Monday, February 19, 2024

Family Day Praise


May the righteous be glad
and rejoice before God;
may they be happy and joyful.

Sing to God, sing in praise of his name,
extol him who rides on the clouds;
rejoice before him -- his name is the LORD.

A father to the fatherless, 
a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.

God sets the lonely in families,
he leads out the imprisoned with singing.
Psalm 68:3-6

Not for one minute do we take for granted
 what an incredible gift it is to be belong to a family.

On this Family Day, 
we are so grateful to all our Sponsors and Supporters.  
Not only do you help us provide the basic needs of life, 
and the opportunity to further our education,
you also have given us the place of healing, safety and stability 
we so desperately need in order to grow up strong.

We join with the psalmist is offering praise to God
Who, by His good grace, placed us together 
to be a family for each other.


The mission of the New Family Foundation 
is to provide a loving home 
for at-risk and orphaned children
in Northern Thailand
to help them achieve their best potential in
education, vocation and service to society.

 

Monday, February 5, 2024

Congratulations Bell!


Congratulations and blessings to Bell, daughter of Pastors Suradet and Yupa, on the successful completion of her high school studies at Ambassador Bilingual Academy in Chiang Mai!!!

We are proud of your accomplishments as a student, and delighted to see you develop into a godly woman eager to serve Him.  You bring such joy to our family at Hot Springs, and to your Canadian Grandparents, Ken and I, as well.  Blessings and prayers for your future.  


 

Sunday, February 4, 2024

When Far Away Is Close to Home Part 2 - Esther Weatherall

 


Looking forward to hearing from Esther Weatherall this morning at Highview.

Esther has returned from more than a year in Phuket, Thailand, serving with For Freedom International working to empower those who have been marginalized or exploited by human trafficking.  Her report to us is full of God's power and presence in that ministry, and will include an update about her plans for the coming year.

Hope to you see you there.

10:30 a.m.  at Highview Community Church Kitchener.

Esther (2nd from left) with Roger, Karen and Norma in Phuket last November


Friday, January 26, 2024

When Far Away is Close to Home

 



"The One Suitcase that Made It"

"Only a Boy Named David"

"A Leisurely Stroll Down the Goat Path"

"Jenga Jamboree"

"Insert Your Name Here"

Plus more...

We are so looking forward to telling these stories this coming Sunday at Highview Community Church.

The Team that went to visit our Thai family last November has gathered the best of what we experienced and observed as God's very real presence and interactions with all of us while we were there.  



We have pictures to show and a video to share.  You can even buy some Thai coffee after the service to help support New Family Foundation's Property Development Project.

This will be the first in a three-week series that features the wonderful partnerships God has given us as a congregation, moving us up and out of our own cultural comfort zones to see His hand at work in places far away on the globe, but very close to our hearts.

If you are at all within driving distance, we'd love to see you there.

WHEN FAR AWAY IS CLOSE TO HOME
Thai'n It Together: November 2023 Team Report
Highview Community Church
295 Highview Drive
Kitchener ON N2N 2K7
10:30 a.m.

Monday, January 15, 2024

"Winter Festivities"


Can we really ever call it "winter" in Thailand?  I suppose if it's Christmas, then New Year's, and the nights are a little cooler, it counts.  

As I described in the last blog ("Christmas Lights" December 21) celebrating Christmas looks and feels different for our kids at New Family Foundation.  So I thought I'd just share some of the photos that I've received.  

Hope they warm your cold Canadian winter day :).

Christmas Fun


Receiving Our Christmas Cards from Our Sponsors!!

Cooking up some pounded sticky rice, hot dogs and pork!


Hosting a Christmas Party in Yupa's home village.



Christmas Worship Celebrations



Thailand's National Children's Day - January 12, 2024

Wanmai and Beemai on a 'ride' at a Children's Day party in Sahakorn.


Pakin and Goon in their fun car.



Suradet and Yupa are invited to hand out the snacks at the Sahakorn Party.


Lots going on these past months since our Team visited.

It sure feels like a long time since we were there.  Maybe it's just that I'm missing the warm weather and sunshine.  But of course, I'm missing way more than that.

Heads up.  
If you're in town or nearby, 
the November Team will be sharing our stories 
at the service at Highview on Sunday, January 28th.  
We'd love to have you join us.
295 Highview Drive
Kitchener ON N2N 2K7


Thursday, December 21, 2023

Christmas Lights


 It's not a holiday in Thailand.

Come Christmas morning, our kids at New Family Foundation will not be waking early and heading down to the Christmas tree.  They won't spend the day in their pjs playing with new toys, or having a special Christmas breakfast, or watching a Christmas movie, or playing board games.

Come Christmas morning, December 25th, they'll wake up early, yes.  They do that every day.  They'll gather for what I expect will be a special Christmas morning time of worship.  Then they'll head out to do their chores, get dressed, eat breakfast, and head off to school.

