Malones in Isaan Thailand - Working amongst the unreached of Isaan

Follow the adventures of the Malones in Thailand as we work with urban and rural peoples in the Isaan area in Thailand. We aim to share the Good News of Jesus with the Isaan and mobilise for 5 teams across Isaan. Previously, we were with the poor in Samut Prakan (part of Greater Bangkok). If you would like to work with us (short or long-term) please don't hesitate to contact us for more information.

27 December 2009

Encouragement of Christmas outreaches

As another year draws to a close, I am conscious of many discouragements in this difficult land, yet also many encouragements. You know, if we go simply by feelings we will fail to walk along the path that God wants us in ..... I have certainly learnt that over this last year. God's call to win the Central Thai people group and the enormity of the task at hand has not changed. But who am I? a simple person who has fallen and being broken over many years - not capable of doing the task at hand on my own, but ever determined to follow my best friend Jesus in winning the lost, even if it means walking to the cross.

I have posted below some pictures of our Christmas outreaches held in 4 separate communities in the period 13-19 December. You can also see a short video of one of the outreaches by clicking on my Youtube channel on the right of this page. The encouragement of the Outreaches has reinforced to me the promise of God's faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22,23), which has completely overshadowed all discouragements of 2009. For those not on Facebook, this will be your first view of these pictures. Please look at them slowly, read the short descriptions and pray for the people you see ..... it may be their only chance to get snatched from the lake of fire that we read about in Jude verse 23. And on behalf of those people in the photos and from the bottom of my heart, I thank you for praying, I love you and appreciate you very much.

A 13 year old girl chooses to follow Jesus

The fulfillment of an ice-cream is nothing compared to the fulfillment that Jesus can give (as Jet is being exposed to)

Rays of sunlight beam onto children choosing Jesus

Jen & I with some of our kids we teach every Saturday... as they hold their Christmas gifts, we desperately want them to grow in the gift of Jesus for them

Sea of faces (adults and kids) wait to hear the Good News

The challenge of ongoing discipleship as many say yes to Jesus

Truly the harvest is ripe and the labourers are few. We are trying to put discipleship groups together to respond to the many who came forward to receive Jesus at the Christmas outreaches. The task is great .... Jesus has them in His Hands, but we need your help. Will you join in working with the movement of the Holy Spirit through Asia?

08 December 2009

A warrior of the faith

It is refreshing to meet Thais who love their people and have a burning desire to see their fellow Thai come to know the Living God. These people are true leaders who give and serve, even when they're feeling tired, for the sake of their own people. One such man is our friend Citichai. He loves Jesus greatly and works tirelessly to see Jesus become known amongst the Central Thai.

Here Citichai works with some kids from a slum community

Citichai is a happily married man aged 40 with 3 beautiful young kids. He works as the Assistant Pastor at our Thai church. However, life was not always happy for Citichai. He sold himself into drug addiction for 13 years, which took away many years of his life and plunged him into a life of hopelessness and poverty. However, Jesus rescued him 14 years ago and transformed him into the new man we know now.

We love Citichai, we laugh with him at his constant forgetfulness - a consequence of the long hard years of drug addiction - yet know that Jesus never forgets him and is with him every day in the tough battles God calls him to fight as a warrior. He understands the many addicts that live in our slum communities - having been rescued from this lifestyle.

He recently told us that now he has children (which take a lot of his energy) he gets up as late as 6.00am everyday to meet with God. I am not sure what time he used to get up, but even at 6.00am this is a real commitment that obviously results in an infectious love for Jesus.

Kids tend to be drawn to Citichai's infectious love for Jesus

Thai kids cling to Citichai because there is something different about him - maybe it is the transformed life and love that flows naturally from him as he walks daily with the Living God. There is nothing in terms of possessions that makes Citichai smile, he has very little. The car he drives (essential for his ministry) is VERY old and breaks down every day. One day he turned up late for a leaders meeting at church because his car broke down and then he had to catch a motorcycle-taxi during which time his glasses blew off and subsequently broke. A friend at church was quick to do some temporary soldering work so Citichai could see again :-) Citichai's wife must work full-time (although they have 3 young children under the age of 6) in order for them to be able to feed and clothe their children.

