Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Holiday Season

They say that if you're here long enough, the smell of burning grass evokes the realization that Christmas is around the corner. Not snow. Not lights. Not Mom's peanut brittle. Burning grass. However, they failed to mention that some stores blatently blast Christmas carols and it is during moments like these that Christmas feels real. Can I get three cheers for the white-washing of Thailand?

Being in ministry here means that Christmas is the busy season, not a time of rest. So these past weeks have been fairly intense. Perhaps it is a blessing that we are kept distracted during times when our families can't be around to hype us up for the holidays. I am beginning to understand that these "haa folong ding dongs" (five crazy foreigners) are my family and we definately function as such. I am looking forward to Christmas morning with my brothers and sisters and I believe bacon and pancakes will be involved.

The Number Three

Every Wednesday four of us head out to Chocheongsao Bethel which I wrote about in my previous post. It is a village populated with the poor of the poor and God is working immensely.

We hold a kids club there and afterwards a cell group with the adults. And guess what? Every single time we have gone there for the past seven weeks, three new people come to Christ. Do the math. Can I get an amen?

As some of you may know, there is huge political unrest in Burma right now and there is persecution for certain groups of their own people. Many illegally sneak into Thailand and some factories scoop them up and hire them for cheap. These particular Burmese people are literally trapped in the factories like prison because they are afraid of being turned in to the officials. With that said, the life that they live now is far better than being killed in Burma. Somehow, we got through to some of the Burmese people staying in these said factories. They have been coming out to these cell groups in Bethel and some have already accepted the gift of salvation. They are being given a hope and assurance in the name of Jesus Christ.

The Everyday Life

Here is a picture of a typical day in the life of a TREKker here in Thailand: Wake up sick (every morning because I sleep under the Air Con), maybe go for a run at the beach (just started doing that, we'll see how long that lasts), breakfast at home (cereal or toast--just a piece of familiarity), team meetings where we talk about the day and pray together, a Thai lesson with P'Uh-oh for two hours, lunch across the street at "Bob's", work on ministry stuff for a couple of hours, eat dinner at the market, teach English class, hang out with Thais, maybe breakdance, some Dutch Blitz here and there and then it's sweet dreams. Now when I say a typical day, keep in mind that there is no "typical" and maybe by typical I mean boring.

Alright. Well I love you and miss you all. I will update you all about all the Christmas outreach programs after Christmas is over.

In the grip of His grace,


Friday, November 21, 2008


Sorry for the cliche photo of a white girl holding a dark-skinned child. But she's a cutie, eh?

Different but the Same

So I have been tallying a mental list of things that are different here in Thailand. Now, with that said, there are many similarities around the world with these aspects of life here but I will say them anyways.
  1. They drive on the other side of the street which, in turn, causes me to look like a fool when I look for the passenger's door on the opposite side. This also has taken time to look the other way when crossing the street.
  2. The Playboy bunny symbol represents innocence and purity. How in the world did that get lost in translation years ago?
  3. The head is holy. The feet are the opposite. Don't touch their head, don't flail your feet and most definitely don't flail your feet by their head.
  4. Pickup trucks are the perfect transit system (*called Song Tows), a motorbike the ideal minivan and of course don't forget the lack of helmets and seatbelts.
  5. Elephants walk by on the streets some nights. Self explanatory.
  6. Quiet is good and respectable. Loud is obnoxious. Needless to say, this one is a working progess for our team.
  7. "Joey doesn't share FOOD!" (Joey, Friends). That wouldn't fly here. What's mine is yours.
  8. It is offensive to drink straight from the bottle. You must use a separate cup or a straw. This goes along with number seven: if I drink from the bottle, I'm not willing to share.
  9. Squatties are always a hoot.
  10. It's not a handshake nor a hug of sorts. It is called "whying" which consists of putting your hands together in a prayer-like fashion and bowing your head so that the top of your hands touch your forehead. I know you're trying this as you read. Go ahead. Practice.

