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,