Although he has little in terms of material possessions, Citichai loves serving the Living God

This is an example of a new/first-generation Thai believer who we are working closely with in one of our slum communities. Please pray for Citichai that his infectious love would continue to touch his people and the schemes of the evil one would be ineffective against him.

Please also pray for us as we work with Citichai on Christmas outreach over the coming weeks.

29 November 2009

When prayer offensive takes place opposition is certain

Last week we were blessed by a group of Thai believers prayer walking with us one evening through our communities of ministry - the slum communities in which we work and the schools in which we teach. It was stirring prayer, in which we claimed territory for Jesus Christ, and in which we claimed the end of exploitation of human beings by the evil one. Also, I've been prayer walking through one of these communities almost weekly now for the last year and a half. One would think the job is done, right?

I'm afraid not. The very next day, Jen & I went as usual into one of these slum communities to teach the children, including opening God's Word together. However, this day we saw the greatest disruption we have had - with most kids being troublesome so that even the few that were interested could not have the opportunity to hear a story about the Lord Jesus.

Then last week both schools that we prayer-walked past contacted us to cancel our Christmas Day outreach (Note: Christmas Day is a normal working day here as it is considered a 'western festival' only and therefore is NOT a holiday). The reasons for cancelling seemed minor and irrelevant (i.e. an all-day 'teachers meeting' to close the school for the day, rescheduling of exams to take place on 25 December). This disappointment comes despite our excellent relationships with both schools and the credibility God has built up for us there over many years already.

I could slip into disappointment and depression about this, because it does tear my heart apart. But God has been speaking to me (no coincidence, of course) in Nehemiah chapters 1 and 2. After engaging in 4 months of prayer, Nehemiah sought the king's permission to rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem. Yet he faced ridicule and opposition. Further reading shows he pressed ahead in strength claiming the power of God over opposition. It seems to me that this is what I need to do in this circumstance - not to give up prayer-walking or serving in these communities, but to press ahead in the strength and authority that is available from the Living God through Jesus Christ my Lord.

Some of "our kids" in one of our communities
- they get an opportunity to hear God's Word every Saturday

Will you pray with us, please? , because when a prayer offensive takes place then opposition is always certain !!

14 November 2009

An Attempt to Ease the Poverty Dilemma

Last month we blogged on the poverty dilemma that we see every day in our local communities. As we have prayed and talked with people and brainstormed with our local pastor, an idea that we have had in the backs of minds for a while now, is beginning to look like becoming reality.

There are many women in the slum communities who are constantly trying to find ways of making enough money to live on. We wrote about Mae Gulaap who looks after a baby for the equivalent of $3 a day. Others sweep streets, clean toilets or collect recyclable rubbish from rubbish bins. Last week when I visited a friend, Pi Eew in her home, she was putting pegs together. For 10 hours of this menial work she receives the equivalent of $2.

At the same time, another friend, Pi Anong, has craft skills that she would love to share with people in her community but has not been able to get any support from her community leaders. Another friend at church is ready to teach women jewellery making skills in order to give them another option for earning an income. The only missing link is a viable market. This is where you could come in.

If after looking at the accompanying photos of jewellery and Anong's handbag, you have ideas for selling these products eg, in churches, coffee shops, at parties, please let me know, as we can't begin a project like this without being sure we can draw an income from it for the women.

