Dear Friends, as I sit to write tonight, I’m feeling tired. One part of me wants to just shut down the computer and go to bed. The other realizes that I haven’t written an article for AF in three months. I can imagine that some of you are wondering if we’ve perhaps resigned from AFM or been kidnapped, or worse? The answer is no on all counts. We’re still happily serving with AFM in Khon Kaen, Thailand. But I need to apologize. My communication has been terrible lately. And you all deserve better.
I’ve allowed myself to get too busy. And that’s solely my fault. We started our music school to make contacts among the middle and upper-class segments of society here in Khon Kaen, and much of the administration of this school has fallen to me; not because I’m an ideal administrator, but mainly because of my Thai language skills. Be that as it may, I thank God so much for our AFM team, without which I would have burned out long ago. I’m not a detail person, but God has surrounded me with a spouse and teammates who are! Shannon is a great support in innumerable ways! Cindi and Danielle have taken on the accounting and bill payments. Kyle, Daniëlle, and Luis (one of our Ecuadorian teachers) have also helped with teaching a new “Morality through Music” class. Ricardo and Alicia, who were some of our first music school teachers, have continued to assist wherever needed in many up-front and behind-the-scenes ways. Our regular teachers—Luis, Irma, Tammy and Tiffany—are all doing a great job teaching and making friends with students and parents. And our school’s enrollment is growing steadily, fueled mostly by the good reports that our students’ parents are giving to their friends and colleagues. We now have more than 40 classes, and many more people are expressing interest in enrolling.
I enjoy teaching my classes—voice, ukulele, English, and “Morality through Music.” It’s fun to see these kids growing in their music and language skills. I also enjoy playing games like soccer or checkers with the kids after class. And the bi-monthly concerts that our kids put on are such a great way to get to know students’ families! These things I enjoy. But preparing documents for our teachers’ visas and work permit applications, appearing before the immigration police and some of the other government officials, attending required ministry of education seminars—these are the lesser “pleasures” that take so much time. And then there’s all the reporting that needs to get done, which unfortunately gets pushed aside when fatigue sets in as the hours grow long.
On the church side of things, our Khon Kaen SDA worship group is doing well. I wish you could all come and attend a service and meet our church family! Every Sabbath we share in Thai a simple but enjoyable and hopefully inspirational time of worship. Visitors often comment that they are impressed with our church’s warm, family atmosphere, which makes them want to come back. We praise God for this feedback. Yet we realize there is much more to do in discipling our members and growing strong churches than just helping people feel loved on Sabbath. Like all new churches, we need more strong leaders. Fortunately we have people like Ricardo, Daniëlle and Kyle who have the ability and focus on that type of training and delegation. And now that our team’s culture study is finished, everyone is able to devote more time to Bible studies, training and delegation of responsibilities.
Really, this is a most exciting and rewarding time of service! So please don’t take our last few months of silence in the wrong way. Sometimes, as my mom used to say, “No news is good news.” God has been doing some wonderful things in our midst, and we will try to report those things to you in coming months.