Christmas Day is not a holiday in Thailand.

Before you feel too sorry for our kids, please know that they have already been enjoying Christmas treats, special meals and extra fun throughout the month, as is the way of celebration for Christians in Thailand.  The church has been decorated since December 3rd.  Christmas songs have long been incorporated into their twice daily times of singing together.  An Sunday, December 24 will be a special service indeed, including the lunch afterwards for everyone in attendance.


As well, we have collected cards from each child's Sponsor and that will be given to them at a moment over the holidays when they can read and enjoy them.  We've made sure there will be some funds to buy a few extra 'presents', to be opened likely at the same time the cards are given.  But this will be in keeping with the fact that our family is big, and gift exchange is not really a 'thing' at Christmas, even among Christians.  Not in the simpler way of living that is the reality of our children's homes of origins, or even the surrounding culture.  

It's interesting to me how much of my own cultural expectations I can still place on what I hope for my Thai family.  I actually can't help but wish all my happy Christmas morning rituals into their reality.  

And yet.  It strikes me that our children have a different kind of Christmas opportunity.  While not a holiday, Christmas Day will still be acknowledged.  Sometimes Christian pastors are invited to speak to a school assembly to tell the Christmas story.  And whether or not that happens for our kids this year, they still get to be Christmas lights, shining the goodness of Jesus into their world.

We want to take this moment now to thank every one of you who has been with us on our journey through the year, 
and many for much longer.

Your love and support mean everything to us.

We wish you a most meaningful Christmas season
and a New Year filled with the blessings of God.


Saturday, November 25, 2023

Fun Factor Plus

 


"Bai teo" means 'out for fun', or a little getaway or outing. That was us yesterday.

With an early start, a stop along the way to pick up our lunch for later, and at least one bathroom stop, it took us the better part of the morning to get where we were going. Even before that, you can only imagine what it would be like to prep 17 kids and 7 adults for a day trip. And even before that, the girls had to get all dressed up. Best not-school-not-church clothes. Make up even.

When you're in such a big family, these times are rare. Better make the best of them.

But finally we were off on our rollercoaster adventure.

The word 'rollercoaster' probably conjures up something of an amusement park environment for most of us, at least it did for me when Yupa suggested this for our 'bai teo' this visit.

In actuality, we ended up riding more of a jungle coaster, with some fast turns yes, but more just coasting along the tracks that took every advantage of the gravitational pull down the side of the mountain. Appropriate amount of nervous laughing in the line. Pairing off of the smaller ones with an adult of one of the older girls. Happy screaming around the first fast corner, and big smiles coming up the track at the very end.

Next to lunch, where we found a restaurant willing to let us bring to the tables the chicken and sticky rice meal we had packed, while we ordered several plates of 'som tum', a spicy papaya salad that almost every Thai child will tell you is their favourite food.


From there off to the Queen's Botanical Garden for a magical 'canopy walk' under the tropical rain forest, some happy browsing through the greenhouses, and a visit to the display of tribal villages. Some of the children gave little cries of recognition at the familiar, jumping on the riding card, or climbing up into the huts. Beemai even 'played' at making a meal around the fire pit - just like how she remembers from her village.

Last stop was the Museum of Science, still on the grounds of the Royal Garden. But it was getting later in the day, we zipped through, truth be told. But I was still glad we could expose them to the excellent interactive learning stations, and even just enjoy the wonder of God's creation in the displays of flowers, forests and minerals.

So much fun. All of it. And so much more.




We talked about it at supper. The whole picture of the benefits of these kinds of trips. Fun, yes. And all by itself, that's worth it. To bring joy and lifted spirits and a sense of wonder at how great life can be to this family of gathered children...yes. Fun, yes.

And.

Think of everything else that happened.

More exposure to urban life for children who've never seen a city before coming to live with us. So important if we want to encourage them to become influencers in their own country.

Making good memories to hold on to, balancing out early childhood experiences that would not be so happy. And making them together with our family. Forging relationships that can last a lifetime.

Allowing them to observe various occupations along the way, allowing them to add to their repertoire of 'what I might want to be when I grow up'. As Karen pointed out, maybe some of them will be curious and want to study more science when they get the chance to choose. Or engineering, as in 'how do you get a coaster track to stay in place on the side of a very steep hill/' or 'how did that canopy walk bridge get built?' And so much more.



And the encouragement that they are loved and important. That their Sponsors would make sure they didn't just have the basics, but the fun extras as well. That God would have written this incredible story to connect us from the other side of the world.


You are seen. You are loved. You matter. Let's go have some fun. and then some.


Our thanks, our gratitude is enormous for this.
I know many of our beloved supporters might never be able to come in person. But yesterday - and every day of course - your presence was very much with us. Your love was tangible.

You were very much the PLUS factor for our day of Fun.