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A letter from Esther Wakeman in Thailand

march 2009

Dear Friends,

Dear Prayer Partners and Friends,

Photo of 13 people gathered together to have their picture taken. They are smiling, and some are clowning for the camera.

Dr. Suchada (far right, with baseball cap) with Esther and students on Khun Tan after a long hike.

I sat down for a bit of breakfast at the international dorm (Paradornparb International House) before hiking up Khun Tan mountain for a retreat with our fourth-year international college students a couple weeks ago. Across from me, Dr. Suchada, dean of our law school, was fortifying herself before a day-long seminar she had to attend. She started telling me about some old hurts from college days, and I shared ways that God has healed some of my old hurts. Then she shared her Buddhist understandings of life and hurts and how to cope, and it was real and deep and precious. We agreed to talk again about these matters of the heart that mean so much. Dr. Suchada is one of many caring colleagues I’m privileged to work with at Payap University. We sit in committee meetings, walk with students up mountains, teach, eat, talk, laugh, and cry. I’m blessed by the competence and commitment of my friends at Payap, who come from different faith traditions and backgrounds, but work together patiently and joyfully for the good of our students.

Do you know anyone who would like to join us to teach for a semester or a year or longer? We don’t pay a lot—in the neighborhood of $1000 per month—but it doesn’t cost a lot to live here. We also welcome retirees who can supplement our pay with their own retirement income or those who could find their own supplemental financial support. We need teachers with master’s degrees and doctorates.

We need teachers for TESOL and English, and teachers for our international business management and hospitality management departments. We also need teachers foreconomics, finance, law, and a variety of research, management, marketing, and travel and tourism courses.

School starts June 5. This may be a late recruiting notice, but when I first came to Chiang Mai 30 years ago (April 1 is the anniversary!), I’d heard about the opportunity only six weeks before I arrived here. Sometimes God moves speedily. Please send this message to anyone you know who might be interested or might know someone who is. Our needs are ongoing, too, so keep us in mind.

Photo of a girl trying on an elaborate headpiece used by the CCI Thai Dance Troupe.

The Christian Communications Institute's Thai Dance Troupe will be in the United States again this fall.

Second advertisement: the Christian Communications Institute (CCI) will be touring the United States this fall with Thai dance and drama from September 24 through November 2. The PC(USA) World Mission Challenge 2009 is happening at the same time, so please give that your first priority. I (Esther) will be speaking in churches from September 25 through October 19. The World Mission Office in Louisville is organizing my speaking.

But if you would like to invite CCI to visit your church without interfering with World Mission Challenge, please let us know. If you’d like to have a video with a sample of what the tour is like, let us know that too, and we’ll have it sent to you.

CCI will fly in and out of Washington, D.C., and hopes to perform around there and in Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Rob’s son Andy and his wife Ellen will be arranging the tour dates between October 5-25 with the help of their church network. Rob and I will arrange dates from September 24 to October 4, and October 26 to November 2. (I hope to be with the tour for this last bit in Georgia and Florida.) We’ve heard from some of you already and will follow up.

We know this is late notice for some of your churches, but on our last tour, we had one performance on a Sunday morning that got arranged after we were on the road. It is amazing what can happen with email and cell phones!

Thank you for your prayers for our strategic planning process at Payap. Good progress is being made. Thanks for your prayers for me, too. I feel I’m getting clearer about my task and renewed in my calling. Please keep praying that we will follow our Lord Jesus in his plans and priorities in this time of deep challenge all around the world.

Blessings,

Esther and Rob

The 2008 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 110

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