Goodbye to Nong Bua Lamphu
Not to worry, we are still in Thailand! But we DID move! Like, to the opposite end of the country! I know to most of you this feels like no big deal because you weren’t quite sure where we were in Thailand anyway, so it doesn’t make much of a difference, but this was a major decision for us and a big change!
Although we LOVE Nong Bua Lamphu, after living there for almost a year we found certain things to be too difficult given our circumstances and needs. After talking with our Circuit Overseer and a few other brothers from around Thailand, we decided it would be better for our growth in the language, culture, and spiritually if we were part of a larger hall. This was an extremely difficult decision to come to, especially since our group obviously needs so much help and support. But after meditating on modesty and our current circumstances, and lots of prayer on the subject, we felt that a move was the right choice for us.
So after deciding that we do need to move, the next question is where?! Our Circuit Overseer said basically all of Thailand needs help, so it really doesn’t matter where we go as long as we stay with the Thai language. It seemed like none of the nearby congregations really solved the few things we were struggling with, so he recommended to us that we move somewhere where we have some friends. But since we’ve been serving in such an isolated territory, we really didn’t have any other friends!! So we thought back to the last English pioneer seminar and assembly we attended in Bangkok and some of the different friends we met there. We remembered specifically three different families who were really friendly and kind, so we investigated which halls they came from. Turns out, all 3 families came from the SAME congregation!!!!! It seemed like we had our answer!
We flew down for a long weekend to visit and fell in love. The Thai brothers and sisters were SO hospitable. A few even speak some English so that was a nice surprise. Most of the Thai friends have all been baptized within the last 5 years, so it is a relatively new kind of environment. There are two young Thai couples our age so we are excited about that. Aaron also made a new best friend with a 9 year old boy in the hall who loves to play jokes on him and laugh when he speaks Thai wrong. There are also three other English speaking elders in the hall so that was a definite answer to one of our prayers. That will help Aaron understand what is going on for sure! It seems like the congregation has a lot of need greaters passing through, so that will be a lot of fun and we are looking forward to that. When we flew back a bunch of friends came to the airport to wave us goodbye, it was very touching.
So where exactly ARE we? Our Provence is Trang, although it is pronounced dtrang. We are actually are in southern Thailand now, on the boarder with Malaysia. So we literally moved to the opposite end of the country! Most things are the same as what we are used to, although a few things are different. Its definitely more of a city, so it’s more busy and there are a lot more stores. In general the people feel a bit wealthier here and a lot more hip. The weather is much more hot, and it rains a lot more as well. Also the language has a different accent, so we are going to have to adjust to some tonal changes. But thats a lot easier then what we were dealing with before, most of the local people spoke a language called Isan, so we really had no idea what they were saying. Atleast here I can probably figure out what they are saying because its just the tones that change. Also, we moved to the land of CURRY! up north where we lived we didn’t have any of the delicious Thai curry dishes, but now we do! so we are very excited to eat all the curries now.
Moving was set up to be pretty simple, we boxed up all of our stuff, brought it to a shipping company and shipped it off. But of course, like everything else in Thailand, it got a little crazier then normal. The company was very disorganized, but after 3 hours we had it all sorted out. I was pretty all of it was going to get lost so we packed one box of our most important things and checked that on the plane with us. On our way down we stopped off at Hua Hin because Aaron had previously scheduled to give a talk at the English congregation there. Hua Hin is a famous beach town near Bangkok, so we were looking forward to a few nice days on the beach as a rest from all the crazy, but surprise, surprise, it rained the whole time! We were disappointed, but still glad to meet up with some English speaking friends! We were also able to catch the mid week meeting in English in Bangkok before heading down to Trang. What a blessing it is to be able to pop in for these meetings when we can!!! The friends there are the most encouraging and we always feel so much better being able to actually understand a meeting!!!!!
When we arrived in Trang again, a bunch of friends were waiting at the airport to welcome us! We already feel so welcomed and so part of the congregation. Currently a family who live’s here are back in the United States working, so they offered to let us stay in their home while we look for a house. The day before we arrived in Trang though, one of the couples we love in this congregation told us that they have decided to move back to the U.S. We are so sad to see them go buuuuuuut….we get their house!!! If you remember this is EXACTLY how we got our last home in Nong Bua Lamphu! So twice now I have prayed for a house “like so-and-so’s” and ended up with that EXACT house!! Although I’m not sure I can say this is Jehovah’s blessing because I would much rather have our friends stay, it is pretty funny that this has happened to us twice now!!!! The house is beautiful, comfortable, in a safe area, and the landlord is a sister in our congregation! The only catch is that it comes furnished, which is a little annoying to find out a few days after we paid to ship all of our things down here. So we will have to see how our stuff fits and what we might need to get rid of. The couple is staying until our English regional convention the end of September, which is the exact time the family who’s house we are staying in is arriving. So the timing is perfect!
So thats the update!!! We made a video about our time in Nong Bua Lamphu and what our life has been like this past year. It brings tears to my eyes now to watch it because I already miss everyone!! I hope it gives you all a taste of the joy and blessings we had serving in that congregation. On to the next!