iven and kashmira

jesus. bangkok. neighbors. us.

Welcome!

Welcome, dear friends to our blog.  Here you’ll find musings from our journey with Jesus on the streets of old Bangkok.

Welcome Tirzah Rueng!

2016-07 Tirzah Rueng

We welcome our daughter Tirzah Rueng Hauptman, born July 24, 2016 at 5:12pm.

You can read about her birth here: Tirzah Rueng Baby Announcement

We celebrate your birth little Tirzah!

Waiting

The first time I was “waiting for the baby” (Izayla was 10 days “overdue”) a wise midwife friend of mine put my feelings into words: “there is this weird thing that happens when you are waiting for labor to begin – every day that it doesn’t, it seems harder to believe that it ever will, even though we rationally know that it is a day closer. The baby WILL come – it is just a matter of when.”

Now, with baby #5 aggressively wiggling inside of me, presumably hunting for the exit, but with no imminent signs of labor despite being 9 days “late”, I no longer get stressed out or succumb to the irrational thoughts that if the baby hasn’t come yet, she is not going to come. She will come. She has to get out somehow, eventually.

This week we are going about our life, but well aware that, depending on the time of day and traffic patterns our hospital is anywhere from 25 minutes to more than two hours away, and the last labor was just 2.5 hours total. With that always in our minds, we live life with the kids, eat papaya salad and sticky rice outside on the street as usual, do laundry, meet with teammates, greet neighbors, and go about living – albeit very close to home – with friends who can take our kids at a moment’s notice and our packed hospital bag (including the “just in case” bag of extra towels, etc. if traffic doesn’t allow us to get there in time). “Regular life” goes on, give or take, but we are all constantly wondering in the back of our heads which moment a strong contraction will signal that it is time to change plans, or when exactly my water will break. We don’t usually live life like this, and I am glad about it.

Waiting for Baby #5

Waiting for Baby #5

That said, Iven was reflecting today about how this “waiting for baby” season could and honestly even really does reflect the invitation we have as Believers to live in constant awareness and faith in Jesus’ imminent return. He is coming – it will change everything – and though we don’t know when, the fact that it hasn’t happened yet does not, in any way, mean His return is less certain. There is a unique sort of certainty of few things in life – birth, death, and Jesus returning as King are some of the only ones. Right now every minute of our days are held in the tension that plans could change dramatically within a course of a few minutes. Really life is always like that, but waiting for a baby is one of those seasons that reminds us of the acuteness of things being sure, and unsure, all in the same moment. What would it look like for me to live in full awareness that Jesus IS returning, that everything will be different when He does, and that although we know not the “when” our uncertainty of the timing does not in any way reflect the certainty of that most life-altering of realities. Scripture warns us to not go back into our house for anything, but to be ready to GO. Our family is postured that way this week, but if all of us could be living that way always, how would it change this day?

Merry Christmas Friends!

We wanted to share with you some highlights from 2015 – it was quite a year! Click on this link to read our end of the year Christmas Greeting and Highlight Newsletter!

All grace and peace to you!

Iven, Kashmira, Izayla, Elian, Kyin & Rinnan

“How is He going to help?”

“Lek” is a regular and recognizable woman in her 20s who many of us are quite fond of from our streets. She has some developmental disabilities and a very low image of herself. She shared with Kashmira in passing once that her mom had her sterilized in her early teens to make sure she would never become a mother herself, though she loves kids (and enjoys participating in kid’s club alongside the children).

When Rak Teh church began meeting early in the year she came regularly and participated enthusiastically. She would often be seen sprawled out on the floor running her finger along the pages of a Bible and reading aloud to herself. One of those early “church” meetings she shared with some of the women present about her desire to find some means other than prostitution to support herself. Later, she asked the question: “You tell me God wants to help me in my life, how? How is he going to help?”

Continue reading

Hacked!!!

Hi Friends, our wordpress blog of 9 years finally bit the dust – it was hacked beyond repair sometime in October. We realized that our website was down mid-November and finally decided to delete it all and try to start from scratch re-uploading (most of) the previous content. Please bear with us as we seek to restore (and maybe even update!) this blog over the next few weeks.

Tua Reh

One of our neighbors, Tua Reh, has become especially precious to our team these past months, even as doors have been opening to share with him who God is.

Iven and I have known (seen) Tua Reh for years – I used to refer to him as “the veteran” because at that time he had a scruffy little beard and camo-colored hat he always wore over his gaunt frame. For years we weren’t sure if he could speak, and though he would often stand nearby clearly showing interest in our family, and even occasionally lift his hands in a traditional Thai greeting, if we talked to him he woul disengage immediately and disappear like a scared cat.

Matthijs and Lilian managed to get his name (or a version of it) from some other people who live on our streets, and they were determined to build a friendship with Tua Reh. The week the doors were officially opened to our new building we would often see Tua Reh standing outside watching us, in a friendly and curious way, but if someone went out to greet him he would scamper off immediately.

After a few days of this, I saw him sitting at our stone table in ront, and I hurried to fill up a cup of water and bring it out to the table without a word, running back inside before he had a chance to disappear. He took the water.

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Naam’s ID Card

Naam was sixteen when we met her and her mom living under a bridge five years ago. Both of them are “little people” and although Naam had virtually never been to school, her intellect and English were both noteworthy. Our team journeyed with Naam during those first years of friendship through a pregnancy that resulted in the baby being removed to a group home, and several attempts to help her obtain a government ID card for the first time in her life. Although she was a full Thai citizen her mother had failed to register her birth at the district office and the birth records were no longer accessible, so she had no rights to schooling, health care or any sort of government aid… Many things about Naam’s life seemed hopeless, and we began to see her less and less and then nearly not at all for several years.

During the last few months she has began crossing our paths again, along with some new possible leads to get her an ID card. Ajarn Yoon, the pastor of the deaf community who works closely with Sam and Pat, continued advocating for her and was able to start the process of obtaining an ID card through Naam’s extended family, whom she had never met. Continue reading

Rak Teh House Opening

On February 22, 7 years to the day from our move into the Phra Nakorn neighborhood, Rak Teh hosted a house opening celebration for our new Baan Rak Teh (“House of Authentic Love”). You can read all about it and see some pretty cool pictures by clicking on the link below:

Newsletter #27 Baan Rak Teh House Opening

Mobile Health Clinic

Last month we hosted a mobile medical clinic in our building, thanks to a ministry called Relentless, which seeks to provide basic health care for people involved in the sex industry (as well as training and education opportunities for those in difficult situations). We turned the second floor front room and office into three exam rooms (with the help of a sheet) and our guest room became a quiet room for discussing test results and distributing medicine. Downstairs became a friendly and welcoming intake room, complete with a constant supply of chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven. Twenty-Nine people (almost all women) were seen by the three volunteer doctors, and there was a pretty constant flow of people throughout the afternoon. In addition to providing genuinely helpful medical care and an opportunity for neighbors to speak straightly with a doctor about the impact their choices are having on their bodies, it was a great opportunity to build and strengthen relationships with many women in our community, and to share about God’s care for them in action, as well as in word. Continue reading

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