2015 Year In Review

Hey You!!

Did you ever blank on someone’s name, and resort to calling them “you”? Well, If you’re receiving this email, it means that you are not just a “you” to us, but a special part of our lives, even if I (Rob) still can’t figure out how to merge a [NAME] field to make you feel even a little bit more special. Comfort Ye! We have not forgotten any of your names! Note to self: Learn how to merge fields in my email so people feel more special.

So, please do grab a cup of your favourite beverage and celebrate the end of 2015 together with us.

#1 This One Thing.. Family

One of the biggest parts of our lives is family. We have thoroughly enjoyed spending time with family, friends, and supporters here in Chiang Mai, as well as during our trips to Sweden and the USA. It doesn’t matter how tired we are at the end of those visits; we are soon ready for more!


#2 Our Boys Our Joys

When Veronica and I see the way Rasmus and Lucas allow God to work in their lives, it is an inspiration to us. We mostly appreciate the way they enjoy each other’s company. And we also love taking them on Mommy and Daddy dates! See some more pictures of the boys here.


#3 Today’s Reader

Rasmus loves reading books. At age 1 1/2 he helped us win a year’s supply of diapers in a Pampers video contest when I once filmed him in his diaper, reading a book. It might be noteworthy that the book he was reading was upside down. Who knew he would be such an avid reader today? I am pretty sure he has already surpassed me in the number of pages he has read. For those of you who know me, I guess that doesn’t say much. But I’m still really impressed!


#4 Artist and Mathematician

Lucas’ favourite past-time is drawing and counting. He is rarely seen without a pencil or pen in his hand. We framed and hung one of his pictures on our wall to remind us of the creativity God has put into him. And he is also fond of making mathematical observations everywhere he turns. The other day he was explaining to Veronica how simple 10 + 6 is the same as 9 +7. Duh Mom!

#5 Grounding Our Connections

We believe that to stay grounded and know who you are, and where you come, from means making time to reconnect with good friends. Last summer, in Sweden, we carved out some calendar time to spend with our good friends, the Thiessen family, who work in Nepal. It’s so cool to see them all change and grow every time we meet. You can see a few more pictures here.

My Food Ebook FOR SALE!

Do you like eating food? Do you like supporting mission? Then how about buying my ebook called Food Portfolio? It’s full of foods and drinks I have enjoyed living overseas. You can feel good knowing your money is going to something bigger than food and drink! Note! It is only available on iPad. Sorry Android users 🙁
Buy it here.. Now

#6 The Age Of Travel

I think our boys have collected nearly 100 flights together since they were born. We are a family of travellers, and the boys have their own system down pretty well. They pack their own little carry-on bags with all the necessities. I imagine if they ever owned an airline together, Rasmus would prefer that all seats be First Class, and Lucas would make sure their flights were the fastest on earth!

#7 New Home

No, these guys are not our new roommates. They are the movers who helped us put our furniture into our new rental, in a really great neighbourhood close to work, school and friends. Thank you God for finding the perfect home for us! I love how relaxed Thais are, when they can plop themselves down into someone else’s furniture, as if it was their own, and light up a cigarette.

#8 Party Time For Al

Date nights are something we have missed since moving to Thailand. But now that we have developed some deeper friendships, the boys get to enjoy sleepovers, and Veronica and I get to spend some quality date nights together.

#9 Classical

One of Veronica’s passions is her violin. This autumn she got to perform in a beautiful theatre in Chiang Mai alongside some well known Asian pianists. What a classy event that was! I recorded the entire concert. You can listen to it here.

#10 Photography

One of my passions is photography. I get to do cool photo shoots like this one – a graduation photo of a missionary  ‘kid’ from Chiang Mai. And the cool thing is I get to do what I love and sometimes make a little extra money on the side. You can see more of my grad and family photos here.

#11 A Rare Treat

Usually, Veronica’s and my work schedules keep us separated. The romantic in me often laments how nice it would be if we could work together more often. Well, last spring we got to work together on part of a film I was involved in. I was directing a live animation scene in a green screen studio, and Veronica got to be my script advisor. The thing that made me most happy was when she said she actually really enjoyed the entire day! You can watch the film here & photos here.

#12 Clovis

A family newsletter just isn’t complete without the family dog. Clovis, our beautiful Thai dog has proven to be a real gem. She has gained control over her addiction to chewing up welcome mats and plant leaves, and instead has turned her hobbies towards killing snakes, cockroaches and rats around our graden. She still is clueless as to what the words “Clovis! Come!” means, but other than that, she’s doing pretty darned well!

You can see Clovis kill a snake here!

