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.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Bai Tiaw with Joshua Cell Group

This past weekend I got to go on a road trip with Joshua Cell group (well with those of the group who were able to take 3 days off work at least) up to Doi Mesalong, Mae Sai, Chiang Saen and Chiang Kong. There's nothing like a spending solid chunk of time with a group of people to get to know each other better and bond. For me, an added bonus was being able to pick up more language that comes from friends having fun and joking around together. It was an awesome time to get away with the group, to be able to spend 3 solid days together, eating, travelling, taking photos, eating, sleeping, encouraging each other, eating, singing, sharing from God's word, shopping, eating, riding bikes, getting to know each other better, eating, praying together and just having fun. Praise God that despite lots of recent rain, we were able to travel safely despite a few road blocks and detours that delayed us over an hour. But for all the road blocks and detours, it just meant more bonding time in the car With the group at Doi Maesalong Heading away over a weekend also meant that we also got to visit a local church. It was fun being able to ride bikes to the church in Chiang Kong, which was a Chinese/Thai church that consisted mainly of students who lived on site in the dorms that were set up by a mission organisation. Their hope is to share the gospel to the kids who come to live with them. It was a real encouragement to sit in on their worship time. Even though they were singing in Chinese, watching the kids worshipping God and praising Him with their whole heart. At the church in Chiang Kong Riding bikes around Chiang Kong With Daa and Boom On our way back, this fallen tree was a huge reminder of God's grace in keeping us safe on the roads. If we were just 1 minute faster, we could've ended up under this tree! The road block on the way home. For those who pray: - Praise God for the opportunity to head away for the weekend and praise God for safe travels - Pray for Joshua Cell group and the continued growth of this group, in their maturity of God, as a unified group, and that God will be using the group to be growing His kingdom - Pray for Joshua Cell as they continue to work through the book of Acts, that they will be challenged by Gods word and that it will change their lives too

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sunday School

I'm loving being able to help teach Sunday School. Teaching Sunday School is broken up into 3 parts, firstly doing the bible study with all the teachers, secondly, coming up with a big idea for what we just learnt and being creative in how we're going to try and teach it to the kids, and finally, teaching it to the kids. In addition to loving being part of the teaching team, and seeing people grow in their understanding of the Word and desire to see the kids also know God better, it's also a great way for me to improve my language. While i don't yet trust myself to do a big teaching spot with the kids, it's been fun and challenging to lead activities for the kids, lead the prayer time. I never realised how difficult it is to explain 'rules' for a game. The vocab required is so not your typical conversational stuff. But in the mix, i've also had the chance to do a short talk using some 'magic' a few weeks back as a way to do a quick summary of stuff we've learnt from the Big Picture of the bible and how it would lead into the story of Daniel.

The past few months, we've been working our way through the Big Picture of the Bible, helping the kids to see how the Old Testament actually points us to Jesus, and how Jesus is the one who fulfils all of God's promises in the Old Testament. It's been exciting to see the kids remember the things they've learnt each week, and also have fun in learning the Bible. Here are a few pics of the kids trying to recreate a lego scene from whatever lego pieces they were given. Of course what they created was never going to be as good as the original image, it was always going to be a poor replica,. This was our way to try and introduce the story of the rebuilding of the temple after the exiles, which ultimately would lead us learn that Jesus is the true temple. I was particularly impressed by James' attempt at a an Angry Bird.

The kids attempting to recreate lego scenes

The Angry Birds Scene

James' attempt at a lego Angry Bird

For those who pray:
- Praise God for the team of SS teachers
- Pray for the SS teachers, to be growing in their understanding of God's word and eagerness to be teaching the kids
- Pray for the kids we teach, that what we teach will be giving them a solid foundation for their understanding of the Bible and for their faith

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hanging With Friends

One of the things I love about being here is being able to hang out with friends. Hanging with friends gives me an opportunity to not only build relationships with others, but more importantly, it allows me to be able to share my life with them which I think is really important for ministry. Last weekend, I got to go on a tiaw with a couple of my friends. We went to cafe out in Mae Rim and got to chill out, drink some awesome fruit shakes, pizza and other Thai food. What was really exciting for me was to have the chance to chat with one of my Buddhist friend's about God and different experiences she's had with Christians over the past couple years. Having not had the chance to chat to her about Christianity since I've come back, this time talking to her, I have seen the way she has changed over the past few years and how she has softened to be willing to talk about God and not trying to remind us that she is a Buddhist all the time. My prayer is that God will keep working in her life and softening her heart and that there will be many more opportunities to be sharing my life with her.

The awesome fruit shakes we got to drink

I also had all the Sunday School teachers over for dinner one night too. I realised the other week that so often we end up serving together, meeting together to do a bible study and prep of the lesson, but in that time, there isn't much opportunity for us to hang out together and get to know each other better. So I thought a meal together would be a good start at least. So after a massive feast of Suki (like a chinese steam boat), we also made some Anzac biscuits and a banana cream crepe cake. It was a fun night together. Hoping that we can be doing plenty more of the them in the future too.

Most of the SS teachers (L-R - P'Fon, P'Soong, Me, Denise, P'Pao, P'Waad

the crepe cake

Check the layers - with butterscotch sauce to go! YUM!!!

Midnight Prayer Meetings

One of the things that really encourages me over here, but something i still need to get used to, is the eagerness some of the Christians have here to be praying. 4hr prayer meetings on a Friday night that are scheduled to finish at midnight is not a common occurrence at my church back in Oz. In fact, I don't think it has ever happened, or is likely to happen in the near future. However, over here no one seems to blink an eye. People are more than happy to give up a Friday evening to come and pray, encourage and fellowship with their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. While I still need to get used to the style of it all, it was great to be able to firstly sing praises to God, and then be praying for a whole host of things, from personal prayer points, different cell groups within church, different ministries in the church, our new church building, for Thailand, the government and lots of other things. Even though we didn't end up finishing til almost 12.30, I was personally quite amazed how quickly the time passed by. I think i always need to be reminded of the privilege it is to be able to come to God in prayer and to bring all things before him and that i need to be doing more of it. So please be praying that I'll be praying.

Praying for different Cell Groups

Praying for each other

Me leading a quick session for my cell group