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, May 30, 2008

It's hard to say Goodbye

I knew that the time was coming when i was going to have to say goodbye to Oum. The selfish part of me doesn't want her to go, cos i'm really going to miss her as she heads off to the US, but the other part of me is really happy for her so that she can finally go and be with her husband. The quick summary of Oum is that she's a girl who's been living at Cana House orphanage for the past 6 months after she got back from being an Au Pair in the US for 19months (she's not an orphan, but they took her in as she had no where else to stay at the time). The past year in particular has been pretty tough for her after her father died and her mother pretty much cut her off from the inheritance of the family and in some ways didn't want anything to do with her. So i guess in some ways, she kinda was a bit of an orphan. Anyway, some of you might remember the 'beautiful' wedding cake i decorated - it was something rather 'special'. Well that wedding cake was for her. So 3 weeks after the wedding (in March) her husband went back to the states while she tried to finish off her Thesis and wait for her visa to go through so she could follow him.

There are so many things to praise God for the way he works in Oum's life.
- She's got a huge heart to be serving God and even though she knew she was heading back to the states, she still wanted to come along to all the Sunday School (kids church) training that we were running and wanted to help teach SS to the kids as well.
- For me on a personal note, she was one of the first people here who became one of my really good friend. She's always so willing and generous to be helping me understand and speak more thai. She's one of the key people who really helped me feel at home from the moment i met her!
- Despite a bit of uncertainty at one stage of whether or not she'd be able to finish her thesis, it's finally all gone through (that's another fun story of me trying to help her with her science thesis on 'Adsorption' (no, not absorption) - like i know anything about Adsorption and can help write the thesis on it! :) hehe).
- God is also really good in his generosity to her. She applied for a 1 year visa and was going to sort out a spouse or long term visa after she got to the states, but in God's goodness, she was issued with a 5 year visa! Which means there won't be the stress that could be associated with trying to extend a visa

There's going to be lots of us who miss her back here. I'd describe Oum as a a quiet, humble and faithful servant. I know that God's got great things in store for her in the US and i hope one day to be able to go visit her over there (and in that trip go check out the Musical Angels that my friend Marcus is currently launching on Broadway - that's a whole other story)

If you can be praying for Oum as she heads to the states, that God will be helping her to settle into her new life there with her husband Keir, and for her studies there as well (she's going to be studying at Uni there). Pray that she'll continue to grow in her love and knowledge of God and that God will continue to keep her safe. Pray that i'll be able to keep in touch with Oum and that we'll be able to keep on encouraging each other over the miles as well.

With Oum & Gun at Oum's farewell lunch

I also discovered just how much it can rain in not very much time. Here are couple quick picks of my street as it turned into a river in about 15minutes of rain here - and rainy season hasn't even officially started yet either! hmmm, i think rainy season's going to be interesting..... :)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I actually wore a skirt for the second time here

Ok, i'll post the photo of me in another skirt to satisfy curiosity first. Here's me at Mam & Up's wedding on saturday (with John, Denise and the kids too).

I've finally managed to have a slightly more low key week this week which has been really nice especially after the killer week of cooking and couriering last week. My teacher asked to reschedule a couple lessons last week too (which i was more then happy to do as it means i've got a free friday and monday with no lessons) as she was heading out of Thailand for the first time ever in her life after she won a trip to China at a christmas party last year. Very exciting opportunity for her as there's no way that she'd be able to afford to go overseas on her own. I actually can't wait to hear how the trip went. When i asked her if she'd finished packing yet, she said 'no' (this is the day she was flying out by the way), and was asking me what she needed to pack. then she started listing off her items (in order of importance). 1. Medicine (in case of diarrhea, 2. a towel......then she asked me how to use the toilets on an airplane as she'd be told that they weren't like 'normal' toilets and wasn't sure how to use them....hmmmm going to be an interesting trip :) hehe

So my low key week still meant weddings, wedding rehearsals (as i was helping to do music at this wedding too), trying to get some filming, script writing and editing done for a couple videos i'm needing to make.

here's me at Mam & Up's wedding with Da and Aop

I also had the chance to meet up with Ning this week, a Thai girl who is part of the small team of Thai's translating the book of Mark into sign language here. She's actually from South of Thailand, but during the time she's working on this project, she'll be coming up to Chiang Mai every 3 months or so.