God’s richest blessings & Merry Christmas to you!
Rob, Veronica, Rasmus and Lucas

Thai Noodles – September (update with photos)

tn_logoHi friends! Too much has happened to write it all down now. I’m with the Frontier Film Seminar staff and my classmates, in Southern Thailand, making a film for a Buddhist people group. Veronica is home with the boys.. probably playing Legos about now! Missing me, and I’m missing them! But this is sooo worth it. Enjoy the photos from the past few months! Note – The first few photos are from our time away with Veronica’s family visiting from Sweden. The middle ones are photos in our home. And the last ones are from my Frontier Film Seminar.

Watch now! – Out Of The Box

Click to watch this first edit of a Public Service Announcement my team made as one of our projects in the FFS. It’s called “Out Of The Box” and is a 60 second ad that another person wrote a screenplay of, and our team had to make the film. We had only a few days to plan, shoot and edit the entire ad.

Pray with the Darbys

  1. Pray for me as I join my FFS team to southern Thailand where we’ll be making a short film for a Buddhist, Unreached People Group down who live there, right near the beach. Life is rough sometimes, and I need to ‘suffer for Christ’ in these ways 😉 Hee!Hee! Pray for travel safety, team unity, and no accidents for our team, our actors or our camera gear. Update! We still need to find the right actor for our main character, a young teenage boy. He needs to be Southern Thai and a good actor. Please pray that God brings him to us.
  2. Pray for Veronica and the boys while I’m gone. They’ll be on their own. Although V is thinking about taking the boys to spend a few nights at a friend’s house who has kids.
  3. Pray for my knee operation. It seems our Swedish insurance company is being a bit directive saying that they have decided I should have my kneee operation back in Sweden. This means that they would fly our entire family to Sweden while I have the 20-30 minute surgery. Practically speaking, it seems like a waste of time and money, but they have the final say. Pray that they will use time and money sense and cover the surgery from here. We have excellent doctors in Chiang Mai, and people come from all over Asia and the Middle East to have these sorts of operations here; even some Europeans! Still, God knows all of this, so we need grace to accept whatever decision is made.

Support our ministry

Do you believe in what we are doing here in Thailand? Then please take a moment to visit our support page and make a donation. Thank you! Till next time, God bless yoo! Rob, Veronica, Rasmus and Lucas

Everyday moments

Regardless of where we live in the world, our days are filled with the routines of everyday life. That said, as I sit here and write this post, it doesn’t feel very “everyday” to find a train of strange ants carrying white eggs across our bedroom floor. Good thing my wonderful husband seldom lacks ideas of how to deal with different issues! Anyhow, here are some everyday moments from our life in Thailand right now:

In my Thai class, there is one girl from Hong Kong and one from Japan, and myself. They have both studied Thai in their home countries, so I can’t boast of being much of a star there 🙂

Veronica attends Thai class with three other foreigners two days a week.

One morning we found a tiny abandoned kitten right outside our gate. We named him Yoda because he looked so scrawny. He couldn’t move and was dying, so we took him in and fed him for a few days, much to the boys’ delight. Kittens need to be fed often and this one was sick as well, so we (Rob and I) were rather relieved when the vet offered to adopt little Yoda rather than have her put to sleep.

This veterinary asked us if she could have the little kitten we had found last week if we agreed not to put her to sleep.

During this time of the year the Thai kids start their summer break, so we got to attend a graduation ceremony at a Thai school. The school is called School of Promise and is run by some friends of ours. Except missing my favorite graduation psalm, it had all the familiar parts with speech by the principal and performances by the students.

Children sit restlessly as they wait for the graduation ceremony to begin.

Last, but not least, an old tradition in new clothes: Saturday candy! We biked to the store to let the boys pick what kind they wanted. Life is good.

Veronica takes the boys to the local store on her new bike to buy Saturday candy.

Resolving un-met expectations…

Last weekend, we went on our first adventure into the nearby hills. One should always keep expectations low in these parts. I was expecting to find the ‘perfect spot’ for our family to hike to where we could sit and take in the beautiful view.

This is one of th dead-end trails we took on our hike that day.
This is one of the dead-end trails we took on our hike that day.

Well, it didn’t happen quite the way I had hoped. Once we got a few Km’s out of town I began taking smaller and steeper roads until we came to a dead end and the head of a trail.

Lucas awlays wanted to run ahead. I was a bit nervouse coz I didn't know if there were snakes nearby.
Lucas awlays wanted to run ahead. I was a bit nervouse coz I didn’t know if there were snakes nearby.
Veronica shared some goodies with the boys.
Veronica shared some goodies with the boys.

