December 5, 2011
Ric and Sharon Bruce GIVING ADDRESS
1000 E. First St Sanford, FL 32771 THAILAND ADDRESS
PO BOX 2 Hang Dong, Chiang Mai 50230 Thailand PHONE
517-490-1032 (no overseas charges, free for us) EMAIL
Dearest friends and family, I’m sitting on our small porch in the blazing hot sun watching leftover tufts of “Magical Snow Spray” blowing around in the wind. That fake canned snow’s about the closest we’ll get to a white Christmas this year and the closest most of our Thai friends have ever been to experiencing snow. Looking at that silly stuff I can’t help but miss the familiar this time of the year... Christmas lights twinkling, snow falling and hot chocolate. One year of building relationships, learning language and serving in our small church has changed us more than we thought possible. Often these days we forget if we heard something in Thai or in English and find ourselves unsure how to behave and act around westerners but feel perfectly comfortable around our Thai friends. Sharon said to me the last time we hung out with westerners, “Oh no! We’re turning into THOSE missionaries!” Maybe she’s right. It will probably get worse before it gets better but the eventual goal is to be able to switch between both cultures comfortably. Even though Thailand doesn’t necessarily “get” Christmas, Thais have their own celebrations, festivals, and holidays that match or even exceed the hoopla surrounding our Holiday Season. We hope that one day soon we can understand how a young Thai child feels waking up on Loi Krathong or Songkran and rushing off to float boats made of banana stalks down the Ping River or to throw water at strangers. Here’s the rub though. All the festivals we’ve experienced here focus on what man must do to appease dead spirits or to ensure a good year or a full life. These festivals are man-centered. Christmas is others-centered and most importantly God-centered. Our prayer for ourselves and for you during this season is that we’d be people who truly exemplify the selflessness of our Savior when He “made himself nothing taking the very nature of a servant being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!” (Eph 2:7-8) I have to remind myself as I sit here watching our fake snow melt away in the sun that the familiar trappings of Christmas may change but this time is really about others. Without friends and family like you supporting us and cheering us on we would have come “home” a long time ago. Thank-you for your thoughts, prayers and gifts during this time and throughout the year. We pray this Christmas Season and New Year you and yours will be blessed abundantly, sacrificing yourself for the good of others around you and around the world. A very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year! Sincerely yours, Ric and Sharon Bruce
We sent this letter out on December 5 last month and it just arrived in a hundred plus mailboxes across North America.