Thursday, December 10, 2015

Doors Opened

Recently, if you receive our newsletter, you would have seen that lots of amazing things are happening with our work with the Jesus Film.  It has been wonderful and humbling to watch the Lord open doors in many different countries, creating contacts and ties for Curt to work with.

One huge thing, in just the last week, is the Lord opening doors among the people we live with!!  The heads of a few of the HUGE malls in town decided that, since most of the world celebrates Christmas, they would like to bring Christmas here as well.  Of course, for a mall, that means money. They could sell gifts and decorations and all the material stuff that comes with Christmas, if only they could get the people into the holiday.

Like most Asian countries, Christmas doesn't exist here.  No decorating.  No gift giving.  No music.  No holiday. December 25th is the same as July 3rd.  BUT if people learned about the holiday, maybe they could get into it, which would mean profits :).

Well, you can imagine how the Lord orchestrated this one!  In order for people to learn about the holiday, they need to learn about the Savior.  They need to hear how God sent His Son to be born here on earth.  How Emmanuel came to dwell among us!!

So, these bigwigs invited our organization to come and share at big events in their malls.  "Come," they said.  "Come and tell the people what Christmas is all about.  They need to know."  Yes, they do.  Along with sharing at their Christmas events, Jesus Films will be given out as gifts.  So, Curt is spending a lot of time these days burning DVDs.  Praise the Lord!

Along with the praises come the need for prayer.  Our family has undergone a lot of trials, as I alluded to in the last blog.  Just yesterday, Zoya spent the day in bed with a migraine.  It was her 5th birthday.  We skipped her birthday and celebrated today instead.

Just to name a few other things that have happened in the last 8 weeks:

  • 3 personal computers has issues and took hours of Curt's time to work on.  As you know, our kids do school online so this was a big deal.  One actually had to be mailed FedEx back to Apple in the States to be repaired.
  • Zoya came down with a really, really bad ear infection that eventually required a trip to the hospital to resolve.
  • The kids brought home 2 new kittens they found.  One was hit by a car and killed.  One was attacked by dogs and wound up in surgery with a broken jaw (she's doing great).
  • Our third cat got attacked by a cat and had a deep gash in her tail.  She is stuck inside, walking around in a cone to keep the bandage on.
  • Elden broke his leg, which, thankfully, the cast will be off in just 3 more days!!
  • our householder has been having problems at home and has need to miss work.  This is very hard on her.
I am thankful for good hospitals and good vets.  But we are pretty exhausted from the constant pressure.  Pretty much weekly, something else goes wrong.  We praise the Lord that we have Him to fight our battles for us!  We would covet your prayers over our family!!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Peace Amongst Chaos

There are so many types of chaos.  Chaos caused by our busy schedule.  Chaos caused by our own choices.  Chaos caused by natural disasters.  Chaos caused by illness.

Our chaos is not any of those.  We are thankful to the Lord for this time in our lives where everyone has their own schedules and friends but it is manageable and there is still plenty of family and rest time.  The Lord has been gracious to keep us from natural disasters in our region of the world and no one is suffering from chronic illness.

But there sometimes is chaos that the Lord allows.  In our case, broken technology, overwhelming workloads, house problems.   Each one in itself is manageable but each one added to another and then to another and then to another over months is draining.  You all know.  You have been there too.  The car breaks down and then goes the furnace and, oh no!, your computer dies.

I am not writing to complain about life challenges, although we would cover your prayers over "our" things.  We understand the Lord provides everything for us and they are His and it's His money as well.  But there is a lot of hassle that goes into replacing/fixing/figuring things out, especially overseas :).

I am writing about His amazing goodness in the time of chaos.  I see the Lord's hand at work in my family.  Sometimes the circumstances are too overwhelming and you are just surviving.  But, currently, He has been good enough to lift our heads to look at him in the storm and not at the waves. I see Curt's amazing grace with co-workers, friends and job pressure even though every day can hit him with new problems to be solved.  I see a softening gentleness in our oldest, who is very strong willed and passionate.  I see a resolve in our 15 year old, who sometimes can give into apathy.  I see a maturing with our 11 year old that is going a long way to healing rifts.  I see apologies, mercy, laughter, inclusions, joy, strivings and grace in each of the people who live in this house.

The Holy Spirit's work is obvious in our household right now.  There are so many times we can't see that and are caught up in the mundane.  But currently, we are thankful for the chaos because we get to see His character being built in each one of us.  And really, there is nothing more exciting.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?

