Archive for February, 2010

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Injury Report

02/28/2010

It’s been a busy few weeks, and we have been slacking on our blog. So, here is a quick update and some pictures.

The highlight of the last few weeks was that Ann’s parents came to visit. It was such a great time, and it was hard to see them go. (We will say more about their trip later.) For now, I thought I would catch you up on the Reese family injury report. A few days into Ann’s parents being here, Brynn decided to drop a heavy chair on her foot. Her big toenail looked bad, but it began to heal over the next few days. However, on the fourth day, when she was at school, a fellow student stepped on Brynn’s bad toe. It started bleeding and wouldn’t stop. I took her to the emergency room because her entire toenail was elevated on top of a huge blood blister. I then had to hold her down while the doctor gave her 3 shots in her big toe to deaden it. He then pulled off her big toenail. Ouch! Brynn did amazingly well and has been nursing her toe back to health. It seems to be healing well, but it will take about 6 months for the toenail to grow back completely.

Then, a few hours before we took Ann’s parents to the airport in Chiang Mai, Ann picked up Meg too quickly and hurt her lower back. It continued to hurt after we returned to Phayao, keeping her from sleeping well at night. Finally, on Thursday, she began to feel numbness and tingling down her leg and into her foot. We went to the doctor, and he said she has a herniated disc. She is taking medicine, and is scheduled to go back to the doctor on Thursday to see what further treatment needs to be done. The doctor said the most important thing for her is rest, no lifting, and no bending down. This is hard for her since that means she cannot hold the girls.

(The following part wasn’t originally going to be in this post.) Finally, during church this morning, Brynn came down with a fever. She and Ann are resting in bed together. I am not sure what Brynn has, but her fever is around 101-102. I am desperately hoping this is a fast bug. And to top things off, before we left church this morning Meg fell and got a bloody lip…all better now but just a cherry on top of an already hard day!

So, any prayers for restored health (and a break from hospital trips) would be greatly appreciated.

Brynn was sure to keep her foot elevated after the “surgery.” And Meg had to do the same thing. Good thing Mimi was here to help care for them.

*Update: Brynn is doing better, but, of course, Meg caught what she had. So, she is trying to get over a fever as well. Ann’s back is feeling better, and she goes to the doctor tomorrow. Thanks for your encouragement and prayers.

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Heartbreakers

02/08/2010

Before moving to Phayao, I felt like we had a fairly realistic view of what would be involved in this transition. There would be culture shock, language frustrations, and Ann and I would have days of really missing family and friends. And those things have happened, However, one thing we were not prepared for was how homesick Brynn might feel. I assumed a 3-year old wouldn’t have those feelings. Well, we have seen lately that 3-year olds are not immune to homesickness. Thus, we thought we might share a few of Brynn’s recent comments about missing Texas. And note that though her statements feel like punches in the gut to some degree, she manages to show off her fun personality by adding humor to her homesickness. Here are 4 of her most recent comments:

1. A few days ago we skyped with Brynn’s cousins Mason and Lauren. Afterward, we noticed that she was moping around. She continued this for awhile, so Ann picked her up and held her for a bit. Ann asked, “Are you sad because you miss your cousins?”

Brynn: “No.”

Ann: “Are you happy?”

Brynn: “Yes. As long as we get to go back to Texas in a few days.”

2. Ann picked Brynn up from school one day, and they stopped at a red light behind a police officer. Brynn, out of nowhere, blurted out, “Hey mommy, that police officer is going to say (cupping her hands around her mouth), ‘Yall go back to Abilene.'”

Ann: “Who is he going to say that to?”

Brynn: “I think us.”

3. My mom sent us a Christmas package a few weeks ago and included the book Twelve Days of Christmas in Texas. Brynn pulled the book out of the package and asked, “What does this say?”

Ann: “It says, The Twelve Days of Christmas in Texas.”

Brynn: “No, I think it says I Want to Go Back to Texas and Play with My Friends.”

4. Tonight, as Ann, the girls, and her parents were driving home, Brynn starting talking about Champoo, her best friend at school. (We just found out that next week Champoo will go stay with her mother in a different city for a month.) Ann said, “Champoo is going to see her mommy in a few days and spend a few weeks with her. Isn’t that great. I bet she is excited.”

Brynn: “I am excited, too. I am going back to America in a few days.”

So, all you friends of Brynn out there, know that you are missed by a little girl in Phayao.

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The Flip Side

02/01/2010

One thing I would like to do on this blog is note interesting and/or difficult situations or issues that we are reflecting on. How should we respond theologically and missiologically in the face of new circumstances? For example, how are we supposed to think and react to the prevalence of people’s stories of encounters with spirits and ghosts? (I will blog about this at a later date.) I understand that some of these are aspects more specific to Thai culture, however my hope is that you might be able to see some connections to your own context.

It is so fun watching Brynn at her Thai school. She has done a great job of adapting and meeting new friends, despite the linguistic and cultural differences. Every morning I drop her off in the courtyard where her friends Champoo and Thaem come to greet her. Brynn is almost always hesitant and reserved as we approach all the students standing in line in front of the flagpole, but, as soon as her friends offer their hands, she is happy to leave my side. I usually then walk away before she changes her mind. However, there have been a couple of days when I stayed to watch the morning courtyard routine.

The various classes stand in lines while announcements are made. Then, the Thai flag is raised, and they sing the national anthem. Following that, all the teachers and students in unison say, for lack of a better term, a Buddhist/animistic prayer as they all “wai” (cup their hands together in front of their faces as a sign of respect).  Finally, everyone says together, “We love the nation, love religion, and love the king.” The older kids are then dismissed as the younger kids prepare for a time of exercising or dancing together. Brynn enjoys trying to follow the leader at this point but is usually a beat or two behind. It is so fun watching her.

So, the obvious question, as a parent and missionary, is how should I/we react to this morning ritual at Brynn’s school. We are the ones who have chosen to enroll Brynn in a Thai school, so we are more than open to the cultural norms of this context. The last thing we want to do is insist that people change for our sakes. However, as responsible parents, how much should we be willing to expose our children to? Our kids are at such formative ages, and we want to be careful with what influences them. So, is there a danger in them participating in, for example, a Buddhist prayer at school? Or, should we be concerned about them being exposed to nationalistic creeds at school? And would it ever be appropriate for us to express the fact that those practices marginalize our kids?

Those are some questions we’re asking ourselves. And to be clear, we really like Brynn’s school and are thankful for the people there. But, we want to be thoughtful about these issues. So, any thoughts?