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.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Fun In Thailand

As mentioned in the previous post, here's a quick video of how Thai's have fun with karaoke. I reckon the DPC team were having just as much fun and if it wasn't for the fact that the song was in Thai, they would've been doing more then just being backup dancers. Mind you, i know that DPC team members have managed to find the Ice Saranyu CD (cd that this song is from), so next time, they'll be singing along for sure!

singing... 'jat jaa daa daa jat jaa daa daa daa......'

Happy New Year

Thai's are a cack! i love their sense of fun, their humour, their games. It fully cracks me up.

The day started with going to church at Grace Church which i've now learnt that the thai name is คริสตจักรพระคุณ (which i'm sure means nothing to most of you but is pronounced chrisijak pra kun). I was really excited to go for a number of reasons, firstly i'd get to see some of the orphanage kids who go there, 2 my brother in law John was preaching today and thirdly, i'd get to test out how my thai is actually going. God was very kind in allowing all the songs that were sung today to be ones that were 'slow' so i actually had a chance of following the words of the song on the screen. Then John preached on Philippians. i decided at the outset declined the use of the headphones that would give me the translation of the sermon. i reckon i understood about 5-10% of the words he said. Not bad i reckon considering i haven't started Thai school just yet. Anyway, see how i go in future weeks.

Tonight we went to an early New Years Party at one of Denise & John's friends place. It was heaps of fun. We had a cook it yourself 'Muu GaTar' dinner (like korean BBQ), played heaps of games with the kids - like pin the tail on the Charng (Elephant), too many ballon games, food and flour games. It was hilarious! Makes me look forward to making my own friends and learning more thai so that i can actually communicate more. It really is frustrating not being able to say more then hello, do you want some food, i'm here to learn Thai this year, it tastes nice and it's funny. I'll get better in time, i know.

I have been really thankful for some cool thai friends in Korat who i've been msn'ing with everyday. They've been really helpful and patient in helping me read and write in Thai. It definitely makes learning to read and write a lot more fun. Only really major blunders - calling my sister a ghost (i wrote ผี instead of พี่ - can you spot the difference?) and accidentally telling someone to 'Get lost!' instead of saying they 'got lost'.

In an attempt to embarrass some of my new Thai friends and old Aussie friends, i was wanting to share a quick video of our last night in Korat with our friends from Suebsiri Church doing karaoke and the DPC team as the backup dancers. However technology isn't being too co-operative at the moment, so i'll post that another time when i can get it to work.

For those praying:
- thank God for great Thai friends who have been helping me with my Thai and offering help in finding accommodation and transport
- pray for chats this week with Ratree & Niphon who are one set of parents at the orphanage who i hope to help. For wisdom in how i can best be helping them
- that things will go smoothly this Wednesday when i go to school and try to sort out my visa and start classes
- thank God for so many people (and new friends) who have been such a huge encouragement to me in support through prayer, practical means and heaps of other things
- pray that many more Thai's will come to know God

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Short Term Mission ends

After a hectic 2 1/2 weeks, the DPC short term mission (STM) has drawn to and end and the team has left and reality is now starting to sink in. The STM overall was awesome. It was such a privilege to be able to meet, work with and get to know Thai christians who have such a huge heart to serve God in all that they do. How they have such a huge desire to see youth in schools and on the street come to know Christ and how they are people who do not just talk about big dreams and visions for God, but are people who also get in there and do the hard yards with God's help and strength to make it happen. I've been so challenged and encouraged by their way of life and willingness to serve God in whatever ways they can. I know many of the team were also encouraged and challenged by their passion and servant heart. Overall, it's been a great 3 weeks of getting a better grasp on the language (still a LONG way to go), and understanding of the culture and to see glimpses of the ways that God is at work over here.

Here's a short video on the highlights from the STM team of our time here in Thailand

Here's also a few words from Tong, one of the guys that we were working with in Korat.

After a teary farewell of the team at the airport on Sunday, the reality of my new life for the next year is starting to sink in. i'm really excited about the idea that language classes could start as early as next week (have to wait til school comes back from their 2 week Christmas holiday to find that out), also new opportunities continue to arise eg in teaching in schools - not sure if i'll do it yet tho - and even possibly helping teach the orphanage kids kids some music), plus building on relationships with Thai's here and the opportunities to get to know new ones. As i look around, it seems that possibilities are endless, i feel like time and energy will be my biggest enemy.

