Sunday, August 17, 2014

Leaving Bangkok for Roi Et

Greetings everyone,

We have had a busy couple of weeks, we have moved from our apartment at the church in Bangkok to the city of Roi Et, seven hours NorthEast.  We felt the Lord prompting us to continue our language and culture study here where we plan on serving him for our remaining time in Thailand.  The Isan area where we now live is primarily rural, with rice farming being the main source of income here.  We found an apartment in the city of Roi Et which is a larger city here, about 40,000 people.  There are shops, restaurants, businesses, schools and temples all around.  There are a few restaurants that serve Western food so that has been a blessing!  It is much quieter here, less traffic and a breeze.  We get a lot of looks as we walk around the town, since there are few Westerners here. Noah and Hannah Grace get most of the stares, we try to greet folks and smile.  Having eyes on you is definitely an adjustment for all of us, but at least they are noticing we are here.  We try to be ourselves and pray that God is using our presence here somehow for his glory.  Now we just have to get to know them and to be able to speak with them.
Getting ready to board the bus to Roi Et
Our belongings
 There is a beautiful park in the center of the city where many people go to walk, play basketball, play on the playground and just hang out.  We are in walking distance of most of the things we need, which is important since we haven't yet purchased a ministry vehicle.  We go to the park about everyday to try to meet and greet Thai people.

The other team members live 10 to 15 minutes from us so we have been blessed by their company and presence since arriving.  Some of the students we got to know at camp this summer were at their home last Wednesday night for worship, so we had the chance to reconnect. with them.  Noah picked right up with a friend he made named Biw.  Although they have to speak with broken Thai and English the two seem to find a way to make it work.
We felt the Lord encouraging us to host a worship night in English in our home, so that those on the team and others serving here who speak English could have an opportunity to worship in their native tongue.  We had worship here in our apartment Saturday night from 6 to 9.  We ate dinner together (we made spaghetti) read scripture, sang praise songs and watched a recorded sermon about Listening to God.  After the sermon we had small group time and prayed for each other.  We had 10 people here to worship,  Noah and Hannah Grace participated as well.  God blessed our time and we believe offering church in our home each week is something we feel led to do.  Please join us in prayer for our group to grow, for this to be an opportunity for team members and others to be fed spiritually and for God to be shone glory.
New apartment, main room

One of the bedrooms

Our apartment in Roi Et, Second floor
Please continue to pray for our transition here and for us to begin to make relationships with Thai nationals.  We live in a 2 bedroom apartment where we are comfortable.  The apartment complex is full of high school students who live here and attend school right down the street.  We are living in the middle of students and believe the Lord has brought us here for a reason.  Join us in prayer in how we can serve him and bring his name and hope to so many who do not know him.

We love you all and pray for you, please continue to stay with us on this journey.  Blessings.
Our family with our Thai Tutor, Nid in Bangkok

Todd at the Barber shop in Roi Et

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Hello from the Attaways.

We hope you are all doing well and had a Happy 4th of July!  We missed celebrating with friends and family at home, but were invited to attend a cookout at a guest house near the church where we live.  There were several families from the US there and the menu included hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and a red, white and blue cake!  They even had some sparklers and a few fireworks so it was great to celebrate our nation's Independence day along with you, actually 11 hours ahead of you!

This past month has had its ups and downs.  One of the positive things is we have founds an alternative Thai language program that is more practical and written for English speakers.  This program is online and also includes native Thai tutors.  Our Thai tutor in Bangkok is Kruu Nid, she has been a blessing and is teaching us commonly used phrases and sentence structure.  They have tutors in Roi Et as well so this program would allow us the opportunity to move to the Northeast where we plan on serving sooner.  The Thai language is challenging, but we are committed to learn to speak and understand the language of those who we will serve.  Please pray for our language acquisition.

Noah and Hannah Grace have enjoying being out of school, but of course have to study Thai each day.  They are troopers and continue to bring joy to everyone they meet.  Noah has made a couple of friends at an English church we have attended this month and has been to youth group a couple of times.  Hannah Grace has enjoyed her Sunday School and has also made friends.  They had a family picnic this month that we attended and enjoyed the fellowship.  We feel blessed to have found an opportunity to worship and have some fellowship in our native tongue since we are not yet proficient in Thai.

