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, January 21, 2012

Blown Away by God

This morning as i was scrubbing out an oven, i unexpectedly found myself with uncontrollable tears as I was just blown away by Gods goodness and the amazing ways he teaches us and works in our lives. What started as an semi busy week catching up with friends over dinner parties, afternoon teas, lunches and bike rides turned into a bit of a mammoth week as i also found myself coming good on an offer to help a friend with some cleaning work at college. It really felt like a bit of a novelty to do some 'real work' for the first time in 4yrs, and despite some really long days (as i fit work around catching up with all my previous engagements), and not much time to rest, God has taught me some massive lessons in what it means to follow him and be on the 'other' end of partnering with people in the gospel.

At the moment, i've been going through the Psalms, and i was particularly challenged the other day by Ps 139:23-24 'Search me, O God, and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting'. It was a prayer that i found difficult to genuinely pray. How scary is it to challenge God to search and test my heart and anxious thoughts, cos i knew he'd find offensive ways in me. I've also also been challenged in what it means to fully trust and hope in the Lord, and to not put our trust in the things of this world. Over the week as i worked, the thought of earning money for the first time in 4 years was strange. i considered the many things i could do with it, the things i could buy, the places i could go, but especially using it to help fund some of my own setup costs in heading to Thailand. But as i thought through what it means to trust and hope in God for our needs rather than the things of this world, i felt God was really challenging me to be generous to others with what he provides. I found it interesting how right now, as i am in the stage of partnership development, i can be so single minded in seeking others to generously give of their time and money to partner with me, but instead, i never considered how i should be challenging myself with the exact same thing to others. So on my way home last night, i made some decisions to do about how i could do just that and to my surprise, God gave me an amazing peace about my decisions which in the past would not have gone down well. Within hours of putting it into action, I received an email from a friend advising me of the ways they were wanting to support me in heading to Thailand and it literally just brought me to tears! I was just seeing so clearly what it meant not to put my trust in the things of this world and to see how God's provides a spiritual family to support each other, and how God provides for all our needs. I can't begin to explain all the emotions and thoughts going through my head at the time. Only that I just had a sense of how amazing God is, how he is sovereign, how he is our provider and how he loves and cares for those who love and obey him.

Even though the past week has been nuts, it's been a week of great learning and encouragement and provision as God has continued to provide so many of the things i need for heading back to Thailand. In particular good friends who are willing to partner with me by keeping me accountable in my walk with God as I head back to Thailand in various ways. God is good indeed and this week, i have just been in awe of him! Please pray that i'll continue to be in awe of him and keep seeking to live my life in a way that pleases him.

In amongst all the lessons God has taught me, it's been a fun week of cleaning work. Here are a few pics of some moments we caught on camera.

Cleaning bathrooms

But a spider sent me into the shower for protection

The cleaning 'crew'

or maybe it was more like this

Fun with Shadows

Monday, January 16, 2012

Experimental Shots

Over the past week I've been having heaps of fun with my new camera. Even though it's only a point and shoot i must say i've been pretty impressed as i've tested out a few of its manual functions. So I thought i'd share a few more pics that weren't sunsets

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Out of the Black Shadows

Those of you who know me will know that I'm not a reader. My philosophy in life has been 'if it's worth reading, they'll make a movie of it'. I figure, watching the movie is not only quicker than reading, it's visual and i won't get a headache from hours of staring at pages on a book.

Well, between Christmas and New Years last year, i went away with some friends from college and i was recommended to read an autobiography by Stephen Lungu called Out of the Black Shadows. Given that we weren't doing anything during the days i really had no good excuse not to read it. Plus I was intrigued by hearing my friends brief explanation of how Stephen became a Christian after heading to an evangelistic meeting with the intention of throwing petrol bombs into the tent, but as he heard the gospel message preached that night, instead of causing devastation, he accepted Christ.

After my record of taking 7 1/2yrs to read A Call to Spiritual Reformation, i can say i was shocked that even I managed to read this book in less than a week! It was an amazing encouragement and reminder to see how God can use the 'weak' things of this world to bring glory to himself. It doesn't matter that Stephen was abandoned as a child, slept under bridges, had to scrounge for food from peoples garbage bins, was never taught to read or write as a child, or was even ready to be a terrorist and kill Christians, God can and does use him to be bringing the good news of the gospel to the world! As i read this book, i was constantly challenged how God works in the most unexpected ways, of my attitude and judgement of others, to be generous to those in need, as well being reminded of the danger in cross cultural work as he tells plenty of great stories of cross-cultural miscommunications. I can't believe that i'm saying this, but i'd recommend if you get a chance to read this book, to do so. if i can read it in a week, i'm sure anyone else could read it in less than that!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sunset Pics

So now that I'm back home and have a new toy, I'm really enjoying the chance to try and capture some of the most amazing sunsets. So I thought that i'd share a few of the shots with you.

Monday, January 9, 2012

A few highlights of the past couple months in pictures

Unfortunately I've been a bit slack in taking photos over the past couple years due to an old camera that was on its way out and the inability to decide on what new camera to get. So I've had to rely on the generosity of friends to share their photos, but hopefully those days are now over with a new Christmas present which will let me take my own photos :)

Anyway, here are a few highlights of the past months antics and new years celebrations with a big thanks to Don for many of the photos.

The last days of SMBC

I accidentally hit some random button on the camera as I took this photo but it came out with an awesome effect that I just can't seem to replicate

With College friends at a wedding

Graduating from SMBC

The SMBC Graduates of 2011


first Christmas with the extended Chen family in a LONG time

Hanging With Friends

Chilling out at The Entrance

Food is always important - Homemade Sushi

Feasting on pork spare ribs

Hanging with Don, Bridge & Kath

New Years Eve

Chilling out on the balcony on NYE

One of the highlights of the night was a skywriter who began writing "Are you going to heaven?" (even though our shot only managed to get 'are you going to heave') haha


The answer..."Trust Christ"

And we know this from the Bible in "John 3:16"

Everyone watching the skywriter

Still have the knack for sneaking into photos

The Bridge on NYE

Watching the fireworks with friends

Watching the fireworks

The Bridge at NYE

but not everyone lasted the whole night...


Mollymook Beach

Chilling with Tan

Matt & Lachie chilling out on the beach

At Mollymook Beach with Annika

experimenting 'action' shots with my new toy

Celebrating Lachies 2nd Birthday with a cake made of fried pancake mix and maltesers.