For those that are praying:
- Pray for wisdom in what opportunities i pursue
- Thank God for safety so far and all the things i have learnt and been challenged by
- Pray for the ability to learn language quickly and thank God for great Thai friends who have already been so helpful in teaching me so much already.
- Thank God for so many great things and especially that today we were able to celebrate Christmas and remember the amazing gift that God has given us in sending His son into the world to save us.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Suebsiri Church

Suebsiri Church is one of the churches that the team got to work with in our time here at Korat. It's a 'small' church (by aussie standards) which has a bunch of great brothers and sisters in Christ who have a huge love for God and willingness to want others to come to be a part of God's family. The SEA (South East Asian) Game played here in Korat last week i think turned what seemed to be an initial disaster in teaching in schools into a real blessing, as it allowed us to spend heaps of time with some of the keen youth group kids like Peace, Proud, Shem and Bang who were able to come along and join us as we taught english camps. It meant that we could really get to build some great relationships with the church people. One of the major highlights was going caroling with the church last friday night - who knew you could go singing in the street in front of someones house (and all the neighbours for that matter) at 12.30am! it was a real blast (apart from having to sing Jingle Bells for the 50millionth time).

But one of the big highlights for me in the past few days was being able to help Suebsiri church make a video (which they don't yet know about) which they will use next sunday for their Christmas service to help the church introduce the idea of Christmas and the greatest gift that any of us could ever receive. They've NEVER had any multimedia done for them before, so it was kinda interesting trying to work out what to do and how to do it, not to mention what the response will be to it. Plus having to try and edit in Thai and make the cuts was rather amusing, even with Tong's help. But i think it worked well all up given our major time constraints and lack of direction. It's been really cool having the chance to work a bit with Tong and to hear the vision he has for reaching non christian youth in Korat. It's such an encouragement to see how hard he does work in wanting to serve God and the way he wants to be relevant and engaging with those he has such a heart and passion for. This video was actually his idea after he caught a glimpse of the team video i edited up last weekend. I know you're not going to understand any of this (apart from 1 aussie guy's comments), but i wanted to share with you some stuff that i hope will be helpful to the church. (Tong is the 1st guy you'll see in the video).

PS - i was majorly excited to discover that i could incorporate Thai fonts into Live Type! Very COOL!!

For those praying:
- pray for Suebsiri Church, that the christians there will grown in their love and knowledge of God and for their outreach and eagerness for so many others to also know God
- pray for Tong as he leads the youth and that he will continue to love and serve God in all he does
- pray for the youth group kids, that they will build a firm foundation on Christ and grown in their love and knowledge of God

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Our first week in Khorat

It just occurred to a few of us last night that we only have 1 more week left of our short term mission trip with the team. I can't believe how quickly the time has gone, and it's after realisations like that that i'm really glad that i'm staying on for the year. Once again, i'm just starting to feel like i'm getting more of a handle on the language and being able to form even better relationships with some of the Thai people here and i'm having soooooo much fun it almost doesn't seem quite right that moving countries can be quite this easy. Of course i need to remember that right now isn't quite reality with the team around and all the organised activities we're doing, but hey, at least it's a great way to start.

So I finally got round to making a short summary video of just a couple things that we've been up to while in Khorat - in going to church and teaching at one of the schools. you can check it out here.

We've also done heaps of other stuff too which i couldn't include in the last vid - going to other schools, visiting a world vision project, going caroling at night with members of the Suebsiri church til 1am (i think we probably went to about 10 houses to sing carols, pray for the families at the houses and eat lots of food!!), we've visited Pi Mai - an old ruins place, we've managed to have a day off, ange and i gatecrashed the music rehearsal from the church and had a great jam session with the music team, we almost got to see some of the SEA games tacraw semi finals - until officials realised after they had announced the 2 teams playing that 3 teams in fact had finished on equal points so they were trying to work out who should get to play. So we ended up sitting around for 2 1/2 hrs learning Thai cheers, participating in 'Mexican Waves', eating a variety of 'surprise' foods and chatting with one of the teachers from the english camp who we happened to bump into (which was really cool!). It's been awesome so far!

