Hello to all our faithful supporters from Bangkok!

We are now at the beginning of the dry season, after six months
of rain (not constant of course!). But when it rained here, it really
rained! The months of September and October are traditionally
the worst, and sometimes the roads would become rivers in half
an hour. The storms were quite spectacular too, with some of
them having lightning which was almost constant for several hours.
Thankfully the serious flood warnings in Bangkok didn’t come to
anything, but there have been serious floods in the North, central
region, and South of Thailand.

Over 100 people died, and 700,000 had to leave their homes.
The rainy season continues down in the South of Thailand, but
in Bangkok we are now, for a month or so, in what the Thais call
winter! We think that is funny as it is still very hot! But there is a very
welcome breeze some days, which we appreciate.

Apart from the weather, Bangkok itself is back to life as normal
after the troubles. There have been isolated bomb attacks, but
nothing that has stopped us from going about our lives. We get
such a fascinating picture of how a society operates with centuries
of Buddhism but no Christian heritage whatsoever. This is a
hugely superstitious society at every level. Nine monks officiate
at weddings, as they believe it is the number of prosperity.
According to some Thai people, the government decided that
the reason Thailand suffered such political turmoil was because
of the number of provinces being ‘unlucky’, so they made
a new province. The papers report how all the top officials
regularly consult fortune tellers and black magic practitioners.
There is also a lot of fear of evil spirits and of bad luck, which
means people try to appease the spirits. When John told our
neighbour Poo (husband Pong!) that he had been ill, she told
him that he needed urgently to bring a sacrifice to the shrine to
ward off any further bad luck.

Linked in with the fear is the fear of illness, old age and death.
A Thai lady that Gillian was speaking to was said that she
wanted to be dead by the time she was 60 (she is now 50),
as there is no one to look after her as she has no children, and
there is no government provision for old age, except for former
government workers. Gillian was able to talk a bit about how the
church cares for people who have no one else, but it made her
incredibly sad to think that people wish for an early death here.

The Thai translators of Nobody’s child have signed a contract
to translate Somebody’s child into Thai, as there has been
a demand for it. The comics of John’s story are also being
received really well in a culture where comics are popular.
John was asked to go to Korat, in the North East of Thailand,
to speak in the prisons in that region. The response from
prisoners upon hearing John’s story of how God had
changed his life was just amazing, and many put their hands
up to become Christians. They wanted us to move there to
set up a church for the prisoners, but the needs are also just
huge in Bangkok and we believe that God has called us to
this city at the moment. So many ordinary people have not
heard the gospel message. Gillian showed her Thai teacher
a bible recently, and she had never seen one before, and
knew nothing about it.

John also had the opportunity to speak at a school and
college, and in one day he spoke in a huge auditorium to
batches of boys – at the end of the day he had spoken to
5,000, again sharing about the love of God. There was also
an awesome response to John asking if anyone wanted to
know God themselves.

Gillian continues to help at the church with preaching, Alpha,
and children’s groups. It is like the United Nations at our
church with so many nationalities, and that is reflected in
the children’s groups with children from every continent,
and rarely two children from the same country. A few weeks
ago when the 9-11 year olds were asking Gillian so many
questions about God and being a Christian, she asked how
many had asked God into their lives and a few of them put
their hands up. Then she talked about what that means and
asked if any of them wanted to ask God into their lives, to
live for Him from now on, and five of the children put their
hands up. They were so excited to do this, and we had a
party with them the next week in celebration.

We continue to adjust to life in Thailand as a family. Aged
19 months, Joel now speaks some words, some English
and a few Thai ones, and he greets people in Thai and by
shaking hands! He looks permanently hot, but loves to eat
rice thankfully! The girls continue to work very hard at school,
where they have a huge amount of homework every day.
But both were thrilled to be picked for the basketball team,
and have enjoyed playing the matches.

We are finding life a bit easier now we can speak some
more of the language as we can communicate better. The
vast majority of people speak very little English so it is really
hard work communicating without knowing Thai in the
areas where we live and work, outside the tourist areas. We
continue to persevere with learning the language, and both
of us are now learning to read and write Thai too, which is a
huge challenge. Gillian asked her Thai teacher how on earth
the Thai children learn such a complicated language in reading and
writing, and she said that it takes the schools until the children are
about eight years old before they can master the basics.

We are looking forward to Christmas, even though it will be quite
different this year! It is strange trying to plan some days off for
Christmas when for most people it is a normal working day. It
will be our first Christmas ever feeling hot! We look forward to
witnessing to all our Thai neighbours though, as we put decorations
up etc. Please pray for us that we will be a witness, and Christmas
will be a joyful celebration for us, even though we will not be with
family and friends.