It's really exciting to meet Thai's who are passionate to help others get the word of god in their own language. The hard thing for many deaf Thai's is that they also can't read, so their only access to the gospel is if they come across a thai christian who is able to sign. And from what i hear, there aren't many at all!! As i was talking to Ning, it was obvious she had a huge passion and commitment to getting this translation done, but at the same time was hugely daunted by the task ahead of her. That day, she had spent the whole day translating and had completed 2 paragraphs from the book of Mark! There are also other difficulties in that southern and northern signed thai is not really the same either, so it makes translating all the more difficult. There's plenty more i'd love to share about this, but will do a bit later

For those who are praying:
- please pray for Ning and for the 2 'teams' (1 from the south and one from the north) as they translate the book of Mark. Pray they will translate it accurately and in a way that will be helpful for those that watch it. Also pray for them to find more people who can also help them with this project.

This week, I also got to go check out a 'leadership conference' that was being hosted by a church here in Chiang Mai, and the short story is that there is a lot of 'interesting', 'random' teaching of the Bible that is happening over here, and it's scary to see how people lap it up, because they just really don't know any different. Just highlights to me how big the need is here for good Bible teaching and people who can teach thai's to read and understand the bible for themselves.

For those praying
- Please pray for thai christians to be given the opportunity to be taught 'well' from the Bible, and for them to get understanding and wisdom so they can discern what is truth and what is not from God's word.

And when i had some time at home, a few of the neighbourhood kids came around to play with the hamsters. Here are some of the girls who usually come over to play

All in all, it's been nice to catch up on some sleep and even finish reading a book! oh yeah, believe it or not, i've also managed to finish reading my first christian book while i'm here (new record for me i think - only 4 months for this one). And i got to see Indiana Jones too. I'm always up for a bit of Indy action. So bit of R&R this week which is always nice.

Anyway, will write more about some of the above mentioned things a bit later. For those who are praying, it'd be great to be praying for those things mentioned above.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Thank You God!!

To say that i was scared sharing my testimony in Thai for the first time ever today is probably a massive understatement! It was the first time that i've had an opportunity to speak for 15 minutes about how i became a christian and what it means to me to be a christian to all the teachers at school today. I did have the opportunity to say it in english and have someone translate it for me (which would've been the easier road to travel), but i thought i'd take the plunge and try to share it all in Thai. For me, that was a massive step to take in language learning and speaking and i know for a fact, that it's only because of God and his help that i could actually do it all in Thai today.

Wanting to try and speak in Thai meant that i really had to cut back on many things that i really would've loved to share (due to my lack of vocab), plus risk the fact that my whole audience wouldn't understand a single thing that i said (cos it's highly likely that i could pronounced everything wrong). But God does do amazing things and he not only enabled me to say the things i wanted to say (in simple thai of course), but he also allowed the teachers to understand me too!! :) There were obviously a few things i pronounced wrong, but i was told that they could still understand me, so praise God! I was talking to one of the teachers before the meeting and before i had even shared my testimony, she was already really encouraged by the fact that i wanted to give it a go in Thai and was encouraging me to be reminded that God can work in us and enable us to speak. I just pray that many of the teachers were challenged and reminded about what it really means to be a christian and what it means to trust in jesus' death and resurrection as the only way that we can be friends with God.

The bad news is, no matter if i speak english or thai, i still seem to say 'um' and 'yeah' A LOT. But thankfully, i seem to have dropped the 'ya know'. :)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Now I can add 'Kanom chef' to my resume

Firstly, sorry for the week of silence. The past week has been somewhat crazy. Since Sunday last week, my days have been filled with making various types of 'kanom' (basically snacks), acting as courier and chauffeur, waking up early and getting home late as i helped Pi Ratree with the catering for a Graduation Ceremony and a week long camp. So why do it? As most of you would probably know, part of my time here this year has been to help an orphanage on a number of levels. To help the kids learn some english and music (ok, that's not going so well), but to help the parents earn some money so they can pay for the rent of the house they're living in. So this year, they started up a restaurant in the hope that it would bring in some income.

God will never cease to amaze me in the way that he works. When i first came here, i helped them to make a simple flyer to promote the restaurant. I'm not sure how the person at Compassion ended up with the flyer - if it was through one of my friends that i gave the brochure to who worked there, or through another means, but however it happened, Compassion had a weeklong conference and a 'graduation' type ceremony (still not quite sure what that was all about) and was needing for some catering. Through that one camp, we've made close to the entire years budget. Mind you, it was an absolute killer, but it's something to really praise God for.

