Although in the past year Stephan and Sandra discovered that they are no heroes and they remember times, where they felt very homesick. But still they stayed on. Not because they are so good, but because they have a strong rock –God – that they can hold onto when everything around them seems to fall apart. Moreover, Sandra and Stephan Hunziker are 100% positive about this rock!
They have an amazing team that supports and motivates them. However, they daily have to decide to step out of their comfort zone. They are still the outsiders in the Thai community, except at the Thai church where they feel different. They have started to feel at home and even the kids are attending the children’s service on their own and are using their little knowledge of Thai. Stephan and Sandra thank God for that progress!
They try to spend the majority of their time with the people in their neighbourhood. Apart from some exceptions, these people are from the middle and lower class. They live in simple but cosy houses that are usually self-built. Quite often, they have a vegetable garden, some fish, chickens, and a TV. Stephan and Sandra meet these people on the street where they usually buy or sell things at the local market. Pray for strength and perseverance and the ability to learn the language and culture quickly and thoroughly.
Recently they have reached a point where they are occasionally invited to someone’s house and where people are starting to be interested about visiting them. This is one of the many important steps to becoming an “insider”. Building relationships is not difficult but it takes a long time to deepen these relationships.
Pray that they can be an example and these times can be used to His glory. It’s also a big blessing that Sandra is still keeping up with language study despite being responsible for the children Benaja, Sophia und Emily and they are thankful to God for that!
Projects that help people to set up small businesses are a way to build relationships; for example fish farming. Also teaching German, finance seminars or supporting poor families in paying their children’s school fees. Another interesting project in the future could be to co-partner with another foundation that helps doctors to improve their English speaking skills.
Stephan and Sandra’s trip to the West of Thailand last August was a great experience for the whole family. Please keep praying for wisdom and clarity as to whether this is where they should serve.
At the end of April, they plan to travel to Switzerland for a short home assignment of about seven weeks. They are really looking forward to that time.