Finally today for the first time, i've felt like i've made it back into the land of the living after a fairly full on past few weeks of parties, retreats, funeral, kids day, late nights, babysitting, folks in town, various meetings, birthday dinners, bible study prep for sunday school & cell group and i can't even think what else. I just know that it's been pretty much non-stop since the beginning of December and i was in need of a couple of early nights - which i actually got in the past couple nights. it's amazing really what a difference sleep can make. Why is it that i always seem to learn the hard way?
Last week i ended up at yet another funeral. The father of my teacher's sister-in-law passed away. It still astounds me as to the number of funerals i've been to in the past year. But it's also a good reality check on remembering that this life here is just temporary and we have something much greater waiting for us in heaven. However, it also brings home the reality that there are so many who are still passing away without knowing Christ, and that's a fact that really saddens me and highlights the urgency of having others hear the good news about Jesus.
Unlike all the other funerals i've been to where it's been a cremation, this one was a burial. It seems that as a general rule, Christians here tend to bury rather then cremate. However what i found interesting was that rather then bury the casket in the ground with dirt all around, it gets put into a concrete 'enclosure' and is sealed off with concrete slabs as well. it was fascinating watching the ceremony switch from the service/ceremony, to all the guys heading off to the side to mix the concrete and seal up the concrete 'enclosure'. It is really interesting how different cultures adapt 'rituals' to be appropriate (?) to their own cultures.
Here are a couple pics from the day.
at the burial
concreting up the grave
For those praying, it'd be great if you could be praying for my teacher, her family and extended family as there are now lots of changes and new responsibilities that many of them need to take on. Please pray for strength, comfort and wisdom to know how to move on for each of those involved.
Last weekend was also Children's Day here in Thailand. They figure that there's a fathers day, a mothers day, so why not have a kids day as well. I remember asking my parents as a kid why there isn't a kids day, and i was always told that every day is kids day! very true i suppose :) It's seriously amazing how ALL OUT they go here with preparing activities for kids and how big of a deal it is over here. That day, i ended up going over to one of the hospitals here that my friend Mac works at to 'help' run some games, songs, activities for the kids in hospital with Mac, my teacher and another guy from their church. Despite having no idea what was going on, it was pretty fun, and was cool to see lots of the kids smiling and enjoying themselves.
There's also heaps of exciting stuff happening with cell group and Sunday School, with lots to be praying for there too. but i'll save that for another post, so stay tuned. but some quick prayer points if you are praying:
- thanks for the opportunity that kim and i have to be leading out cell group through the big picture of the bible
- praise to God for answering prayer in enabling kim to make it to cell group so that i'm not left to lead it myself
- pray for my language that i'll be able to quickly learn lots of bible vocab etc so that i might actually be able to start helping kim lead more effectively (have just started learning this stuff at school which has been cool, but now i really have to start using my brain :) haha