Category Archives: Thailand

We’re Not Going to Thailand: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Well.  Here is a post I never thought I’d be writing.  After a tremendous amount of stress, sleepless nights, floor pacing, time in a counselor’s office, prayer, and conversation, we have come to the conclusion that we cannot go to Thailand right now.  Maybe not ever.   Here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly:

The Good:  We’re Not Going to Thailand.  When we finally came to the conclusion that we cannot go to Thailand, I was overwhelmed with a sense of relief.  I wanted to go to Thailand.  I wanted to experience living overseas as a family.  I wanted to live a life of radical discipleship and obedience to Jesus Christ, and I thought that included Thailand.  But, the process of getting to Thailand was excruciatingly painful for me and I was not handling it well.  I kept comparing it to childbirth:  The waves of pain just kept coming and coming but, in this case,  there was no epidural in sight.  Leaving my family behind.  Leaving my home behind.  Facing financial uncertainty.  Facing uncertainty regarding my children’s education.  Facing uncertainty regarding my emotional and spiritual health.  It was all piling up and the pain was becoming unbearable.  So I am relieved that we are not going. 

The Bad:  We’re Not Going to Thailand.  I am overwhelmed with a sense of sadness.  We have talked about going to Thailand for a long time.  We planned.  We studied maps.  We developed relationships with our teammates and dreamed about working together. We tried Thai food and practiced Thai phrases.  We prayed.  We asked for direction.  We hoped. And now we are giving up the dream.  Laying it down with no intentions of picking it back up anytime soon, if ever.  We are grieving the death of this dream.  The idea of leaving was painful.  The idea of staying also brings pain.

The Ugly:  We’re Not Going to Thailand.  I am angry.  Also, embarrassed.  We were deep into the process of getting to Thailand.  We raised funds, made promises, led people to believe that we were fully committed to this mission.  And we were.  To “pull the plug” on this opportunity this late in the process is awful.  But, that’s what we’ve done.  I feel guilty.  I feel inadequate.  I feel like I failed at being a faithful, obedient follower of Jesus Christ.  Yet, the happy, lighthearted, hopeful feelings are close behind the sad stuff.  I’m certain I’ve never experienced such a contrast of emotions. 

As you can probably see, I am not going into the details on all that went into this decision.  Please, understand that this decision has been an agonizing one to make, and we did not make it lightly.  But I am certain that we made the right decision for our family.   

What are the next steps?  We’re not sure.  For now, we remain in my beloved hometown where we’ll stay for awhile as we consider our options.  For those of you reading this who are praying people, I would be so grateful if you would pray for my family as we pick up the pieces of this complicated puzzle, and attempt to regain some sense of normal life.  We are sad, yet happy.  Disappointed, yet hopeful.  Most of all, we are learning to trust God for all that we cannot see right now. 

An Update On Our Plans

Most of you already know that our family is planning to move to Thailand.  If you are new around here and want to read more about that, check out the very first entry to this blog.  I thought it might be time for an update on our plans.  I think a bulleted list is in order here:

  • We are working on selling our rental house.  It’s been on the market since Tuesday and we have already had several interested buyers walk through, so we are encouraged by that.   We plan to put our other house (the one we live in) on the market this spring.
  • Another major piece that is falling into place is the pastoral search for our church.  The application deadline has now passed and we have a number of really strong candidates.  The next weeks are important as we sort through the applications and determine who the next pastor will be.
  • We are trying to get everyone through school!  I am working hard on a full course load this semester and I will still need to take at least one class this summer to finish my graduate work.  I am enjoying school and learning so much, but I will be glad to have the constant pressure of deadlines off my mind.  The girls will finish their time in the public school this June (assuming it ever stops snowing and we can get the rest of our days in!).
  • The next months will be full of traveling to our home churches as well as several other churches who have expressed interest in supporting our new ministry.  This summer will also include traveling to several states for family reunions.  Somewhere in the midst of all of that we will continue to sort through all that we own and pack up our house.

Overall, I am coping pretty well.  Some days I get overwhelmed by the number of things that need to fall into place in order for us to leave.  We have a lot of balls in the air right now and I don’t always do a good job of juggling all of them.  But, most days I am excited and feeling peaceful about moving forward with our plans.  For those of you have reached out and cheered us on, we are so appreciative.  Please continue to pray for us as this is not easy!  And as always, thanks for visiting our little corner of the internet.



The Great Perhaps

1-1-Cropped Thailand-001 “I go to seek a great perhaps.”  Francois Rabelais

The hardest part of all of this is that I am watching my family grieve.  I am loved by my parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, in-laws, and more.  What a blessed gal I am to be loved by many! But, really, that’s what makes this process so hard.  I will miss them very, very much.  But my life will be busy with learning a new language, acclimating to life in a major city, and generally just living out this new life and the adventure of it all.  My family, on the other hand, goes about their normal routine only now it’s with a family member on the other side of the world.  I think that would be hard.  They will miss us.  They will worry about us.  And at the end of the day, they will support us because that’s what family does. 

I worry about the little things.  I text my dad a lot.  During the World Series playoffs, Cabrera hit a home run and I grabbed my phone, typed “CABRERA!!” and sent it off to my dad.  He texted back, “It’s about time!” and that was it.  I started crying, knowing that these little connection points will be harder to maintain.  Bangkok is a 12 hour flip from the midwest.  We won’t watch the Tigers together under those circumstances.  And that’s hard for me.

Friday, I finished my paper earlier than I anticipated.  I texted my sister and said, “Do you get a lunch break today?  Wanna meet at Madison’s Cafe?”  I didn’t hear from her so I assumed she was busy with a client.  I grabbed a book and went to lunch by myself.  I was only in the cafe for 10 minutes when she called.  “Craziest thing,” she said, “I was going to call you and see if you have time for lunch at Madison’s and then I saw your text.  Order me whatever you’re having, I’ll be there in 10.”  Those times are coming to an end, and that’s hard too.

Visits from my mom, Christmas traditions, spontaneous phone calls, shopping trips, leisurely talks over tea and coffee.  All of these things suddenly feel special and luxurious because I know they’ll soon end.

I’m not dying.  I didn’t just receive a cancer diagnosis.  Yet there is grief in change that rivals the grief of death.  Because in a way it is a death.  Death of what we know, death of how things are, death of this season of life.  But unlike a physical death, there is also excitement and joy knowing that there is great purpose for a change of this magnitude, so we move forward believing that God has called us out of our comfort zone and into The Great Perhaps.

We are moving forward with our plans.  We attend meetings, talk about finances, ministry, schooling for the kids.  I study maps and research language school options.  Sometimes I am overwhelmed with excitement.  Sometimes I am very, very sad.  But always, I am grateful to be loved by the ones I love, because this process would be even harder without them.