Pete & Rachael

Providing a Home for MKs in Asia

Pete and Rach (and their 4 children) are serving as dorm parents with OMF in Chiang Mai, Thailand.They provide a loving Christian home environment for children whose parents are serving in front line ministries in and around the Mekong. This way the kids get a good education and their parents are in quite close proximity and keep in touch with their kids (and Pete and Rach). Here’s how they describe their arrival at the dorm:

“After a few years of talking about it, the Bosma Family has officially arrived at the Saeng Pratheep Dorm! Saeng Pratheep means lighthouse in the Thai language. Matthew 5:16 “Let your light Shine…” is the dorm ’motto’. We pray that our dorm family will be a shining light to our neighbours here in our community. Saeng Pratheep Dorm is one of three OMF dorms in Chiang Mai.

“We have spent the first few weeks sorting through storage rooms and resources, and have done some painting and maintenance work, in preparation for the new school year in mid-August. SP Dorm is made up of nine bedrooms upstairs, office, computer room, music room, dining room, kitchen, laundry and LOTS of storage cupboards!  We have 4 students coming to the dorm, one girl and 3 boys.

“Our vision is having loving boarding homes where each person is growing to be more like the Son, while preparing for the future the Father has for them. Our mission is to nurture and disciple children while encouraging and supporting one another (the dorm parents in 3 separate homes). Our goal is to love and disciple the kids of those loving and discipling Asia.”

In this interview Rachel talks about their journey into mission in Thailand and why they have chosen to be involved in this particular ministry.

SWN: I know you had been interested in being involved in mission for a long while – was there something that just made this the right time?  The age of the kids, God at work in your hearts?  Was there a trigger? 
We have both been excited about how God could use us in mission, but it took a while for us to agree on what we would do and where we would go for God.  We were given some great advice, and that is until God gives as a definite sign as to what we should do, treat bringing up our family and what we are doing in the present, as our mission field.  Looking back now we realize the age of the children and the time in our lives was perfect for what God wanted us to do.  We attended a Kairos course and we both read, at different times, a challenging article in a mission magazine where it said to just go, just do it, don’t hesitate.  We wanted to ‘do it’ and that started our journey to search how we could be used and in what field.  We searched online and found the Second Wind network which guided us through the available positions as Dorm Parents in the variety of mission organizations

SWN: You told me that Pete grew up as Missionary Kid. Where did Pete’s parents work as missionaries?
In Holland, France and Russia mostly.  (He was born in the Netherlands.) They then got offered the job as national director for ECM (European Christian Mission) in Australia, so they came back and worked with migrant people coming into Melbourne and Sydney and providing Christian literature for them.

SWN: How did they handle his education – local school, boarding school, home schooling?
Peter attended a Dutch public school, and then he started school in a public school in Australia. Due to having only spoken Dutch at home and abroad, it was a very difficult time to start at a school in Australia, due to the language, and in those days they didn’t have the support at schools as they do now, regarding language and culture shock.

SWN: Is that background and his experience one of the motivations for being involved as dorm parents now?
Absolutely. Peter knows firsthand the positives and negatives of being a missionary child.  He also knows what it is like to have his dad flying out to visit missionaries on the field, and living with missionary families who have returned home due to stress, home assignment, health etc.

SWN: Did your child care training have something to do with the choice too?
My child care training was a part of my love for children, and especially special needs children.  Being a pastors kid, and seeing what it is like to live in a life of ministry, gave me an understanding of what being a kid amongst their parents’ calling entails.

SWN: Is there something particularly compelling about Thailand?
We were looking for the position as Dorm Parents more so than the country, but Thailand was a wonderful fit for us due to our home church having a focus on Asia, as well as ties with Burmese refugees in our church.  But as we have gone further on this journey in mission we have fallen in love with the Thai people and Thailand itself.  We don’t know what God has in store for us in the future, but for our family at this time, Dorm Parenting is where God has called us.

SWN: How do you feel about the need to learn language?
We feel that you can’t immerse properly with the local people without knowing the language, and you definitely can’t share about Jesus. So to walk the walk, you have to talk the talk.

SWN: How do feel about taking the kids out of education in Australia and going elsewhere? 
It was a very scary decision to make.  Josh is 13 years old, and to move him away from what is familiar and enjoyable for him is a huge decision to make.  We especially loved our school in Australia too, so it not easy.  But now that we are here, and the children are attending an international school, it is an amazing experience for the children; they have and will continue to learn so much more from just mixing with different cultures.  With taking an older child, it was a big help to speak with him constantly about decisions that needed to be made, discuss what to expect in the different culture and schooling and to know that he is being listened to with his questions and concerns.

And here’s a final word from each of the kids:

Joshua: (14 yo) We are starting our first week of holiday this week.  Dorm life is very busy. I have a part in the play, Harvey, at school, and I am doing Biology with the 10th graders. We had to dissect a frog. I enjoy playing soccer and basketball at break and making friends from all around the world. Thailand is an interesting place to live and the food is awesom

Nathan: (12 yo) We have set up our rooms, ready to have our ‘extra siblings’ arrive in mid-August. It will be fun to have more kids to hang-out with. We have a very small, funny dog called Lulu, Dad says it’s an embarrassment to dogs!

Leanna: (8 yo) I love living at the dorm because we have lots of brothers and sisters. We had a paper plane competition last week. We are trying to stop our puppy from running into the house. But we let it inside when the mosquitos are bad.

Shalese: (6 yo)  My favourite thing about living in Thailand is riding on motorbikes, in the back of Utes and not wearing seatbelts. Dad makes me wear one though to make me safe!