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].


Rosanna Toews said...

I was thinking of you so much today - and I miss you and reading this post just now brings tears to my eyes cause I really really like you. I love the list of differences. Trusting you into His care - cause He is so able to be your strength and joy. May His love continue to fill your heart as you love those He created around you.

Jill said...

Wow, it sounds like you guys are settling in, and life is good! It's so exciting to hear what God is doing over there, and live vicariously through your stories! My team were all so excited when we hear Gaam became a Christian, we got to know her really well in our time over there. Keep going hard for Jesus. Give everyone a hug for me!
BIG LOVE from home