But in all comparison, a smile is the same, the sky is still blue, water is a liquid and I still have no eyebrows. Some things will just never change.


God is doing some amazing things here in Thailand, specifically in Chachoengsao. We were in this village that was World Vision commercial worthy with kids fit for the front page of National Geographic. In a place orginally absent of believers, there was not much hope. But God had other plans. For the past couple of Wednesdays we've been meeting with a bible study group that is held in a shack and the group is growing. Just this week we saw two new people enter the family of God and it was a time to give praise. The church has recently purchased land and they are almost finished a gazebo where we will meet in the near future. Children's ministry is also blooming with the neglected kids in this part of town.

My heart has been breaking for a particular boy named "Am". He has a disability where his head is deformed, his hands are bent out of shape, his eyes are rolled back in head and his chest cavity portrudes out under his shirt. Those are just the observable effects. What happened was when his mother was five months pregnant, she got someone to step on her stomach in an attempt to abort the child. Instead, he was born crippled. Every time I look at him I can't help but feel overwhelmed. Can you imagine the guilt coursing through the mothers veins? His sister is forced to take care of him and they use his state to beg for money. Sometimes I petition God with confusion, asking him, "Why?" And Janet, my dearly loved friend, replied with, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life." (John 9:3). God can surely show his glory in this situation so keep praying for Am and the ministry here at Bethel in Chachoengsao.

Harvest Time

We instantly fell in love with a girl named Gaam. She is a university student my age who has just started hanging out with the "regulars" here at TLC. By the grace of God, we connected with her and we were able to have some good conversations (as good as Tinglish provides). Anyways, the punch line is this: She became a Christian last week! God really does answer prayers and she is now experiencing the transformational power of the Holy Spirit.

It is so surreal to be experiencing such an overflow of harvest. It just shows how desperate this nation is for something concrete. Not a cocktail of Chinese Buddhism, Thai Buddhism and spiritualism, but rather with a real, living Creator. There is lots to do here but the hands are few: "Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.'" (Matthew 9:37-38). Pray, pray, pray and then pray again.

Well, I guess that's all for now. Just a heads up, I changed the mailing address for where I am staying so make sure you double check that before you all send me mass amounts of goodies.

Severe sickness hasn't devastated our team yet but head colds have been nipping at us here and there. (The bugs have also been doing their share of nipping too).

Our English classes have started and so far we've had about eight different people come so pray that more will be drawn to us "Ding Dong Forongs" (crazy foreigners).

Projao Waypohn [God bless you].

Sunday, November 9, 2008

First Week

Chan chuue Kao-Pohd kaa.

My name is "Corn".

Don't ask me why. I'm guessing it's because of my hair. But come the first day in Thailand they gave me my Thai nickname. Apparently it's cute--the kind of cute where you put the 'peace' sign with your fingers up to your face. I can't imagine "corn", or any vegetable for that matter, being cute back home.


Imagine my awe when I realized where I was: Standing on a Thai beach, eating squid and clams (which we had just caught with the orphan boys) while staring out up at the moonlit water with singing and dancing all around me. Life is so surreal sometimes. At that moment I was simply overwhelmed. Oh, sidenote, did you know that the moon is sideways here? Instead of a "C", for example, it is more of a watermelon shape. Just thought you should know.


This first week, naturally, has flown by yet felt like forever. We have been busy taking Thai lessons and then practicing them in the malls and university just down the street. I am beginning to comprehend how hard this language is but it's coming. Slowly but surely, right? We've also been playing quite a few sports like soccer in the scorching heat, badminton (an asian classic of course), and this Thai game which is like volleyball-soccer with a wicker ball. I can safely say I have never sweat so much in my life. We've been advertising in the markets for our upcoming English class as well. There is a big car racing tournament here in Chonburi for the past couple of days so I've grown accostumed to Lamborghini's and Ferrari's driving by--no biggie.

