Having limited net access is a weird experience. One one hand, i feel like one of my hands has been removed and i feel lost and helpless, but on the other, i also realise how much of a slave i have become to technology, and the time that i once would've spent sitting in front of a computer on can now be spent with friends, learning language, building relationships etc. However, absence from the net has also made me appreciate just how much technology has helped me 'cope' with being over here while all my friends and family are back home. So, the short of it is, i'm glad to be back online and to be able to share with you all (and hear from you all) about what's been going on. I've just realised how much i do love to hear about what's going on back home and it helps me feel like i'm not forgotten or totally out of the loop. So i hope and pray that my computer won't crash again anytime soon.
So, what's been happening the past couple weeks. Well, you've heard about Songkran now, so i won't go back over that, but the rest of the time that i spent in Korat was awesome! It just got better and better as the week went on, getting to know Peace, Proud and their parents especially, Tong, Dim and host of other friends better. While it was weird at first to be there without the rest of the DPC STM team (i did feel a bit lost), that feeling quickly went away as i got to know my thai friends better and became part of the family.
One of the biggest things for me was the fact that Peace & Proud's parents allowed for them to come and stay with me in Chiang Mai for a week. It was extremely convenient that their dad (who works for World Vision) had week long meetings up in Chiang Rai the day after i was initially planning on getting back to CM, so we could all travel up north together, and he could pick them up on his way back down.
But even so, i know how big a thing it was for him to allow them to stay, so that was a huge blessing! It meant that we could hang out together, go to the zoo,
go check out and help teach english (thankfully they can speak a bit) at a Hill Tribe that a short term team from their church is hoping to help us out at in October this year,
they could meet a few of my friends, go along to cell group and a 'movie' night we had a church with me plus help me understand a few Thai soapies that they've now got me addicted to. (sad i know, but hey, i've discovered it's a great way to learn language too).
One of the other things i found really exciting about friends from Korat coming was that they could meet some of my friends up here and see what i get up to (sort of) on a weekly basis. I guess that's kinda hard as my week is never really always the same, but for them to check out my cell group, head to a special film night that my church had as a type of evangelistic night (we watched Pay It Forward), hang out with my sister and her family etc. To see them bond with other Christians around Thailand was really exciting as they also got to see how the gospel was at work outside their own city and 'bubble' of life. very cool indeed.
So during the rest of Korat, i also got to start chatting more with Tong (a guy the DPC team worked with back in December) about a mission trip his youth group could be doing up in Chiang Mai in October. It's really exciting to be thinking that we could host a Thai short term team up here. To see Thai's thinking seriously about and putting into action, evangelism to their own people is really exciting. And to know that they already have the language to communicate is a huge blessing. It's kind of weird to think i'll be hosting a thai team on their own turf - when i myself will be really limited in my thai and what i could do.... hmmmm :) hehe
It was also great catching up with other kids and leaders from the churches in Korat that we worked with in December. To hear how they've been challenged lately as Christians, from recent trips to Australia, what their plans are for the future, how they are trying to be strategic in the training of the youth now for the future and the struggles they're facing, how they're wanting to look at possibilities for future study of the Bible plus heaps more. It was just such an encouraging time generally to see the way that God is working in other parts of Thailand and how he is challenging people in their thinking of how they should best be serving Him.
God is really doing some amazing things here, but at the same time, there is so much more that still needs to be done.
On a random note, i've found another really good reason why it's good to be slow to speak! i'm fast discovering the benefits of being asian and looking 'Thai' and being mute. A few of us went out to a national park with a really a cool waterfall etc and for Thai's to get in, it was 40bht, but foreigners were 400bht! If i keep quiet, they think i'm Thai. Hmmmm, just saved myself 360bht! :) hehe
For those who are praying:
- Thank God for safe travels of late
- Pray for Dim, Tong & Ahn as they think about how they can best be ministering to the youth of Korat
- Thank God for relationships and friendships and the recent opportunities i've had to spend a couple weeks with Thai friends
- pray for the thai church and the training up of the future leaders here
- thank god that i've got my computer back
- Pray for wisdom as we start planning the short term mission for October
Here are a few other photos from the past couple weeks:
me & bang
at a really cool waterfall at Khao Yai (sorry you've gotta turn your head sideways again)
Me & Dim
"Dangerorus" - is that a new type of dinosaur i've never heard of?
the 'gang' that went to the waterfall
Tong & Shem at a 'Country and Western' theme park in Korat - hmmm, bit confused :) haha