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, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008, bring on 2009

So 2008 ended up being an awesome year new experiences, new friendships, new language, learning lots from God's Word and seeing the way that God is working in the lives of people over here, being pumped to be serving God more and being amazed at the privilege it is to be able to serve God in our lives. I'm just constantly amazed at the way that God works and the more i learn about him and see him in action, the more convinced i am of how awesome our God really is and how worthy he is to be receiving our praise, and how more people just need to come to know him grow in their knowledge of Him.

Believe it or not, i'm actually having a quiet NYE in with the family (apart from all the neighbours karaoke going on outside...interesting...). To be honest, i'm actually really glad about the quiet night in, as i'm just wasted from all the partying from Christmas, then a team retreat which we just got back from this afternoon. Not that the retreat was heavy going, but it was just still being on the go. So hopefully the next few days will be some nice chill days to catch up on about the last 3 months lot of sleep, and spend time with the family before the new year kicks in and things go nuts again.

So while i a had a few minutes, i thought i'd just wish you all a Happy New Year. Thanks for all your support, encouragement, prayers and partnership in the Gospel with me this year! it's been awesome to have all your support and do know that i wouldn't have been able to do it without all you guys! Look forward to keeping you posted on all that happens in 09!!

check out this lawn mower!! i guess they built them to last in the old days :)

the Team

family shot at the Dam

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Bethany House Kids Caroling at Le Meridien

Last Wednesday 24th, the kids from the Bethany and Cana House orphanages got to sing at the Le Meridien Hotel in Chiang Mai. For those of you who don't know, Le Meridien is one of the most expensive hotels going here. So i'm sure many of them were feeling a bit out of their comfort zone. But they were all really excited about it and had a blast of a time singing there. they want to go back and do it again.

I won't go into the whole story of how it all came about, but let's just say, God is good and the hotel are really keen to support the kids in whatever way they can, and are wanting to get them back in the future to sing and even possibly dance at some other thai festivals and special events during the year. So that's some exciting news.

Being asian, i've been trying to score a 'free' meal there since it opened (and even before) as one of friends Kim works there. So course i jumped at the chance to be part of the 'crew' for the kids in order to score a free meal. So believe it or not, i got to put some of my Shiseido training to good use and got assigned the role of 'makeup artist'!! :) haha So i was ready for my free meal at the plush Le Meridien. That night, they had special christmas eve meals and buffets going for like 1700bht!! that's like 56 meals that i could get at my neigbouring thai restaurant!! So, i was all geared up for some awesome food. Before i got there, we were joking around that we'd probably get fried rice, gang jeut (a plain soup), stir fried veg and anything else that you'd expect was pretty 'typical' simple thai food. So when we got there, i spotted the buffet table and made a bee line for it. And what was on the menu......fried rice, gang jeut, stir fried veg and a basil eggplant!! how lucky am i to score such a special meal there?!?!? Well, i suppose, beggers can't be choosers :)

Anyway, above is a short video of some of the stuff that went on that night and some of the kids and here are a few photos from the night

the kids in the lobby

i really did do makeup

some of the kids

the classy buffet we got :)

Friday, December 19, 2008

School Christmas Party

So today we had our school christmas party which ended up being rather amusing, since i was asked to help MC the party and translate into english all the Khruu Tor said. So given that i was handed the mic on many occasions, i thought i'd take the opportunity to 'elaborate' at times on things that were happening or said to help make the day a bit more fun too. A very dangerous thing if you're people who i tend to enjoy glaanging (teasing) :) hehe

Anyway, here's a video of my teacher with a few of her students singing Last Christmas. My teacher is the one who's completely embarrassed in the video. not hard to miss. She'll kill me for putting this up, but hey, why not? :)

For those who are interested, Gai Yaang is a dance that kids get each other to do as a 'punishment' - or more a way of embarrassing those who might come in last or lose a game. So here's Khruu Jai with Eugene doing Gai Yaang since they came in last when playing the 'relay' game.

Since i ended up doing lots of the talking and forgot to hand my camera to someone to happy snap, i didn't manage to many photos of me in action at all. but here are few shots of the day anyway.