While it was hard work, i did manage to have a lot of fun making various slices, cakes, cookies and brownies for the first time ever - and in bulk! Pi Ratree didn't realise i hadn't ever made them before and thankfully she didn't find out til after i had made most of it and she had tasted it and given it the tick of approval. Here are a few of my creations:

Pumpkin Cookies

Actually, LOTS of pumpkin cookies

Choc Brownies. Unfortunately they weren't 'Betty' ones, but it's a recipe that's about as close to Betty as you're going to get making it from scratch

At the Graduation ceremony, i discovered a 'new' Thaiglish' word which i personally think is ingenious. I was watching them as they put the letters up and it had me completely baffled for a while as to what they were trying to spell.

I'm hoping that this week i'll be able to catch up on a bit of the rest i lacked from last week (in fact the past month). But one thing you can be praying for is for the opportunity i have on Wednesday to share my testimony to the teachers at my school. i'm still really hoping to do it in Thai, which has obvious limitations for me. Please pray that i'll be able to say what i want to say in Thai and that the teachers will be able to understand me and that the time will be encouraging and challenging for them as well (even if it is just trying to understand me :) haha)

I've also got a meeting with Niim, a girl who's working with SIL in translating the Bible into Thai sign language this week. It's still in it's early stages, but it'll be a great chance to meet some of the people i hope to also work with later on when they're ready for production of the Thai signed bible.

There are plenty of other things also happening this week, with helping my teacher do a song for her 'worship' time at school next week, Mam and Up's wedding on Saturday (and yes, i am helping with music for this wedding too), teaching english at Baan Tawai tomorrow night, i've got to get cracking on making a few videos for church and for other missionaries here, sort out some marketing for some christian organisations here, plus a few other things. Hmmm, and i thought it was going to be a quieter week :) hehe For those who are praying, it'd be great if you can pray that i'll fit some rest into the mix :)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Exciting Opportunities

With all the various trips, visitors and other events in the past month, it's been tough trying to keep this blog up to date with some of the really exciting opportunities that have come up of late. So now that i've finally found some time, i thought i better make the most of it and update you quickly on a couple of the things that i mentioned in the prayer points in my last post.

Baan Tawai
Many of you have probably heard of Baan Tawai. It's the place i got to meet royalty, it's where i've been helping out the disabled workshop with some graphic design stuff and accounting. Well over the past few months, we've been seeing some REALLY exciting stuff happening in Baan Tawai. How God has been reaching so many of the people there (beyond the disabled workshop) in many different ways and through different people. This year already, there are a couple people there who have now become christians and several more who are showing a lot of interest in Christianity. Unfortunately, due to the nature of business down there, those who are christian and those who are keen to find out more, are not able to get to church on a sunday as they work 7 days a week. So, we've got a plan in place to take church to them instead on a day and at a time that suits them. Who ever said that church had to be on a Sunday, or be in a church building?

However, it's still a bit too 'early' to be starting 'church' as we know it down there ie with singing, bible talks etc. It's better for us to be reaching the community first, get them to know us, build relationships with the people and the 'powers that be' (ie council members if you can call them that) first. So for the past few months, John and another guy Russell have been discussing and organising for us to run an english program which will also help many of the businesses there learn simple conversational and business english which will also help them a lot (as Baan Tawai is a big tourist place). Then we also introduce some simple reading into the program which is essentially reading Bible stories which will introduce them to the person of Jesus Christ.

So last monday night, we started our first English speaking program and we had 23 Thai people from Baan Tawai come along to join us! Praise God. It was really exciting to see them so excited about coming along and wanting to learn english and lapping up everything we gave them. So for the next however long, Monday nights will be running the english program and slowly introducing them to Jesus through Bible stories.

For those praying:
- Thank God for this opportunity to run this english program
- pray for those that come along, that they will be introduced to Jesus and learn truths about him that they never knew before
- pray for those that come to come to know Jesus
- pray for those of us helping out, that we'll be good witnesses for Christ there

Mae Tia
Mae Tia is a small Hill Tribe area about an hour out of Chiang Mai where Png (one of our good Thai friends) has been volunteering to teach english and the Bible once a week for the past couple years. It's a hill tribe where there isn't a single Christian, but with Png going every week, she's built up some awesome relationships and lots of the kids are really keen to find out more and are really interested in Christianity. Through the kids, she's been able to form great relationships with the parents and 'mayor' of the village. This has opened up lots of opportunities for short term teams to go in and run english programs which also allow them to introduce Jesus to them.

