Welcome to PlaaPlaaPlaa!

So you may be wondering why PlaaPlaaPlaa? What are those strange fish symbols above? What is ปลา and what does it mean? In short, this is a blog site, so surely there's going to be plenty of rambling. Unfortunately BlahBlahBlah was already taken, so I had to settle for the 'Plaa'. But there's actually more to it then just ramblings. The first fish symbol is actually a Christian symbol meaning ICTHUS - a greek acronymn which means "Jesus Christ is God's Son, the Saviour". The other strange letters you see in the last fish is actually the thai word for fish which funnily enough is pronounced "Plaa". So when you put it all together, this site is going to be my ramblings in telling people about how Jesus Christ is God's Son, the Saviour in Thailand (with plenty of good stories about food in between). Happy reading.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Making Headlines

Who would've thought that me heading to Thailand would make headlines? But I guess by the lack of paparazzi following me, it didn't make huge waves :) haha If you want to check out the article, click on the image above.

Monday, November 26, 2007

God is GOOD!

Well, the count down (or should i say in Thai-english - 'cow-dow') is well and truly on. With only 9 sleeps to go, i have now officially finished work, have had my commissioning service at church last night and all that i can think that is left to do is get my visa, say bye to family and friends, pack some bags and go to the airport. Too easy :)

In the past few weeks, as i have been catching up with friends and sharing all the ways that this whole trip has come together, i can't help but be in awe of how good God really is. Time and time again, i've experienced how God is so in control of all things and how gracious he has been to me to make this transition to Thailand such an 'easy' one. As mentioned in the last post, from the ways that he has provided the financial support i require and a great bunch of supporters back home, as well as continuing to provide ministry opportunities in Thailand, and that's before i've even made it over there. But what i've really appreciated of late is how he has made the leaving of Sydney as easy as possible. Unlike most missionaries as they head off, i will not have to say goodbye to all my friends and family at the airport and then be in tears, all alone, as i go through customs, sit on a plane for 9 hrs and arrive in a strange new country. Instead, i get to fly out with 15 fellow team mates from my church and embark a 3 week mission trip in Thailand. By pure coincidence, my parents are also on the same flight as us over to Thailand too (they're not coming on the mission trip, they're just visiting my sister), so it's not even like i'm leaving them behind either. It's more like i get to see them off at the other end. And the best part about flying out with all my friends and family is that i'm not restricted to 25kg of luggage. if i'm severely overweight with my luggage, then i have plenty of people to distribute that weight between (heaps cheaper then shipping stuff over) :) hehe. Then i get to 'ease' into the Thai culture for 3 weeks with a bunch of friends, before they finally leave me behind in the care of my sister. Surely it doesn't get any 'easier' then that when starting out on an overseas mission!

Then the question of what am i going to do with my car for the year while i'm away? Well, God again came up with a perfect solution which is just awesome. i've got a friend who is taking a year off work to go to Bible college next year. Unfortunately (or should i say fortunately) she has a company car, which means she has to give it back for the year she's not working. Put our two 'dilemma's' together and there is God's perfect solution.

So my conclusion in the matter: 'God is Good!' But even if things weren't falling into place as they have been, i still know that God is good! One thing i haven't shared about is how i have been really challenged by God's amazing grace through a sermon series we've just finished at church where we looked at 5 different aspects of God's grace. A couple of the big things i've been challenged by is how much God does in fact love us and want for us to be in relationship with him despite our total depravity. And how much of an honour and privilege it is for us to be taking part in His work in sharing the good news of how Jesus has come to pay the penalty we deserve for rebelling against God. Surely that demonstrates more then just goodness!

After i left work for the last time last friday, i suddenly realised that i am now officially unemployed. A very weird feeling for me. But I was kindly reminded by a friend that technically, i'm not actually 'unemployed', i'm just working for God. I'm just not sure how i write that on the visa application. :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Random Thoughts

Over the past couple of weeks a number of amazing things have happened which i've wanted to share with you all, but unfortunately i've lacked the time in doing so. So here's a quick mish mash of things that have happened recently.

1. i finished my first christian book in a long time - and this one didn't even take 7 years! (check out my video on why i'm going to Thailand if you want that to make more sense). it actually only took me most of this year :) hehe The Unheeded Christ is a collection of sermons by David Cook on the book of Matthew, which was really appropriate at the time i started reading it as we were doing a sermon series on Matthew at church. But the timing and message by the end was also really appropriate as it finished with Matt 28 and the 'great commission' with the challenge to be going out and making disciples. There was the challenge to be going out to every nation with the gospel so that God may call his disciples. A great encouragement indeed for me to be reassured once again of why i'm going. (If you get a chance to read it, i'd recommend it - and it's an 'easy' read too, it just lacks pictures :) hehe)

2. God's constant provision in providing all of our needs. There are have been so many ways that i've seen this in action of late - from a new replacement at work, to so many friends and family partnering with me as i head off next year, to God providing the finances that i require to be in Thailand next year through many of you as generous supporters. i've been so humbled, overwhelmed and awed at God's goodness and timing. I think i've said it before, but the more i let go of trying to be in control, the more i see the amazing things that God can do, and this journey so far has been just that. and i haven't even left yet! (keep reading to point 4 for today's 'out of the blue' story)

3. I've also been really challenged by the urgency of people needing to get into a relationships with God. i guess this really hit home a couple weeks ago when a young 17 year old boy committed suicide outside our work. In amongst a whole lot of emotions, it really made me think how many people are out there who feel they have nothing to live for, that life is SO bad that the only solution is to take it, rather then know that they can have true life in God and that the problems of this world really are only temporary. What if this kid knew God? how would that have changed things? i don't know the answer to that, but the short of it is, we need to be taking every opportunity we get, cos we never know if it will be our last.

