Our three year old daughter Izayla (Nong Talae) started Thai preschool this past Monday morning. To be honest, my husband Iven has been stressing about what we’ll do for Izayla’s schooling here in Bangkok since before she was born! Leading a neighborhood-based urban ministry, we are always asking the question, “Does this decision draw us closer to our neighbors, or is it just more comfortable to our Farang sensibilities?” As we explored school options earlier this year Iven found a Thai preschool that we had a real peace about with only one draw-back – it was a 15 minute motorcycle ride away and we were concerned that it might draw us away from relationships in the neighborhood. Then we learned that school started in early June – the same week as the due date for our third child. “We can’t do that,” I told him resolutely, “too much transition.” End of discussion.
Then about a month ago, during a worship time at a YWAM Bangkok staff meeting I clearly heard God say, “You don’t need to know what is best for your kids. You need to trust me to know what is best for your kids. Start her at that school in June.”
The next day we went and registered Izayla for school (which we discovered was 5 months after the cut-off date for registrations!), and discovered that she would have to attend summer school (all new students begin that way) during the month of April. That seemed a bit better than June, but we still felt a fair bit of stress about having made this decision, that would throw our little girl (whose Thai is limited and who doesn’t want anyone except mom and dad and teammates to take care of her) into an all-Thai environment, all on her own.
We prepped her as best we could, and she confidently marched into her new school, back pack in hand, and then promptly melted into a wailing ball when it came time for us to leave her at the door. Finding a place to sit out of sight, we prayed out again the truth that our kids are not our own but belong to Jesus, and that we are entrusting them into His perfect care, and that if this really was His idea, then He must know something that we don’t know!
Within seconds a Thai couple approached us, “You are little Talae’s parents, right? She started to calm down not too long after you left – our daughter, Nong Friend, invited her to go play together.”
Taken aback by the immediate answer to our prayers, it took us a few moments to realize that this couple who had gone out of their way to find and speak comfort to us (and who knew our daughter’s name!) were actually neighbors who lived just around the corner, two blocks away.
Last night at bedtime prayers Izayla said to me, “I will tell the teachers and kids at my school, in Thai, that Jesus loves them so much and Jesus knows them. How do I say that in Thai?”
When God told us to start Izayla in this Anubaan (Thai preschool), this June, all we knew was that it seemed crazy to our natural thinking, not really making sense to our family or ministry! But we had no idea that in His Father Heart God was going to confirm His word to us on the very first day of class, by sending a neighbor – even named “Friend” – right into our daughter’s classroom. Leaving For Izayla’s First Day of School Please join us in praying that over time Nong Friend, her whole family, and the rest of the class would be touched by the Father’s love and would come to know Him as the God who is alive and loves to speak.