In the past few weeks, i've had a chance to go out and visit them a couple times and help teach. We're actually hoping to get a short term team up from Korat to come help out at that village in October. So in the past few weeks as Peace & Proud and Tong & Nick came to visit, we also went to visit the village. Even those visits opened up some awesome opportunities. As we were teaching the kids some english and read bible stories, a couple of the other ladies in the village came along to join us - well sit behind the kids, because they are really interested in finding out more. As we were eating lunch, one of the older ladies picked up the bible story book and was looking at the pictures as she's illiterate. But apparently during the week, she's been asking some of the kids to read her the stories. After we finished teaching, Png had an awesome opportunity to talk to her more. It's just so exciting to see that way that God works and how sometimes things may take a 'long time', but if we keep on persevering and being faithful, God will change hearts

For those who are praying:
- pray for Png as she faithfully goes down each week to teach the kids and builds relationships with the village people
- pray for the village people, that they will continue to show interest in finding out more about God
- pray for the opportunity with the short term team from Korat coming, that it will continue to open up doors and hearts

Sharing at School
A couple weeks ago, i got asked during my lesson if i'd be able to come along to one of the teacher's weekly staff meetings to share my testimony and how God has been working in my life of late, how i came to be in Thailand and what i'm doing while i'm here. Part of me was really excited by this opportunity, and the other part was completely freaked out! It's one thing to share with people back home as to what's going on over here, but when you actually share with Thai people, it's actually quite tough explaining what i'm doing. The other things is that if i have an opportunity to share, i'd really love to do it all in Thai. I think it'd be a good opportunity to push me in communicating Gospel truths in Thai and help me if i'm ever talking to your everyday Thai person who i am, what i'm doing here and bits about God. It will also hopefully be an encouragement to the teachers that i'm really trying my hardest to learn and communicate in Thai, rather then rely on someone to translate. But at the same time, to do it in Thai means that i won't be able to say half of the things i would probably love to say due to lack of vocab. However, after talking to my sister, we both think it could be a good thing that my language is limited, as it may mean that i will be saying all things simply without the 'flowery' christian jargon language that we so often throw in unconsciously.

So, plan is on the 21st May to be doing a short presentation to all the teachers at my school about me, in Thai. Right now, i'm still trying to work out what are the most helpful things to share about, and then, how to share it. It really is an awesome opportunity to share with the teachers. Most days i'm at school, i end up sitting with them as they eat their lunch and many of them know who i am, but don't really know 'me'. so this could be a good chance to change that.

For those who are praying:
- pray for wisdom in what to share about
- pray for language, that i'll be able to clearly share about things that matter
- pray for the teachers, that they'll be able to understand me
- pray for time to be able to prepare this sharing time as the next week is going to be a killer (i'm helping Pi Ratree with a weeklong catering job where we'll be working from about 4am everyday as we cook breaky, lunch, morning and arvo tea. Plus will need to go to teach english at Baan Tawai, plus other night commitments next week).

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A Birthday full of surprises! :)

First of all, thanks to all who've sent birthday wishes via email, sms, facebook and the like. it's been awesome to hear from you all. Hopefully i'll get a chance to reply to most of you personally soon. For all of those who forgot it was my birthday today (well on the 7th - i'm sure this blog will show this post to be on the 8th of May now) - shame on you! Kidding! :)

To be perfectly honest, 2 days ago, i had no idea what to do for my birthday here. The past 3 weeks have been unexpectedly busy with a couple unplanned visits by some friends from Korat - which have been awesome fun!! - but it's meant that i haven't had a chance to think about what to do for my birthday let alone plan anything. It seems that it's my Thai friends who were more worried about what i was going to do for my birthday then i was. Due to all the busyness of late, i was seriously tempted to do nothing, or just do a really quiet family dinner with Denise, John & the kids.

