Family Update!

Whew!  Life has certainly gained speed here in Singapore!  We have passed our four-month mark and are settling in.  Our schedules are full as we meet people and join the bustling Singapore lifestyle.  Here is an update for those we love or anyone stumbling upon our blog!

School and Work

The young people in our family have completed their first quarter of school.  They are all doing well with grades and balancing their many demands.  Here is what they are up to: 

Making new friends

Jonathan:   is currently on a field studies trip to Cambodia.  He is touring the Killing Fields, working with a conservation group, and learning traditional dance performances (not his favorite activity).  He signed the 1991 Paris Peace Accords on Cambodia.  We look forward to hearing all about the trip when he returns!  After Thanksgiving, he is participating in the SEASAC championships in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia for his cross-country team.

Ready for the mountain

Michael:  enjoyed a field studies trip to Gopeng, Malaysia.  His class went caving, hiking, and learned about ecosystems.  He also qualified for the SEASAC championships and will be traveling with Jonathan at the end of November.  Michael participated in a one-day fast and service day with our youth group this weekend.  He is raising money for a children’s home in Mongolia, Eden’s Home, which our church supports.

Ariana in Chiang Mai

Ariana:  excels in her school work and enjoys inventing things at the school’s Innovation Center.  She is taking a master chef class and two art classes that she loves.  Her skills in the kitchen have really improved and we enjoy the benefits!  Ariana is adventurous and has blossomed with the travel and learning opportunities here.  I think she has adjusted to Singapore more quickly than any of us!  

Chris:  travels all around Southeast Asia.  Most months he is traveling for work about half of the time.  He guards his weekend time zealously, making sure to be home with us each weekend.  November has brought a happy break from his travels and we have enjoyed having him home!  Shortly, Chris will add China to his travel rotation in South Korea and Thailand.  We look forward to learning more about China and are praying for success in his work endeavors there

Dyana:   Four months in, I have almost finished setting up our home, have established relationships with doctors, contractors, and neighbors, and found my footing.  We are rounding the learning curve, I think!  Most happily, I have begun counseling again through our church.  While we are here, I hope to study and practice counseling to prepare for our return to the States.  I’m still praying through available options, but am thankful to return to this work.

Family Life

Our family continues to grow into our new lifestyle.  Singapore is fast-paced, even compared to the bustle of Houston.  Finding time and ways to relax together become vital to families’ well-being.  One day, I’ll write more about family life in Singapore as a whole, but for us, we spend most evenings at home doing homework and having dinner together.  This helps us stay connected despite our individual pursuits.  

We travel too!  You might have seen some of our travel pics and blogs.  Travel is inexpensive and fairly simple in the region, even for a family of five.  This is a happy change from traveling back home, where going places we love required lots of vacation time.  Leaving the pressures of Singapore to create family memories helps us de-stress.  We bond through shared memories and grow together…I think this is my favorite part of our lives here.

A Helper: Last week, we hired a domestic helper to join our family.  This was a big decision for us that I will detail in a future post.  Helpers here live-in with their employers.  This is a big adjustment for everyone, especially me.  I’m learning how to share the workload at home and trust things to a person I don’t know well.  Veronica has already blessed our family tremendously and made it possible for us to rest.  She is hard-working and funny, adding a lot of joy to our home.

VISITORS!  We have been blessed to have three visits from friends since October.  Melissa came first at the beginning of October.  Her visit was such a buoy to our spirits and greatly encouraged me.  We even snuck away to Bintan, Indonesia for some girl time.  

Together in one of my fave shops on Arab Street

This past week, we had two rounds of company.  First, our friends Ben and Mary (attorney and paralegal extraordinaire), paid us a visit.  We enjoyed touring Singapore together and meeting their friends, Max and Grazia.  We saw the Zoo Night Safari for the first time, which we highly recommend!

Then, Mike and Mady (friends from Houston) came and we had two whirlwind days seeing sights. Spending time with a younger, energetic couple was so fun.  They outpaced me on most activities (Chris had no problem!) but were gracious to wait on me when needed.  In exchange, I showed them some wonderful sights and pointed them to the best food.  We had a great time.

Church and Missions

International Baptist Church has greatly blessed us.  The diversity and unity there challenge us to grow in understanding and love.  We come from largely homogenous churches in the U.S., so imagine our excitement to find a church with 155 ethnic groups represented in its body!

IBC’s people are dear to me; we have met many wonderful, sincere and loving Christian people.  As the church interacts, we are all challenged to grow in acceptance and understanding of  different cultures.  Seeing Christ represented through each culture’s expressions of faith has delighted me.  Our family has grown through these experiences already and I anticipate more wonderful changes ahead!

Missions opportunities abound.  We have contacted people and groups that we hope to partner with in the area.  Our church has many missions trips each year and many parachurch missions organizations have bases in Singapore.  OMF, Faith Comes Through Hearing and the IMB are a few we have contacted.

Honestly, I have felt a little frustrated that we haven’t been able to go on a missions trip yet.  Friends remind me we are new to Singapore and to be patient, which is true.  I feel urgency to invest while we are here and not waste this wonderful opportunity.  Yet, we are waiting on the Lord’s timing and direction to guide us.  With so many options and our hectic schedules, we need clarity and purpose to move forward.  Please pray with us as we seek the Lord’s direction.

Wrap-up

A blog post limits what we share.  There are more things we can share when we are together again.  Until then, I hope this post gives you a glimpse and understanding of how we are doing.  I’ll end with a synopsis I will call the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

The Good

  • Travel (of course!)
  • Church and mission opportunites
  • Family growth
  • Loving the people of Southeast Asia

The Bad

  • Continued difficulties in resettling medical care
  • Time pressures
  • Greater persecution of Christians in SE Asia
  • Fatigue

The Ugly

  • Missing our loved ones back home
  • Adjustment struggles

We love you all and look forward to connecting with you when we visit or you come here, whichever is first!!

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