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.

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).