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Post date: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - 16:14
John's health

Thanks so much for your messages of support and prayer over this last week- we have appreciated it so much.

We would ask that you continue to pray for John as he has a coloscopy tomorrow with a biopsy to see what has caused the inflammation and pain. They believe (and we are believing!) that it is an infection that will clear up with a further dose of antibiotics. It has already got much better in that the pain has decreased a lot but he has still been very unwell. They want to rule out a whole host of major problems, so we would really appreciate your prayers for the procedure and the results.
 

Post date: Sunday, March 20, 2011 - 11:16
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.
 

Post date: Thursday, December 23, 2010 - 07:40
sawatdii kha from Bangkok

Hello to our fantastic link churches, we hope the start of autumn is finding you all well.

We are close to the end of the rainy season now, and we just can't wait! To be able to go to bed and know that we won't be woken by loud storms will be just great! It has been fascinating to see how hard it can rain here and how quickly roads can flood. Some of our neighbours just take the shower gel out and stand outside to wash!!

The girls are both back at school now, and busy with much homework. They were both selected for the basketball team, which they are excited about, and practice after school most days. They continue to witness to their school friends, mostly buddhist with the odd Hindu and Janist. Their friends seem very open to hearing about God.

Joel is growing up, 18 months now, and speaking more words, mostly English, but he says some Thai ones. He has adapted well to the culture, and eats rice with the best of them!

John and I continue to try and concentrate on language learning, with the odd bits of ministry thrown in, and of course sharing our faith wherever God prompts us. We gave our lovely landlords one of John's Thai books this week, please pray with us for God to speak to them through it. John would appreciate your prayers on Monday as he travels to the East of Thailand. the director of prisons in the region read John's book, and contacted him to ask him to visit all the prisons in his area to share his story, so he travels there on his own on Monday for the day. The man is so excited John is coming, which is great.

We appreciate your continued prayers for our health during this first rainy season when bugs are more prevalent (of both kinds! John is chief cockroach killer!) We all fought off another bug last week, flu like again.

We now have a car, praise God, which makes a huge difference to our life, as we can get around without calling taxis and we save a lot on the school bus. In the end we made a decision to take a loan from cms because we needed a car urgently, please pray with us that we can pay the rest of the loan off as soon as possible, because we are obviously very reluctant to be in debt as missionaries. Thankyou for those of you who have raised money for us for a car, we thank God for each of you. And since we have been here we have just been amazed by the faithfulness and provision of God, including being so thankful for you, our faithful prayer supporters.

Please also continue to pray for the political situation here in thailand. There are regular bombs still being planted, mostly outside shops, but recently some planted outside a school failed to detonate, and tonight one outside a university in bangkok injured two students. The whole situation remains volatile, with redshirt leaders threatening to resume protests.
Please do let us know how you are doing, we love to hear your news, and please pass on how grateful we are for the prayers of the congregations.

With much love and blessings,
John, Gillian, Leah, Natalie and Joel xx
 

Post date: Friday, September 24, 2010 - 19:35
Thanks for prayers

Sorry that we haven't been in contact but we haven't had email for the last while.
Thank you so much for your prayers. God is just so good, there have been times when we believe he intervened to stop widespread violence breaking out, and now there is talk of peace. But please don't stop praying yet. This week we tried to go home and John went to the car rental place at the end of our street, and suddenly there was a loud bang and some sort of missile hit the bridge next to him. The street then went mad with police aiming their rifles all over the place. He wasn't sure whether to get down or get inside. Thankfully in all the confusion he was able to drive his car the wrong way down the street (common in Thailand!) and get out of the area.

Today the yellow shirts blocked the road next to the protests to make their presence known. Until the protestors go home the situation in our area remains tense.

We have been staying this week in a couple of rooms given by a family from school so the girls can attend school. Next Sunday (16th) we are due to move into a house near to the school, and we are just clinging on waiting for that, desperate to stop moving around and to stop living out of suitcases, and to pick up building a life here but thankful to God for his mercy in this nation.

We really, really appreciate all your prayers.

