Another month in Thailand, an adventure as usual. This month i have had chest pains all month long, and after a full days wait at the hospital, they informed me it is just muscle pain from awkward work. So i guess i just put up with it. My daughter is starting to show her personality, and she likes to sit with me now, I was worried before, but its nice to know she likes me. I have to remind myself to do the same things with her as i did with Calvin. At the same time, i've been giving extra attention to Calvin, and he has become quite the daddy's boy. He is doing well, and is reading by himself and educating himself when i am busy. That's really ideal because homeschooling won't work if i have to teach 8 hours a day. I have been working on a few newer projects and ill share those with you. Its a bit nerve racking because starting new projects when i have unfinished projects feels like i am increasing my workload, but i have finished several things and i do have the ability to take on new projects, especially to keep things balanced between work and ministry (which are often intertwined, but important to distinguish for the sake of time management)
What are my plans? Simply put, write children's books and create teaching materials available for free, that i will be able to use in class to more easily share the gospel with the kids using their own local holidays.
This month is Halloween, which i have never cared for, and i really prefer to celebrate reformation day instead. But here in the province we live in they have a special holiday that only a few provinces observe, the "tenth month festival" which is basically a day they put a bunch of scary looking mannequins out dressed like ghosts, acting out their sins. It was a bit shocking for me the first time i witnessed it, and i wanted to deem it a filthy immoral display of paganism, which it may be, but its interesting and useful, as well. One display had a giant ghost with his private part all covered in fake blood to represent rape. These displays are open for children to see, so you can imagine why i think they are inappropriate, and why i won't be taking my children to the market or any public place where they might be displayed until they are much older. They are supposed to represent peoples relatives who are in hell, and are on display to warn people not to be like their grandparents, and also people "make merit" which is basically Buddhist indulgences, to try to relieve the dead of their pain in hell. This holiday is useful for a few reasons, first, it demonstrates an understanding that sinners go to hell, and yes, that means grandma too. Secondly it scares little kids, and they come to my class asking me about hell. So this year a girl asked me "what kind of ghost do american people become when they die?" refering to the mannequins on display, there is a specific thai word for those doomed to hell, and its typically used as a cuss word to insult other people here in Thailand, so ive taken the liberty of calling them "the damned" in english, which i thought was most fitting, and useful for explaining the gospel. Anyway, in my response to her, i said "I believe their is only one kind of damned person we become when we die, and it doesn't matter where we come from, all people are sinners, and unless our sins are paid for, we can not go to heaven" and after that the next few lessons, she brought more questions, and i was able to teach in more detail. So I spent a lot of time praying about this local holiday, and others, and how they can be used to share the gospel in a way easily understood.
I've been preaching though my tracts on the sabbath as usual and i'm really trying to get to the point where i can read and preach with some level of fluency, im still a bit slow when i read thai. When i get good enough, i'll video the sermon and put it on the youtube for the rest of thailand to see. I doubt its going to be a blockbuster hit or anything, but i think other believers will listen at least, and thats a big part of where i want my ministry to go here. I want to impress the importance of being biblical, and that its not complicated, or something that only theologians can do (not that i don't value theologians)
Because of the conversation i had with my students, i have been working on childrens books about the 10th month festival and others, as a conversation starter to get the kids thinking about eternity. So i'll let you know how that is coming along in months to come. I will likely use the same format as my christmas books like "the real santa" that explains who st. Nicolas actually was and where our christmas traditions come from. Usually the kids are excited to know santa was real, and again, a useful book to share the gospel. After that book, they will never view a candy cane, stocking, or christmas tree the same ever again, and will be reminded of the gospel, and the true meaning of christmas when they see them. These local holidays are equally useful i believe.
I also have been working on an expansible gospel explanation book for little children, Every page had a single icon-like illustration representing an important concept, and a couple sentences written in rhyme to explain the concept. First page explains God all powerful, all knowing, and everywhere at the same time. Second, creation, everything out of nothing. Third, the fall, and mans complete depravity. Forth, God's just punishment of sin. And the concepts can go on for a while, so i'll probably work on it for a while, using it in class as i go. I want to illustrate each page, so this type of textured icon is probably the easiest thing that will still look nice.
I also finished a couple worksheets, and im sure these will be useful for my son, but i actually thing the books i mentioned above may be better for other kids given i have so limited time with them. I will continue to give it thought though, and regardless, ill keep making the worksheets with the verses on the side for my kids.
This month i worked on taking my old plywood, cutting it into strips, and gluing it together to create a unique countertop for a shelf i will house my crates in as drawers. I'll show pictures when im done.
I also took the broken back off an old sofa, took the metal frame and turned it into a foldable sock drying rack in the laundry room for my wife, and then i sewed up the cushion to make a sort of long pillow which will likely be some kind of cushion for the inside of the treehouse. I sewed up the backless sofa, and put the ugly seem to the wall, and after adding sheets, its my sons bed. I finished up his room and while it is small, only about 4 foot by 10 foot, my son really likes it, and has slept my himself on the bed i made for him without a fight every night. I was really surprised he cooperated like that. I also added some metal monkey bars overhead in the hallway between his room and ours because the space it only 2 feet wide, and i thought monkey bars would be cool. They are strong enough to hold my weight, and i made them with leftover metal pipe from my pipe clamps. I added some metal hooks and its like a walk in closet that is also a hallway to my sons very tiny room. I will eventually create a loft overhead that is much bigger, so that Calvin can sleep up there, and abby will get the backless sofa below. In maybe 3 years or so, or 2 if we can pull it off.
We'll make it this month, but it would be nice to have another regular supporter or 2 so that i can move a bit quicker with some things. I suppose the lord will provide as we need, and theres no use stressing over our situation. We don't have debt, and we manage to pay the bills, usually on time, not so on time this month however. If the landlord raises our rent, that will put us in a pickle for sure, but who knows, the economy could come booming back, and my beef jerky is selling well, making me an additional 20-50 bucks a month, so if i grow that, along with selling stuff i make, then that could be a good additional income. Please pray for us, that we would be faithful with what God has given us, and that our businesses would grow to provide for us, and others.
God is good, and we are blessed to be here, witnessing what God is doing in thailand, and be a part of it too. This coming month, i hope i manage to get a lot done, and that i have more opportunities to share the gospel with the people around us, customers, students, parents, and everyone else who we encounter when we are out and about. Thankyou for your continued prayers and support.
My name is Kaison, my wife is Kritti, our children are Calvin and Abigail, we are a missionary family living in Nakhon si thammarat Thailand for the longhaul. I want to start blogging regularly but pretty sure the posts will be pretty random about things i think are not being covered at all, or family related updates. So follow along and leave a comment, i love comments, thankyou.