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, June 28, 2012

Meet our new team member

A few weeks ago, Denise and I decided that we were in need of some new puppets to help do kids ministry. So after a bit of research on google, we decided that we'd attempt to make our own monster glove puppets. A trip to Kad Luang, we managed to source all the odds and ends we needed to make the puppet, it was just a matter of finding some time to create it. So this morning, we thought we'd give it a crack and here's the result. Must say, i'm pretty impressed with the final product. Just need to come up with a good name for him :)

From humble beginnings of being a piece of hairy purple material

to taking form - still trying to work out how to do hair and eyebrows

to trying on various clothes

Here's the team of creators

And finally, here's our newest team member!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My first visitors

Last week I was pretty excited to have my first visitors come to stay with me. My Thai friends Tong and Air came to visit from Khorat en-route to visit some of the uni student who have moved up to study in Chiang Rai.

with Tong & Air

Not only did my guest room finally get initiated, I got to take them around Chiang Mai, help them do a bit of networking with some other christian workers up here before we all went up to Chiang Rai for the weekend to hang out and encourage the uni students. It was a great weekend of catching up, laughs, food, lots of markets and encouragement with lots of great conversations especially in the car on the way up and back from Chiang Rai.

With Air, Tong & Som

At the Chiang Rai Walking Street Markets with Som, James & Shem

Monkeying around

Apart from catching up and having fun, it was a great encouragement and reminder of the different ways that God is working in other areas in Thailand. I was also really challenged to be in thinking about how to be encouraging fellow Thai workers who live in a different city and start considering logistics and possibilities of training Thai Christians in other areas of Thailand. Still a long way to go with those thoughts, but good to be keeping it in mind.

This past weekend, i had my second visitor come stay with me. Was great to spend a couple days with Emily who is the daughter of a college friend. It was fun to give her a small taste of life in Thailand and share about some of the needs here.

I've now got a weekend of rest from visitors before the SMBC team come!

For those who pray:
- praise God for the opportunity to spend time with friends and be an encouragement to each other
- praise God for safe travels
- praise God for a place where i can have friends come and stay
- pray for wisdom in thinking about future ministry opportunities

Monday, June 11, 2012

The neighbours

One of the things I was really praying for was for some good neighbours who I could build relationships with and be a good witness to. Over the past week, I've been able to meet quite a few of the neighbours as I walked the 200m to the community washing machines. I'm really excited about the opportunities to be building relationships with them all. Already I've had a chance to share the gospel with a couple of them as we simply chatted about what I'm doing here, where I work and what I studied back in Australia. I am also really thankful for my P' Chern, my immediate neighbour who is really friendly, helpful and open to chatting about anything and everything. Not only has she given me a run down on all the various neighbours in the street, and introduced me to several of them. Over the past couple days, we've ended up chatting over the garage wall or in the street for a couple hours which has been really fun. Today as we were talking, she was asking me what I do in my language lessons. I told her that it depends on each week. Sometimes it's just reading grade 2 stories, but weeks that I have to teach the Bible to my cell group, I get my teacher to help me prepare the lessons in Thai. To that, she said if i ever need any help in reading the Bible in Thai, to go and ask her and she'd love to help. I was kinda shocked at the offer as she is a Buddhist and wasn't thinking she'd have any interest in helping me teach the Bible, but who knows what this could lead to. Please be praying for P' Chern and further opportunities to be sharing the good news about God with her.

I also met another neighbour yesterday too, P' Paa, who is a Christian. I'm not sure which church she goes to, but am excited about the opportunities we might have to encourage each other.

So, lots to give thanks for in terms of the neighbourhood so far! Still many neighbours I'm yet to meet, but so far, lots of opportunities.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What next?

I'm not even going to begin trying to get through all the details of the past week - and who knows what's to come? This past week has felt like one big roller coaster adventure ride with extreme ups and downs that seem to be never ending. I kind of feel like i'm only just hanging on right now, but at every step along the way, I have been amazed to see God's hand at work, and despite the fact that crazy situations keep rearing their head, I'm looking forward to seeing how God will use the latest.

So...in brief summary....the highs and the lows

Motorbike accident update - things are probably the best that they could possibly be given the situation. The lady is making a good recovery at the moment after being moved to a different hospital. We've been able to form a good relationship with the lady and her family, and they're happy for us to visit, in fact have asked to visit and not be strangers to them. My sister even had an opportunity to pray with the lady last Saturday, so that was a huge praise point. The 'saga' is still far from over as we still need to follow routine of meeting with this lady and the police one last time once she is out of hospital so the police can 'close the case' and we can finalise insurance, but we're hoping this will be fairly straightforward, and it's nice to know that the policeman has been really sympathetic to our side and will make sure there's a fair settlement at the end.

Amazing opportunities - Today at my nephews birthday party, my sister and i were talking to my sister's landlord and neighbour who are both good friends. After years of relationship building and prayer for them to come to know Jesus, today we saw a massive step forward in both of them keen to send their kids to church. The parents themselves aren't yet ready to go, but it is a huge step forward to hear them being open to their children going. Huge praise and prayer point!

Tonight, our team got hit with another bombshell - Jasmine, the youngest daughter of our team mates who is only 20 months old, had a fall in the kitchen and managed to break her femur. Poor thing is now in a full hip spica for the next month. Who knows what God has planned for this latest accident but for me, i'm really appreciating the gift of singleness and freedom to be able to go and help people at a moments notice. Don't know what's going on right now, but i seem to have had quite a few emergency calls from friends in the past couple weeks to take kids to ballet, to babysit for the night, to baby sit while parents are at the ER etc etc etc. Think it's time to start a Dial-a-Dweb emergency service! But it is a real blessing to be able to serve others.

Also had a great opportunity to be sharing about Jesus with another neighbour today. Despite all the downs, i'm really excited about the opportunities that God might have in store over here. Keep praying that i'll take hold of these opportunities and that I'll keep trusting God, not matter what happens next.