Skip to content


Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Last week I received my acceptance notice to the linguistics master’s degree program that will be training me to finally get to go work with the Karenni people. It feels like it has been a long road here in Bangkok. Four years for a bachelor’s degree when you are 18 years old probably doesn’t seem like such a big deal. When I started, at 49, it seemed like an eternity that I didn’t have time for! Well, in a few weeks it will be done and, Lord willing, I’ll be immediately heading up to Chiangmai, in the north of Thailand, to start on some required precourses for the master’s program. These courses actually start a few weeks before I finish my final exams here in Bangkok. But the linguistics department at Payap University has been kind enough to allow me to join in a few weeks late. It will be a big challenge to catch up, since they are delivered in an intensive, compressed time frame, but I believe it is just another one of those hurdles that will soon be in the past.

I can hardly describe how much I am looking forward to getting up north! Not only will I be getting into activity more directly related with translation work, I will be able to be with some Karenni people. There are some Karenni in that area and the Karenni Bible School and refugee camp is only about a 6 hour drive over the hills/mountains or a 30 minute flight and 30 minute drive.

A little background…

The program is managed by SIL, which is an organization that carries out the language-related activities of Bible translation. “SIL serves language communities worldwide, building their capacity for sustainable language development, by means of research, translation, training, and materials development.” SIL does what might be called ‘language ministry’ of which Bible translation is a major part but not the only part. So much of the work you might hear of ‘Wycliffe’ folks doing overseas is done under SIL as an organization. This includes linguistics, literacy, Bible translation, anthropology, ethnomusicology, community development, chronological Bible storying, teaching in universities, etc.

Wycliffe Bible Translators is the most well-known organization related to Bible translation work. There is often a bit of confusion over the relationship between Wycliffe Bible Translators and SIL. From what I understand, here’s how it works. Wycliffe recruits people, prepares them, and then loans them to SIL for the actual work of Bible translation. Anyone who is a member of SIL is also an employee of Wycliffe (except for nationals hired by SIL overseas), but not every employee of Wycliffe is a member of SIL (for example, Wycliffe employees working in the States).


I would like to ask for your prayers that I will be able to continue in this. Firstly, I would ask for continued prayers regarding spiritual life, including finding a new church to fellowship with in Chiangmai. I have been blessed with a good church to fellowship with here in Bangkok and will need to find a new one soon. Secondarily for my safety and health. As for my physical/financial needs, which are seemingly more pressing at the moment (It always seems that way doesn’t it!? I fear this is easily deceiving and so please remember my first request!), many of my acquaintances and friends (Muslims, Buddhists and some with no particular religion) here are a bit dumbfounded about how I can keep making plans like this when I have no money. I tell them that God is pretty rich! And if he pleases, he will continue providing for me as I believe I am going forward in doing what he has called me to do. If he doesn’t allow me to make it into the master’s program due to lack of funds, then I’ll just have to see what his plan is for me to make it into the program next year. In the meanwhile, I move forward. I have no idea how I have been able to make it this far, other than by God’s grace in moving a variety of generous and loving friends and family to support me in this work. I have been down to 20 bucks on a number of occasions, with rent coming due in a week. God is not only pretty rich, he also has a pretty good understanding of timing! In the past 4 years, I think I have probably had situations like that a dozen times or more. It has been a great exercise in faith building. It is a great answer to one of my most oft-repeated prayers over the last 25 years, that of asking for a stronger faith in God in general. As I continue asking God for faith, I expect he will continue answering in a variety of ways. All of that said, please pray with/for me that God will continue to provide for me.


I know some friends will immediately want to ask me what I need… whether to be able to pray more specifically or to see how they may be able to help me financially. So, I will try to give a general idea here.

According to the data I kept on all of my expenditures over the past year, I have been surviving on less than half of what (4 years ago) my Thai friends estimated I would need. I hope I will be able to continue keeping my costs low.

The following is what I am praying for within the next 2-3 weeks.
• I will have expenditures in moving up north. A number of unknowns, little-knowns and guesses are in this. It could run from $400 to $1,000.
• Finding a room to rent, along with the requisite deposits, will probably cost about $800-900.
• $300 for the precourse program.
• About $120 for a new passport.
• I need about $550 more in order to pay for my last semester here in Bangkok. It was due months ago, but I haven’t been able to pay it yet.
• I may also need to buy a scooter. The transportation system in Chiangmai is not as well-developed as here in Bangkok. I think I could probably find a used junker, hopefully not stolen, for around $500. A new one is something like $1,250+.

The following is what I will need by July.
• Tuition for the first semester (including visa and administration fees) of the master’s degree program will be $1,900. The following semesters should be a couple of hundred dollars cheaper. I believe the administration fees are onetime fees. And the visa fees occur only once a year.

Following these expenses, I anticipate my living costs (rent, food, transportation, etc…) should be about $1,000/month. This is pretty much a minimum survival cost, not including luxuries like health insurance, fixing teeth, going back to America if ever possible someday, etc..

Your prayers are greatly valued. And if anyone reading this is led to support me financially as well, that would be a great blessing also.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Jenny permalink
    Wednesday, 27 April 2016 20:32 +07

    Thank you for sharing Dale! I will read your update to the children. They still remember your talk you gave to us about the Karenni people (Noah even remembers what shirt you were wearing). We have friends from here that are moving to Chiangmai hopefully in August. I will have to try to arrange for you two to meet up. We will be praying for you. For the Lord to bless you financially, spiritually, and academically.

    • Thursday, 28 April 2016 13:36 +07

      Wow! Noah has an awesome memory!!
      Great to hear from you. And hopefully in the near future I will be able to give your children more glimpses of the Karenni. And maybe someday we can get a video chat together when I’m with my Karenni friends and introduce some of them to you guys. That should be fun 🙂

  2. SCOTT DENNY permalink
    Thursday, 28 April 2016 22:53 +07

    What a journey brother. God has been so faithful to you. Thank you for the update. 🙂

    • Tuesday, 3 May 2016 02:00 +07

      Thanks for reading and for your prayers Scott. The journey is just beginning 🙂
      Still have an eternity to go! 😀 And yes, God is faithful, all the time. Amen

  3. marilyn mitosinka permalink
    Saturday, 30 April 2016 04:29 +07

    Dale – It’s amazing how much you’ve already accomplished.  I will continue to pray for you. – Marilyn

    From: Speaking Leaves To: Sent: Wednesday, April 27, 2016 12:36 AM Subject: [New post] Accepted! #yiv6168684796 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv6168684796 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv6168684796 a.yiv6168684796primaryactionlink:link, #yiv6168684796 a.yiv6168684796primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv6168684796 a.yiv6168684796primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv6168684796 a.yiv6168684796primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv6168684796 | sigmundson posted: “Last week I received my acceptance notice to the linguistics master’s degree program that will be training me to finally get to go work with the Karenni people. It feels like it has been a long road here in Bangkok. Four years for a bachelor’s degree when” | |

    • Tuesday, 3 May 2016 02:02 +07

      Thank you for your prayers Marilyn!
      I don’t feel like I’ve done much of anything at all yet… but God is merciful and continues to bless me in many ways and keeps me going.

  4. Monday, 27 June 2016 09:22 +07

    Great job! Thank for the post.

    • Sunday, 10 July 2016 15:51 +07

      Thanks for reading and sending me your encouraging comments!

Leave a Reply to sigmundson Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: