To our friends and family: in case you hadn't heard, we made it back to Thailand safely yesterday morning (Bangkok time)! Michael and I are both super excited to be back, and I think I can speak for both of us and say that we definitely feel like we've arrived back home. :)
Total travel time (from when we left DeMotte until we arrived at GES) was about 41 hours - yikes! I really can't complain, though, because everything went as smoothly as it possibly could have. We caught our connecting flights with no problem, and even after having to be on a single plane for WAY too many hours, neither of us went particularly stir-crazy like we thought we might! (Or, rather, like I thought I might!) We are so thankful for all of those blessings!
Our time in the States was wonderful. It was a blast to get to see so many of you again, to catch up on what's going on in your lives and to tell you in person about our lives in Thailand. We appreciated the many questions about our school, students, and the Thai culture. I'd really like to thank those of you who asked so many questions - answering them was a joy, not a chore. :) I'd also like to say thanks to those of you who went out of your way to see us, invited us to lunch or dinner, and ESPECIALLY to our families, for letting us stay with you for a couple of weeks at a time! Going back to visit would not have been much fun if there weren't so many people to see and talk to!
We have quite a few things to accomplish now that we're back. I believe school starts on June 15 or 16, so we have to start preparing lessons, classrooms, etc. before then! Both Michael and I have different classrooms this year, and we are also both homeroom teachers this year (Michael for 10th grade, me for 12th). Fortunately, this year we don't have to deal with being thrown into the classroom unprepared!
Please continue to keep us in your prayers. We are excited to start a new year, but at the same time I know this new year will come with new challenges as well. One thing in particular comes to mind, and this is something I had a difficult time with last year. Every school day we have a "homeroom" period, which we get to use for devotions, etc. We as teachers are urged to use the entire homeroom period for devotions, not just part of it. This can be really difficult - I never really found a format or topic that "worked" for my homeroom class last year, but I would really like to use the time during that period better this year. It's my hope that the students will actually start thinking spiritually and be open to discussions and topics that relate to spiritual things. Please pray that God would lead us (and all the teachers) to topics, discussions, etc. that will engage the students during homeroom time. Pray that their hearts and minds might be opened to the Gospel this year.
We were blessed to have an opportunity to see you again, and we are also blessed to be able to return to Thailand with so much support. Thank you for your prayers, and thank you for your encouragement. :)