Learning and Teaching

Learning and Teaching

The kids and the store clerk burst out laughing. What? All I did was ask where I could find the sugar.

“No, Grandma,” Moses said through his chuckles. “It’s not naamtaan. It’s naamtaan.”

Sigh. Thai is a tough language. It sounded to me as if he was saying the exact same word, but evidently I blundered again and got the tone wrong. I don’t know what I said, but I hope it wasn’t as bad as when I asked for an airplane at the appliance store or told a mother that her baby looked delicious. I’m praying that my new Thai class will move me from mistakes and “baby talk” to a reasonable degree of fluency.

The twice-a-week class has been fun, as well as instructional. Our friend, Rusty, and I share a tutor, cutting down on the tuition price but still getting plenty of individual help. We are wending our way through the mysteries of written Thai. Once we know how to read with reasonable fluency, we hope to be able to speak more understandably.

The classes take up a big hunk of time, but if in the end I can communicate the Gospel and can tell Bible stories in Thai, it will definitely be worth it all.

It’s possible to devote that time because of our new helper, Kimmy Hasselbusch. Kimmy quit her job in a Christian school to come help us teach our kids for the next ten months. She’s a willing worker and is great with the kids. What a blessing that the Lord knows our needs and sends just the right people to help! Shelby Banks filled that need in June and July. Rusty Van Der Net is here from Australia to learn Thai and is eager to help with the mission work and lighten Paul’s load any way he can. He’s often here to help during our evening class time. And now Kimmy is here, helping with the unending work that goes along with raising a houseful of teenagers and being responsible for their education.

The kids are doing well in their reading and writing of English. We use the Accelerated Christian Education curriculum with them and it’s a good fit. Moses and Nora homeschool during the day and the younger kids go to Thai public school during the day and study with me in the evening.

Meanwhile, Paul’s preachers’ training continues to grow and to see blessings from the Lord. While we do all we can to help people with medicine, education, clothes, etc., it’s the training that will make the eternal difference. Training preachers to teach their flocks and to reach out to new villages multiplies Paul’s efforts. The monthly trainings are always an encouragement to him. This last month Rusty was able to go with him and taught English, giving Paul a break in his exhausting schedule.

We’ve had more services here in our home lately for the benefit of some Thai visitors who come and listen attentively       whenever we have a service. The Thai are one of the world’s people most unreached by the Gospel. About 98% are Buddhist. The rest are ….. well, everything else. Muslim, Hindu, Mormon, Catholic, etc. You can imagine what a small percentage of people are Sovereign Grace Baptists. We are trying to figure out how to add a regular Thai service to our schedule, but it’s difficult to see how to fit it in. Prayers about this great need are appreciated.

We still travel to the churches in the villages regularly. This Sunday we visited Long Khoad.  Their new building is almost complete. It is such an accomplishment that they have given their money and built this building themselves!  It’s a blessing to see Christians here taking care of their pastors and churches without depending entirely on missionaries for support.

We enjoyed several special songs before Paul spoke and William translated. Asa, who works with us, spoke after Paul did.  We ended with medicine and lunch before heading home to have family pictures taken. (And that’s another story!)

We stay busy and never seem to get to the end of the “to do” list – but God gives strength and the encouragement we need along the way. He is good!