Canadian family in Thailand rocked by earthquake

by James Morgan 

The Haberstock family: Joel, (back) Anica, Caleb, Rebecca and Jodie.

While images of destruction in Japan are still fresh in our minds, another earthquake in Southeast Asia has affected an LCC Lutheran family serving as volunteer missionaries in Thailand.

On March 24, a 6.8 magnitude quake struck the northeast part of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, killing at least 75 people, according to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). In northern Thailand, the Haberstock family from Vernon, B.C. reported feeling the quake when it hit.

According to the family’s blog, Joel, his wife Jodie, and children Caleb (12), Anica (10), and Rebecca (8) had gone to bed at around 8:30 p.m. as they had to be up early the next day. Suddenly, unusual sounds and strange movements began. “I jumped out of bed saying ‘earthquake!’ No real stress, just quick movements. Rebecca came with me from our bed; Anica and Caleb met us at the bedroom door, as did Joel who had been working on some emails in the dark living room. We huddled there, praying and swaying,” writes Jodie. She noted that Caleb and Joel returned to bed as soon as it was over, Anica was rather anxious, and Rebecca, although a little nervous said; “I’m glad I got to feel an earthquake, it was fun!”

Two aftershocks came in the following hours, one near midnight, and the other at around 8:00 a.m. the next day. “It gave us the tiniest glimpses into what the Japanese have been feeling. It literally, and emotionally rocks your world,” observed Joel.

The quake did not damage the Haberstock’s home in Thailand, but it affected nearby areas. “We know the cities well that it hit more solidly, Chiang Rai and Mai Sai. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the epicentre was around 110 kilometres from Chiang Rai. The surrounding hillsides and mountains have many small villages nestled within where the Hill tribe people will be impacted. We are praying for them,” says Jodie.

The BBC reports one woman killed in Mai Sai and slight damage to some buildings. The report also states Myanmar is ill-prepared to deal with natural disasters and communications and infrastructure are poor in the country, which is led by a military dictatorship.

Joel and Jodie Haberstock are not strangers to seismic activity. Previously, they volunteered in Guatemala at an international Lutheran school, and earthquakes are not uncommon in that country. In 1997, they returned to Canada and spent 13 years in Vernon, B.C., before going to Thailand in August, 2010. They work with Lutheran Pastor Satit Kantatiam who operates House of Grace on the property of his church,First Wiang Phrao Church, where 40 children from nearby communities board while they attend school. The Haberstocks teach English and assist with Christian instruction.

Joel Haberstock’s voice is likely familiar to many. He’s a member of The CREW, a Lutheran musical ensemble who have been part of LCC youth and young adult events since the late ‘80s.

To learn more about what the Haberstocks are doing in Thailand, check out their blog at;

One response to “Canadian family in Thailand rocked by earthquake”

  1. Blog Archive » Canadian family in Thailand rocked by earthquake ……

    Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……

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Posted By: Matthew Block
Posted On: March 27, 2011
Posted In: Headline, International News,

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