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Thursday, March 14, 2013

It's March...

WOW!  I think an update is well overdue.  
It's March!  I can't believe it!

Well the Thai school year is winding up and yesterday I had my last day of teaching English at ZOE before their summer break. 
It has been a challenging, exhausting and wonderful season. I hope to share more about it at some point.
I am sad to finish up with these classes (especially the teenage class) because in some ways, it feels like we have only just begun... to trust, to have a go, to make progress and to relax.  
One of the boys in my class who, for many weeks, refused to participate and listen made 100% on his spelling test yesterday!!  I was flawed.  Glory to God.
Below is a picture taken a few weeks ago when I took one of the classes outside to learn about our senses.  I had them tasting, smelling, touching, observing and listening to various objects which made for a hilarious and memorable couple of hours.  Of course, I had to get them to taste Vegemite... but sadly none of them had even heard of it before!!
On a totally separate matter, last night, I received a message from a girl I had taught when she was in Grade 2.  She is now in her second year of university!! Um... am I feeling old, or what?

Some of our family's recent highlights have been:
1. Completing the 5km Run For Relief as a family.  
It was such an achievement for our kids to do this and we enjoyed the experience of being able to encourage one another to keep going and to see the endurance our children displayed.  This is definitely something that we would love to keep doing as an annual event to participate in.
The work of the Free Burma Rangers is to support and train dozens of relief teams operating in the oppressed ethnic regions of Burma. FBR teams bring hope and love to the Burma people.

2. Catching up with the MacCartney Family.  
I was excited to receive a message from my friend Jodie saying that her and her family (who live and work in a Bangkok slum) were in Chiangmai for a couple of days and, could we catch up?  Well our children had never met but they all got along so well.  Here's two photos below from the times we caught up. 
To read about their wonderful ministry in the slum, click here.


Cramming 6 kids and 7 adults in to our car.
Having pizza and a play at our house.
And... yes, it was way past my children's bed time!
Look at those faces!

3. Eliana's dance concert.
A few months ago Eliana began dance classes with many of her classmates after school.  Her teacher is a beautiful Christian lady who not only runs a dance school but also teaches English at a Thai school AND home-schools (with her husband) their TEN children (some of whom have been adopted).
Needless to say with a heart of gold and a passion for sharing God's love, the dance concert was beautiful and different.  Different to anything I have ever been to before and very moving.
Eliana beamed throughout her whole dance routine and for many hours afterwards repeatedly saying that she'd had "the best day ever".  So sweet! 
Eliana and her gorgeous friend, Ing.
4. Studying Thai
A month or so ago, a number of us began learning to read and write Thai in addition to learning conversation skills.  
We now have a Thai tutor who comes out to ZOE on a Thursday and teaches various levels of Thai throughout the day.
I am so excited to final be able to read some simple words and phrases using the vowels and consonants that I have learnt so far.  I can now read quirky sentences like "the crow and the good fish return the plate".  Yep!  I am super proud of that.  


5. Tobi moving schools.
First day for Tobi!
We made the decision a while back to move Tobi from the wonderful international school he had been attending and put him at the same school as Eliana (and where Spencer attends preschool).  It was with so much excitement that his younger brother and sister showed him the ropes and welcomed him.  He is enjoying the not-yet-having-a-school-uniform arrangement (until August anyway) and loves choosing his outfits each day.  Now that we have moved house, it has cut 5 hours of travel out of Tobi's week.  This new and small school has an Australian curriculum too- the only one in Chiangmai.

He has settled in very well and has enthusiastically adjusted to his new homework routine and made friends quickly.  He is looking forward to his friend Sam's pool party on the weekend.

6. Dave's birthday
I had approximately 2 hours to come up with a small, family celebration for Dave's birthday on the 6th of March.  
I asked the kids what they thought Daddy would want for his birthday and they all agreed that he would like Lego!! 
Well, I decided not to buy Dave any Lego but to attempt a mini, low-key Lego party that I thought him and the kids would enjoy.  Whilst the older two were at their after school Thai language club, Spencer and I managed a green Lego cake, some party food and Lego party bags.  Spencer made those iced Lego treats unassisted, which he was proud of!!  We enjoyed some Mexican food at a local Burmese (go figure) restaurant and felt so grateful for the privilege of having another year with this precious father and husband. 

Prayer Points:
The air was very smokey today.  With Spencer and I already experiencing the 'cough' common with the burning season in Chiangmai, we'd appreciate your prayers for enough rain and wind to keep the air as clear as possible.

Eliana and Spencer will be saying goodbye to some of their close friends over the next couple of months.  This is always a heart wrenching process but a big part of the transient life here.  Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

We will be releasing a booking form in the next week or so for our annual trip back in July.  Please keep an eye out for this and encourage anyone you know, churches, groups or schools interested in the work of ZOE to make a booking and we'd be happy to share about human trafficking, orphan care, our experiences on the field or anything really!

Praise points- There's too many to list them all, but just an overwhelming sense of wonder and thankfulness for all God is doing in the lives of the children and teens at ZOE.  It is so amazing to see God's hand on their lives and share in their journeys.  

Thank you for signing up and following along on with this blog and supporting us.  I do apologise for the lack of updated information with the transition of the blog.  
I hope to get back here more often again now.

Many blessings,
Andie

Eliana's field trip to some local ruins.
Sitting with her teacher and two friends.


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