But, Monday afternoon (5th May) i get a call from Pi Ratree, asking me if i was free that night cos there was something she really needed to ask me and talk to me about. At the time, i had just got back from a day trip to Mae Tia with Tong, Nick and Png where we were teaching english and the Bible (partly in preparation for the Korat team coming in October), the boys were packing their bags as i was just about to drop them off at the bus station, then i had to go down to Baan Tawai cos we were starting the new english class coupled with some Bible (will tell you more about that in another post) and i was seriously wasted! But Pii Ratree sounded really serious, so even though i wasn't sure i'd get through the english class, i thought i better go round to chat. Turns out the 'something really important' was a surprise birthday party for me with a group of my friends from church! It's the first surprise i've had in AGES, and i was seriously surprised! They were feeling really bad that they couldn't do anything with me on Wednesday night, so planned that instead. Unfortunately i don't have any pics of that, but that night, i got a Thai Cookbook as a present from my friend Peung, so it was decided, my first birthday in Thailand would be celebrated by me cooking for everyone with recipes from my new cookbook (all in Thai by the way).

So an all Thai cookbook can prove challenging for someone who can only read slowly and doesn't know vocab for all ingredients yet let alone understand instructions. So Kim offered to come shopping with me on Tuesday night. After we finished shopping, she left to go home about 10pm and after doing some things, i went to bed just before midnight. About 2 minutes after midnight, i get an sms from Kim that said:
"Happy b'day huray :) do you need a cake? If yes open the door"
so i honestly had no idea what the second part of this message meant. i was in the middle of replying to the sms when Kim decides that she'll call me instead. So i answer the phone, and there's a anxious sounding Kim on the other end of the phone. I thanked her for the sms and asked to explain what the 'open the door' meant, when it suddenly dawned on me. She was literally downstairs, waiting outside my gate with a birthday cake! Surprise No 2! I was so blown away by the fact that she would come back at midnight to be the first to celebrate my birthday with me in Thailand!

Here's me and Kim with the cake she bought from 7 eleven just before coming to my place (not sure what she would've done if
7 eleven ran out.

I've come to realise that Thai's don't seem to sleep - more like many of the sleep REALLY late, but somehow also wake up REALLY early too. So i'm receiving birthday sms's at 1am, 6am and the like. But that's cool. It's really nice that they're thinking of me and remembered it was my birthday.

I still went to class today (which turned out to be an awesome decision) because today's lesson turned into a really great day of chatting to my teacher. Sadly, her grandmother died yesterday and the whole incident has brought up a lot of questions for her and for her kids. What do you do if you want to pray to God because you a christian, but your buddhist family won't allow you? Will her grandmother go to heaven or not? What do you do when your kids ask you those questions for real, but you don't know what to say? then questions of does God cause natural disasters or not (in relation to the recent cyclone devastation in Burma on the weekend. Even though we didn't learn a thing from the textbook today (nothing new really), it was a really good time to chat, and it really pushed me in trying to explain christian things in Thai. Needless to say, i've got a LONG way to go still in language learning, but it was a really fruitful time of chatting with my teacher. So praise God for that opportunity today.

Well, after my lesson, i had a really nice buffet Yum Cha lunch with Denise and John & the kids, before returning home to start cooking for my birthday dinner. So i couldn't really read the recipe book in the end, but it has colour pictures, so i figured make up the recipes instead and just make something that looked like the pictures. It's not like you can tell what something will taste like from a picture anyway. So here's the outcome. Birthday dinner for 12 :) So we had this fried boiled egg dish, cabbage rolls, fried chicken and honey soy chicken wings, with rice.

Then what to do for dessert - well, as much as i was keen to do something Thai, i figured few (if not none) of my friends have ever tried a Pavlova. So even though i've never successfully made one (they always turn into giant meringues) i thought i'd try. first attempt, i achieved a giant meringue 'cookie'

Rather sad if you ask me. Wasn't sure how this was going to feed everyone. Oh yeah, forgot to say, i actually had no idea how many people were actually coming tonight either. It turned into an open invite to my cell group, so i could get anywhere between 7-20 people! Surprise no 3 i guess :) hehe

What to do? Easy, i figured i'd make another meringue cookie and make a double layer pav. Must admit, i was pretty happy with the outcome, and all my friends loved it and ate it all.