Water games at the Church Picnic

Water fun and fellowship

Hannah Grace was reading her Bible one night and called us in her room.  She said she felt lead to pack her backpack with water and snacks and take it to the people who live on the street near our home.  We went to 7-11 the next morning where she bought 6 bottles of water and 6 snacks with her money.  Hannah Grace packed them in her book bag along with her Bible, we prayed and then went out.  She prayed during the walk, found people in need, offered the water and food and tried to greet everyone in Thai.  It was really an amazing experience for her and for us.  We are proud of Hannah Grace's and Noah's hearts for the Lord and for others.

Prepared to go the the streets

Hannah Grace being the Light
We traveled to Roi Et this month to pray over where the Lord needs us to serve.  We met with the English teachers at the Muang Suang school.  They are eager to have volunteer English teachers and would welcome us.  The school has 1000 students and several other neighboring schools are in need of conversational English teachers.   While in Roi Et we were able to participate in the Wednesday night worship and fellowship with the Barbees and Mot, a member of the team.  Noah lead the students in a new game.  It was a blessing being in their company and praising God in Thai.

Wednesday night worship and study at the Barbees in Roi Et

Noah teaching a game-Ninja to Roi Et Students

A challenge we have faced is missing Sidney and Ashley since their visit.  We have had time to reflect on their time here and have stayed in touch each week, but it is still difficult.  Please keep them both in your prayers.  Sidney is working at  Camp Greenville this summer in a leadership role and is really enjoying it.  Ashley has had a lot of opportunity to travel and has seen so many new things, she in now back in Clemson.  We believe their visit here was important for them to see some of the reasons we feel called to serve in Thailand.

We are learning so much about Thai culture and about the people here.  We are also learning a lot about God and trusting him.  We continually lift you up in prayer and hope you know how important you all are to us.  Please join us in prayer for our family in the US and for us here.  We ask for spiritual protection, health, language learning, and guidance for our transition to the Northeast.  We pray that God will use us to his glory here and that we make his name known to many who haven't heard the Good News.  Thank you again for all of your love and support on this journey we are on together.

May God be glorified.

I know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  Romans 8:28

Monday, June 2, 2014

Family Reunion in Bangkok

Greetings everyone,

We hope you are all doing well and we pray for you daily.  God has blessed us this month with the reunion of our family.  Sidney and Ashley arrived in Bangkok on May 5 and stayed until May 27.  These three weeks were a wonderful time for us to catch up and enjoy being together again.  We were able to go on a family vacation to one of the beautiful beaches in Thailand.  It was refreshing being out of the city life and to be able to witness God's natural beauty.  One of the church members at Muang Thai Church offered us her condo to stay in while visiting Puckett, which was a tremendous blessing for us.  God is good.

One of our prayer requests for the visit of Sidney and Ashley was for their eyes to be open to God's call upon our lives to serve in Thailand.   In addition to enjoying the coast, we also just experienced "life" in Bangkok.  They were able to see the malls and markets, and also the darkness of the red light district.  A missionary took us on a prayer walk through the district, it was very eye opening for all of us.  We witnessed the need for the light and hope of Christ in a way perhaps we never have before.  All of us are in prayer about what the Lord needs from us, to be his hands and feet in this country and to help shine his light on the darkness here.

Arrival in Bangkok, 12 am

 We asked the Sidney and Ashley what they wanted to do while visiting us.  One of the of the things the two of them both asked to do was to travel to Roi Et,  7 hours Northeast, to see where we are praying about serving as English teacher and kingdom builders.  We took a bus ride to Roi Et where we met with Chris and Dora Barbee and the other members of the team, Kat and Mot.  We were able to help serve at worship on Sunday morning at the Christian Learning Center and were able to see some of the kids we had made relationships with earlier at camp in March in Bangkok.  Noah was especially happy to see some of his friends, it was a special time.  We all enjoyed being in the countryside and anticipate serving full time with the team in this area.  The Northeast is the most impoverished area of Thailand and we have read that 90% of children trafficked in this country come out of this region.  Please join us in prayer about serving in this area.  Refer to the link at the bottom to see about the unreached in this area.

Sidney helping the Roi Et kids draw a group pic
Ashley playing the alphabet game with students

Hannah Grace celebrated her 10th Birthday while we were in Roi Et, with all of us together.  It was special, she even got to feed an elephant walking on the street.  Her choice for a present was a ukelele which she is already learning to play pretty well.

Hannah Grace's 10th Birthday

Thailand is now under a military coup and many things are changing politically.  There currently is a curfew from 12am to 4am and we have been told to steer clear of certain areas.  Please keep this county in your prayers and for the gracious, kind Thai people who love Thailand.  We are safe and stay aware of what is going on around us, please continue to pray too for our well being and discernment and wisdom in this process.

