Greetings from Bangkok, Thailand, and from the newly-certified graduate of the Teaching English as a Foreign Language program!
I spent most of February studying and practice teaching in a TEFL course, from which I graduated on February 27. I have been wanting to take the course for so many years, but time and finances and availability of the course always had a way of interfering. I guess everything happens for a reason, and timing will always be a mystery to me, but I have finished the course! I was praying about taking the class and asking God about finances and time management, when BOOM the money to cover the entire course fee was deposited into my account. It was a sweet surprise, for sure, and I continue to stand in awe of God’s provision and faithfulness.
WHY THE NEED FOR CERTIFICATION?
We often teach English on the field, and although I feel equipped to teach, I sometimes do not feel confident that I am doing it in the best manner possible. This course gave me some additional tools for classroom management and lesson planning that I didn’t have before. It also opens the door to possible teaching positions in Thai/international classrooms in the future. Visas for volunteers to stay in the country are growing harder and harder to get. The Thai government is pushing or foreigners to apply for work permits or education visas in order to stay long-term in the country, which we plan on doing. I am looking at a few possibilities for teaching in the future, but I am still praying about what long-term in Thailand might look like. This certification opens many doors.
YWAM GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS TEAM
Work with my new ministry, the YWAM Global Communications team, is rolling. I have been meeting with our team leader and other members to generate new ideas on how to better our strategies. Our focus is mobilization for missions – encouraging others to take action on the mission field – whether that be through active duty, prayer or provision. We also want to spur fruitfulness and spiritual vitality for those out there being the hands and feet of Jesus. Sometimes we get so busy doing our own tasks we forget to encourage others to continue the good fight. The YWAM Global Communications team wants to be intentional in recognizing those who give up themselves for others.
I hope to join (and meet in person) members of my global team in May at a meeting in Harpenden, England, where we will discuss our goals for 2015 and how we want to see the Global Communications team grow and evolve for the good of the Gospel. I am still praying about making the trip and for finances for the flight and accommodations (about $1,500).
We are settling into our new home and new area of Bangkok. It’s so different than northern Thailand. Some days I struggle with the traffic and, oh my word, the heat. Chiang Mai was hot, but not Bangkok kind of hot. As we enter the summer season (Yes, Thailand actually does have seasons – hot, hot, slight reprieve but still hot, and hotter than anything on earth) motivation to even go outside is sometimes a bit hard to find. I’m sweating even as I type this, and it’s only 10 a.m.!
The girls have been enjoying some new activities and new friends. We found a homeschool cooperative that meets every Thursday. The coop meets at Christ Church, which we decided to attend one Sunday and now call our church home. All the kids (my two and Russ’s two) are enjoying the youth groups and Sunday school classes there. Also, the girls have joined a basketball class on Mondays at the university where Russ teaches. I’m not saying they love the two-hour workout, but I do think they would miss it if they did not get to attend. 🙂
Several months ago I asked you to pray for my special relationship, and I want to thank you for your prayers and notes of encouragement. It was a bit scary for both Russ and me to enter into a new relationship at this point in our lives, but I believe we did it in the best, most cautious and God-guided way possible. We continue to grow in faith and strength and love as we integrate our families and prepare for the future.
Finally, the girls have been raising money for a trip to America. They wanted to experience the joy of fundraising. I write that with a bit of tongue in cheek, of course. I think everyone knows the work of fundraising is not exactly joyous, but seeing God’s provision truly is. They have managed to raise about half the money they need for a month-long trip to the U.S. We hope to visit in July if full finances become available.
They have created GoFundMe accounts. If you want to help them reach their goals, you can see their campaigns at:
Now, that they have taken on their fundraising tasks, I guess it’s time I start mine! Round-trip tickets are running about $1,200 to $1,600, depending on where we land. At this time, I am contemplating landing in Chicago, where Joseph now lives, spending some time with him and then staying with my sister in Indiana. I would also love to visit my dad in Arkansas and make a trip to Oklahoma to visit churches and friends and family. I’m estimating a fundraising goal of about $2,500 for all this to take place.
PRAYERS AND PRAISES (basically a summary of all the above!)
- I am so thankful I am finally TEFL certified, and I am grateful for our supporter who made this possible. Please pray I can use my certificate to better the lives of people in SE Asia and beyond and to provide quality education in the classroom, whether that be in a rural village or a university in downtown Bangkok! Please also pray for our visa situation. I really do not know what to expect this year. We will travel to Laos at the end of this month to renew our visas, but getting approved is iffy. If we are denied, we will look at various options, as mentioned above.
- I am thankful for my new ministry team and how my goals and values align with the work my coworkers are already doing. Please pray for new revelation as we continue to brainstorm for the future and pray about whether I should attend the May meeting in England.
- I am thankful the girls and I are starting to settle into the chaos of Bangkok. Please continue to pray for good educational opportunities for them as well as chances to meet new friends and join wholesome groups.
- I am thankful that God is merciful and full of grace and continues to encourage relationship even after I have flubbed up what seems like a million things in the past. Please pray for continued guidance in every step Russ and I take. Pray we continue to ask the hard questions, give honest answers and use our experiences of the past to build a strong foundation for the future.
Thank you so much for your continued support and prayers. We hope each of you are thawing out from the winter snows and starting to enjoy the coming of Spring.
Much love and many hugs from all of us in the Land of Smiles.
Korina, Jaynee, Justine (and Russ, William and Shanti, too!)