02 November 2009

A new fellowship birthed

God blesses us with times when we come across some extraordinary people. Charlee is one of those. He is blind - the result of a fight some years ago. Subsequent to that, Charlee met Jesus. As a result, he loves the people in his community and has never wallowed in his plight of poverty and disadvantage (in Thailand there is no Government help for those who are stuck in poverty because of their circumstances). We came across Charlee last year when we served for some months teaching English in his community. Charlee started a cell church in his one-room dwelling (no bigger than 9 square metres). As the cell church began to grow it soon became apparent that the accommodation was inadequate .... so Charlee approached us for help to move to a bigger dwelling.

We then adopted this church as one of our financial projects. Thanks to the financial generosity of some of our friends in Australia this little cell church in the slum community now has a place to meet. To our knowledge it is the only church operating WITHIN a slum community in Samut Prakan. Samut Prakan is the city province in which we live - an industrial city housing most of Thailand's major industries, but also a city with large tracts of people living in poverty and sub-standard housing.

Outside the cell church building

Dom (standing) and Charlee leading a worship service

Sitting on the floor waiting for church to begin

Jen interacting with some of the kids, while Charlee tunes his guitar in the background

Some of the kids perform a dance of praise to God

Please pray for this community that the witness of faithful people like Charlee (who have very little) will continue to touch the people around him whom he loves.

20 October 2009

English Camp at the beach

Last week we ran our Annual English Camp with a local school from Samut Prakan. This represents the only opportunity these people get to hear the Good News that God had placed in our hearts. We travelled down to Rayong Beach. 90 kids attended, along with 10 Thai teachers and our team of 11 native English speakers (including Jen & I). By the way, I'm still not telling anyone that I failed English at school :-) Thankfully, I am married to a wonderful woman who not only has TESOL training but clearly knows what she is doing. Also, we were blessed with a great team of volunteers who came from Chiang Mai (Thailand), Sydney and Canberra (Australia). They gave their all and brought a variety of skills and gifts to the Camp (beyond English teaching) - they were a fantastic team :-)

The great group of volunteers who helped us run the Camp

Hot pink was the theme colour for teachers at this year's camp. Somehow, I don't think I will be wearing my hot pink shirt again - Jen tells me it doesn't suit me !!

This is a unique opportunity we have every October to continue to build relationships with this local school and share the Good News with those who come along to Camp. We are really thankful that every child got an opportunity to hear about Jesus - either through the 'Bible Story' activity or through our interactions with them. Also, we were blessed to have many opportunities to interact with the Thai teachers. These relationships allow us to hold an assembly in the school on Christmas Day to share the Good News story God has given us - yep, schools here are open as normal right through what Westerners know as the Christmas period.

Acting out a story about Jesus going to His friends in the storm

One of the 5 teams lining up for a photo on the beach

Outside games activity

As we plan to be in Australia this time next year, we are unable to run the Camp next October. This was burdening our hearts, yet we are hopeful that God may have provided already a team of people who can liaise with one of the Thai teachers and another worker here in Thailand to make sure the Camp still goes ahead next October.

Yet another opportunity that God provides here to testify about the God of all creation to a people group that has had previous little impact from the Good News.

07 October 2009

The poverty dilemma

I often ask myself the question here in Thailand .... why do people live in such poverty when so many are living comfortable lives? And then, how best can we help people who are often in dire physical need?

Let me share a story.... Mae GuLaap (translated 'Mother Rose') is a 70+ year old lady who must fend for herself in her simple dwelling made of wood and cast iron in one of the communities in which we work. She needs to earn income because social welfare is inadequate to keep her alive. She lives with two children who have been abandoned by their parents. Then she looks after many more each day in order to earn 100 baht per day (equivalent to around $A 3.40). These little children are left by their mothers because they must go off to earn whatever they can through selling food on the streets and work long hours (a 12 hour day selling food is not uncommon). The dilemma Mae GuLaap has is that (in case of 2 children previously) the mothers may not come back for their children and then she must take on more young ones in her permanent care. The picture below shows one of the children (a small baby) looked after by Mae GuLaap. This baby is left with her for around 12 hours each day for 7 days a week.

