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.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas 2012

I had all good intentions of posting up during December with all the details of Christmas activities, but in the busyness of life and getting everything sorted for all the various Christmas presentations, parties, outreach events, carolling etc, time just totally vanished and now...it's post Christmas. But I figure at least now it means I have some pics to put up about what has happened. 

So not surprisingly, December was a pretty busy month. It was really nice that mum and dad arrived early December, just in time to celebrate Dad's birthday together. 
Dad's Birthday Dinner

We also had our cell group Christmas party, where we had a 3 non christian friends come along. We tried to run the night in a casual, 'normal' cell group style way - with extra food to celebrate. Even though it was a bit quiet to begin with, by the end of the night no one wanted to go home. 

The week after we had our church carolling night. We started at the hospital in the wards, before visiting 5 other houses. Was awesome fun jamming with John, Em, Mayz & Biem throughout the night.
The muso's at the hospital
carolling at the hospital
On the 23rd, we got to celebrate Christmas with the kids in the morning SS, before the evening church xmas celebrations where the kids got to do a big presentation that included puppets, songs, them as mary, joseph, shepherds, and animals. We were keen to present Christmas in a slightly different way where we used the manger and the cross as the 2 common things that we think of when it comes to Jesus. However, rather than focus on the manger or the cross, we wanted to challenge everyone to think not about the manger or cross, rather WHO it was that lay in the manger, and hung on the cross. What we wanted to them to see by the end was that Jesus is King, Saviour and God. 
The SS team
Kids in action with the puppets
Kids in action
Em & Joseph as the centurion and soldier
Time to freak out, first Thai song item of O Holy Night with solo to begin!
Given that we had only really got the script ready for the presentation 2 weeks before, we decided it best to record the whole show and get the kids to lip sync. Meant a bit of extra work for me to record and edit the whole thing, but I think it went really well overall. Here are a few pics of the kids in action 
Pretending to know what i'm doing
Then on Christmas Day, we had another family cell group christmas party. Was a great night with over 50 people there. Apart from games for the kids, lots of food - mainly meat and token cabbage and corn for our greens, we were keen to use the night to challenge everyone to think about what it means for Jesus to be their wonderful counsellor, merciful saviour, everlasting father, prince of peace. I made up a thai version of 'The News' video and we played that to challenge people to be thinking about their need for a counsellor, saviour and prince of peace. I hope and pray that many were challenged that night to be thinking deeper about Jesus. 
P'Daang helping with the games for kids
Getting ready for the present exchange
So after all the Christmas events, I've been pretty whacked. Lots of sleeping in and catching up on rest amidst spending time with the family. Lots to be giving thanks to God for, especially in all that he's been teaching me through this time. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Church Mission Update

So on Sunday we got to hear a bit of feedback at church about the church mission. Even with next to no promotion of the fact we were going to be there, some spontaneous door knocking and visitation on the day meant that we had close 30 people come along to get a free medical check. Each of the people who got checked also had a chance to hear the gospel as one of our team went to chat with them at the end. Praise God that of those that came, there were 3 people that said they were keen to know God, and another 3 that were keen for us to be praying for them. 

I went visiting people with my good friends Daa & Boom. The first place we went to was a small neighbourhood convenience store. There was an older lady and young guy there who were happy to engage in general conversation. Even though she was buddhist, the guy had gone to a christian school in bangkok, so when we explained we were from the church that is getting built, he ended up being the one who explained to the lady what we do at church and what we believe. After giving them our free gift bag of rice and fish, they actually gave us a yoghurt drink each in return. Later in the day, some people were needing to use the bathroom. Given that our building is still a construction zone, this wasn't possible, so Daa and others ended up going back to visit the lady in the shop. She was more than happy to help and invited everyone to come back again. Even though it's envisaged that we won't be moving into the church til late next year, it is exciting to think about possibilities of reaching people in the neighbourhood. 

For those who pray, 
- please pray for the provision of funds for the new church building
- praise God for all those who came along to the mission and got to hear the gospel
- pray for the follow up of the 3 who said they wanted to know God and the 3 who wanted prayer
- pray for the many more people in the neighbourhood who we didn't get to meet who are yet to know God still.

