Updated: Jun 26, 2019
by Charles and Hoong Yen
It was our third time moving house since arriving in Chiangmai. This time round we went through a Thai housing agent we had found on the Internet.
As true city folks from Singapore, we had a list of criteria in the choice of our next house:
1. The house should preferably be within the city zone.
2. It should also be on the eastern side of Mae Ping river (near our office).
3. The house should be near a main road where there is easy access to public transport.
4. It should preferably be a double storey house (Nellie said this is important during the hot season).
5. It should have at least an extra room for hosting teams and transient missionaries.
6. It should be free from “spirits.”
7. The house should be situated within a Thai neighbourhood.
8. The rental should be within our budget.
We prayed and presented these requests to God even though we knew that finding a house which fulfilled our criteria seemed like a tall order. Our ever helpful Thai housing agent, Khun Tong, was just as skeptical with our request, as rental prices have rocketed sky high in recent years. After a few visits to the agent, we were almost to the point of giving up when Khun Tong told us there might be a house that fits most of our criteria except for the price. So off we went to the Faham area to meet the landlord.
The house certainly met all our criteria except the rental price. It was partially furnished and in a very good Thai neighbourhood. Now it was down to the negotiation of the price. We went back praying that the landlord would lower the rent. Then we received a call telling us that the landlord would lower the rental price but we had to pay six months’ rent upfront. Paying six months’ rent upfront was definitely out of our budget. We explained to the landlord that we did not have that amount as we had just arrived in Chiangmai. Another round of negotiations ensued and the landlord said he would defer to his wife again. In fact, there was a Caucasian couple who was willing to rent the house at a higher price. We felt in our hearts that the deal would be off and were prepared for another round of house hunting again.
To our joy and surprise, the following day we received a call from Khun Tong telling us that the landlord had agreed to our price and offer.
On the day of the handover, the landlord’s wife, Khun Tukata, told us they did not rent the house to the Caucasian couple due to language differences. Upon handing the keys over to us, she said in Thai, “Pra Chao Wei Pon (God bless you).” With big smiles on our faces, we told her that we are Christians, and she smiled back and told us she is a Protestant. We were very surprised to find out that our landlords were Christians. In fact, she added that she preferred to rent the house to missionaries as they take good care of the house. What a joy to know how God arranged everything to lead us to this Christian family.
We stayed in that house for about two years during our first term. It was a house of blessing as we hosted four mission teams, colleagues working in the neighbouring countries, two Mien boys, our families and supporters. And we made great friends with our Thai neighbours!
Excerpted from “Journey Jumbles – Real Stories...Real People...A Real God,” a JMM publication for Bartley Christian Church July Mission Month 2008.