Here is a really fun video we just made recently!  Get a view of where we live...
In other fun, Hanover news, Turism, who turned 16 last Wednesday, was just accepted to a volunteer position with IJM, or the International Justice Mission (see more about them here:  Here's the story...

Turism has decided to combine her last 2 years of high school (she finished 10th grade 2 weeks ago) with college.  She is using a program called CollegePlus, an organization we highly recommend (see more about them here:  In doing this, CollegePlus sent her through a few classes to help her learn her passions as well as her giftings.  She landed on Pre-Law as a major.  She feels very passionately about those who don't know Jesus and those who are caught up in human trafficking.  IJM conveniently combines both those passions in fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves.  IJM has 6 global offices, one that "happens" to be in Chiang Mai and not only in Chiang Mai but 10 minutes down the road from our house!

I contaced IJM in June and asked if they would take on a volunteer in their Chiang Mai office to do whatever menial work was needed.  We just wanted Turism to get her foot in the door.  Their reply was that they rarely took in volunteers in their global offices but they could contact the Chiang Mai office and get back to me.  Turns out, the week before we had contacted IJM, the Thai staff, who have been trying to keep their casework current in their database, made a small mistake and it had cost them hours of work.  They really felt the need for an intern to be sent over, just to help with cataloging cases and keeping their database current and accurate.  The Thai staff contacted their head office in Washington D.C. who said they could send someone in 10 months.  Then they received my email.

They asked Turism to come in for an interview on July 20th.  Curt and I spent the weekend prepping her for typical interview questions and she felt confident when she went in for the interview on Monday morning.  Elden, Turism and I piled on our motorbike and found IJM's office.  Elden and I went on a walk while Turism went in and interviewed.  They told her they would let her know within a week.

Friday afternoon, IJM sent an email to welcome Turism to join their staff.  We are thrilled!  She will be helping manage their database, attending all meetings and taking minutes and traveling with her boss into the villages whenever needed.  What an amazing opportunity for our 16 year old!

She started college this past Tuesday as well.  Her first class?  Social Justice.  The Lord is working mightly in her life and it's really fun getting to be a part of the ride.  Thank you to those of you who prayed!!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Third Culture Kids

Yup.  I've got some.  For those of you who have never heard the term: "Third culture kid (TCK) is a term used to refer to children who were raised in a culture outside of their parents' culture for a significant part of their development years."

I figured out I had some the other day when Kelsey, our live-in homeschool teacher, was testing Carmen on the seasons.  

Kesley: "Carmen, how many seasons does America have?"
Carmen: "3.  Hot, Rainy and cool."
Kelsey: "No, actually, America has 4 seasons."
Carmen: "Really?  Huh.  Hot, rainy, cool and...."

Since it's been awhile since I have written (many moons, in fact), let's catch you up with the Hanover family!

Curt: work is busy and going well.  He always feels like it is 2 steps forward and 1.5 steps back.  Curt's main prayer request is perseverance and patience.  He spends most of his time engaging other ex-pats in numerous countries to help them get the J film into the language of the people group they are working with.  The details and steps are numerous and often there are missing puzzle pieces.  Need-less-to-say, nothing is straight forward, hence the prayer for perseverance and patience.  The Lord is doing amazing things (if you don't get our prayer letter, email me at and we will send you an email copy) but He still gives Curt a lot of legwork :).

Turism (16 next month) is entering a new phase of life: COLLEGE!  She has decided to basically do a dual-credit program, in which she will start working on her bachelors degree next month.  She is rolling 11th and 12th grade up with her 4 years of college.  Lord willing, she will finish her bachelors degree in about 3 years.  She seems to be leaning toward international law with a focus on human trafficking.  Time will tell and there is lots of it in the next 3 years but, as a typical, driven first-born, she is thrilled with the efficiency of doing high school and college together.

Bitsuanit (15 in August) is definitely in the "sweet spot" of life.  She has done her homeschool program long enough that she has mastered it.  She knows how to do her work well and quickly and so has most of her late afternoons, nights and weekends free.  She is very happy with where her life is right now and spends her free time working on art while listening to the Adventures in Odyssey series from Focus on the Family. She also has started her own business: she teaches English to a neighbor for $3/hour.  Word has leaked out about how cheap her rates are (usually rates run from $7-$10/hour) and we are having other people ask for her services.  Not bad for a 15 year old :)! She will be starting HIGH SCHOOL next month!!