One of the children looked after by Mae GuLaap - a baby rocking to sleep outside Mae GuLaap's dwelling

Mae GuLaap has tremendous needs, yet her face oozes out the love of God with a smile that can only come from Jesus giving her strength. She is a member of our church. But she rarely gets to church because she must earn her income 7 days a week. This is the reality of living from day-to-day on the poverty line in a country where there is little social welfare and few people to help those in need.

Last week we took Mae GuLaap a huge bag of rice - her face lit up like she had won the lottery :-) . A practical way to help meet a need and it probably means she can feed the children who have been abandoned into her care during the next week.

Green stagnant water lays beneath these places all year round in one of our slum communities

As you can see in the picture above, a lot of care is undertaken to ensure the spirits reside in well elevated little dwellings that are clean and carefully maintained. People, on the other hand, reside in houses made of whatever materials can be slapped together. We would love to be able to help teach people the importance of a clean and safe environment. Also, there are huge opportunities here to help in community development (more specifically community health development), if we had the people skilled in this area.

But, daily we are faced with the dilemma of how to best help people in poverty .... handing out money is not wise because it grows dependence and breaks down community by showing favouritism, yet turning your back on valid needs is certainly not what Jesus would do. We are increasingly coming to the conclusion that one reason God has called us here is to share our blessings with people in need - through providing food and other practical assistance (such as helping to pay education fees for children). It is a dilemma - while financial dependence is not a good thing there is a need for assistance. This assistance must respond to specific needs (e.g. helping the elderly with food parcels, or, helping younger more-able people with the means to run their own businesses). That is, in the case of younger people, the old adage applies "if you give them a fish, they will eat for a day but if you teach them how to fish they will eat for a lifetime".

Above all, we have Good News about salvation. God calls us to share this Good News while we are being Christ to people in caring for them physically.

Finally, we must ask ourselves the question in all circumstances like these .... what would Jesus do?

30 September 2009

Is this a future Thai leader?

Every community has its leaders, whether by natural selection, by force, or by default. Even in a community of kids there are natural leaders who step up to the mark and lead their mates around. We see this with the kids we interact with in the communities we serve here in Thailand.

Let me introduce you to one of those ... his name is Jet and we think he is 8 years old. Many kids in our communities don't actually know how old they are because no one has told them when their birthday is. The number of kids we get to our kids' program on Thursdays and Saturdays can often depend entirely on how Jet feels that day. Let me share an example .... last Saturday, Jet said to me that he was not going to our Program of English teaching and games in the afternoon. And, so true to his word, he walked around telling others also not to go. His 'followers' promptly did what he said and didn't turn up. More on that later ....

Jet, like many kids we spend time with, is very needy without any male role model in his life. IF he is feeling OK he will grab hold of you and insist you give him all your attention and stops others receiving attention. Yet, on the other hand, he also takes a natural leadership position of organising the kids and trying to control them (whether they are older or younger) and many follow - out of respect or fear or wanting to be led, I really don't know why.

Mischievous Jet - but insisting on being up the front

Jet is very happy when he is in charge. But he is somewhat disruptive when he is being led.

Again, Jet making the 'statement' that he is the leader of 'the gang'

He doesn't go to school and spends his time either wandering around his slum community or playing and then is ready to boss others when they return home from the local school.

Jet refusing the challenge of a friend climbing to his 'height'

Most kids respect him and don't stand up to him, because he will be very forceful to get his own way.

Jet (on the right) trying to be cool, but he doesn't let his friends 'step out of line'

Anyway, back to last Saturday .... Jet finally decided (out of boredom, I think) that it was a good idea to join in with our kids' program at which time he stood with hands on his hip and yelled at the top of his voice for all the neighbourhood kids to come along as well. Those who didn't dare challenge his leadership prior to this time were now free to come and they all enjoyed our time together joining in with lots of fun games and activities. We had around 20 kids that day.