We all ended up having an awesome night of food, fun and games and TV as we watched what i think is the final episode of this Thai soapie that we're all addicted to. Turns out that Sumo is a massive winner over here too (for those of you who know the game Sumo). Plus had a fun night doing various magic card tricks and having my friends completely 'ngong'ed' ie. confused

me with Ratree, Peung and Kim

People glued to the TV as the soapie ends

I also got a few cool presents, from a chinese steamer filled with hershey's chocs, to an orange stuffed toy which is apparently a 'little hamster called Hamtaro.

To a hilarious t-shirt from my Pi Tor (my zoo keeper friend) - check the design below.

a closer look at the design - i can't even remember him taking this shot!

Not sure this t-shirt is ever going to see the light of day, but hey, i now have my first Panda souvenier :) haha

So, my first birthday in Thailand really has been a blast! i really thank God for all the people he's brought into my life so far, for all the blessings in life and for so many opportunities to be able to share my life as a christian with people here. There's so much more that i'd love to share with you now about what's going on and upcoming opportunities, but i'll save it for another post.

For those who are praying:
- thank God for everything so far and for a great birthday over here
- Pray for Khruu Kwan (my teacher) as she mourns the loss of her grandmother and wrestles with big concepts as a christian
- Pray for me, for wisdom in how to encourage my teacher and for language so i can effectively share with her
- Pray for the Baan Tawai english program (will write more about this soon)
- Pray for the great ways that God is working in Mae TIa with Png, and for the opportunities we have to help her with the short term team from Korat
- Pray for some rest in the next couple days as next week is going to be a killer and i've got HEAPS to do before the end of this month and i've got no idea how i'm going to be able to do it all
- Pray for wisdom in what to say as i share with all the teachers at my school on the 21st May
- Thank God for sustaining me over the past month with all the travel, visitors and busyness

I'll post up more details in the next few days about some of the random things i've mentioned above, so stay tuned

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Fun, Rain and Fractured Toes...Ooops!!

The past few days have been awesome fun as 2 friends from Korat, Tong & Nick have come up to visit in Chiang Mai. It's been a really 'eventful' time so far with plenty of laughs, awesome weather despite massive amounts of rain, lots of fun tiaws (outings), another hospital visit and a fractured toe. "Oops!!"

So, some of the highlights of having Tong & Nick up here has been that they've had a chance to meet lots of my friends up here and have got to meet and spend time with John & Denise. Part of the highlight of that is that in October, Tong is hoping to bring a team of about 12 kids from the Korat church up to Chiang Mai to do a short term mission trip up here to work with one of our friends Png. We tried to start working out what to do when i was down in Korat a couple weeks back, but it was much faster when Tong and Png were able to meet and talk face to face AND in Thai! Much more efficient and productive i reckon. We'll be heading to the hill tribe on Monday so Tong can meet them all which will be a great opportunity.

All the rain of late (due to a supposed cyclone in burma or something) has meant that Chiang Mai is the most pollution free i've ever seen, there is blue sky and you can see every one of the surrounding mountains. It's the most beautiful that i've seen it.

But lots of rain also means the rivers are filling up, which also means that white water rafting would be heaps of fun. (always have to look at the upside of lots of rain). So Nick is a keen white water rafter. Ok, so they weren't massive rapids or anything, but we still had heaps of fun, especially as Tong was freaked out about the idea of going (despite trying to convince us that he really is an 'Adventure Man'). I'm sure he looks it in this photo,

Anyway, after getting down safely, we all ended up playing in the water, and boys being boys, Nick & Tong ended up tackling each other a bit. Well, bit of a freak accident later, Tong accidentally knocked his foot on a rock in the river and the short of it is.....he managed to fracture his 4th toe in 3 places! 'OOPS!!!' the upside, he got to ride in a wheelchair and even get a blue bandage to match the colour of the wheelchair.

(sorry, need to turn your head sideways again)
So looks like Tong won't be too mobile for the next month. At least he's got a few extra souvenirs from Chiang Mia he wasn't expecting - like a hospital card and a new injury. So far, he's still in good spirits and is convinced he'll be fine to go to the walking street markets tomorrow night. Hmmmm.... we'll see.

For those who are praying
- thank God for the opportunity of lots of friends to come and visit in the past few weeks
- pray for Tong's toe to heal quickly
- pray for the upcoming mission trip with the group from Korat and with Png. (i'll update more details on this a bit later)

anyway, here are a couple other fun signs i've spotted of late

at the zoo - are we trying to see the koala's or the Rhino's?

this was a tops sign that we saw at the hospital while waiting for Tong