The Smiles, The Faces

The people here at TLC are some of the most genuine and fun-loving people I have ever met. Filled with the love God, they can't help but overflow onto others with it. P'Uh-Oh, P'Ying, P'Art, P'Wow, P'Lee are the beautiful ladies who show us how things are done here. Since day one they have treated us like best friends and their laughter is contagious. I can already see how hard it is to say, "Goodbye". But it's too early to think about that Kenzi Markling.


"Good people go the heaven. Bad people go to Pattaya."

If you've ever heard of Thailand's sex trafficking or prostitution scandals, Pattaya is the capital. Walking through the main mall in this city, my heart began to break. Numurous old caucasian men were paired up with young thai women or men. I couldn't help being filled with dissonance: I wanted to love them like any other but it is so easy to hate.

So what do we Christians do? We have a concert in the middle of the mall square of course! For 2-3 hours we sang worship songs (English & Thai), had dancers perform and prayed over the city. I cannot express how amazing it was to be shouting God's glory in a Buddhist nation in the one of the most sin-filled parts of the world. Again, God is immensely surreal.


My whole perception of "church" is transformed. I've gotten tastes of different churches during the years but never have I needed such a revelation as this (The Life Centre is to be my home church for the next seven months). The congregation of about 50 (including kids) squishes into a cozy room at around 4:00pm where we worship together and hear a message from the Thai pastor. Afterwards, the ladies cook a meal for the entire group. The fellowship afterward is astoundingly intimate and having become sick with a flu/fever during the sermon, I couldn't help but want to stay downstairs with everyone (I tried sleeping upstairs but Sundays only come once a week and I'm impatient).

B-boy, Standing in my B-boy Stance

"n. (bee-boi): one who encompasses the essence of hip-hop through 'the dance' or 'b-boying'."

As some of you may know, there is a breakdance ministry in this particular church. Since winning a Thai-idol-like contest, this group of young boys have become celebrities. The skill and passion that these kids have is in incredible but the humility and relatability they hold with new members is even more amazing. New people are drawn in every week wanting to become a "b-boy".

So how could we belong in this church without becoming b-boys/girls? Time to throw on the baggy jeans and bandanas. Or maybe just some good music instead. It felt like a Hip-Hop drop in class where everyone was learning the beginning steps and moves. For five hours the 'hardcore' breakdancers went at it, with us Trekkers popping in and out for breaks. My favourite part though was at the end of the night where we all sat in a circle and the leader of this ministry (who is all of 19) asked for prayer requests from the b-boys. I'm pretty sure if Jesus could break dance, this is how it would be done.

Prayer Requests

Our team has been united and encouraging thus far but you're probably snickering, "Yeah, well, it's only been a week." So continued prayer for encouragement for one another would be greatly appreciated. We are a young group and all new at this so we can only learn from here on. Pray for the nation of Thailand, Pattaya in particular, that there would be a revival here in this part of the world. Go big or go home. And finally pray for this church (TLC) that it would just continue to grow and grow to the point where they need to find a bigger space.

God is so good. I thank you all for your love and support. Again, I'm sorry that I don't update this as much as I should but I'll keep trying to find time.

I have an address now so it goes:
The Life Center (TLC)
PO Box 25
Bang Sean, Chonburi

Okay. I have no idea what is what so I hope that makes sense. E-mails and messages are also very nice to read so keep 'em coming!

Chan raa khun. Kaap khun kaa. (I love you and thank you).

Tuesday, November 4, 2008



Anxious and filled with sorrow, a bittersweet goodbye was said to all my fellow Trekkers; it truly felt like leaving my family. As our final act together we had communion and then everyone prayed over us for one last time. Some especially hard hugs were squeezed to make up for the lack of in the upcoming seven months. As we drove to the airport we had our last cup of Timmy Ho's-- something to remember home by.