Christmas at CLS

Me with Khruu Jai

Some of the teachers at school

Group Photo

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas in Thailand

It feels kind of odd that there is no public holiday for Christmas over here, which makes plenty of sense seeing as it's not a christian country, however it also means that all Christmas celebrations get spread out all over the month of December. Given that Christmas is not really celebrated here, i've been so encouraged by the ways that many of my Thai christian friends have been taking hold of Christmas as an opportunity to be sharing the gospel and trying to help others know what the true meaning of Christmas is - that it's not just about the new year. So here's just a summary of the christmas events that i've been up to/will be up to this month:
5/12 - Pioneers Christmas party
13/12 - Png's Christmas party (with over 100 people)
19/12 - School Christmas party
19/12 - Church carolling
20/12 - Ken & Kristy's Christmas party in the muu baan
21/12 - Christmas at church
22/12 - Christmas party at Baan Tawai
23/12 - Cell Group Christmas party
24/12 - Orphanage kids singing carols at Le Meridien hotel
25/12 - Christmas Day
26/12 - Christmas party for the Bethany House Orphanage kids

As you can see, it's a pretty nuts end of the month - where our team will also go away for a team retreat from the 27th - 31st. So it'd be awesome if you could be praying for all these outreach opportunities in the next couple weeks, for those who aren't christians, to be hearing the true meaning of Christmas and being challenged by that. i'd also appreciate prayer for the busyness in the next few weeks, that i won't get sick and that i can do it all.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Mae Tia

Despite the early 6am start, the trip down to Mae Tia was awesome! I'm actually really glad that i woke up early to go to the meeting and prayer time at 6am that day. it was just a really nice way to start the day, reading parts of God's word, being reminded again of the gospel and why it's just so important for others to hear it and praying. As people slowly drifted into church, what was originally going to be about 25-30 people going, ended up being about 50 of us!

In the lead up to the day, i was again able to see God work in amazing ways in just the group that i was working with - with the kids. Originally, it was just going to be me and Gun looking after the kids (which could have numbered up to 90), which was a seriously daunting task, as i've got plenty of ideas in how to run the time, but not the language to control 90 kids, and Gun has the language, but probably isn't the best upfront person, and didn't know many of the games or skits we wanted to do. So, we obviously prayed a lot for a suitable solution. Thank God that he was able to give Kim the day off work, so she could come, along with Maggie and Ice too. Thankfully as well, we ended up with about 20 kids, instead of 90 (which would've just been crowd control). So what was potentially going to be a nightmare, ended up as a really good time, where we were able to share with the kids what Christmas is really about, a simple explanation of the gospel through 'gospel beads' and give them all some presents.

Apart from what we were doing with the kids, there was also heaps of medical stuff going on too - with general check ups, dental hygiene, physio advice, eye checks and even hair cuts. But while all that was going on, there was also a team of people who were just chatting to people there and sharing the gospel with them. We also had a brief time to go visit the houses too to chat to more people who might not have been able to make it out to the area we were holding the mission. It was really exciting to see how the different professions and abilities of people were able to join together as one body for the sake of the gospel.

It was actually pretty funny at times to realise that many of my thai friends were struggling to understand all that these people were saying too - as many of them spoke a weird northern dialect which they probably only really use in their muu baan. So it made me feel a lot better that i wasn't the only one who was struggling to understand what they were saying.

Our prayer is that our time there would have opened more doors for Png and others in the future who have the chance to go and be a witness to this village. At the moment, there aren't any christians there, but there are some who are interested and the fact that they let us come in and do a mission is huge as well. Please pray for this village, to come to know God, and especially for Png as she will probably continue to be the main christian contact that this village has in the near future, for her to be able to keep on proclaiming Christ to them. Pray for the villagers, that they will come to know Christ and accept Him as their saviour

Monday, December 8, 2008

Mission to Mae Tia - December 10

Unfortunately, or should i say fortunately considering all the recent trouble that's been happening in down in Bangkok with the closure of the airport, we didn't have any teams from Oz come over this year but that hasn't stopped my church from doing it's own one day mission down to Mae Tia, a hill tribe about an hour out of Chiang Mai. This Wednesday (10th) is a public holiday here, so the church decided to use it for mission. It's actually really exciting for me on a few levels.

1, this is a hill tribe that Png, our good friend has been visiting and working with for the past couple years. i've had the chance to go down a few times now, and it's really exciting to see the people there being really open to hearing the gospel. Although none yet are christians, there are some who are showing interest. So this can potentially be an awesome opportunity further outreach to this group of people
2. it's exciting to see our church coming to help out other fellow thai christians in their ministry and outreach. it's thai's working with Thai's which is just awesome
3. i'm really pumped to see my church and many in the church so keen to be actively involved in mission.
4. we're not only able to share the gospel with them, but our church is one that is made up of lots of dr's (gp's, gynecologists, dermatologists, psychologists, physio's, optometrists just to name a few), plus hair dressers, really good cooks etc, so we're able to go down and run a medical mission for this poor hill tribe that really has no access to many of these types of dr's or services that we can offer them.