Here are a few pics from the day

How the church building currently looks. Mission took place underneath.

Advertising of the church mission

Moor Kay checking one of the guys we had met from our  'door knocking'

P'Soong taking the opportunity to share with some of the people who came along

The gifts we were giving away to those who came (and as we went door knocking)

With some of the visitors as they registered

Moor Jeut, P' Pao, Tik and Sef at the medicine table

Boom & I tried to sneak in a couple vitamin C tablets, only to discover that they stain your tongue. No hiding this one

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Wedding, Mission & War

It's a been a pretty full on month for me with all sorts of music practices for special church services, a massive combined churches in Chiang Mai service, my good friends Mayz and Boom's wedding, plus the usual weekly music practices. I feel like I had over 50 songs to learn and practice over this past month alone! I was so thankful that my friends have left their keyboard at my place while waiting for their house to get finished otherwise music at the wedding would've been interesting.

So for the wedding, I thought I'd be a sport and not only follow the pink and white theme of the wedding, but also wear a dress. Yes you read it right, a dress!! And not only was a dress, it was a PINK DRESS with polka dots at that!! I know that there are many who have been hanging to see some pics of me in the dress, so I figure, if you're good enough to come check out my blog, then you deserve some kind of reward. So here are a few goes, here are few pics of me at the wedding....

Muso shot - with Word

    With Boom & Mayz

With some of the gals from church

Me and Boom, and a partly pink wedding outfit?

So there you have it.... Definite once in a lifetime!!

This morning, we had our annual church mission trip. Rather than go to a hill tribe village, or somewhere out of town, we thought we'd do a medical mission in the area of our new church building as a way to meet some of the neighbours and build some relationships with them. There probably wasn't quite the same amount of advertising that we'd do back home, but a bit of spontaneous door knocking of the area soon had quite a few people come along. After doing a bit of door knocking, I ended up helping to distribute medicine.

thankfully some of them were harmless - like vitamin C

Counting out the tablets

People coming along to get checked

Em sharing the gospel with 3 neighbours

Even though we won't be able to move into the new church til late next year, it was nice to be able to get to know the area a bit better, and who knows what will eventuate from today's opportunity to practically give to the community and to share the gospel with them.

Whilst tiring at times, all the extra music practices this past month have been great as it's meant that I've had a chance to spend lots more time with the church worship team and get to know some of them better. Here's the combined churches meeting that we had to play for recently.

Combined churches meeting, about 14 churches joined together to worship God. 
Here's our worship team leading the music for the day - me on the drums in the background

Tonight, we decided to have a social after our music practice which ended up as dinner at my place which turned into a spontaneous nerf wars with live music to go. Everyone had a great time. Times like that that I'm so thankful for my place and the ability to just have people over over.

Dinner before the 'war'

It's nice just to be able to be spontaneous and have random times together. Ended up videoing the nerf wars, so here's a quick clip of it.

For those who pray:
- Praise God for sustaining me through this month
- Praise God for ongoing relationship building. Pray for continued wisdom in relationship building
- Praise God for the recent mission trip. Pray that God will continue to bring people back to himself
- Pray for the church building project and required funds to finish it

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Shelter in the time of Storm

Who would've thought that I'd be putting up a book recommendation on my blog? But I thought it was definitely worth sharing about the first book that I have actually managed to finish reading this year. In fact, not only have I read it, but I've already started reading it for the second time through, and I have a feeling that won't be the last time either. I am so thankful to my friend for sending it to me. A shelter in the time of storm is a book that has 52 meditations on Psalm 27, each meditation helping us to look deeper and think about some of the truths that the Psalmist sings about in times of trouble, difficulty and waiting on God. I have been totally blown away by the nuggets of gold that have been teaching and seriously challenging my life, my values, the extent of sin in my life, where I look for security in my life, idols that I have in my life that can shift my focus from God, plus LOTS more!! As I sit back and reflect over the events of even the past few weeks, I can already see how God has used this book to change me respond in ways that seek God, his protection, comfort and glory. It's helped me to begin to let go of things that I hold dear, but that might shift God from the rightful place in my life. My prayer is that as I continue to read and reread this book and reflect on the Psalms, God will continue to mould and shape me to be what I was created for, and that in all seasons of life, that God alone will be my shelter and protection. I'd really appreciate your prayers that I will be doing just this as well.

