This is too soon. We just updated you this week. But you need to know––God is good!
We drove 250 km from Jonathan’s to Mae Sot on Wednesday 11/17. Had lunch at a place we’d been to before, Casa Mia. The owner serves Mexican, Italian, Thai and burgers, too. She also caters to vegetarians and vegans like us. Then we set out to find a hotel. We found a nice one with a fridge and mini kitchen!
The TAM will build a house for us at the school, which will take 3-6 months. We contacted Khomkrit, the principal at our school, and he had found two houses for rent in Mae Ramat, (half way to the school from Mae Sot.) We planned to meet with him on Thursday afternoon.
It was a restless night for me (Irene) on Wednesday. We’d met the principal once, almost two years ago. He speaks a little English. We speak a few words of Thai. How will we communicate? How will we bridge cultural expectations? What if the house is just a bamboo hut in a bad neighborhood? How would our reluctance be understood? What if we can’t find a house or apartment? How will this house hunting impact our working relationship? (Isn’t it interesting how this flurry of doubts centers around us and the unknown?)
Tumbling through the restless night came countering thoughts. God has not called us to Thailand to leave us now. This is His work, not ours. Just as surely as He has a place for us in heaven (John 14:2,3), He has a place for us to work here on earth. God is faithful. He knows our needs and has a plan.
In the morning I continued my reading in Exodus and one verse jumped off the page. “Behold, I send an Angel before thee to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.” Exodus 23:20. This promise spoke to my fears and doubts and addressed my present struggle. When feeling faithless on Thursday, this verse gave courage and confidence.
We met Khomkrit and his wife and another couple in Mae Ramat. They had two houses to show us. The first was being worked on. Re-tiling the shower, dirty walls in need of paint, no window screens and no bars on the windows (our kids tell us that sometimes things disappear when you live on the border) It also had a squat pot which is anatomically better for the business at hand and okay for occasional use, but, we’re Americans (and older)––what can we say?
Above is the kitchen. A Thai kitchen is usually a sink and counter top, no cupboards, stove, maybe a fridge.
And, the Asian squat pot. It normally has a bucket or tub of water nearby so you can pour water into the pot to flush.
It’s better than a bamboo hut, but it didn’t feel very secure. We both really liked the big covered porch on the front and the covered parking, There were also abundant trees in the back for shade. However, the negatives were more numerous than the positives. We were thankful there was another rental to look at. The first one was 3-4 minutes from the highway (in a quiet location) and rents for 1500 baht/month (about $50). The other was 10-12 minutes from the highway, smaller, new and rents for 3000 baht/mo (about $100.)
Four of these little houses in a row. All brand new and empty!
Tiny living room - but benches on the front porch.
A typical Asian shower…oooh, not quite, because this one has a hot water heater.
The bedroom with east and south windows and air conditioning so we can fall asleep if we’re there during hot season.
The kitchen. We’ll buy a fridge and enjoy the pastoral view.
The landlord will add an outlet and plumbing outside, below the kitchen window, for a washing machine. We can rent by the month which is amazing. Owners almost always require a 6 or 12 month contract. Khomkrit thought our house at the school might be built within 2-3 months, others have said 4-6 months. Until then, the Lord led us to the place He had prepared for us and we are so thankful for His goodness and mercy.
We will sign papers on Monday and “move in” and visit the school next week too. We plan to spend Thanksgiving with Jonathan and Hannah and then bring the rest of our possessions to the “new house.”
Just can’t say it enough. God is good! ––Just had to let you know! ;-)
Jim and Irene
PS Last night was a Thai holiday called Loy Krathong. A brief description from the internet: "Thai people gather around rivers, lakes, and canals to release lotus-shaped baskets or krathongs as a way to give thanks to the goddess of water (called Pra Mae Khongkha) and ask for forgiveness for using too much water or contaminating it. Nowadays, it is also a way to get rid of negativity gathered during the previous year and welcome good fortune in the coming year."
Northern Thailand, primarily Chiang Mai also celebrates Yi Peng. A brief description from the internet: "In Chiang Mai, Loy Krathong is preceded by Yee Peng (The Lantern Festival), during which people release floating lanterns into the sky. It is during Yee Peng that you see locals' homes and public places decked out in colourful hanging lanterns and flag decorations. The act of releasing the lantern and krathong symbolizes letting go of all ills and misfortunes in the previous year, and Buddhists also believe that if you make a wish when you set off the lantern, it will come true (but only if you do good deeds the following year, of course)."
We didn’t see the river activities but Mae Sot exploded with a pretty steady burst of fireworks and noise makers after sunset. We saw maybe a dozen lanterns drifting up and away––nothing like the thousands released in Chiang Mai. We are thankful our forgiveness and our future are held securely in the hands of Jesus.