Family Ties and Thai Families
Earlier this month I had my first visit to Tiffany’s hometown of Mae Hong Son. This was also the first time I met Tiff’s parents in person. In addition to that, we had an engagement ceremony in keeping with the family’s Shan cultural tradition. So not only did I meet the parents, but also 50 more family members! During the ceremony, the pastor spoke a blessing over us and those gathered and then each individual tied a white ribbon around our wrists as a way to symbolize the coming marriage bond that Tiff and I are entering into. Many individuals, as they tied the ribbon, gave words of advice and several encouraging words including how they have now accepted me into their family. This was followed by a wonderful meal with the family singing and playing local instruments. It was quite the celebration!
Tiff and I are also eagerly awaiting the arrival of my family later in November. It will be encouraging and fun to have them finally meet Tiff, experience Thailand and have them be at our wedding. A great blessing in the making!
Ministry to the “Long Neck” Karen
While in Mae Hong Son, I joined Tiff and her ministry to the Karen (aka the “Padong”, “Kaya” and “Long Neck Tribe”). This past summer Tiff and her mission’s organization were given permission to build a children’s home next to a Karen UN refugee camp along the Burmese border. The home took in 15 neglected children, most of whom have lost communication with their family and haven’t seen them in many years due to the violence in Burma.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. – James 1:27 (NIV)
As we pulled up in the work truck with our friend Katie, we were met with smiles and gratitude from the kids of the new home. I’m sure some of those smiles were because we had just delivered several bags of rice with an assortment of vegetables and home supplies. The kids quickly helped us unload all the food and supplies as they do like their rice and chili!
After the children finished their school and dinner, we had a time of worship and a Bible study. Because this home is only 2 months old, most of the children have only recently learned about Jesus and the power of His love. So with this opportunity, we shared about our lives and gave testimonies of how God has helped us and answered prayers. The kids also had a fun time participating in the Parable of the Sower and Good Samaritan skits with us.
We also heard from each child about their background, hopes and their life now at the home. The 3 of us even spent a night in the Karen village on a bamboo floor. Overall, lots of great discussion and experiences with these precious kids. Please be praying for them!
- Pray that the Karen children will have all their needs met and to truly know God’s love for them
- Pray for provision of a ministry vehicle and full monthly support
- Praise & Prayer – My Thai language training has gone better than I expected – tones, phonetics and all. Please keep praying for continued learning and understanding
- Pray for favor with all the wedding plans and details, arriving family, ministry and language learning for November. Looks to be a busy month!
Thank you again for all your prayers, letters, and support.
In His hands,
Jeff and Tiff