012

Did you have a good Australia Day?
We did!
I sent the kids off to school/ preschool with some BBQ shapes and homemade lamingtons for snack as well as an Australian flag each to wave.  Tobi also took a book about Australian animals for his teacher to read.
For dinner, we invited our good friend Jess over for a meat pie.  Mmmmm, yum!
I even played the Australian National Anthem which was a first for Jess and I'm not sure our children had ever heard it either (they can sing the Thai one though!)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

January Update

Yikes!  I'm sorry.... it's been, what? Two weeks since I've blogged.  
Okay so where did January go?
It's been a fun month, with lots happening.  Here's just a few highlights from the land of smiles.
Children's Day: On the second Saturday of January the Thai people celebrate Children's Day by taking their children out to have fun. There are special events happening all over the place and some even let children in for half price or free on this day.  We hit a local restaurant for "brunch" and enjoyed the peacefulness of the tranquil gardens surrounding us.
Athletics: Tobi's school had their annual track and field day a couple of weeks ago.  Despite being dressed in clothes that I would normally not run in, Tobi's pleading face for me to join him in the parent-child relay had me kicking off my shoes, hitching up my skirt and doing my part for his team.  Here's a few photos from his circular relay race.

Loose Tooth: January has also seen a "first" in our family.  Tobi lost his first tooth after just a week or so of it wobbling.  
Eating a cracker in the car one weekend he surprisingly declared, "My tooth just fell out" which sparked a lot of cheering and congratulations from the rest of us.
Good Times:  I mentioned that Graeme Smith had been here with an Australian team in my last post, Scary Teenagers, but we also got to hang out with him after the team left and a few other Aussies.  We had such a great afternoon chilling at a playground that had been totally created by the team on what was previously a vacant block of land.  The kids all had fun testing out all the new equipment and playing tag while us adults lazed in shade the bamboo hut looking on.   
Teepee: I had fun a few weeks ago making a teepee for our kid's toy area.  It had been the "home" in many games and a favorite reading spot. Decked with old cushions, it makes the perfect little hide-out

(made with four shower rods and 2 shower curtains).

Face painting: Eliana and Spencer are still very much enjoying their preschool program.  Every day they come home laden with the most amazing and original arts and crafts.  They have made some wonderful friends and the teaching staff are just outstanding.  One day Spencer and I had both been unwell so Dave picked up Eli and she came home looking very pleased with her beautifully painted face! 
So how's your January been?  Drop us a line.  
We hope you're well!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Scary Teenagers!

Okay so I am a trained primary school teacher... and therefore any age group that falls below or above that bracket is, well, kind-of {a bit} scary for me.
Thankfully Tobi has reached the right age group now where I feel that I can effectively help him but {honestly} I'm still fumbling my way around with Eliana and Spencer! Haha!
And then on the other end of the spectrum, there's the teenage years... and, well that's a whole different fear altogether!
But when I stop and ponder why I actually find teenagers so scary, I'm not even really sure I know the answer.  
When I actually think about the teenagers I know, that I see, that I talk to and that I have contact with regularly... none of them are at all the frightening characters that I've built "teenagers" up to be in my mind.
I remember blogging after our trip back to Australia in July about how amazed I was by the teenagers that we met at the various schools we visited. 
I also wrote about the amazing youth at Maranatha that raised over $7,000 dollars to help ZOE.
And on top of that, the older missionary kids here and ZOE youth alike are all phenomenal kids that actually inspire and challenge my thinking and actions regularly.
Why, just today I marveled at the senior students at Tobi's track and field day that pretty much organized the day and spent large amounts of time trackside, cheering on and encouraging the little ones to keep running and not give up.
And earlier this week, I had another "teenager" experience that once again left me wondering, where do I get this scary- teenager notion from that I so often resort back to?
David was recently asked by Graham Smith to assist his Australian team here, to run some sessions over at Chiangmai International School.  And so he was booked to do a couple of presentations to the Year 11 and 12 students on Human Trafficking. 
Well, after the sessions had finished, and we were about to head off to pick up our own children, one of the seventeen year old girls on the team approached us for a chat.
As the next 30 or so minutes unfolded I was, once again, BLOWN AWAY.  
I can't actually remember much of what I was really like as a seventeen year old girl, but I sure don't remember being as bold, courageous, confident, mature, aware, sensitive and motivated as this girl. 

I'm telling you, it is my privilege to have these opportunities to meet these young people.  I LOVE hearing their hearts and seeing the potential in them to go on and do AMAZING things.

I truly believe this generation are the ones rising up to make changes and to be the voice on many issues that we're facing today and I am excited to be around them to see a glimpse of what their putting their hands to as well as spending time just hanging out and hearing about their dreams and passions. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Flashback! Official Opening!

Last January, we experienced one of the most unforgettable moments here at ZOE Children’s Home.

We celebrated the official opening of our new buildings- the House of Destiny, which was built in partnership with ‘Life Outreach International’ (LOI) and completed in 2010.

Months in the planning, the day was organised down to the last minute and every little detail had been carefully planned and thought out.  

Even a film crew came to record the ceremony for ‘Life Today’ as well as a team of LOI donors.  We were all very excited.
A group of us went to the airport to greet the LOI team.

Here’s how the day unfolded:

Behind the scenes, Carol Hart (founder) briefed
us on the order of service.

The ZOE children watched on excitedly as everything
was put in place ready for the big day.
The LOI team arrived at ZOE and saw the House of Destiny for the very first time.
The emotions overwhelm some of them as they see this huge project finally completed and realize the magnitude of what this home will provide.

The team made their way up the hill to a warm welcome of cheering from the missionaries waiting on the balconies.

Inside, the ZOE family wait patiently for the team to arrive.

More hugging and welcoming!

A memorable service of thanksgiving then unfolded.   Some of the children had the opportunity to share their gratitude and explain what the provision of this building has meant to them... the ZOE children sang for the team (pictured above) ... and the LOI team also shared.  

Pictured below is a time of honoring Mike and Carol (founders) for their commitment, integrity and dedication to the completion of this project.


 ...outside for the official ribbon cutting!

From our trip to see the land and the foundations in June 2009, to this special occasion a year ago I am so grateful for all that has transpired and all that will as we now focus on 2012.  

Whenever we stand on the balcony of this beautiful building we are just so thankful to God for all He has provided and will continue to do here through the rescuing of orphans and children, at risk and affected by human trafficking.

Thank you for being a part of this journey with us!  And for reading this blog and keeping up with all that's happening over here.  We really value your support, interest and feedback.