One skill a person certainly learns in cross-cultural work is flexibility! Sarah and I are both planners, so this stretches us, but we know it is for the better. This will be a dynamic and unpredictable year, but we want to do our best to communicate to all of you what this year will probably look like.
Our baby is due in July, and as we’ve mentioned previously, we have made the decision to stay based in Kansas until after the birth. If mom and baby are both in good health around two months after (Fall 2017), then that is when we will pursue the long-term move to Thailand.
However, our ministry with ReachGlobal is NOT being put on hold! Just as before, as soon as we reach 100% in our ongoing financial support needs, we will be fully deployed as full-time media producers for the Asia division. I (Dave) will travel on short-term trips as needed to film and will work on editing videos in our home in Wichita. Sarah and I will both begin language acquisition, a key component of the first couple of years of cross-cultural work.
Will I (Dave) get another job since we are staying in Wichita longer?
No – just as before, I am employed full-time with ReachGlobal. Until we reach 100% funding, a big part of that job is ministry partnership development. After we reach 100%, my role shifts to full-time media producer for the Asia division of RG. Our salary and medical plan come through RG, and these funds are provided by our faithful ministry partners.
What will language learning be like while you’re still in the U.S.?
We won’t have the luxury of immersive language learning until we move to Thailand, but G has provided unique opportunities in the meantime. Our first step is taking a basic language acquisition course online through Wheaton College. During this three-week class, we will work with local Thai language helpers to practice what we are learning. Sarah will take this course first from January 23 – February 10. Since that overlaps with my travels to Thailand, I will take this course (or a similar one) at a later time. Following this course, we will continue to seek opportunities to work with local speakers of Thai to further our learning.
If you’re able to work on videos from the U.S., why are you still moving to Thailand later this year?
With technology we are able to transfer video files from across the world in the matter of minutes. We can Skype our team members rather than meet with them in person. We can make all of that work for the interim, but there are several reasons why being based in Thailand will make our ministry most effective:
- Learning the culture – in order to produce videos that are accurate and communicate well, we need to go deep in Asian culture
- Power of team – being able to work together with our ServeAsia team in person is key for long-term sustainable service
- Travel logistics – our base in Thailand is located centrally within the region we will be serving; the locations we will travel to will all be within two timezone hops (compare that with the 25+ hours of traveling required to cross 12 timezones from Wichita to Thailand)
As always, we love dialoguing with all of you and would enjoy spending time to hear your thoughts and questions on life and ministry!
Thank you so much for your prayers, encouragement and support!