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 31, 2012

Time for a Reality Check

Once in a while we're given a massive reality check on life and we realise just how vulnerable we are and what it means to be in a fallen world where there is crying, mourning and pain. Unfortunately that day came yesterday for my sister and I. Yesterday we were in an accident with a motorbike. My sister was driving my car at the time and just plainly did not see an approaching motorbike and unfortunately we weren't able to stop in time before we hit it. For me, it was pretty scary seeing it unfold as I had seen the bike and had yelled out that it was there, but it was all too late. It's pretty scary seeing a person literally fly off a bike and hit the road. Thankfully we weren't going fast at all and the lady was wearing a decent helmet, but the first thought that went through our heads was whether or not she had died. Although moans of pain are never a nice sound, it was such a relief to know she hadn't died and was conscious to be able to answer questions about where it hurt, where she lived, what her name was etc. To cut a really long story short, she ended up in hospital with a broken arm, a broken rib and broken shoulder blade.

It's been a pretty long, traumatic past couple days for me and especially for my sister as she gets over the shock and the guilt of causing such pain to this lady and just the thought that she could have killed someone. We'd really appreciate your prayers for a speedy recovery for this lady and for comfort for my sis as she still comes to terms with what's happened and tries to deal with the emotions of it all. Please also pray for all the logistics in looking after this lady, dealing with insurance, police etc. It's a new experience for us over here and we have no idea how things are done and we're on a steep learning curve right now. Thankfully we have some close thai friends who have been awesome through it all and been with us right through it all helping at every step. Pray that things will get sorted out smoothly and don't get messy.

Despite the circumstances, we've been amazed at the opportunities that this incident has provided to share the gospel and our faith with a policeman and the family of the lady we hit so far. I think they're all amazed at the fact that my sister would claim responsibility and be willing to look after all expenses (well it's my insurance is covering that), as that very rarely happens here. It's also been a real blessing that the police officer looking after the case has been REALLY helpful (our thai friends are shocked as to how helpful he has been) and he was really interested in what church we went to, what we believe etc. The family of the lady have also been really nice and supportive of my sister trying to tell her not to worry and that it was just an accident and they know she didn't mean it and not to feel bad. I guess it's just a nice surprise not to have people be angry at you for your negligence, or asking for bribes etc. so they're a few praise points. If you can keep praying for opportunities to just be a good witness in a bad situation.

So, while my new car is not looking so new now....

i am just so thankful that things weren't any worse than they are. It's also been a really good time to put into practice some of the challenges we were given in a sermon at church on Sunday about the rich fool (luke 12:13-21). Our life is not about the abundance of our possessions, or how nice our car is etc, it's about how rich we are towards God. Who knows when God will demand our life from us. Now is a real opportunity to be rich towards others with what we have.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A wave of opportunities

I've now officially been here for 2 months already! Time has really flown. In some ways it's felt like i've been back forever, but in other ways, I also only feel like I've just started to settle down now that i'm finally in my own place. The past week has presented many unexpected ministry opportunities. I'm really finding that i'm needing wisdom to decide what to take on, what to say no to, and especially try to work out when would be an appropriate time to actively start taking on various ministries. Up til this week, apart from looking for a car and house and moving in, I've got back into language lessons, slotted back into my old cell group (which has been an awesome way to 'ease' back into things with a bunch of friends who know me well and understand me), I've been sitting in on Sunday School prep as a way to help with language, I've been helping do the sound desk at church on sundays and i've been spending time with lots of friends to build relationships. It's all been heaps of fun and pretty cruisy (apart from a bit of stress leading a couple bible studies). But suddenly over the past week, it feels like there has been a wave of ministry opportunities that have emerged. Like getting more involved in music at church in both playing and giving feedback on how things are done, helping tutor a non-christian kid with some english literature (of all things) with the hope of building relationships to bring them know God, I've been asked to consider doing a kind of Christianity Explained course on Sunday mornings with an interested non-believer who has started coming along to church, there have also been some opportunity to help do some graphic design for a new ministry that a friend is starting up, and that's all within the past week. While helping teach english literature is a likely 'no' (i think i'd be more of a hinderance than a help - i'd probably just get them to watch the movie!), many of the other opportunities are really exciting things to get involved in. But the big question - am i rushing in too soon? Am i ready? Will I ever be really ready? Would really love your prayers for wisdom on all this.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Take a tour of my place

So here's my new place. Hope you enjoy the tour and don't get too motion sick watching it :)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

New Beginnings

In many ways, today feels like the start of my life over here in Thailand as I moved into what will be my new home for what I hope will be the next few years at least. In many ways, it's felt like a long time coming as I moved here almost 2 months ago now, but I also see it as God's amazing timing, not only in big things like getting a new car to help with the move, but also in terms little things like many shops having big sales on items that I'm needing to set up house with - eg sheets, pillows, kitchen items, mops etc etc. It's just like everything is falling into place perfectly. So here's a snapshot of my new life here - the car and the house.
Even though I only came to Thailand with 1 big bag, 1 backpack and a guitar, somehow the boot of my car managed to get filled quite with all these extra belongings that have been kindly kept in storage by my sister and team mates. It was kinda nice being reunited with my old bin, cups, plates, cutlery, even bleach and floor cleaner, plus heaps of other knick knacks I used to have around the house when I used to live here. As a result, this is what my car ended up looking like. Of course my nerf guns got prime position in the boot.
So here are a few pics of the new place. Lots of space, and even spare rooms for friends to stay even if the beds are a bit hard.
Living room
The extent of available 'food' in my house right now. Important things first! For those who pray: - Praise God for the provision of this new house - Pray for the opportunity to get to know the neighbours and build good relationships with them - Praise God for the opportunity to already share a little bit about Jesus with my landlord tonight. Still a long way to go, but was an unexpected opportunity

