Christmas 2008 is turning out to be quite different. The first reason is obvious: we are not at home -- no extended family, no live Christmas tree dropping dead needles onto the floor, no seasonal snow/sleet/freezing rain! Secondly, for the first time in my entire life, I had all Christmas shopping completed and presents wrapped and under our fake tree by December 16! This organizational and shopping miracle is related to the third reason Christmas is different: on December 17 we hopped on the overnight train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok to then catch another train to the beach, where we are spending our Christmas holiday! All presents, plus little sprinklings of traditional Christmas cheer, came with us to Pran Buri, Thailand, a sleepy little fishing village that is growing into a quaint beach resort area. We were very blessed to find a wonderful and affordable beachside villa for our family of five. Needless to say, we are having a great time. On Christmas Day, we will take an early morning train back into Bangkok, where we will spend the day shopping before returning home to Chiang Mai on the overnight train. One of our friends in Indy joked with us when we saw where we are vacationing, “I remember you gave a CD that inspired you
to go on the mission field entitled, „Doing Missions When Dying is Gain.‟ I don‟t see a whole lot of dying going on there at that beach town!” Ha! We are creating wonderful family memories, however.
On December 29 we will be joining a team of local missionaries to present Christmas to a remote hilltribe village in the north. They have asked us to bring our instruments, so the kids will have a part in presenting the real meaning of Christmas to these villagers who have yet to accept Christ. It will be cold up there, so we‟ll probably have to borrow some warm clothes from friends (who have them…).
Everyone heads back to school on January 5. Tom is leaving his dear 6th graders in the hands of a new teacher and will be picking up a 9th grade Algebra I class and a statistics class for high schoolers. He‟s really excited about the new challenge. He‟ll continue coaching the U13 boys basketball team and leading the students in street evangelism on Saturday nights. Evan has committed himself to being a leader among his 8th grade peers in whatever way God prompts him. Kristen and Kendall are excited to continue their soccer season (wearing the jerseys of famous English “football” teams – easy to get cheaply here…). Robin will resume the 6th grade girls Bible study, hopefully picking up some new girls this semester. Our entire family continues to remind each other that we are here to encourage other missionaries, and we are praying for new ways to do that in our last six months here.
We will continue to update our blog as regularly as we can (look for a new link to a separate blog from Robin specifically). We love hearing from you and we thank you for your continued prayers on our behalf.
Many blessings to your family as you celebrate Christ, the fulfillment of God‟s covenant, planned even before the foundation of the world, to reconcile us to God for eternity!
The Miyakawa Family
p.s. About the picture: no, this is not what we wear around Thailand! We had a traditional Thai photo shoot with all the trimmings! What fun. I will soon have a link to more photos from that day.