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.

Surreal

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.

Action-packed

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.

Pattaya

"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.

Church

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
20130
Thailand

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).

2 comments:

Rosanna Toews said...

Hi sweetness of sweetness - does my heart good to see pictures of you today. Missing you and thinking of you and trusting you are feeling God's nearness. Love the posts and love you!

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