Sunday, May 13, 2012

God's Providence

As keen as I was to find a place of my own and also buy a car in the first few weeks, having conference the week after we arrived kinda meant that house hunting didn't really start until I had already been here for 2 1/2 weeks. It's been a real blessing to be able to stay at my sister's place with no time pressure to move out, but at the same time, I think it would be really good for me to find my own place so I can feel like I'm fully settled. Initially, I was really keen to find a place in my old neighbourhood. It was familiar and really convenient to get to my sister's place, church and the city area. However, every place I went to look at and was interested in had something 'wrong' with it. If it was in a great location, it was either really expensive or really old and run down, places that were affordable and had lots of potential had nightmare landlords which just isn't great for foreigners here. I don't think it was so much that I was being overly fussy (well I hope not) but if I'm going to be here for the long term, I'd prefer to try and find somewhere that I'd be happy to (and god willing, be able to) stay long term so I wouldn't have to keep moving. As I look back on those first couple weeks of house hunting, I realise that it really was God's sovereignty in keeping me from getting a place that end of town, because as I began to think about my friends and where they all live I quickly realised that they all live on the opposite side of town which would make it much more difficult to be building relationships if i were in my old neighbourhood. So, it seems, God was closing lots of doors on places in order to send me to the other side of town. Having never lived on the other side of town, it's been an interesting task trying to find good neighbourhoods that had the right size house at the right price, or that even had houses available for rent etc etc etc. The choice it seemed was to either live out in the suburbs in a slightly 'nicer' houses, or closer to the city in a smaller place in tighter streets. Kinda like Sydney really. So, I've decided to take advantage of my singleness and go for something a bit closer to the city. After a few weeks of house hunting, I decided on a house which had actually interested me from the outset, but to be sure, I also wanted to check out other houses in the area. I finally got to meet with the landlord this afternoon (who had been away for the past week) and it's now official that i've got a place to live :) Huge point!! But that's not all. As most of my time has been taken up house hunting over the past few weeks, I hadn't really looked at cars at all. (Coming back long term this time, my parents were keen for me to get a car). So this past week was the first time I've really gone out to look at cars. God was absolutely amazing. After doing a bit of research on the net about new and used car prices, i thought i'd hit the used car market and see what was available. On my first day of looking, I came across the perfect deal. A 2nd hand Mazda 2, only 1yr old, and has only done 7,500kms. It was an amazingly good deal which many of Thai friends are amazed by, so this monday, i'll go pick up my car.
my new car God is truly amazing!! So much to give praise to God for. For those who pray: - Praise God for the provision of a house and car - Pray that I'll be able to use both to glorify God

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Birthday Celebrations

In honour of my birthday, Thailand decided to have a public holiday. Yeah, ok, maybe the holiday wasn't exactly for my birthday, but that's what I told all my friends anyway. While I really missed being able to celebrate my birthday with friends back in Sydney, I had a great night celebrating with family and my Thai friends. Due to a bit of indecision on what to do, it ended up being a bit last minute invite the night before. Even though some friends couldn't make it, a few were still able to come over to my sisters place for dinner. It also happened to be the birthday of friends son Kluey, and all he cared about was that my nephew Sean was there to help him celebrate his birthday, so we decided to have a 'joint' birthday celebration. Dinner ended up being an 'International Buffet' which comprised of tacos, pasta, vietnamese wraps, thai bbq'd fish, sticky rice, salad, a lime creme brûlée and a pav. We all had a great night, the kids had a great time playing Just Dance non-stop, adults got to chat lots, do puzzles with the kids and just hang out. It was also a great excuse to try and get some of different groups of friends from church, school, and other randoms I've met along the way, to know each other and for those who are Christians to get to know those who aren't. Pity birthdays only come around once a year, but hopefully I can invite everyone over to my new place...once I finally get one :) Here are a few pics from the night
getting better at doing group 'selfless'. Here's me with my friends and our international buffet spread
With the kids and the Pav which was our birthday cake
Kluey and I blowing out the candles

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Mango Sticky Rice Birthday 'Cake'

We had an awesome cell group the other night where Mayz led the study on Acts 2. It was a great night of learning from the Bible and the group were really challenged in lots of ways about how God continued to fulfil his promises through the old testament and to see the way that the gospel changes peoples lives, not only in what they say, but also how they live. It was a great challenge to the group to think about how they are currently living and ways that they can be changing. I'm really looking forward to the coming weeks as we continue to look through Acts and pray that everyone will keep on growing in the understanding of God's word and live it out in their lives. As our cell group finished, I was asked to close in prayer (another stressful moment), and just as I finished, the lights went out and the door opened and every started singing Happy Birthday. So it's a few days early but a really nice surprise from the group. What made my night was the imagination of the group to make a mango sticky rice 'cake' for me - and to lay it out in order to look like me!
So now i know, if i was made out of sticky rice, this is what i would look like :) hehe