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Missionary Apprentice Update: Danielle

Dani.jpgDanielle is in the second year of a two year missionary apprenticeship in Bangkok, Thailand. A major focus of the apprenticeship is to learn about language and culture in order to more effectively share the gospel. Danielle recently enrolled at Kasem Bundit University, majoring in Thai language. She hopes to form many new relationships so she can share the love of Jesus. In early July, Danielle shared this update on her life…

I am officially a student at Kasem Bundit University (KBU)! I have studied for two weeks now, so I have a pretty good idea what classes are like. I study six days a week, morning and afternoon. I am taking seven subjects. Most classes are four hours long. All of my classes, except one, are beginner Thai classes. That means we study all the basics like the alphabet, writing correctly, basic speaking and reading, and the phonology of speaking Thai. For me it is sometimes boring because I am past basic level, however I have to take these classes. My other class is a higher level class. Normally three or four year students take it, but my advisors thought I should try it since I know so much already. I enjoy this class a lot. It’s challenging, but good for me. The reading is the hardest part. Thai uses a different word system for writing than speaking, so understanding the meaning is hard sometimes. I do understand when the teacher speaks. I am going to give it my best and hope I do well! I am lucky enough to have a Thai friend that likes to help me do my homework. It’s hard studying six days a week. By the end of the week I am worn out, so I have been trying to protect Sundays as my day of rest. Fortunately, I don’t get a lot of homework, so the evenings are also restful.

One thing that is different about studying at university here in Thailand is that students must wear a uniform. It consists of a white button up shirt and black pants or skirts for girls. There are two kinds of skirts, straight or pleated. They come in different lengths. I like the ones that come to the knees. We are also required to wear a belt and pin that come from KBU. We are allowed to wear any kind of shoes as long as they are nice. NO FLIP FLOPS! Everyone thinks it is great that in America you can wear whatever you want to school.

All of my classmates are Chinese. Most cannot speak Thai and only a little English, so I think maybe I will try to learn some Chinese. I know a little already! They are going to teach me how to cook Chinese food which I love! What they make is so good, much better than in the States.

There are four genders here at KBU: boys, girls, ladyboys, and toms. Ladyboys are men that identify as women. They sleep in the boy’s dorm but wear the girl’s uniform. Toms are girls that identify themselves as boys. They sleep in the girl’s dorms and dress as boys. The other day I saw a ladyboy that I was sure was a boy the day before. It has become an everyday thing here.

I have officially begun to hand wash my clothes. If you have done this, you know how hard it is. The man who invented the washing machine knew what he was doing! I wish I had enough sense to use it. Actually, the clothes get cleaner if I hand wash them, so I do. The first time I did it, it took me three hours to finish the clothes. It was awful. But now I am quicker. I only take two hours.

My roommate it great! I can trust her completely. She is really sweet and very patient. I feel bad for her because she has to deal with my mess. If you came into our room you would know where the Thai lives and where the American lives!

Spiritually, things are going okay. It is hard not to have another believer to encourage me daily. I try to be intentional about my times with God. It is hard and full of distractions. I am finding that God finds other ways to help me, like sending me a good friend or providing a Bible study just when I need it. I do ask that you keep praying that I can stay strong and focused on why I am here. I am struggling with home sickness a little. If you see my family, give them a hug for me. I am ready to see them all. They have been a good support to me.

Thank you all for your prayers and thoughts. I love hearing from you!
Love from Danielle!

To encourage Danielle, send her a note at: curlyredflyinghigh@gmail.com.