We would like to share some of our adventures of the past months via food pictures. We are following Jesus, and he was always breaking bread with friends and strangers, at parties and on the seashore. We are fortunate to have friends from many cultures and we love to eat the spicy and savory foods from those places. It’s been a spring of lots of travel for us and we ate new foods (like goat milk and paella and couscous) and felt re-invigorated by witnessing what God is doing in other places, not just our small world here in Bangkok. Have a taste!
This feast of Pakistani food was made by my (Candice’s) friend and enjoyed following ESL lesson with her three youngest children. She cooks entirely on her tiny balcony because her one-room apartment doesn’t have a kitchen. She urges more and more food on me and pushes wrapped leftovers into my hands as I leave, the perfect example of God’s abundance and generous outpouring in our lives!
Hospitality is a highly held value in South Asia. Everywhere I (Tom) went, I was aggressively served lots of food and seconds (you must physically protect your plate if you don’t want more!). Here we are “enjoying” puffed rice with sugar cane syrup and sour milk. Immediately after this, we were served a huge meal with rice! I spent about a week traveling with Hiralal,* visiting different groups of Hindu-background believers. The groups are small and facing family pressure, but their joy and peace were evident and I heard lots of testimonies of God’s goodness. Family relationships have improved, children are getting educations and people are getting healed. God is doing a lot of transforming work. My trip concluded with a retirement ceremony for Protap,* the founding member of the team there. It was inspiring to hear his testimony of God’s faithfulness throughout his life and his determination to continue mentoring other young leaders.
In Southeast Asia, we heard lots of ministry updates from the team including exciting stories of healing. One of the team members led Bible studies during the seminar about focusing our lives on serving God. Our shared meals and socializing are always a fun part of the meetings. We buy sticky rice by the kilo and eat mounds of it with a little chicken, fish, and spicy dips.
Church for us is also often centered around food. At Bang Na Christian Fellowship, we have a Thai and American feast each time we attend and eat together with people from everywhere; from Taiwan to Pakistan to the Netherlands. At Dwelling Place, (the Thai church where Tom and Claire help out with after-church English classes) there are always noodles or rice dishes to be enjoyed together at long tables. In our team church times at home (above), we love our Thai potlucks, only lacking the broccoli salad and cherry delight of our childhood potlucks!
We had the joy of visiting Candice’s brother Raleigh* and family and enjoying hospitality, North African style with a beautiful couscous meal made by Opal.* If felt so good to sit around the table with family again and to learn about their life out in the mountains. We prayed there with JOY and anticipation for what the Father has planned! It was beautiful to witness their incarnational lifestyle and joy in the culture.
Paella in Spain! After North Africa, we spent part of a week in Spain at meetings with RMM. In little white houses on a mountain with spring bursting out all around us, we experienced a “mountaintop” time with God and friends and family. It was so good to study the Bible together, to share feelings, to hear from God, to hear from so many “on the same page” about ministry. Even though the focus was on the Mediterranean region, it left us encouraged and with new perspective for our work in Thailand too.
With the REACH team and Jada, enjoying breakfast for dinner before a Tennebrae service on Holy Saturday. The REACH team has wrapped up their time in Thailand and we can’t quite believe how fast their time here flew by! They did a great job supporting the long term team, teaching English in a Thai church, tutoring refugee kids, working at Nighlight with trafficked women, and teaching English in a temple school. They also did some traveling and teaching in other areas as well as visiting our second REACH team in Southeast Asia. God has definitely used these three young women to encourage and teach many! Pray that the relationships they began can be an important step on journeys toward Jesus for some!
Please pray for Tom, Candice, and their family to continue having meaningful opportunities to eat and share life with the people of Bangkok and beyond.
*names changed and last names omitted for security