Blessings to each one of you,
With love John, Gillian, Leah, Natalie and Joel xx

Post date: Saturday, May 8, 2010 - 21:13
Please keep praying

Hello,
Thank you for praying for us and please keep praying. Last night the government and protestors broke into violence and 20 people were killed which seems to have strengthened resolve on both sides. There is more tough talk from both sides for tomorrow, for the government to get the weapons back that were taken, and from the protestors to honour the dead by more protests. So it is looking extremely volatile at the moment with genuine concerns for the huge rift between rich and poor exploding.

CMS have today advised us to go south out of the city for a few days because of the children particularly. Thank you God, we were able to hire a car, please pray we can find a place to stay for a few days.

We have a God who is mighty to save. Please pray for the lovely people of Thailand who largely don't know the salvation of Jesus. Please continue to pray for us, that we know God's plan and keep close to him, as well as for our safety.

We value your prayers so much, thankyou.

We will keep you updated when we can, but you can read the latest news from the English paper website www.bangkokpost.com

With much love,
John, Gillian, Leah, Natalie and Joel

11 April 2010
 

Post date: Saturday, April 17, 2010 - 06:30
News update February 2010

Hello to our lovely link church prayer supporters!

It seems ages since our last update as so much happens each day! But the most important thing to say is how much we appreciate the faithful prayers of our prayer supporters. The spiritual battle is very real here and very in your face, and we know how desperately we need your prayers. So thank you for doing such an important job in standing with us in prayer, please continue to pray for us.

We now have some furniture! After delays in each thing arriving we now have seats, a working cooker and shelves for books! This has made us feel a lot more like we are in a home rather than a hall!! The heat has not been as bad as we expected, but then we are not in the hottest month yet, but the noise can be trying. The building work goes on loudly all day, and in the night the big delivery trucks come. At about 5am the stall holders set up outside, and play loud music; the other morning that started at 4am. Eventually we guess we won't notice it, but just now it stops us sleeping.

We have started language study, and although it is hard we are very determined. It is essential we know the language, we have had several bad experiences with taxi drivers which would have been easier to cope with if we had some Thai. Please keep praying for the transport, drinking alcohol and driving is not illegal here, and there are no seatbelts in the back of cars.

It has been great to be able to cook some food. The supermarkets are big, and there are some with some imported goods. One has a whole selection from Waitrose! But it is expensive: a small macaroni cheese was £5! The shelves are filled with rice, noodles and lots of sauces. The variety of fish sauce has to be seen to be believed! When we learn more about cooking with Thai ingredients it will make eating easier. One Australian lady at the church summed it up yesterday when she said, 'the shelves are full of food but there is nothing to eat'! You know but God is so good, just as we were fretting over what we could possibly eat tonight, a neighbour came round with some food for us.

We have nearly sorted out a school for the girls, though not the transport to get them there yet, and we are just waiting on the final agreement from CMS. It has been a very complicated business, the girls had to sit 41/2 hours of tests this week before being approved. Joel has now learnt to put his hands together in front of his nose in greeting, as so many people do that to him. And he is looking more relaxed now with having his cheeks pulled many times a day by complete strangers!

Please continue to pray for us, as we continue to settle in, and try not to miss the simplicity of home too much. We know you have been praying as we have felt an amazing presence of God through the difficulties. We do know this is where God wants us, and that it is one step at a time, one day at a time. Please continue to pray for our protection: Gillian has been bitten a lot by mosquitoes, a few of which have become infected, and the political situation in Thailand, especially Bangkok is tense and uncertain just at the moment, particularly due to a court ruling due on Friday 26th Feb.

Thank you so much for your faithful support, and your emails of encouragement. We value every prayer so much. When we have a moment we will put together a new link letter so you can see some pictures. In the meanwhile, may God bless every one of you.

With love in Christ,

John, Gillian, Leah, Natalie and Joel Robinson
 

Post date: Saturday, February 20, 2010 - 14:20
News updates from the Robinsons

This is where to come for the news we will be sending out from time to time.

Post date: Wednesday, February 10, 2010 - 08:08