This blog started off intending to tell our story of living and working as short-term volunteers with Marist Mission Ranong, in Ranong Thailand. MMR, as it is known, is a community founded by the Marist fathers, which works primarily with Burmese migrants who cross the border from Myanmar into Thailand at Ranong. For more information about MMR and the work that is done by the community see their website at www.maristthailand.org. We were in Ranong for one school semester, from April until October 2009.
When our time in Ranong was up, we traveled north to Burma, to visit the land of the people we had grown to love while in Ranong. We then flew to India for Nuala to see where Andrew grew up, and to experience the intensity of life in India (not to mention the craziness of Bombay trains). From there, our trail wound westward through Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, before we regretfully boarded our first plane in 5 months and made our way via Switzerland to Ireland, where Andrew was suitably overwhelmed by the number of cousins Nuala has, and didn’t quite acquire a taste for whiskey.
Through all the travels, the echos of Ranong pulled at us. We couldn’t quite shake ourselves free of it -nor could we imagine returning to our previous lives in NZ once our travel was over. Ranong hadn’t done with us yet.
So in October 2010, we returned to Ranong and to MMR…no longer just the two of us. Our daughter Felicity was born here in January of 2011 and so it is here too where our family was born – where we are struggling through the early days of parenthood, where we are learning ever more to value each other’s strengths and be patient with our weaknesses, where we simultaneously delight in Felicity’s insatiable curiosity and despair at her growing tendency to get into as much trouble as her dada.
It is here that we strive daily to love God, love each other, love our daughter, and to walk with the migrants in Ranong who, like us, are strangers in a strange land.
After 2 years and one baby on the Thai-Burma border, it’s time to return to the world of professional work. For now, that means Singapore as we wait for the newest arrival to show up.