Saturday, November 21, 2015

Fall in Thailand!

Ok, so the title is a bit misleading.  As we remember our previous years in the States, the months of September, October and November conjure up memories of pumpkin spice lattes, sweaters, pumpkin patches, and Thanksgiving.  We would rake leaves and make them into a big pile for the kids to jump in.  Our neighbors house was perfect for this too, and the crisp Autumn air was always so welcoming.

In Thailand, not so much.  If you ask me what the weather is like, 99.99% of the time I'll tell you "hot".  It might also be rainy, but it is definitely hot.  This month we are moving into the "Cold Season", but as Phil will tell you, it's not cold.  It's more like the "Not Quite As Hot Season".  This means that our lives here don't have the same rhythm as it did in the States.  We get to explore waterfalls and play in the swimming pools all year round, but we do miss the changing of the seasons.  It's easy to forget holidays when they are simply a date on the calendar instead of the whole country (and weather!) helping you anticipate it.

 Here is a bit of what the last bit of our "Rainy Season" looked like (I'm pretty far behind on our monthly updates, so be prepared for a longer post.):

Every so often, we like to go to Mae Kasa Hot Springs.  It's just a park where hot water bubbles up and follows a little waterway around the park.  You can also supposedly boil eggs in the water, but even after waiting longer than an hour, our eggs never boiled.  There is also some fun hiking in the surrounding area.

Mae Kasa Hot Spring

Suspension bridge that leads to a little spirit house

Our eggs that never boiled

I've already written about our "Big Water" experience, but it was quite an adventure for the boys.

At a friend's house

The reservoir the day after they let the water out that caused the flooding

We have really embraced all the good "eats" here.  We quite enjoy going to the night market.  They boys always want to get their smoothies.  We've also discovered a roti stand walking distance from our house that we like to go to in the mornings.

Getting smoothies at the night market

Roti Take-Out by our house

For my birthday, we drove a couple of hours away to Sukhothai.  The Old City is the ruins of the former kingdom of Siam, and the whole place is beautiful.  We spent three days (two nights) there. We rented bikes for one of the days to explore the whole area, and spent both afternoons playing in the pool.  It was a nice break.

One of the ruins from approximately 1200AD.

The boys!

Enjoying the pool at our hotel

We biked all over town

Our bananas ripened on one of our trees.  Apparently, this type of tree only fruits one time so in order to harvest the bananas, you cut down the entire tree.  (Banana trees grow like weeds here.  I probably weed out 5-10 trees every few weeks.).  We got a lot of bananas.

It takes two people!!

The Harvest

Doc Brown and Marty McFly arrived in our present time, so we celebrated the fact with introducing the boys to Back to the Future.

It was quite intense.

I'm still not sure what this was about.  Apparently, three men dressed up as a water buffalo while people danced and played music all the way around our neighborhood.  Other people were collecting money.  I think it was for proselytizing Buddhism, but I'm not sure.

This is our street.

I guess we really like Mae Kasa!  We went back there with Phil's brother Dan and our friends.  We also found the waterfall that is about 2 kilometers away.  It was amazing.

Hagelberg Guys

Waterfall with concrete pool at the bottom

Playing in the "pool" at the hot springs

Some Ongoing Happenings

After the "Big Water" incident, we began hanging out more in that village so our boys could play with the kids there.  They have made some fast friends, even though the language barrier gets in the way at times.

Zach learning the rock game

Phil's also been asked to play the bass again for a monthly worship night that our friends put on.  It's great to see him playing music again.

Playing bass with good friends

This is another village that we spend a lot of time in.  We go there to help the kids in English and we even got to bake cookies with them.  (There is no electricity in this village, but one person has an LPG oven!)

Baking cookies for the entire village while learning English words

Phil teaching English

Alisha was helping with the Feed a Mother program with the Charis Project.  These sweet boys liked to meet the car to take the food to their mom.


The Charis Project is also opening up a community center.  There was an old table that needed to be sanded.  We found some good helpers.  =)

Hard at work
Phil has been talking with a lot of people in town about how best to use his computer skills.  He's got a lot of things in the works, and hopes that he can understand the situation here better so that his work will be most effective.

Working with a friend

We've been hosting house church two weeks each month.  The last few weeks have been very busy.  We've had 40-50 people each week.  That means a lot of shoes on our doorstep!

Listening to the Kids Talk

We continue to homeschool.  We love the simplicity of what we are doing right now.  We don't use many textbooks, but I do have some.  I brought this Writing book out and just left it on the table.  The boys were excited to try their hand at some of the writing projects in the book.  It may have been short-lived, but I loved how they are self-motivated and enthusiastic (most of the time) in their learning.

Writing a short story.  It was really short.  =)

I LOVE that both boys love reading chapter books now.
They continue to astound me in their learning.

We spend most of our time at home.  The boys have lately enjoyed the water frogs they discovered in our water pipes, and have been making homes for them.  We've also had a couple of Karen girls move in next door for a season who love to come over to play.


I love the thanaka on her face!

November has been busy too, but that's a blog post upcoming!

Sunday, November 15, 2015


Sometimes it's just too much....

Paris, Baghdad, Beruit....

ISIS, Boko Haram, Al Qaeda....

Sometimes, I think we'd all be better off without the globalization of social media.  How much can any one person empathize with all the pain in each part of the world?

My life on the Thai-Burmese border means that I focus a lot on what is going on inside Myanmar. The Irrawady, Democratic Voice of Burma, and Free Burma Rangers continually give me updates on the scores of human rights abuses that happen just on the other side of the border town I live in.  I hate that almost every day some new disaster strikes.  Even with the election that brings hope to their country, a 55-year old grandma and a 15-year old boy were shot on Election Day by their own army while walking back from their rice paddy.

I cry for the refugees.  I cry for the thousands of Burmese that live in my town.  I hurt for the thousands more Syrian refugees that are fleeing ISIS.  I hate that this same terrorist organization causes more stable people to distrust the refugees coming to them because "the refugees might be terrorists."  I hate that hundreds of innocent people have died in Paris.  I hate that there have been suicide bombings in Lebanon and Iraq.  I hate how broken the world is.

There is terror, disease, pain, and hurt all over the world.  Everything aches.  We focus our attention and our prayers on the places that we know and are familiar with because we were not made to carry the weight of the entire world.  But at the same time, we need to have a heart for the world.  I like how this blog challenges us to "not lose the opportunity to grow".  Who can we notice that needs us now?

My heart is breaking.  I find comfort that my God's heart breaks for the same things.  This was not His plan for the world, but that He desires to make all things new again.
Isaiah 58 NIV
6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? 
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? 
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness[a] will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. 
9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, 
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. 
11 The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
Come quickly, Lord Jesus!