What do you think when I introduce you to Jet ? Possibilities can include ....
1. You may see his leadership qualities and the potential of a young man like this ?
2. You may think he is just a kid who misbehaves and wants his own way and should be disciplined ?
3. You may see that he is a kid with deep needs and deep wounds who has been rejected by potential adult role models who are too preoccupied by their own issues that stem from their extreme poverty ?
4. You may see that this child needs love and the care and leadership of Jesus in his life ?

I actually see the enormous leadership potential in Jet and want to provide care for him that eventually introduces him to my favourite leader - Jesus Christ. I have been encouraged by a friend in Australia to pray for Jet that one day he will become a servant leader of the emerging Thai church. Will you consider praying that with me?

My favourite leader is Jesus Christ because He showed how to lead people through servanthood. He never lords it over people but poured Himself out through His sacrificial death and continues to pour Himself out so His followers can be free. There is no better leader than Jesus - that is who we seek to serve and demonstrate to the communities in which we live.

Please pray that these natural leaders (like Jet) would choose the servanthood leadership of Jesus Christ and become natural servant leaders for their people in a way that revolutionises the Thai church.

22 September 2009

The Communities in whch we work - part 3 of 3

3rd in the series of communities in which we work, this blog features the neighbourhood in which we live. Our outreach activities in this community are concentrated on Fridays where we hold a club for kids and teenagers to learn English, and then teach English in our local government school.

The picture below shows a typical street in our neighbourhood. Vegetation grows quickly here in the hot humid climate and can typically overrun disused dwellings or vacant land.

Many locals in our community live in small high density dwellings - the picture below shows a poor housing block 1 minute walk from our place. By and large people will put whatever money they have into a vehicle (which is the status symbol in Thailand) and not into their dwelling.

Every Friday afternoon we open our house for kids and teenagers to come and learn English. The photo below shows a part of this group lining up for a game outside.

We normally get around 20 coming to join in games, songs and a Bible story - we use as many creative methods as possible to teach English while also sharing the Good News that is on our hearts.

Video - Jen sharing story about Jesus in our house

But before we hold this activity at our house, on Friday mornings we teach English at our local school. Last week we taught a Year 5/6 class of 55 kids. In the picture below Jen & I pose for a photo with some of the kids from lower grades. Many of these kids already know us as they live in Community No.1 which we featured in a blog a couple of weeks ago.
Please pray for this community in which we live that God would use us to be as light and salt to a people who have never heard of the Good News available to them from the Living God.

15 September 2009

The Communities in which we work - part 2 of 3

2nd in the series of communities in which we work, this blog features a larger slum community but with the same sorts of issues as the first one. Normally, we get into a 'songtaew' and travel for about 10 minutes to be there on 2 days per week.

In this community we teach adults on one day and then on another day we hold a program for kids and attend an adult cell church in the home of one of the believers.

Picture 1 - adults learn English at slum community no.2

At this stage, we are building relationships with these and other adults and use every opportunity to testify to the Hope and Restoration that we have through Jesus. In contrast to other English classes, we do not use God's Word in this class to teach English but just use a range of other materials. Each week God gives us greater insight into the needs of these people.

Then on another day we hold a program for kids and gather in a large central community meeting place, which we have done for about 3-4 months now. This has found favour with the Committee that runs the Community as well as the range of other adults who sit around to listen and observe our English class. Our Thai church has just begun to help us in this activity. Over the last few weeks we have slowly begun to introduce our Great God in many songs we do with the kids.

Picture 2 - some of the kids sit in groups to play 'animal bingo'

Picture 3 - Phil x 2 ... here, I piggyback one of our kids whose name is Phil

In contrast to other slum communities we have been exposed to, our kids program here is predominantly full of boys (normally in other places, we get to interact with more girls in a class). On an average day we will get anything from 15 to 25 boys attending and around 1-2 girls. The boys have the same heartbreaking issues as in other communities - no male role models and mostly looked after by grandparents because the parents have abandoned them. Their poverty stems from the fact that their carers are therefore too old to earn sufficient income to care for them .... and so the cycle of poverty continues for kids in this community. Their choices are limited in breaking out of this and we pray against and want to protect them from making damaging choices.