I think they're really excited about us all coming down, but can't seem to get their head around the fact that it's all FREE!! That God has footed the bill for it all now, and they don't have to pay a cent. there was a meeting a couple weeks ago with them to try and sort out a few of the details, and no matter how many times Png said to them it was free, they kept on coming back and asking, 'so how much is this going to cost?'

For me, it's a huge reminder for us too to remember how much God has done for us in Jesus and how that is just FREE too. all we have to do is accept it.

So in Sunday School for the past couple weeks, we've been teaching the kids about Christmas. That while it is a time that we do receive gifts - the biggest and best one of course being jesus, it's also a time where we should also be giving gifts out too - because of what God has given to us. So we've spent the past couple weeks preparing a whole lot of presents for the all the kids at Mae Tia (89 of them) which we'll give out to the kids there. On top of that, the church will also give out special packs which include a toothbrush, soap, tract and books to everyone there, and i think each household will get a simple medicine/first aid type pack.

with the sunday school kids preparing the present bags to give away at Mae Tia

It's going to be a monster day with lots happening with medical stuff, a kids program, a group who will be going to chat with the people there, plus others cooking and doing behind the scenes stuff. i'm going to be helping out with the kids, so hopefully that'll be fun and not too tiring. Cos we've got an EARLY start. not sure how i'm going to GET to church for 6am!! :) haha here's the rough program
6am at church for worship time and prayer
7am Breakky at church
8am travel to Mae Tia
9am get there, set up
9.30am it all starts
lunch at some stage
arvo activities
get back to CM.

For those praying, please pray that the time will be really worthwhile and beneficial, for open hearts of those that we get to talk to. Pray for safe travel there and back, and for the last minute prep that is currently taking place (believe me, there is quite a bit of it!!) Please also pray for language and ability to communicate. Because it is a hill tribe, they have their own dialect which can be hard even for native northern thai speakers to understand as well. Pray that won't be a hinderance.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Fun Times at Baan Tawai

Aside from all the amazing things that are happening at Baan Tawai and the opportunities that we're having to share the gospel and introduce people to Jesus, there are also lots of really funny things that happen down there which just crack me up. So i thought i'd share a few quick stories with you.

There's one guy called Chai who goes who is really wanting to speak english all the time, and so will take every opportunity to speak when he can. Only problem is that his vocab is somewhat limited at times, but it doesn't stop him from starting every sentence with 'I am.....' which usually gets finished with a thai phrase, or a literal translation from Thai if he knows the english words. So it's quite common to hear...
'i am very kor tort' = i am very sorry
'i am sawadii' = i am hello
but my favourite of all time is
'i am bathroom man'. My first thoughts were that he had just invented some kind of new superhero called Bathroom Man - i was just imagining him armed with a toilet duck and brush ready to give the bathroom a huge clean. But what he wanted to say was that he wanted to go to the mens bathroom

Tonight we had a few more classic moments. When asked what i learnt today, i answered 'i read a story about songkran' - which brought a lot of confusion to my friends face as he thought i said something about a red strawberry.

Later on, Ken ran a game where we gave them all an english word which the group had to answer with a word of the opposite meaning. I never thought it could get so amusing. So the game went something like this:
Ken: Right
Group: Left
Ken: Wrong
Group: Short (thai's sometimes get the 'R's' and 'L's' mixed up. So they eventually came up with right)
Ken: Loud
Group: Thai (they thought he said Laos)
Ken: Sharp
Group: had no idea, so we started spelling out the answer, and at the same time we got to hear them sounding the word out aloud which went something like this: B....BL.....BLU (bloo)...BLUN (bloon).....BLUNT (bloont)
Ken: Dark
Group: what's the opposite of a duck? chicken?

Aaaaahhhhh....happy days :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Close Call

Just had to share these pics with you of a car that came crashing through the church wall today during church. We were teaching sunday school at the time and as we heard the accident take place. It was unbelievably loud and seemingly never ending as there were like 3 crash noises. Then there was just silence as we all thought the worst. Praise God that no one was hurt at all and even the poor tree that was run over has managed to survive (how? i have no idea). I'm sure that there is some kind of way that we can use this story in a talk sometime in the future - a modern day parable of someone trying to reach jesus - but instead of through the roof, they thought they'd drive the car through the church wall? hmmm....still needs a lot more work :) haha

boring picture of the church building and sign? Look again

this is what you'd see if you were on the street

a closer look. Amazingly the tree under the car somehow managed to survive