As we settled into our tiny Bangkok hotel room after more than 30 hours of travel, it started to hit me—we were back in Thailand! I lay on my bed taking in the sights, sounds and smells and thinking about how similar this felt to our first trip to Thailand over three years earlier. I could remember driving through Bangkok in the middle of the night of our initial arrival, gazing out the window of the taxi, excited about the new world opening before me and trying to take it all in. I was eager to jump in and get started. Now here I was again feeling the same way after a four-and-a-half-month furlough in the States.
Our first furlough was a tremendous blessing. Visiting family, updating churches, thanking donors, and experiencing the birth of our first child made our time in the States memorable and satisfying. We spent the first half of our furlough speaking in the churches that sponsor us. We spent the second half in extended visits with family before capping it off by attending the GYC conference in Louisville, Kentucky. While at GYC I had the privilege of sharing a room with close friend and former AFM missionary Charlie Eklund as well as AFM recruiter John Baxter. Swapping mission stories, praying together, listening to spirit-filled sermons and meeting faithful AFM supporters filled my cup to overflowing and left me revived and recharged. I was ready to do battle with the enemy once again in my chosen place of mission. Although it was difficult to say goodbye to family knowing we wouldn’t see them again for a couple more years, we were ready to settle back into our foreign home and take up the torch again.
Upon arriving in Khon Kaen after a night in Bangkok, a quick stop by the Thailand Adventist Mission, and a six-hour car ride, we were welcomed home by our teammates who hosted a supper for us at the music school. As they clamored to get their first glimpse of our baby daughter Ali and showered us with hugs, we felt overjoyed to be reunited with our Khon Kaen family. After a solid night’s sleep, we spent our first full day cleaning our house and trying to get situated. It felt like we were moving in all over again!
As we look to the future, we are excited to be back in Thailand and eager to see what God has in store for us and our project. We learned a lot during our first term of service, and we look forward to applying what we learned as we seek to expand our work in Khon Kaen. We covet your prayers as we move into a more active evangelistic phase of our project.