We walked about 200 meters and came to a house. The man sitting on the balcony directed us back the other way, smiled and waved. So we tried one more trail, which led to another dead end. So we decided to drive back home, having un-met expecations of finding a great view.

Magnus enjoys a short rest in the shade. Sunscreen is vital!
Magnus enjoys a short rest in the shade. Sunscreen is vital!
Finally, we got a fairly nice view from the Orange Cup Cafe.
Finally, we got a fairly nice view from the Orange Cup Cafe.
The open-air cafe had a corrugated tin roof as its covering.
The open-air cafe had a corrugated tin roof as its covering.

But on our way, we stopped at road-side cafe which had a huge orange cup hanging from the tree beside the road. There we enjoyed ice cream, ice coffees and a lovely chat with the woman who owned and ran the open-air cafe.

The boys share a yummy ice cream drink.
The boys share a yummy ice cream drink.
Everywhere you go in thailand, you'll find big green leaves!
Everywhere you go in thailand, you’ll find big green leaves!

A day at the Zoo

The elephant up close impressive creature --- Elefanten på nära hål är en imponerande skapelse
The elephant up close impressive creature

As part of our language course, we were all invited to the Chiang Mai Zoo. So, last Friday Veronica and I and Lucas joined the 15 or so other students for a random zoo experience. I say random because, for us, it felt random to be rushed from one exhibit to the next, sometimes at an almost panicky pace. The Thais, in this case, seem to enjoy staying in one large group and moving quite swiftly from one place to the next. If I let it get under my skin, I could have had a quite unenjoyable experience.

So Veronica and I decided to chalk this one up as a “Thai culture’ field trip rather than “zoo” field trip. And behold! the sting went away. It became a fun few hours of learning how Thais think and behave. I can’t say it felt very natural to find their rhythm. But, hey! We can’t expect to enjoy everything in life, right? I suppose that’s what will help us not just survive our new culture, but also learn to love it and enjoy everyday life in this good land.

Enjoy my photos from the zoo.

We all were carted around like cattle --- Vi slussades runt som boskap
We all were carted around like cattle
Some of our thai language teachers --- Några av våra språk lärare
Some of our thai language teachers
These lions were very alert --- Väldigt vakna lejon
These lions were very alert
Lucas enjoyed being entertained by this sea otter --- Lucas låter sig roas
Lucas enjoyed being entertained by this sea otter
Finally! We got to rest for a few short minutes! - Äntligen! En paus
Finally! We got to rest for a few short minutes!

Thai Noodles – February 2013

a new season, a new taste, a new land

These are the first Thai noodles I bought since arriving in Chiang Mai. They were delicious!Guess what we ate for lunch today. Thai noodles! It happened this way. I rode my bike down a few streets and around a few corners and ended up at a neighborhood restaurant. I used my best Toddler Thai to order some food. The owner was gracious and waited as I stumbled over words that, for any Thai adult would be easy to say; words like “food” and “have” and “how long?”. What a gracious man he was! – I hear-by repent of any attitude I’ve ever held towards people who have tried to learn my ‘engrish’ language. – I’m encouraged by how many Thai strangers have willingly set down their coffee cups – and their agendas – to help me learn their language. And they tell me that I’m “Dee maa!” (very good) at speaking Thai. I hope they’re not just being nice.

What’s not so encouraging are the massive changes, and steep learning curve, our family is on as we try to settle into a completely new culture. Since we arrived a month ago, we’ve tried not to depend too heavily on the ever-helpful, and much appreciated, ex-pat community. Not that we want to avoid the ex-pats, because we’re ‘one’ of them! And several of them have been instrumental in helping us get settled. But we know all too well how easy it is to enter the ‘bubble’ and never step out again, where the locals are.

The woman on my right is the cafe owner. She and her employee (Ning) greet me with a friendly smile every time I stop by to So, to strike a balance, we’re doing little things like, hanging out at coffee stands and biking to the market, where Veronica and I practice our latest Thai words and phrases. And every time we go out, we’re humbled by the generous time and patience people show us to help us ‘get it right’. When it comes to language learning, I’ve never encountered a culture that has been as gracious and helpful to its foreign guests as the Thai culture.

It’s not as easy, however, for the boys to connect with the Thai culture. Most of Rasmus’ day, for example, is spent in class at a wonderful International school. But by the time he comes home from school, does his homework and eats dinner, it’s getting dark. He’s exhausted from all the new adjustments in his life. And the boys in Lucas’ pre-school co-op are all westerners, so he doesn’t get much of a  chance to meet other thai children his age there. But, he does get to learn some Thai through the language teacher who teaches them once a week.

