Happy Easter! In Thailand, this year, Easter weekend overlaps with Songkhran. Songkhran is the start of a new year where the gods are beseeched to bring the needed rain to plant crops after the long dry spell. In Chiang Mai, 1 million visitors descend on the city to partake in the biggest water fight in the world.
The Easter break at school provides a much needed rest after a long stretch from January during which the pollution and consistent 100 degree Fahrenheit temperatures make teaching and studying difficult. The smoke from the burning fields provides a film of smog and haze that remains over the city for a couple of months until the spring rains which have thankfully begun slightly early this year.
For Chris, the break provided an opportunity to connect with a friend and long term missionary to minority groups in China. Having worked with Uighur people in Xinjiang, Todd is now working to translate the bible into Hui and to nuture an insider group of followers of Jesus in Yinchuan. These followers remain outwardly Muslim but know Jesus as their Lord and saviour. Todd was a great companion on a short trek just north of Lijiang in Yunnan province. We had a great time hiking, eating Yak and discussing theology. Yunnan is only an hour’s flight north. The air and the skies were wonderful and the cool temperatures a great tonic.
The way the school year is structured at Grace is somewhat bizarre. We now have only seven weeks until the end of the year. Sam is intending to study for GCSE’s next year, so will home school. He has continued to struggle with energy levels and persistently inflamed glands. Recently he has been diagnosed with a mild form of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. We are thankful that this doesn’t totally debilitate him. He continues to enjoy making videos,the latest of which you can view here.
Lois loves school and continues to thrive. Joe and Isaac are also flourishing in many ways. Joe has a friend in the neighbourhood who spends most of his evenings with us watching The Flash. Isaac has less friends nearby, but is growing up to be a charismatic extroverted little boy: The life and soul of a party. As a family, we sense God’s protection and care, if not certainty concerning our future direction.
Ann continues to serve in the uniform shop and in elementary school classes. Occasionally she teaches piano and she manages the household finances, which is no small task when income is irregular. However, as we come to the end of another school year, we do reflect on how God has provided for the six of us to serve missionaries in Thailand.
Easter Sunday is my favourite day of the year. The fact of the resurrection is the bedrock of our faith and the reason for our continued hope. As Paul writes: ‘If Christ did not rise from the dead. We of all people are most to be pitied.’
Christ’s resurrection is the first fruits of our own. As my body begins to creek and my knees begin to weaken, I rejoice in the fact that one day I will not just get my young body back, I will have the body I always wanted. Our future is physical. Just like the pollution in Chiang Mai covers the glories of what lies underneath, the pollution of the curse presently covers the glory of what will be when redemption is total.
The seeming irretrievability of things that are lost can suck the life out of us. But one day everything will be retrieved. The resurrection is a giant receipt stamped across history proclaiming that the debt for sin has been paid in full. Christ was not reaping bad karma on the cross, he was purchasing salvation for all humans willing to receive it and for the entire cosmos.