” Piti Baan Mai “

     Piti Baan Mai’ is a Thai house blessing ceremony performed when someone builds or moves into a new house. It’s a Buddhist ceremony that usually involves monks chanting, lighting incense to keep away bad spirits and inviting neighbors to share a meal and celebrate together. 
     Having just moved into our house, we decided to use a modified Piti Baan Mai as an opportunity to introduce ourselves to the community in a Jesus-centric way, while using a medium that our neighbors would be familiar with. To be honest, there was a lot of stress leading up to the day of the ceremony. We were overwhelmed and under-prepared, but God used our humble efforts for something amazing. About 12 neighbors and friends from the island showed up, and we also invited  some friends, family and a Thai pastor to take the place of the monk in the traditional ceremony. He did an amazing job facilitating the ceremony, which included worship, a prayer of blessing for us and our home, as well as honoring us in front of the community. 
     During the ceremony, our village leader  said a sweet blessing and presented us with a gift, welcoming us to the neighborhood. She told us that at first she was skeptical about us because there’s never been foreigners that have lived in this neighborhood; but now she sees that we are good-hearted people who speak Thai and want to serve Thai people. Steve’s brother, Jon, was here visiting us at the time, and it was really meaningful to have family here to witness the beginning stages of our presence in this neighborhood. We ended the day feeling blessed, grateful, more integrated into this community, and hopeful that this is only the beginning of great relationships here. There were some amazing Jesus moments that took place between us, our friends, and the community during the day. There were even a few people who ended up crying, during deep conversations, and one man from a neighboring community who rededicated his life to Jesus. 

Above: Our village leader presenting us a gift, welcoming us to the neighborhood.

Steve’s brother, Jon, presented us a mango tree at the house blessing ceremony.

In other news . . . 

— Steve is enjoying doing accounting and translating for a Bible study at Dton Naam 

— Chanelle got the opportunity to translate for a free medical clinic in a red light district. It is the start of more opportunities to do outreach in that area

— We are actively seeking opportunities to serve and work alongside the people of this island. Chanelle has been asked to teach English at a local school. Steve has been asked to teach music lessons to a kids club that takes place on the island.

— Please continue to pray for us during the beginning of this new season of ministry. We have faced a lot of adversity already in setting up this home. Chanelle was in a motorcycle accident (she is doing good and has healed quickly) and we had no power, water, or internet all within the same week and a half. BUT none of that has broken the gratitude and peace we feel in this house and neighborhood. We are loving it here!

Thank you for your significance in our journey. We are grateful to all of you who believe in us, encourage us and make it possible for us to be here. 
Much love, 
Steve & Chanelle