August 5th, 2017 marks one full year that the Degler’s have lived and worked in Bangkok.
We’ve been able to experience quiet a bit, which has helped inform and fill our dreams and vision for HighRise Ministries in Bangkok, Thailand.
Our original objective for this first year was to study Thai, learn about other ministries in the area, find a church for our family, and explore options for our own future ministry in Bangkok.
So I’ll give you a quick update on each of these objectives, and then I want to share a little about what’s next.
Thai Language Learning – If any of you have ever tried to learn a second language, you know that its one of the worst things we can put our minds through. Unless you’re a polyglot, your mind is stretched to the point of breaking, and at the end of the day your brain feels like pudding. Nasty, rotten pudding.
For us, we are getting there. We can read, write, and speak, which sounds great, but its still frustrating, and we need more practice. Random unknown vocabulary will regularly derail our conversations, and a quick or mumbling speaker always begs the question, “Say what?” So we will continue our language learning with conversation and classroom study.
Meeting Other Ministries – We’ve had the chance to meet many different ministries in the area. Its been great to see the work other missionaries are doing, where they have succeeded, and where they have failed. We’ve been able to learn about what kind of ministry would stand the best chance at reaching the people of Bangkok.
If you’ve ever talked to us, you know that we aren’t interested in reinventing any wheels, so this has been exceedingly helpful in directing our future efforts.
Finding a Church Home – Finding a church for our family to attend regularly and get plugged into has been a little more difficult than we anticipated. We took childcare for granted, and we quickly learned that wrangling Desmond during an entire church service actually initiates more sin than just skipping church all together and watching Charles Stanley on the boob tube.
We jumped around looking for a place that fit our family, and after a year, we think we’ve finally found one. Thank you for those who have been helping us pray for an answer to this problem, as we’ve felt disconnected from any community. We hope to begin a small group with people from this church and to continue to build our Bangkok tribe.
Options for the Future – After reading books on missions in Thailand and seeing many different ministries in Bangkok, we’ve been able to learn quite a bit more about the Thai culture, how Thais best receive the gospel, and what other ministries have been doing to reach the Thai people. Its an entirely different blog post, but we’ve learned first hand just how difficult it is for a foreigner (or as we’re called, farang) to effectively share the gospel with a Thai. This is true for any foreigner in any culture, but this has emphasized the absolute need for us to support the people who actually can make an impact on Thais: Thais.
Looking ahead we are going to continue our study of Thai, which means we might occasionally be in a classroom, but I’m convinced that we just need loads of conversational practice. We are also beginning conversations with the local Thai pastors in our area.
Our goal is to support them and their congregations in whatever they need to be discipled evangelists of their own people.
Within the next couple months, we will update you further about how this is going and how we have been able to help pastors and congregations.