If you're looking for a great book to read and meditate on, I would seriously recommend this book. You will come out the other end a transformed person.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Be still & know that I am God

It's no surprise that one of the things I am terrible at doing is being still. I'd much prefer to be out and about, catching up with friends, playing sport, helping others, basically doing anything but sit still, especially on my own. But one of the big problems about not being still is that it's easy to be too busy to spend time with God. Even though I might be busy running around doing things for God, I'm often too busy to spend quality time with God and simply enjoy being in relationship with him. The past couple weeks I've been really challenged to be thinking what it means to be still, and know that God is God, so that He is the one who is exalted among the nations and in the earth (Ps 46:10). It's challenging, scary and humbling to realise that my busyness often leads me to (unintentionally) make me think that I am important, valued, that I have the ability to solve all problems. Instead of exalting God through my life, I am effectively exalting myself. But as I've sat still and meditated on God's Word, God began to teach me some things about what it means that He is God. Suddenly lots of things in my life were put into perspective and I was soon reminded where I really fit into the picture. It's not all about me, it's about God. In understanding God's character more, I was reminded of the extent of my sinfulness and need for God's forgiveness. It helped me to better comprehend the magnitude of God's grace and mercy when he sent Jesus to die on the cross to bring me into relationship with Him and the need for me to change my life to be one that brings Him glory. But I can't change through my own ability, strength or will power (that'd just be exalting myself again), instead it's about turning to God and asking Him for strength to help me change. Most amazingly, to know that God is God has enabled me to begin to let go of some things that I hold dear in this world, that take my focus off God, so that he alone will be exalted through my life. As scary as it is to think about some of the changes that this might mean for my life, to 'be still, and know that I am God' has amazing comfort as it also reminds us that God is also our refuge and strength, our ever-present help in trouble. To know God means that there is nothing that we need to fear because God is with us and is our fortress (Ps 46:1-2, 7,11).

After only a few days of being 'still', God has already taught and challenged me with so much. I'm excited to think about all the other things God still has to teach me about himself as I am still and know that He is God.

For those who pray, please pray:
- that I will be still and know that God is God.
- that I will allow him to be working in my life and changing me to be someone who brings him all the glory he alone deserves.
- that I will turn to God as my fortress, refuge and strength.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Journey to the 'ends of the earth'

It's still hard to believe that i actually got to go to Italy. It was an absolutely fantastic (but tiring) 2 weeks as we went from Milan, to Cinque Terre, to Siena and then Rome - with all sorts of day trips in between. By the time we got to Rome, we had been to 7 different cities in 10 days. The feet and legs were starting to feel the effects of the many kms covered as we played tourist in each cities, but I wouldn't have it any other way. It's kind of weird to say that I can't even pick a favourite city that we went to, as every place was so different and there were things that I loved about each of the places we went. But a couple of highlights would have to be driving through and having a picnic in Tuscany, seeing the colosseum and other relics in Rome, the views at Cinque Terre, and a Tuscan cooking class. Whilst it was physically tiring at times, it was also a great time to chill out, spend time with my friend, and be able to refresh myself for serving back in CM.

One of the other highlights of the trip for me was how going to many of these places suddenly made many of the stories that we read about in the Bible become more alive. Walking through the Palestine Hills and Roman Forum, I could suddenly picture in my mind Paul sitting around talking, debating and urging people to believe the good news. As we admired the views and pondered what on earth would make someone think that those rocks would make a great place to build a town on at Cinque Terre, I couldn't help but think of the times when Paul got shipwrecked and how just how easy it would've been. Going to the catacombs just opened up a whole new side to the early church that I had never even thought about. There's still so much to reflect back on, but all up, it was an amazing trip that I am so thankful to God, my friend and my parents for. 

Here are a few shots from the trip