I realize that a roadtrip cannot realistically cross the ocean because, um, there are no roads from here to there. However, since this blog’s title is mostly metaphorical, I figure it works.
There are big changes ahead for the Fongs – we’re headed to Thailand! We’re not going for vacation, although I do hope to spend some time on the country’s world-renowned white sand beaches. We’re going to live there. Yes, seriously.
There is much involved in the story behind why we’re leaving our beloved little mountain town in Colorado to move to Thailand, but I’ll attempt to give you the nutshell version. About 3.5 months ago, Shun-Luoi and I started talking about some job dissatisfaction he was having – we probably all experience this every now and again, but there was something different about this conversation. We wondered if God was leading us to make some changes, so we decided to head to Pagosa Springs for our first ever “family vision trip.” After some very intentional times of talking and praying together that weekend, we came away almost certain that our time in Colorado would be ending soon. Much of the reason why has to do with Shun-Luoi’s career as a photographer. While he focuses on several areas of photography, the area he is most passionate about is that of being a visual storyteller of people in other cultures for the purposes of affirming dignity and bringing hope and healing (aka humanitarian photography). For different reasons, he has not had the opportunities to develop this side of his business as he desires to, and we knew moving could potentially remedy this. But move where? We began exploring the possibility of moving to a large city on the west coast, only to feel God shut the door on that possibility. At that point, we were at an interesting place. We felt God confirming that we were to move, but we didn’t know where to or in what time frame. Yep – it was a place that definitely required faith in God and His plans, along with patience.
A few weeks later, I took the kids to the midwest to see family for about 10 days. Soon after returning home, Shun-Luoi and I were again talking about future things and he mentioned a recent conversation with a fellow photographer that he had had while we were gone. During this conversation, the idea of moving overseas (specifically, Thailand) was brought up. As I now like to tell people in reference to my husband and that conversation; “while the cat is away, the
mice will play mouse gets ideas!” Now, if you knew my husband, you would know that the idea of living overseas has come up multiple times in our marriage. And if you knew me well, you would know that every single time such an idea came up, I was extremely glad the idea went nowhere. (Hey, just being honest here.) I have never been one to dream of living overseas. Traveling there? Fine. Living there? No, thanks. It’s nothing personal to the numerous great countries around the world, but it has just never been a dream of mine as it has been for my husband (he has lived in Thailand for a year previously, but has always thought it would be valuable for us to live overseas as a family). So when Shun-Luoi brought this up in discussion, I may or may not have mildly freaked out. In fact, I believe some of my initial words were, “I’ll be honest. Not one iota of me is excited about this idea, but … I am willing to be open to it and pray about it.” Thankfully, my husband is ok with my honesty and knew that he just had to give me some time. In the past, it has been easy to half-heartedly say that I was be open to something but then, to my shame, not be. However, this time was different – God had worked in my heart so that I truly was open to considering, and praying about, such a prospect.
I think I initially knew that this time, the idea of moving overseas may just be the right move for our family. With time, God gave me a peace about the idea and I was no longer fearful, much to my and my husband’s surprise. A week or two after Shun-Luoi initially brought this idea up, we mentally moved it from the “ideas” category to the “we’re going to move on this” category as we felt the confirmation from God in multiple ways to do so. We told our families and some close friends, asked for their feedback, and continued to ask the Lord if this was the right direction for our family. At this point in time, we continue to feel it is, so … (gulp) here we come, southeast Asia!
I hope you’ll decide to continue on this road(plane)trip with us as we head overseas (probably in February or March-ish). I have a feeling the learning curve will be high and that God will teach us much as individuals and as a family. Translation = this blog’s posts could get really interesting in the near future! 😉
p.s. Wondering where Thailand is? Check out this map to refresh your geography. Oh, and if you are curious about more details, just wait for my next post …