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.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Baan Tawai Business

It's been really sad to see how the whole economic crisis is also effecting our Thai friends over here, especially down at Baan Tawai at the moment. What was once a thriving handicrafts village, is dead as. If a tourist bus comes during the day, it's a good day. But even then, the busses aren't even full. It's really hard to watch as many of our friends are struggling to find enough work and have had to make decisions to lay off staff. But not only that, some of them are also going through lots of personal struggles with one lady who has now separated from her husband, just as their child who has been living with his grandparents for the past 9 years, has finally come to live with them. And now the husband is wanting to move to another district to live and work there. That would make it hard for your average person, but when you are disabled and in a wheelchair, even traveling out of the area is hard as you have to ask friends who have a car/vehicle that can take a wheelchair to take you. It's heart breaking to hear the situation that the husband wants to move away, she'd have to stay with the child, but how to help the child be able to go visit his dad is another story. Unfortunately there's not a huge amount that can be done for them practically at the moment, except to try and be there as a listening ear and to pray for them. At the end of the day, the most important thing for them is to know Jesus. Then worries of this world will hopefully be put into perspective. And hopefully it might be the thing that will change their lives to help their marriage get back on the right track again too.

But on the business side of things, it's been exciting in the past week to have some guys from America who run business as mission come and want to order products from the disabled workshop. Just last weekend, Ken and i got to play guide and translator for theses guys, as we discussed the products, designs an quality that these guys are wanting. In the big scheme of things, it's not a huge order as such, but it's exciting to see how businesses overseas are wanting to support local business here, and ministries that missionaries are working with. Please pray that this business opportunity will be able to go ahead.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Baan Tawai update

Last night was a really exciting night at Baan Tawai. We had a couple of friends from church come along to help, Kim and Ajarn Jazz. It's been really awesome every time that Ajarn Jazz has come along. She's an older lady from church who became a christian about 3-4 years ago when she started reading the Bible for herself and lots of the history around the Bible. As the head history professor at Chiang Mai Uni, it's not hugely surprising that she was really interested in church history and the historical evidence around the man Jesus. As she read all these things, she became convinced that Christianity was true, and since then, there's been no turning back. She's been on fire for God and it is just so obvious in her life as she takes every opportunity that she can to tell the gospel and invite anyone she meets (which is LOTS especially as a uni lecturer) to church. So last night was particularly exciting when she had a great opportunity to be sharing the with the Baan Tawai group about how Jesus died in our place.

It all started with us reading a story from the bible - Mark 10:17-31 about the story of the rich young ruler. It wasn't the first time that we've read that passage with the group. But i think it was the first time that some of Jesus' claims, about being God, and that with man it is impossible to inherit eternal life by his own merits but that nothing is impossible for God, started to actually sink in and start challenging one of the guys who's been coming along to the group called Taay. Usually he's quite happy to sit there and attempt to translate, but last night, it was interesting to see the penny's start to drop as he began to understand not just the sentences that he was translating, but the implications of the meaning of the sentences he was reading. He had questions of how it's possible that Jesus could claim to be God. If Jesus died for us, then that means that God died, so how is it possible for God to die? It was just amazing to see Ajarn Jazz drop her head for a second of prayer, before voicing up to start answering his questions.

Please pray for Taay as he starts to understand some huge truths about God. Praise God for the opportunity to partner with Thai christians here who are so on fire for the gospel. Please pray for the rest of the group who come to learn english who might not yet understand all that we have been teaching, for God to open their hearts and eyes to the truth of the gospel

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Weddings, birthday, catering etc etc etc

The past couple weeks have honestly been a total blur. It's been a full on time preparing for Moor Peung and Pi Tor's wedding, helping make lots of kanom (snacks) for a big catering job that the orphanage had, celebrating my birthday over 5 days, preparing bible studies for cell group and SS, music time for church and who knows what else. What i thought would be a fairly simple, straightforward job in helping with the music at the wedding turned into an 'interesting' experience. I suddenly discovered just how hard it would be right now if i were to want to do event management stuff here. What was meant to be playing 4 songs on a keyboard, turned into an hours worth of background music, while trying to organise, set up and run the sound desk, organising sound and songs throughout the wedding reception and who knows what else. The thing that was hardest was that all of the things that ended up being last minute stresses were things that i tried to get everyone to do prior to the wedding, but finding the right people, or getting those who were responsible to listen and do it was something else. definitely an interesting experience. But overall, it was a nice wedding. Massive and seemed like there was no expense spared. Ice sculptures, a 6 tier cake, flower arrangements that were just insane and i reckon about 500 people were there all up. So it was no small wedding.