At the airport, I met up with my mom, Tamara (Brasilian exchange student) and SURPRISE! my brother Nico. My mom, being the mushball that she is, grew teary-eyed when the time came to say farewell. I did better than I thought (perhaps I was feeling too many emotions at once).

Up in the sky

During the whole flight, Fergie's song, "Glamorous" kept running through my head. "We're flying first class, up in the sky...etc."

The flight went smoothly and was actually quite entertaining. I watched Kung Fu Panda and Get Smart with Caleb and I tried sleeping a lot. China Airlines treated us well with pretty decent food and, of course, personal computer games for the whole 22 hour flight. We stopped in Tai Pei, Taiwan for four hours where we skyped and said goodbye to Team Germany.

And then at last, we arrived in Bangkok...


First words in the Thai air was, "Whoo! Now that's humid." Imagine a sauna meets blazing sun and then you've got the right idea. We drove to Chonburi whilst snacking on Thai treats and food and gawking out the window.

First thing we went to church (The Life Centre) and worshipped and listened to a sermon in Thai. Afterwards we had a delicious dinner that some of the ladies made for us. Some of the b-boys broke out into break dancing and Josh and Caleb were in awe. (They later showed us the steps they learned--oh my).

We spent the first night in a fairly luxurious hotel, air conditioning included. But the glamorous lifestyle doesn't stop there.

Scandalous Lifestyle

The next day our tasks were to A) Get a foot massage B) Go to the beach and C) Eat ice cream. So, as good Canadians, we obeyed quite reluctantly. At the massage parlor, six of the funniest ladies gave us an hour and a half "foot massage" (which is actually a whole body massage). Josh was definately proposed to and he accidently confessed that he loved someone (he mixed up, "I don't understand" with, "I love you"). After howling and receiving our first friendships we set out for lunch with high spirits. Basically, Thai food is amazing. That's all you need to know.

After lunch we headed back to our place for a siesta before we met up with Uh-oh, a 25 year-old girl who works at TLC. We instantly fell in love with her and her sense of humour. She took us to Monkey Mountain and we saw many monkeys who were fiesty but cute. Afterwards, we headed to the beach. The beaches are a 10 minute walk, 2 minute truck ride from where we're staying. They aren't the nicest beaches but ten times better than anything in Vancouver. Nice and warm but salty as all get out (no, I don't like the saltiness).

In the evening we headed to the market and ate delicious food and browsed around the set ups. Man oh man, do the Thai girls have style or what? The clothes are so nice and talk about cheap cheap cheap. If I finally have style when I come back, you'll know why but don't get your hopes up. We finished our final task of eating ice cream as it got dark.

Well, I will fill you in more later. I don't have too much time to update this blog but I'm going to go learn how to "break it down" b-girl style.

With much love,

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I know, I know. I said every two weeks and it has been atleast three. Forgive me.

Amazing Trek

The name describes it all. Think Amazing Race meets Survivor. Three teams up at 5:30am on the run for the prize of $50.00 gift certificate from Walmart...each! For thirteen hours we raced around Abbotsford completing tasks such as: find the needle in the haystack, eat indian food at the Sikh temple, beat the college team at volleyball and complete the Chilliwack corn maze in record time. The list goes on and the brilliance of the planning committee needs to be commended in the highest respects.


"'Come, be my disciples, and I will show you how to fish for people!' And they left their nets at once and went with him." (Mark 1:17-18)

God has been teaching me to give up everything: my pride, my fear of failure, my control over things and the list goes on and on. God doesn't want part of me, half of me, or 99.9% of me. He wants my everything right now. Go big or go home.

My Family

I presumed that as the weeks drew on, my relationships would grow more and more stagnant, not to reflect on the people here but rather what I supposed the natural outcome of twenty people living together for 24/7 would be. Boy was I wrong. I find my conversations excavating deeper with everyone, learning and falling in love (in an “I-signed-a-contract” kind of way) with the people who have opened themselves up to me.