Picture 4 - our dear friend who cooks for us and provides us with drink in the hot humid climate

God has provided this lady to care for us when we serve in her community. While we teach adults and kids, she provides drink and food for us (paid by the local Government Committee that administer the Community). In her mind, she is serving us because we serve her community and she is 'earning merit' by helping people (us) who help others. We have, however, explained to her about the love of God that compels us to serve.

Lastly, in this community we take part in a small cell church of around 6 adults. The believers are mostly elderly women who have been in poverty all their lives and now have the care of their grandchildren as their priority. It breaks my heart to enter this small wooden house at the end of the path of other rundown shacks. We sit on the hard wooden floor, for around 2 hours, in the only room left in this lady's house where the electricity stills works. We sing praise to God, share testimony and read from the Word of God together. We celebrate God's Goodness to us and pray for sustenance to get through the next week and opportunities to testify about our mutual friend Jesus Christ.

Picture 5 - our cell church (picture 1 of 2) in this community

Picture 6 - our cell church (picture 2 of 2) in this community - elderly lady on left gets paid 100 baht ($3) per day to look after local kids

Interested to hear any comments you may have on this community ....

13 September 2009

New videos out

Hi all our readers,

I have uploaded 2 new videos of worship this morning. You can check them out by clicking on the 2 videos highest up in the YouTube bar on the right-hand-side of this page.... enjoy :-)

This week I will be posting the next blog featuring another community in which we work.

06 September 2009

The Communities in which we work - part 1 of 3

Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be posting 3 blogs - one for each of the 3 communities in which we work in order to introduce these places to you (our readers). So, today is the first - a slum community 5 minutes walk from our home.

First, click on the video below, showing me mucking around with some of the kids from this community (if it doesn't work then click on the video on the YouTube bar on the right of this page) ....

We have been working in this community for close to 12 months now, being with them on 2 days per week to teach the kids English, play games with the kids and meet as a small church cell in the house of the only believer in the community. My heart melts when I am with these people - their needs are great and I know I cannot possibly meet these needs adequately. We attempt to be as Christ to them, loving them, caring for them and then loving them some more.

I invite you to scroll through some pictures before I continue describing some needs in this community (which comes after the pictures). As you scroll through the pictures, please keep the following in mind .....
Picture 1 - pray for these 4 little guys that they would be future leaders of the Thai church (their names are: Ny, Jet, Diaw, Bear) - they are all without male role models,

Pictures 2 & 3 - pray that in our mucking around they will continue to trust us and the advice we give them as they grow into adults,

Picture 4 - pray we will be as Christ to them, caring and loving them as we would our own.

The purpose of hanging in there with the kids is to give them an opportunity to hear about Jesus and to provide assistance to help them get out of the poverty cycle, which is so destructive. The male-role models they have are largely men who drink to excess and rely on getting high with drugs. These are behaviours you can understand when you see the cycle of hopelessness they are in. We are seeking in the future to reach out in love to these adults as well. God has provided some relationships with the adults already. Yet, it breaks my heart when the boys crave my attention and affection because they just don't get it anywhere else. This 'craving need', stemming from lack of attention, makes them highly vulnerable to all types of dangers from the wider urban community.

Now lastly, I present 2 more videos of our activities with the kids in our local slum community. Video 1 shows us playing 'animal bingo' (a creative way to teach English), while Video 2 shows Jen telling a Bible story in Thai. Hopefully, it gives you a taste of just some of the things that go on, although every week is very different presenting a new set of challenges. (Again, if clicking on the videos here doesn't work, then just click on them on the YouTube bar at the rightside of this page.) If you like this blog then please drop us a message after the videos below.

Playing 'Animal Bingo' to teach English vocab. ....

