Heading North

Hey friends,

We have had a busy summer. We got to see many of you as we traveled back to the States for a month over June / July. It was great to get to relax and introduce Lila to her Great Grandmas and aunties, uncles, and cousins who were not part of the grand parade of visitors passing through Bangkok last fall.

As soon as we returned to Thailand, we loaded all of our possessions onto a truck and headed North to Chiang Mai, our new city. Melissa and I both started new positions at Payap University in mid July. Melissa is the Head of International Campus Life and I am the Director of the Southeast Asian Studies Center. Our positions have kept us very busy but we are at a point where we really love what we are doing now. Melissa has been teaching a class called Truth and Service as well as planning all sorts of student activities and I am redesigning the incoming study abroad programs here at Payap.

Charlie and Lila have settled into life as well. Charlie attends a local bilingual school and Lila attends a daycare not far from our house. Both love their schools and have lots of smiles coming and going to school each day.

First Day Before School

First Day Before School

First Day Before School

First Day Before School

First Day After School

First Day After School

First Day After School

First Day After School

We’re all smiles!

It was quite a challenge to find the right house in the right area but we moved in just a few weeks ago and are slowly getting settled. Due to special gifts from some of you who have donated funds via Grandview Baptist Church in Iowa, we were able to purchase a car. This has become a great need for our family, but not something that we could really afford until now. We are so thankful for the generous gifts that made this possible.

Thank you!


Amazingly, Lila’s one year birthday came this past week on September 7th and we had a little party with some very special treats. She loved the first attempt at donut pops (and I think it is safe to say that Charlie is a fan too.) Check it out in the video below. We hope you all are having a great September and enjoying the beginnings of autumn. Talk to you again soon!

Jay, Mel, Charlie, and Lila

Still Growing

Hey friends, it has been an eventful few months that has had plenty to update about, however we have been running too fast to slow down. I took a trip to Myanmar, we had multiple bouts with sickness, and a great trip to visit family in December. Most recently, Charlie celebrated his 2nd birthday. The big day was yesterday and he has had two parties so far and two more to go this weekend. By next week, there will be pictures. In the meantime, here is one from his party at Kids-D Daycare.


He’s such a fine strapping young lad.

We’re so very proud.

Talk to you next week!

Jay, Mel, and Charlie

Miles ahead and Miles Behind

I looked down at the odometer in the car today and was surprised.  On my drive from California I drove through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma until I finally arrived in Bella Vista, Arkansas.  In total, I drove more than 2,000 miles.  I watched as the miles racked up quickly.  On a long drive, this happens.  In the few days since arriving here, it seems like I also have driven a lot.  Everything is spread out and it takes more time and miles to carry out simple tasks.  I have a suspicion that Thailand will be the same.

These past few months have been all at once dragging slowly and at the same time a blur.  So much to do and yet the goals seemed so far away.  California is miles behind and Thailand is miles ahead.  I am learning again the balance of keeping a keen eye on the past and on the future while living in the moment.  There are rare occasions that I multitask well and this is not one of them.  A few years ago, God took me on this journey of learning to celebrate with him.  Over the course of our lives, we dream big dreams and smaller dreams as we discover what God has created us to do, the stuff that makes us come alive.   When I was younger, I had dreams of exploring distant places and learning about different cultures, languages, and cuisines.  I also dreamed about learning guitar and writing music and getting to make albums and maybe even performing.  I was living in Kazakhstan when I realized that I was actually living out the stuff that I had always dreamed of.  I was learning the ways of a people who had always lived on the opposite side of the planet from me.  I learned to write songs while I was there and I actually got to be part of a recording project.

There was a moment when God stopped me and said, “See all that I have done in your life.  Take time and celebrate with me.”  I realized that I was so focussed on writing more songs and learning the language better and even looking to future dreams that I was not stopping to celebrate all the dreams that God had been making come true.  Inherently, we are good at looking forward to the future all the time.  If we are not careful we wind up looking back on our lives never having really experienced much of it in the moment.  The truth is, when we look back at the dreams and callings God has given us, we will be so much more satisfied in life and in Him when we celebrate the dreams that we are reaching today.  This honors Him and sets our hearts in a state of worship, giving Him the glory.  Instead of endlessly chasing that which is miles ahead, we simply point the car that direction and stop at each rest stop and celebrate all that is around us.  Each moment is a gift and without the miles ahead that leads me forth from the miles behind, I never would have arrived at this place and time to meet with God.

What dreams have you had that are coming true now?  What are the dreams that God is in the process of making come true?  How are you celebrating all this with Him?

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