4. Another 'Godincidence' occurred just today. As part of my work over the years at TVS/Anglican Media has been on the Auslan Bible project (the Bible in sign language). This week I sent an email out to all the people i've had worked with over the years to let them know that i will be moving on and i got a reply from a guy who i worked with on this project in Australia to hear that he is currently in Chiang Mai where there is talk of doing a similar project in Thai. Sounds like my details have already been passed on - so who knows what will come of this one. i'll keep you posted once i get there and find out what the story is. But God truly is amazing in how he orchestrates things to happen and people to be in the 'right' place at the 'right' time.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Days are Numbered

Whilst it's really exciting that there's just over 3 weeks to go before i leave for Thailand (and i REALLY can't wait to get there!), a couple weeks ago, i had a bit of a reality check where i realised that i can now count on just one hand the number of church services and Bible studies that i'm left to attend where i'll actually be able to fully understand and be challenged by the message that i hear. Not only that, as i've been catching up with friends over the past few weeks, i've also come to realise that i'm also going to miss having the opportunity to be meeting with and having great discussions with like minded Christians. At one stage i thought that maybe it would mean that i might pick up on my reading of Christian books, but on second thought, i'm not so sold on that idea. i think i'll just have to download lots of talks on mp3 from the DPC and SydneyAnglicans websites :)

So, while i am away, please do keep me updated on things that you're learning and are challenged by, and please be asking me what i'm learning and challenged by from God's word. i think it will be easy for me to get caught up in the busyness of learning a new language, meeting new people and settling in so that i don't 'have time' for Bible reading, so it'd be great to be kept accountable challenged by you guys.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Farewell Picnic 1st December

If you're free on the 1st December, please do come and drop by Brett Park in Drummoyne. It would be great to see you at least one more time before i head off to Thailand. I'll be there from 10am-2pm (or probably later). Snackage will be provided, but if you want to eat more 'substantial' food, please byo. If it's raining, we'll head up to Drummoyne Presbyterian Church. Hope to see you there

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Business Opportunities, Christian TV, more relationships

And the list goes on with the possible opportunities of what i can be doing in Thailand. For this next installment, i though i'd share about Boonchu, CBN Siam and other Thai friends.

Boonchu & her husband are a disabled couple that Denise and John have been working closely with in the past year. They are a non christian couple who have their own business in making painting thai designs onto various wooden articles, however because of their disabilities, they have never been given a 'fair go' by society. Boonchu is unable to walk and in a wheelchair, and her husband only has 1 arm. Unfortunately in Thailand, the perception is that if people are physically disabled, they are also mentally disabled, so these guys, while really able in many senses of the word, are just never given a chance. Denise & John have been working hard to help them be able to start their own shop. There are lots of possible opportunities to be helping them with their new shop with regards to fitouts, merchandising and displays, marketing and promotion as well as teaching them english so they can help serve english speaking tourist who come into their shop.

It's a great opportunity to be a part of their lives and start building relationships with them. Already, it's really exciting to hear how through Denise & John's relationship with them and helping them, Boonchu & her husband have expressed an interest to come to church. There are also some great opportunities to build relationships with Boonchu's sister who is also a single girl about my age. A new opportunity that i'm really excited about.

CBN Siam
One of the most ‘out of the blue’ opportunity that fell into my lap was on the second last day that I was in Thailand last July. I met a girl called Gao who works for CBN Siam – the Christian Broadcasting Network in Thailand. For those who don’t know I currently work at Anglican Media and part of what I do is video production and I’ve been involved in producing some of the TV programs that I do at. She was really keen to get me to go to her work and wanted to introduce me to her boss and all the guys involved in production over there.

I’ve got no idea what opportunities might lie in that, but who knows if there might be opportunities to help provide them with some content from TV shows we’ve produced in Sydney, or use some of the show ideas for over there. There might be really good opportunities to build relationships with the producers over there and by sharing with them some of the things that we do, sharing my life with them, help influence some of the content that they broadcast. I really don’t know. It might be that there’s nothing that comes of it. But in some ways, even though it’s not about me, it’s about God an his work, I’d like to think that lots of the skills that I’ve learnt over the past 5 years at Anglican Media would be able to come in useful over there too.

At the end of the day, i think it will be wishful thinking to think i can fit all these opportunities in, and i'm sure that there will be plenty more things that will emerge from the woodwork when i arrive. I think no matter what, there's plenty of work to be done there and things that i can be involved in. I'd really appreciate your prayers for wisdom in deciding what to do and how to spend my time.