I cannot express how infatuated I am with my team. It is such an open and honest place and as each person presents themselves as vulnerable and humble, ironically, the stronger we become. I don't think you understand how awesome each person is. Just imagine the might of Robocop, the humour of Mrs. Doubtfire and the sincerity of Snow White all in one team. God has truly knit us together through love (Colossians 2:2-3).


During my birthday and Thanksgiving I reflected on how blessed I am. My funds have come in and I am set to go, my family and friends continue to spoil me and God is forever gracious. Thank you all for loving me so unconditionally.

I leave November 1st at 1:00am.

That's all for now.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008



I know I specifically said every two weeks but just letting my beloved ones know that I am on Team Thailand! Teammates in alphabetical order goes as follows: Rachel Adams, Caleb Enns, Aschley Harder, Kenzi Markling, Joshua Olsen and Jaclyn Stein (Team Leader). Not that these names mean anything right now but I will get a picture put up and prayer cards sent out ASAP.


  • Learning Thai language

  • Making friends in the community

  • Eating spicy food

  • Going into slums and teaching kids English, using the bible

  • Assisting church plants in all four locations

  • Running kids clubs

  • Participate in a cell group at the university

  • Sports camps

Monday, September 22, 2008


Well friends. This may have been the longest two weeks of my life. I will start from the beginning...

A Foreign Place

Being fashionably late on Sunday evening had its price and that was the top bunk. All of us in the strategically named "Faith" room instantly bonded and since then have been sharing our lives with one another, perhaps at the expense of others' sleep at midnight (there may have been a few bangs on the wall from our neighbours).

I instantly fell in love with the MarkCentre and the heart that was put into the building of this place. It has a warm, comforting cottage feel and there is nature all around us--despite the fact that we're in "downtown Abbotsford" (I know, I didn't think Abbotsford had a downtown either).

We clumsily drifted through the first few days of awkwardness; times where only small talk could go so far. However, there comes a point when we have to start making our own memories and inside jokes as a team and what better place to do such a thing than Whistler!


When we first got to Whistler we split up into our Small Groups and had a photo scavenger hunt. There was definitely some sneaking into the Westin Hotel and "hold ups" in a hat store. The winning team was to receive a gourmet candy apple each from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and we were number one! Okay, well the number one runner ups. If only our badmouthing didn't hype us up so much.

Whistler was also a place where we worshiped, prayed and played together and it was there that we all started to connect.


When we returned it truly felt like "coming home". That's how long a week was going by. The next couple of days were filled with sessions and we focused on hearing God's voice. Different speakers came in to prepare us for the infamous 48 hour silent retreat: two days of complete silence where we are allowed only our bible, journal and pen to satisfy our sanity.

The silent retreat was such an amazing experience for me. It actually felt like I was on a date with God, butterflies included. It was the perfect time to reflect and God showed me his heart and who he wanted in his Kingdom. God speaks through so many mediums and I've only learned a few of them: through scripture, promptings, emotions, people, problems & pains, and passions. Sometimes all we need to do is stop talking and listen (perhaps 48 hours is a little drastic).

My verse of the retreat was:
"You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever" (Psalm 16:11).

Eager Much?

So since then we have been reflecting and sharing and continuing on our daily sessions. However there is a constant knot in all of our guts: On Wednesday we find out our teams and locations. I will let all of you know where I am placed and with whom. Just thinking about it gives me a surge of adrenaline--everything is coming into reality.

Without You

I want to thank everyone for their unconditional support and even though it is simply me here, he is using all of us for His glory. Without you guys, I first of all could not afford to be here, but I also would not feel as confident. Thank you.

My goal is to keep everyone updated every two weeks so hold me accountable!

Prayer Requests: unity for about-to-be-formed teams, financial support for other TREKers and peace for wherever God is taking us.

I love you all dearly.