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.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Parents & Teachers - (sounds like a scary combination)

It's been a great past week with my parents visiting Chiang Mai for the week. It's hard to believe that it's been 6 months since i last saw them as the year has seriously been flying. So cos the folks were around, i tried to keep my diary as empty as possible last week so i could spend a bit of time with them. It was great to be able to head out to lunch, dinner and go on various 'tiaws' (outings) with them and the family for the week. Despite a few late nights watching wimbledon, it was actually quite a restful week not being out every night with various commitments or dinners with people. So i do actually feel quite rested and that i've caught up on a bit of sleep and rest. But somehow it's meant that this week (now that my parents have left) has completely filled up, so we'll see how long the 'R&R' will last for :)

the family with mum & dad at Tiger Kingdom

playing with the tiger cubs

me with one of the cubs

Even though i wasn't out and about heaps last week, there was still plenty of 'stuff' going on to pray for and to give thanks for. I'm just so encouraged and humbled to see the way that God orchestrates things in His timing, and how nothing is really a 'coincidence'. Here are a couple examples of this and things to pray for and give praise about.

- Please keep on praying for my old teacher Khruu Kwan. Yes, she's my 'old' teacher now. :( For various reasons (nothing bad) i've had to unexpectedly change teachers. Initially we were both really sad about it as we are really close friends and enjoy being 'student & teacher'. Plus i was just starting to see all these amazing things that God has been teaching her and showing her and it was great to be able to encourage her in those things on a regular and timely basis. But despite not being teacher/student now, my initial frustrations of not being able to spend as much time with her were quickly dissolved as God has shown me he has things in control and that our friendship goes far beyond the walls of a classroom. Since 'parting ways' last week we've still managed to catch up over breaks, lunches and dinner, which has been much more relaxed and we've been able to talk about more things in more depth too. So my initial worries really needn't be worries at all. It's actually probably better this way too. I should know that God has it under control!

But 2 main things to be praying for Khruu Kwan are:
1. to find a church they can settle into and feel comfortable in
2. also for trust and obedience to God for the future.
Church: This year, for various reasons, she and her family haven't really been going along to church. i've been really hesitant to 'push' her in going to church as i don't want her to go to church out of obligation, but out of her want to meet with God's people and have fellowship with them. A couple weeks ago, i invited her along to my church as John was preaching. At that service, there were several things that really struck her and she was keen to keep on coming. so the following week, she came back with her kids too. However, my initial hopes of her coming along to Grace church have for the moment been put on hold. Last week, she thought she'd go back to her former church It's kinda a long, weird story, so i won't go into all the details but here's a short summary to give you the idea. It seems that every time they've tried to go to that former church this year, they have been prevented from going for various reasons - mainly sickness. They're seeing it as some kind of spiritual attack from Satan not wanting them to go there. So last sunday (since the past 2 sundays were fine at my church), they thought they'd go back to the other church to see if it was all ok. But once again, she got sick and they had to leave before the 'worship time' even started. They're seeing it as an attack from Satan, and are determined to keep going to that church to not let satan win. I can totally understand why they think as they do and why they are so determined to beat satan, but i also think there could be another spin on it. That maybe it is God working to get them thinking about going to an alternate church? At the end of the day, it is God is ultimately in control, who 'allows' satan to have as much or as little power. So who's to say it's not God's plan for them? I haven't said my thoughts to my teacher yet, as i think it's important for her and her family to work on understanding God's plan for them themselves and the last thing they need is for me to come waltzing in and telling them what i think and what they should do etc. Besides, i know i don't even know the whole story, and still have much to learn about Thai culture and understanding, so it's hard to know what advice is good to give and not give. So please pray for my teacher and her family to really seek God and his guidance in this. That i will be able to be an encouragement to her, and provide advice if needed. Pray that they will settle into a church soon - wherever it may be

2. At the end of this month, my teacher is finishing up at the school and is hoping to teach privately. However currently she has no other students, which is a big worry for her, especially as she still has a mortgage, car loan, school fees for 2 kids etc to pay still. However, it's been so amazing to see how time and time again, God keeps telling her not to worry and to trust in Him. I know what she's like and had this been the same situation 3 months ago, she probably would've taken back her resignation. But this month, she's actually turning to the Bible and constantly reading verses about trusting in God's plan for us, that God does have a plan for us. She knows it to be true and it's so encouraging to see the way she is trusting completely. But also to see the way that God is helping her to trust, by providing people in her life to support her in ways she never imagined. It really is in the times of uncertainty and 'desperation' that we learn what trust and dependence on God is. Please pray that she will keep on learning these lessons and remembering how God has been working in her life to grow her closer to God.

Another exciting thing i've really been encouraged by in the past week is to see a couple of Thai friends of ours, Maggie & Ice, just taking hold of all sorts of opportunities to be reaching out to the Thai community for the gospel. Last week, while in a massage place in Big C (like a big supermarket crossed with a Kmart), he got talking to the massage ladies about the fact he can speak a little bit of english after another aussie friend called him and he had to speak some english. Immediately, a group of the women were interested in wanting to learn english in their lunch hour, so Ice thought it could be a great opportunity to teach them english and introduce them to Jesus in the same way that we do it at Baan Tawai on Monday nights. So, being an english speaker, Ice asked me if i could help him with it. Admittedly, at first, i was a bit reluctant as i really don't like teaching english that much, but i'm also really keen to be working alongside Thai's and learning from them too, and if doing this meant i was helping to open opportunities for them to open doors for the gospel, why should i be selfish and not do it. So Monday, we went for our first session and can i say, it was awesome!! I not only had heaps of fun, i can see the potential of building relationships with these ladies (and potentially other workers in the complex who also want to come) and eventually introducing them to Jesus. And Ice & Maggie are awesome people to do just that. I'm hoping that as i hear them speak about Jesus to them, i'll also be able to learn more language in how to do that too. Ice is really excited about this opportunity and now, so am i. Please pray for us as we get to know these ladies and build relationships with them and hopefully introduce them to Jesus. I'll keep you posted on more of this as it unfolds.......

anyway, here are a couple of amusing menu items we saw at a recent restaurant we went to

how do you like your 'eyes' done?

caramari - don't think you can get much more asian then that spelling