Jen telling a Bible Story in Thai, while I deal with another challenge...

02 September 2009

Back into Action

After an emotional and joyful time being a part of our daughter getting married in Chiang Rai, we had extended family with us for another week. Now, everyone is gone and we are back into action. God is good - He is building His groups of believers and nothing can stand against it.

I observe what God told David in I Chron.17 "You are not the one to build me a house to dwell in. I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought Israel up out of Egypt to this day". God tells me again to not look for my own solution in extending His Kingdom - my responsibility is to serve Him and see what He does in building His groups of believers. I am truly in the best possible place that God has for me at this time in my life - there is nothing better in life than to be serving God (who does the impossible) and to see Him blossoming through my dear children.

If you are reading this blog and unsure of your own relationship with God, please trust Him now before it is too late and more time is wasted. He has great plans for everyone, who trusts in His direction.

Please take some time to pray for these dear kids from the urban slums that we hang with, as well as the adults who have little hope.

13 August 2009

As Our Daughter Gets Married

Many of you will know that our beautiful daughter - Karis - is getting married on Saturday 22 August. Below are a brief collection of SOME of my thoughts at this time of reflection, which you will see is a culmination of 30 years of blessing from God.

Karis is almost 20 years old, very young yes .... but shows her maturity in making a decision that changes the rest of her life. She will marry a young man (around 9 years older) who is passionate about winning his people (the Isaan of North East Thailand) to the saving Grace of Jesus. Karis and Noom will begin a new partnership that we pray will make a lasting impact in the Kingdom of God amongst the needy Isaan people.

About 30 years ago, God convicted me (5-6 years before I was married) to begin praying for my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, that He would pour out His Spirit on my offspring and blessing on my descendants to the 3rd and 4th generation (Isaiah 44:3,4). He burdened me to pray daily for this and to this day I cannot rest unless I have prayed that day for my offspring. God has built in me a desperate heart for my children ..... that's why, as we follow God's Call to the Central Thai people, that separation from the two eldest (Tim and Karis) over these last 2 years has felt like it has 'ripped my guts out'. I will die for my kids and want the very best for them.

Therefore, the upcoming wedding is a huge blessing and a huge honour for me to walk down the aisle with my 2nd favourite woman in the world. As I reflect on this today, my heart weeps (in unspeakable joy !!!) with the memories I have of my dear daughter growing to be the genuine Godly woman I know today. I remember the countless joys, the laughs, the fun times of fooling around (how this kept me younger for so long) and also the struggles of fathering a young girl who was yearning to be a woman. I look at her now and know that God has truly blessed her and is pleased with her desire to follow Him with all her heart, soul and mind.

I made many mistakes as a father and did some foolish things. But, my Heavenly Father compensated in His Grace and gifted us as a family with commitment, love and acceptance, and radical hearts to please God no matter the cost. My daughter, Karis, is now a testimony of this unfailing Grace of God. As of 22 August, our family will never be the same again .... we move on in another stage of this exciting life journey .... and another step toward the ultimate blessing (God willing) of seeing Godly influence to the 3rd and 4th generations. There is nothing else better in life than this - money or wealth cannot buy this joy and fulfillment :-) Below are some pictures as I remember Karis today preparing for marriage ......

Pictures 1 & 2 - Karis caring for her siblings in the snow and fooling around with autumn leaves
Picture 3 - Karis as a flower girl at Aunty Red's wedding
Picture 4 - Karis ready for her 1st school formal
Picture 5 - I get to baptise Karis
Picture 6 - Me with Karis in a challenging time
Picture 7 - Karis with Noom

Karis - I entrust you to this man for the rest of your life.

NOTE: I am unlikely to blog in the next few weeks because of the preparations for the wedding and then family visitors in the week after the wedding. So will probaby blog again by early September. In the meantime, watch out for wedding pictures on Facebook. You can also check our Facebook pages for daily status on our lives here in Thailand. Thank you for your support.