Thank you all for staying on this journey with us.  We need your prayers continually and your financial support in order to be the salt and the light in this part of the world.
We love you and are thankful for what you are doing for us and his kingdom.

The Attaways

Please go to the link for a depiction of the unreached in Thailand.

Ashley and Sidney enjoying the Market
On the top of the highest building in Bangkok
Attaway family in Thailand
God bless each of you!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

April In Bangkok

Greetings to all.  The Roi Et students who were here for Academic camp in March left the Muang Thai Church to return home early in April and the heat in Bangkok took their place.  The temps have been in the mid 90's with high humidity making it seem like 105-110 degrees.  We have learned to slow the pace and find the shade where we can.

The last several days of camp were lots of  fun.  They had sports day where they played games all day. They asked Pam and I to be like the Grand Marshalls.   I think I know why now, to dress up in a suit and dress in this heat is a bit uncomfortable, even if it is only for a small amour of time.  However, the games were a blast and everyone had a great time.  Noah participated on one of the teams and was so much in to it that he skipped language school that afternoon.  The morning consisted of more athletic type events and the afternoon was more food related events.  It was fun watching them work together as a team and see the competitiveness come alive in them.  All in all it was a tremendous success.

We have been continuing our language studies this month. Up until now it has been primarily learning vocabulary that is functional for us in daily living.  Now we are learning how to pattern our sentences to have coherent conversations.  It is hard not to try and translate word for word but you can't because some words have multiple meanings. We are getting better and are understanding much more but we still give people those strange looks when we don't understand.

Thailand celebrated their New Year this month.  It is call Songkran and lasts three days. It is a time when most people travel back to their parents homes to offer water blessing to their parents and in return receive a blessing from their parents. We were able to experience this at the end of the camp with a water blessing ceremony.  However, for most of Thailand it has turned into a big water fight.  If you are on the streets during those days, YOU WILL GET WET!    We mostly watched from the sky train platform.

Thank you again for your love and support to us.  May God bless you abundantly.  Please continue to keep us and the country and people of Thailand in your hearts and prayers.
Sports Day Parade
Sports Day Parade

Members of Team Green with Pam
Team Blue Preparing for Parade

Grand Marshalls

The Games Opening Skit
Team Blue's Dance

Team Red's Dance
HG Live on Stage

Water Blessings
Water Blessings

Pam Giving Noah a Blessing

Great Group of Students

Students Packing the Bus to Leave


Songkran 2014
Songkran 2014

Songkran 2014

Friday, April 4, 2014

Academic Camp in March

Hi to everyone!  March has been a little different for us because we did not have language school. We took this month off so we could meet with the Southeast Asia group at Dolphin Bay, which is about 3 hours south of Bangkok. We enjoyed the fellowship with all who were there and were able to relax a couple of days. We did not see any dolphins, but we did manage to find some monkeys. As one of our group activities we visited Monkey Island where we were able to get up close and personal with a couple of the locals. After the island visit we hiked to a cave where King Mongkut first visited in the 1860.  In the 1890's the Pavillion was built by King Chulalongkorn.  Future Kings have continued to visit the site. The mountain is limestone and the holes were formed due to water, weather and time.  It was interesting to see how the mountain opened as you walked further down.  Hopefully, the pictures will explain what I am trying to say. We loved our time together and meeting others who are living and sharing in this area of the world.


Phyara Nakhun Cave

Temple in Phraya Nakhun Cave

Our Group Walking in the Cave

We have been working on our language by trying to use what we do know by talking to the kids that are in Bangkok for summer academic camp.  There are 23 students here sharing meals, devotion time, academic classes and fellowship with each other and the leaders. This has been a great opportunity for Noah to connect with several students and make some friends his age.  He has also been a part of the music team each morning. Hannah Grace has made her contribution as well.  She taught the students the moves to the theme song for the camp. 

Noah During Worship
Participating in Activities

Pam Teaching about Taking Care of Your Body
Kat Translating

Mod Helping Translate

Lunch Time

Worship and Motions

The Making of a Body

Our Bodies
Who We Are Inside and Out

It has been great to have the opportunity to get to know these kids just a little.  Conversations take a long time and many gestures are needed to help try and get your point across.  Sometimes nothing works with language, but the kids seem to know we care for them and that is most important. They seemed to be enjoying the camp and the activities that have been planned for them. They are already all special to us. Please keep them in yours prayers.

Thank you for your love and support to us.