I had the chance to head away last weekend to Pijit, a small town about 5hrs drive south of Chiang Mai. I went with my friends family as it was the 100 day 'after death' ceremony of the young child that they have had to 'pseudo adopt'. That's a whole other story about having how Jai and her family have had to look after this little girl. But the short of it is, her mother abandoned her when she was not even a year old after trying to abort her when she found out she was pregnant. Her father is supposedly trying to work to earn money to support her (but who knows really where most of the money goes), so she was left to the grandmother and grandfather to look after. However the grandmother was ill and passed away (hence the funeral) and the grandfather still needs to work to earn money, so is unable to look after her. So they were going to send her away to an orphanage if my friend and her family would not take her. Despite being distant family, they felt they had to take her on, and it's been really encouraging to see, that despite the big changes and sacrifices they've had to make to take her on, how they've got a heart to want to help her to come to know God and to give her a good chance in life.
Back to the time away, it was a really interesting time away. In addition to getting some time out with my friend and her family, it was also a real insight into 'country' life and many customs that i still know very little about and can barely understand. It seems that this 100 day ceremony is like one last attempt by the family and friends to help the person who died be able to go to a better place in the next life. The monks come along to the house, chant all these various things (which i was told no one actually understands as they use a really ancient language), the bones of the dead person are there so they can be blessed. Afterwards, the monks get a special meal, and the dead person is also given plates of food as well. After the monks eat, they then go, then everyone else can then eat. The thing that struck me most was just the lack of certainty that these people could ever have with regards to what really happens after we die. It made me really want to praise God for giving us such a confidence and living hope that we know that we will have a resurrected life after this world. Seeing a house full of people who were there at the 100 day ceremony really made me think how many people are out there who are yet to know Jesus and what he has done for us. Please be praying for all those that do not yet have the same hope that we have.
Here are a few pics from the weekend.
me with Im and Jai
Dao, the 'pseudo adopted daughter' of Jai
Dao's old house
the monks that came
at the house