Veronica and I are finding our way around the area so we can practice our Thai at the local market.In spite of these challenges, this first month has been tremendously easy compared to the challenging stories we’ve heard from others over the years. We’ve been able to move right into a well-furnished sub-let for six months, buy a car, open a bank account and set up mobile phone numbers, all with little or no hassle. So, the challenges we have faced, pale in comparison to the blessings we have received. We pray it continues this way. It’s like this Bible verse a friend sent to me recently when she heard I had been struggling for a couple of days: “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him…” Jeremiah 17:7-8 Thank you God for blessing our family as we follow you into new places!

Pray with us

1. Language and culture learning – This is our main focus for the coming months. Veronica’s class is very intense and packed with new information, making it hard for her to take it all in. My class meets at a different time and has a much slower pace. So I need to push myself to self-study. Pray for us both that we find the right balance to get the most out of these coming months. The great thing about learning in Thailand is the many people we come into contact with and the openness they have towards us. What an opportunity to show Christ’s love back to them. As they say, “Language learning is ministry.”

bedtime Nabi2. Our boys – Our new changes are affecting the boys more than us. Please pray that Rasmus and Lucas begin to enjoy their new home and culture more. In reality, they have to adjust to two new cultures; the Thai culture and the Ex-pat culture, both of which are quite different from what they’re used to in Sweden.

3. Safety – The biggest difference we see between Thailand and the West is the lack of safety all around us. Chiang Mai has the nation’s highest traffic accident rate. The many motorcycles and cars that share the roads, and the lack of concern for traffic laws, make for a potentially dangerous driving experience. Cars are expensive, but if I had my way, I’d buy two cars to avoid the statistics of driving a motorcycle. Please pray for safety as we travel daily in this new environment. I’ll probably be buying a small motorcycle to get to and from work, which I’m not looking forward to very much!

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Half done, twice spent!

This was a full week. We didn’t really do as much as we would do back in Sweden, or the States, but we felt twice as tired. They say it’s normal to only accomplish about 40% of what you would normally do when you enter a new culture. They were right. But we still had fun!
Enjoy the photos 🙂
PS Don’t forget to check out our storm videos below.

Video 1 – wires, trees and lamp posts swaying in the wind

Video 2 – high winds and heavy rain
Kraftiga vindar och spöregn.

Video 3 – Our family and Gabriella sit out on the front porch and enjoy the cooler weather.
Familjen Darby och underbara Gabriella njuter av det behagliga vädret.

Join our journey to Thailand!

Darby FamilyHey friends! We moved to Thailand! We’re living in Chiang Mai since the 5th of January. We left our warm family – and cold Swedish climate – back in Europe. Our plan is to be here for five, mabe ten, years. But we’ll start with two and see how everybody’s doing.

So far, we’ve had a great adventure, with lots of small miracles and blessings from local Thai folk, ex-pats and of course God! BTW The Thai people are so flippin’ nice to us. When I go out to practice my Thai, I end up doing it over an ice coffee with two, or sometimes three, Thais who volunteer to sit and listen to me babble like a baby. This happened to me just yesterday.

“Ga-fay yen nam-tan nit-noy na khrap” means: “Ice coffee, a little sugar please”

This girl sells strawberries, when they're in season, at a local market in Chiang Mai.
This girl sells strawberries, when they’re in season, at a local market in Chiang Mai.

The short story is, Veronica and I have always had a desire to move out to the 10/40 window – don’t know what that is? You can ask us. – and work with something we love to do. For me, that something is photography/visual communicaiton. Veronica’s something is to just stand there and hold my reflector and camera bag. Riiight! No, her ‘something’ is to use her gifts and talents to help abolish injustice. A big task, no doubt! But a nobel one. And I tell you that she has it in her to make a difference!

The boys are, well, liking it here, so far. They’re not loving it. But I guess most children wouldn’t appreciate being uprooted from all their comforts, friends and favorite foods. But they’re slowly starting to settle in here and enjoy their new home.

Enjoy the photos from our first two weeks in our new culture. There’s more to come, so please subscribe to our posts to the right!

One small act of kindness

Veronica and I were walking along the streets of Gothenburg the other evening, when we came across a stuffed teddy bear lying on the cobblestone street.

teddy bear

Veronica commented with emotion only a mother could express “Aw! The poor child who lost this stuffed animal must be super sad.”

Then she said, “Hey! I wonder if it belongs to that family with the stroller that just passed us!”

So she turned around and caught up to the family. Within seconds all of them were heading back towards the ‘crime scene’.

Sure enough! The toy belonged to the little baby in the stroller. The family was very thankful that we made the effort to return their teddy bear.

Even doing a little act of kindness for a stranger, even if it’s a little thing like returning a lost teddy bear, sure makes you feel good inside.