Sunday, August 24, 2014

We survived our 1st year in Thailand!

There have been many times when surviving alone felt like a huge accomplishment. This time last year life drastically changed for us. Leaving our families was hard. Even when the 1 year “anniversary” came along (August 19th) it wasn’t really mentioned around family, because it’s not something they want to celebrate or think about. After we said our goodbyes last year we started life here in Bangkok, Thailand. The beginning stages of trying to adapt and understand a new culture and language had just begun. So many memories… some good and some not so good. We would like to share with you some of the things we have done the past year, where we are at now, and where we see ourselves in the future.

What we have done: Survived. Where do you buy food. What kind of food can you find that is familiar. What food is going to hurt you the next morning? How are you going to get all your food home without a car. How do you ask for food (pointing can only go so far). Do I really have to eat that if you offer it and watch to see if I eat it? That’s just about food. What about a bank account, telephones, water bill, electric bill, connecting internet, and transportation. These things were so easy back home and could be done in no time. In America we have grown up seeing how things work, and communication is never really a problem because we can speak english to the people at the bank, grocery store, postoffice, etc. We can say after struggling for a year these things have gotten easier for us in Thailand. Not easy, but easier as we have learned some of the language and differences in how the Thai culture operates. 

So, what else other than surviving have we done. We have taken on a new language. It feels like we are far from perfect and fluency, but we are now at the level that we can function in the Thai language. Small talk around the dinner table about school, relationships, and God can be done, but only at a basic level. We have learned to read, write, and type in Thai (ex: ตอนนี้ผมพิมพ์ในภาษาไทยอยู่ครับ). That sentence says, “right now I’m typing in Thai.” But see, I had to use a dictionary to check one word, and who knows I’m sure there are mistakes. But as we have learned pride and fear of making mistakes can hinder you from learning a language. If it first has to be perfect before it is written or spoken you have a big problem, because it takes a long time to sound like and write like a native Thai speaker. We have almost completed our one year of Thai studies, and we have one more year of formal learning to go. We study outside of school as much as we can, and we talk with people around us when we can. We watch Thai TV several times a week and try our best to understand. Also Brandon has a friend who comes over once a week to teach him Thai, and Brandon helps him with english. Jack has turned out to be a great friend. Pray that he would come to know Christ . We have some good relationships with people our age at the Thai church we attend. We also have relationships with people around our house and restaurants we regularly attend. People are often curious about why we are here and why we can speak Thai, or I should say “some Thai” because they soon find out our limit. Brittney is getting a lot of attention now that she is 7 months pregnant. It is always funny and sweet to see people come up to her and touch her belly. We could go on and on about things that happened this year, but on to the second topic.

Where we are now: The biggest concern and topic on our mind is our baby girl who’s due date is October 20th. We decided a few weeks ago to name here Josie Grace Lingle. We have been very busy trying to get things ready for her. This week we moved to a bigger condo (2 bedrooms), so we can make way for our family to expand. We have been on the hunt for things that we are use to back home for taking care of a baby. Example crib, stroller, rocking chair, and other things. We have found most of the things, and are happy about that. Right now we are taking it one day at a time. Brittney is having lots of aches and discomforts, but we praise God that the doctor says everything is good with Brittney and the baby. The hard thing is, and please pray for us about this, is we will not have family here with us when Brittney delivers Josie. This is going to be tough. Many of you know more than us the importance of having family during this time. It will be hard for us and them. Please pray. 

So now as I type we are moved into our new condo. We have already met two of our neighbors. How we met the one across the hall is interesting and funny. A few days ago Brandon was going back and forth from our new place to our old place to take care of the last things with our move. He was extremely exhausted and thought about going through the parking garage to avoid being stopped and having to talk in Thai. But, in that moment, God convicted him that the whole reason we are here is to meet people and share Jesus with them. Well… On his way up in the elevator the lady and her teenage daughter pushed the 33rd floor. Which is the tallest floor in our building, and that just happens to be the floor we live on now. Brandon just stood there. She looked at him funny thinking maybe he is forgetting to push his floor number. Finally they all arrive at the top floor. They get out first, and then Brandon followed. They turn right and so did he haha. When the cautious mother turns around to give him a look Brandon says in Thai, “I guess we are neighbors? We just moved into this room today.” She smiled and started talking with him. About an hour later she comes over to our house with a big ol’ slice of blueberry cheese cake and says, “I made it myself!” 
She told us she has a car and if we ever need her to run Brittney to the hospital she is available. We have never met such a sweet neighbor here in Bangkok. Can’t wait to see how our relationship with her and her family will grow. 

So where are we going? As some of you know our teammates Jo and Jessie are here. We look forward to working with them in planting a church in this area. We know there are people that God will draw to Himself through the sharing of the gospel. We pray that even some of the people we know now will respond to the wonderful gospel message in faith and repentance. There is so much work to be done. We hope soon after our studies to start english outreaches. We will be using english because many people here want to learn or better there english. We are still hoping to use the Bible as a text book and conversation starter when teaching. 
Speaking of this! You won’t believe it, but I just had the lady who helped us find our house come over. She came to talk with the mechanics about fixing our air-conditioner. And while we were waiting on them the conversation came up about church and the Bible because I told her we went to church today. I showed her my Bible and we talked about it a while. I soon came to my limit of what I could tell here. Then I called Jo and he came to share with her about the Bible. It seems like the mechanics were snickering at her for wanting to know more and for wanting to buy a Bible. Her name is Gai (sounds like the word “guy”). She liked my Bible and said she wanted one that had english and thai also. Gai said it would be great because “reading the Bible will help me learn english, be a good person, and know God!” Today was the first time she ever read a portion of Scripture. Praise God, this is so exciting! *We will use some of the funds raised for Bibles to buy her one!  

Thanks to all who have faithfully supported and/or prayed for us this year. We know without God using your support and prayers we couldn’t be here doing what we are doing. 

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