Monday February 2, 2009
Today learned Thai word for my profession “realtor� translated “in face�. Wonder if English got its relatively new word “interface� from Thai? Because realtors are exactly that: interface between buyer/seller.
Went last night with a dozen church members for second night of three night Buddhist funeral ceremony at wat in small seaside fishing village of deceased’s family. Went to support, encourage brother in Christ and his believing wife at funeral of his mother. Their ostracism by family for their stand for Christ was visible, as they refused to participate in ceremony and seemed marginalized in the gathering. We prayed for them and showed compassion for them. They are fishermen, very poor. His father has to pay for three nights of ceremony involving many monks, many helpers, large building, cleanup, etc., plus the cremation, always on the fourth day. We’re told his several children shared the expense, but they’re all very poor too. There was much prayer to the One and Only True and Living God through Jesus Christ our Lord by church contingent during this pagan ritual. See photos posted on site.
Went “walkabout� this evening a mile or so from hotel along street not yet surveyed. Stopped at small plant nursery to look at pots and flowers. Our Father gave blessing in that only shopper there proved be a church leader, Hah-Nah, with whom we recently acquainted. Nursery had small coffee stall, we three sat down for delightful hour + of fellowship; she helping us flounder in Thai; we learning bit of her life story, esp. her conversion, we telling a little of ours. We asked how the Father drew her to the Son. Her home/family life was extremely miserable; she literally wanted to die; had never heard of Jesus; by God’s grace picked up piece of gospel literature, read that Christ was the only and complete fulfillment of her great need, and first time she walked by a Christian church building in Petchaburi she went in, saw a man, told her story, he preached the good news, and she was born again. You should see the radiance of her countenance 4 years, 7 months later (she was very definite about the timing). For so many professing Christians who incorrectly see God foremost as a dispenser of temporal blessings, it’s instructive to know that her earthly life has gotten worse since then, while her happiness rooted in the sufficiency of the love of God in Christ Jesus is full to the brim. What joy we had visiting with this dear sister in Christ. She works in a low wage factory processing the flaming hot Thai chilis so prominent in food here. Pix will be posted.

Tuesday February 3, 2009
Rode “milk run� bus northwest to larger city Ratchaburi via secondary roads thru miles of coconut plantations and tiny hamlets, crossing over several khlongs, some idyllically shaded with overhanging palms, classic rural Thailand. The 30 miles took 1 hr 45 mins just the pokey slow trip we desired. Ever had a bus driver with bare feet? See pix to be posted. Two old ladies got on out in the middle of nowhere, got off at market town Pahk-toe, and reboarded there as we were on return trip to Samut Songkhram, sitting close by us on both runs. They had obviously done a little shopping in the market including some treats for themselves or family. One gave us her entire bag of deep fried bananas as well as two roasted bananas on sticks. We felt very honored, found them delicious and told her so emphatically; she seemed very pleased. In the area where they live the people are very very poor so we believe it was great generosity on her part. Everywhere we go in this part of Thailand, when we utter infantile Thai we hear the excited word ripple throughout the crowd in the market or bus station or along street among vendors, “the farangs speak Thai…the farangs speak Thai…� You’d think a circus had just arrived.
Oh, if only we could speak Thai more than just a smattering. They are so quick to assume that the little we do speak masks a greater capability than actually possessed. Been here 18 days and we’re still the only farangs we’ve seen who don’t appear to be guided tour tourists from Bangkok here for just a couple hours; so we’re definitely a curiosity. More time this eve with our English tutoree, her mother and brother. Great relationship and platform for the Gospel our Lord has given us. See pix will post.

Wednesday February 4, 2009
Another gift from Lord this a.m. At our regular food stall for “joke� in the market got into protracted delightful conversation with a customer, Mr. Som-chai, technical college teacher here in town, on day off, along with vendor husband and wife, Sae-ree and Yen, and vendor next to them, Lek. 1 ½ hours maybe. Stronger relationship here feels like open door for Gospel. See pix will post.

Have added captions to last several folders of pix. Will caption prior folders over time. Keep checking the website for both new pix and new captions.

Several new albums just posted.

Here’s the link: http://cid-5b0368035c9d86a3.skydrive.live.com/albums.aspx

Please save link on your computer as we will not be sending it out any more.

Enjoy!