Today, we're heading to church and then i'm going to attempt to help Tong (one of the Thai guys we've been working with here) try and make a video for his church christmas service next week. He's hoping to use the video to introduce the talk on getting people think about what the greatest gift we can ever receive is - leading into the fact that Jesus is the best gift we could receive. Due to the time constraints of making the video, i figured doing a vox pop would be easiest and quickest - only i know somehow it's going to take longer then usual since i'm not going to be able to understand what the respondents are going to say, so editing could be..... well, interesting. Might be a great way to learn thai tho :) hehe

For those who are praying:
- thank God for a great trip so far and the ways that God has been opening doors for the local thai churches here in Korat
- for the great relationships i've been able to form with Thai people here so far
- for the thai christians here - for their amazing love and trust of God, and that they'll continue to grow in their knowledge, love and understanding of God
- for the millions of other Thai's who don't yet know God, that they will

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Heart 1032 Radio Interview

So i finally worked out a way to upload multimedia files to this blog (From my dodgy connection here in Korat). So here's the Heart 1032 interview from the 5th December

i've also got myself a Thai mobile phone, so if you feel the need to call/sms me, you can contact me on +66 8 9848 0896

Only thing left to do now is work out how to send emails.... :)

We're all heading off to a Thai church this morning, then having an interchurch sports afternoon where we'll be able to try out all sorts of Thai sports which should be really fun. Then Monday and Tuesday are the big days with our English camp.

For those praying, please pray for the students and teachers that we meet at this camp, that they will have hearts that are ready to hear and understand what Christmas is about and that we'll be able to explain it clearly with the limited language that we have

Friday, December 7, 2007

Safe and Sound

Despite the random thoughts at times of 'what have i done?', 'i can't believe i'm actually left', i have now arrived safe and sound in Thailand and so far, it's been awesome (well all 2 days of it). It really was nice to be able to fly out with a team of friends from church and start my time here with them. So far, there haven't been any regrets. I guess you can't do a huge amount in 2 days but as a summary - we've done a lot of travel, a lot of eating, checking out Khorat and going to the opening ceremony of the SEA games. I'll try and post up a few photos of the opening ceremony soon.

i was hoping to post up a copy of a radio interview i did on Heart 103.2 just before i left Sydney (i know some of you have already heard it - thanks for your messages), but the internet here doesn't seem to like me uploading videos, so i'll have to post that later. All going well, i'll be touching based with Aaron throughout '08 with updates on how things are going over here, so stay tuned to 103.2 if you're in Sydney.

for those who are praying:
- thank God for safe travels so far
- pray for the team as we share the true meaning of Christmas and for doors to open for the thai christians we're working with to share the gospel with them in a way they can understand
- thank god for the awesome opportunity we have to be here to share his great news

PS - for some reason, my Oz mobile number isn't working over here now (so if you've sent a message in the past couple days i haven't and won't get it for a LONG time). I'll let you know my new mobile number as soon as i get around to getting it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I'm off....

It's hard to believe that in just 6 hours, i'm going to be getting into a taxi to head off to the airport to start the next 'chapter' in my life. So why i'm updating my blog right now and not sleeping, i'm not really sure. maybe it's just cos i'm too excited about heading off. :)

Every day for the past week, i've had a great chance to catch up with family and friends (here are some pics from my ultimate self portait album - check it out on my profile if your on Facebook). Thanks so much to you all for all your love, support and encouragement as i head off. it's such a huge blessing to know that i have a great support network who are partnering with me as i head off to Thailand. God has indeed taken great care of me thus far through you all, and i really give thanks for all he has given to me. So after a what feels like one of the longest weeks of saying goodbye, i'm so ready to head off.

First stop - Korat with the Drummoyne Pressie short term mission team. Korat is supposedly the 3rd largest city in Thailand (which is substantially smaller then Chiang Mai). We'll be there for about 2 1/2 weeks where we'll be doing a host of things, from running english camps, teaching at schools, helping local Thai Christians and churches, helping to various forms of evangelism (not quite sure how that works just yet seeing as most of us can't really speak thai just yet), helping thai christians build good relationships with schools in the hope they can go in to teach scripture, and predominately sharing with Thai's what the true meaning of Christmas really is. If you want to find out a bit more about the trip and the team going, you can check out the DPC team blog. I'm sure this will get updated pretty regularly in case i don't get to update my blog as regularly while we're there.

For those who are praying, it would be great to pray for the team as we go:
- for unity in the team
- that we will be effective and helpful to the Thai Christians that we work with
- that we will be able to effectively share with Thai's what the true meaning of Christmas is about
- for safe travels for the team

next post - from thialand :)