Tihitina (11) is slowly growing into her own.  She, too, has seem to mastered our curriculum and so can finish her work quickly as long as she is motivated too :).  A lot of her free time goes to helping at local orphanages, studying Thai and hanging out with the only other foreign family in the area but she does enjoy reading as well, when she gets the chance.  She is currently loving The Clay Marble by Minfong Ho (if you look it up online, you will see what I mean about me having third culture kids :)).  She will be starting 8th grade next month.

Carmen (6 in August) will be starting 2nd grade next month.  Carmen really enjoys school.  Our curriculum pushes writing, which he doesn't love, but he loves reading, history, science and math.  It's really fun to watch him learn.  He works very well with Kelsey and is generally very easy to teach.  His biggest joy is reading.  Carmen LOVES reading and is currently devouring all of Kate DiCamillo's books (he just finished most of Roald Dahl's books).  His other favorite thing is K'Nex (kind of the next step up from Legos).  He still attends Thai preschool Tuesday-Fridays and is the best Thai reader and writer in his class, according to his teacher.  He told me he wants to be a translator when he grows up.  

Zoya (4.5) just began Kindergarten last week!  She is slowly learning to read and write but, in general, loves school because she get to be with Kelsey.  She is a social butterfly and the most loving creature you would ever meet.  She also enjoys Thai preschool but, I think, still a little confused why they don't speak English :).  Zoya tells me she wants to be a pirate when she grows up.  Hey, we say shoot for the stars.

Elden (3 next month!!) is learning right along with Zoya.  He knows his letters and sounds.  He loves looking at books so I guess we will have another reader on our hands.  He also attends Thai preschool and really enjoys playing with the kids.  He is at the perfect age where kids don't realize he's different (they are the only foreigners who have every attended that school) so he has true friends in his class.  

And me?  I juggle all the balls above.  Besides attending Thai preschool every morning with the kids (I stay), working out, continuing to learn language and doing every day life stuff, I have started teaching one of our house helpers, who is a believer, to Thai.  That is a HUGE challenge as I have to read each story ahead of time (we are learning from the Thai Jesus Storybook Bible) and make sure I not only know pronunciation but TONES as well.  Ha!  But it is worth it when I get moments like explaining why the Jews had to put blood on their doors during the original Passover.  To watch that "aha!" moment on someone's face is priceless.  AND I have to read each story with our other, Buddhist, house helper ahead of time.  Slow, but sure, discipleship!  

Monday, February 9, 2015

'Tis The Season

No, it's not just that I am behind on blogging :).  It's just a small realization I had.  Honestly, it crept up on me so slowly, I am still holding my breath, waiting to see if it's real.  Are you ready?

Curt and I and the kids went out with some friends one morning and went climbing.

There it is.

That's it.

Huge, huh?

Man, it was for me.

For the past 5 years, we (mostly, I) have been housebound.  I am just not one of those moms who drags their kids everywhere.  I like my kids to have structure and routine but more importantly, I didn't like it.  I didn't like trying to go out and have fun when I had whiny, overtired kids.  I didn't enjoy carting my kids to meet friends when I couldn't keep one train of thought going because of interruptions.  So, my survival was to stay home and go out during nap and bed time.

The other day, 2 friends of ours wanted to go climbing.  It's the cool season, wonderful weather, beautiful day and I thought, "You know what?  I think we all can go."  So, I packed everyone in the car and drove 45 minutes out to the rock.  No meltdowns.  We stayed in the woods for 3 hours and everyone got to climb and run around the woods.  No crying, no whining, no complaining.  It was just plain fun.

I didn't have to pack diapers.  No bottles.  No special food.  Just a backpack of sandwiches and water.

I suddenly realized the time has come we have been waiting for for 5 years.  The time when we can slowly blossom as a family, come out of hiding and begin to get out there and do things together.  Sure, Elden (now 2.5) still naps but is now capable of going all morning without losing it because he's too overwhelmed/tired/over-stimulated.

And so, moms out there who think they will never leave the nursery because all they do is nurse, change diapers and put kids down for naps, the season will end.  It will be a bittersweet end as those sweet little babies grow but honestly, more sweet than bitter.  The time does pass.  They do grow.  You realize the baby season just wasn't your season.  And you find yourself not hating motherhood quite as much as you thought :).  You find that your kids are fun.  You're not quite as exhausted all the time.  You actually want to get out of the house.  And...wait for can finally go to the bathroom All. By. Yourself.

It's true.  Take heart.  It's coming.
Children's Day!  Kind of redundant, since that's really 365 days/year.  It's just the one day where everything sugared is free...