With Moor Peung & Pi Tor

With Kim & Daa

silliness with kim & daa

the massive wedding - and this doesn't take into account the spill over of people outside the room

check out this wedding cake!

with some of the group from church

It has been really nice though to have been able to celebrate my birthday over here with lots of different friends. I had a few disasters cooking for my birthday - the cake i don't know what went wrong, it started burning on top, so i opened the oven and the cake sank. i thought i could rescue it by turning it upside down, but when i went to take it out of the cake tin, it just stuck and well, even the neighbourhood kids wouldn't eat it :) haha so i though i'd make some brownies instead. they would've been fine except that i was chatting on skype with friends and forgot about them, so they totally overcooked. Anyway, i thought i'd make some food myself, so when i went to make the fried chicken, my thai friends were horrified to see the way i did it, so basically, i got kicked out of the kitchen so they could do everything for me. Was really sweet, but i really didn't think i was that bad a cook :) hehe Anyway, it's nice to have a party which i thought i was going to be the one making all the food (or buying some), only to have friends, and parents of friends make it all for me. Too easy really. And other friends came and cleaned up!! so it really was an easy party to host! Thanks to everyone who send birthday wishes, cards and pressies. Fully mad my birthday this year.

birthday party at my place

my cool ice cream cake from my cell group

Whilst trying to sort out the sound system for the wedding, i also got to take a couple friends to the zoo and the new aquarium there (my friend the zoo keeper was the one getting married, so we were borrowing sound equipment from the zoo). So even though they had to sit through some meeting stuff, they got to go see the panda's and the aquarium for free, so no one was complaining too much

tiaw to the aquarium with khruu jai and khruu ang

Still lots more happening over here, but will leave that for another post. For the meantime, praise God that i've i'm still operating - vaguely, after not much sleep over the past couple weeks with all the stuff going on. Please pray for some time for some much needed rest and recuperation in the next few days

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mae Jong

For those who do read this, sorry for the slowness in updates of late. I don't know where time is going, but i do know that there doesn't seem to be enough of it to get through all the things i want to get through in a week. But that aside, a couple sundays ago, i had a chance to head down to Mae Jong, a small country village that's about 2 hours out of Chiang Mai. My teacher's been wanting me to go down for the past i don't know how many months, but since i've usually got Sunday School commitments, i haven't been able to go. So while we had a months break for Sunday School during the summer holidays, i thought i'd take my chance and go visit - and help make pizza's for the kids, something they've never ever had before.

So the history of the Mae Jong church goes like this. One of the older ladies there who was a christian moved to that neighbourhood years ago. She had no other christian's she could worship with, but over 10 years, she faithfully prayed for those in her village to come to know christ. And God answered her prayer. She shared the good news about Jesus with another lady in the village and from there, there's a group of about 20 or so people who meet at her house each week now. However, there is no pastor, and none of them have had any training in the Bible. all they know is that God loves them, they love God and want to meet together to worship him and read the bible. So when my teachers church heard about this group of Christians, they wanted to help. So every couple weeks, they'd send down a few people to give a short talk and run some activities for the kids. However it is a bit of a hike to get there - 2hrs driving each way. So just recently they've started supporting 2 students to work down there as missionaries. Between the 2 of them, they are given 400bht ($15) a week to survive. This money is what they have for food, petrol, housing etc etc etc. They had a house warming party time for their new 'house' while we were there. Unfortunately i didn't a photo of it at the time as i forgot to take my camera to the house, but believe me, it was pretty basic! But what i found really exciting was that there were thai's here who were giving up so much in order to bring the gospel to this small village. I can't say i know too much about their theology, as they were speaking another hill tribe dialect, so i wasn't able to understand a whole lot, but sitting in the beginning part of the service, was really encouraging to see people singing to God with all their heart. Then when we took the kids out for Sunday School, the kids were keen to share things they had learnt the past few weeks about the Bible.

the kids singing a special song item in church

My role for the day was to run the activity of making pizza's with them. When asked if there was anything special they wanted to do for christmas last year, the kids answered that they wanted to eat pizza since they'd never ever eaten it before. So my teacher agreed to this request, only problem is, they're in such an isolated area, it's not like there's any pizza delivery there. and they have no microwave or oven to bring pizza down to heat up. So we thought we'd take down a couple toaster ovens, and teach them how to make pizza and make it into an activity where they could make pizza for the whole church. So Mac ran a session on washing your hands

then we got into the pizza making.

the kids had fun and were pretty proud of their creations.

I can't honestly say they were the tastiest pizza's i've ever eaten, but it was great to see a smile on the kids faces and relief on my teachers face to know that she's finally come good on her promise to the kids.

For those praying,
- please pray for the people in this church to really grow in their understanding of the bible and the gospel.
- praise God for the way that he has worked in this village so far
- pray for the 2 students who are working there as missionaries, to be able to keep on persevering in ministering there and that they themselves will keep growing in their knowledge and understanding of God