Arrived 1:30a.m. Bangkok time; itâ€™s now 10pm. Long travel day getting here, very wearing on old bodies, but no problems. Weather delightful, high 70â€™s nights, low 80â€™s days. Very jet lagged and groggy. Sights and smells wonderful. Thai people delightful. Marvelous to be back. Very basic â€œbackpacker travelerâ€? guest house in busy â€œhippie typeâ€? traveler neighborhood jammed with guest houses (small cheap hotels), zillions of food stalls (yummmm), trinket shops, travel agencies, bars, taxis, European travelers. Oh, how we need better Thai language. Join us in asking the Lord. Would tell more, but weâ€™re both nodding off here in the open air courtyard of Lamphu House. We pay for wireless internet connection for our laptop @30 Bht ($1.00) per hour.
Chuck and Judy
We have tasted the kind generosity of our Lord during these first five days in Thailand, experiencing His grace upon grace.
Severe fatigue and jetlag recuperation over first 2-3 days after 28 hours travel from son Johnâ€™s house, Kirkland to Lamphu House, Bangkok.
Awakened by rooster crowing sometime every morning between 4am â€“ 7am. He crows all that time! In the heart of Bangkok, a city of nobody knows how many millions!
Not your normal Motel 6, is our guest house, Lamphu House. Much more charming. Definitely better than Motel 6 pricing. $18/night. All the other guests are teenage or twenty somethings, mostly European backpacker traveler sorts. Many languages fill the air. No top sheet on bed, but you can have one on request. No daily maid service, but you can have on request, daily if you wish. No handtowels or washcloths, so we bought at street stall, two each, for $1.75 total. Small balcony from our room overlooks leafy courtyard with fruit trees that feed bats flitting around our heads at night. Lamphu House staff very friendly and helpful, speaking just enough English to meet minimum needs. They love our stumbling with fractured Thai.
Saturday met and had lunch and afternoonâ€™s fellowship with a young twenty something missionary couple who are spiritually attractive to the max. In Thailand for two years now, with YWAM, but doing their own specialized ministry, without other partners, befriending, manifesting and proclaiming Christ to young men in the male prostitution trade, a big business in Bangkok. No other known missionaries to them. Weâ€™d never met Iven and Kashmira before. Had only exchanged a couple brief e-mails. Introduced to us by my sister. They exhorted and encouraged us greatly. Our time with them a huge blessing.
Had a critical element of clothing come apart. Remembered having seen a poor woman who makes her living on the street, sewing. Found our way back to her, and she did an expert job, exactly as Judy had described to me that it should be done. Did quickly. On an ancient foot treadle powered sewing machine. Baht 20. 70 cents U.S.
Nights are chillier than we had remembered, 75-78 deg. or so. Thai women wear sweaters. So does Judy! But this â€œwinterâ€? weather is delicious, low 80â€™s days.
Sunday was special. Weâ€™d been invited for the evening to home of Gary and Paula Hays, missionaries of Eastside Foursquare Church, Bothell/Kirkland WA, for Bible study with missionaries and Thai friends; however, had to beg off for heavenly reasons. We had connected with a delightful Thai woman who had befriended us 16 months ago when we previously visited Thailand. We had met her then on a river taxi boat and she went out of her way to help us find our destination which we might not have otherwise found. Since then we had exchanged a couple emails. She came to visit us at our guesthouse Sunday where we had lunch, with out thinking that was all there was to it, but she revealed she intended to devote the whole day to us, and until late in the evening the Lord gave us an unimagineably fabulous time with Sarada and her 19 year old daughter Ma-meeow, a freshman at a famous Bangkok fine arts university. Even though Sarada is an English instructor at an engineering university, her spoken English is only fair so we bounced back and forth between English and Thai. Ma-meeow speaks virtually no English and is very quite anyway so she didnâ€™t challenge our lack of Thai. They took us to two â€œwatsâ€? (Thai Buddhist temples) and while we waited and watched they practiced religious observances, giving us perfect opportunities to ask many questions which they were eager to answer and discuss. They want to see us as much as mutually convenient while weâ€™re in Thailand and we parted with firm commitments to meet again ASAP. Sarada was open with us regarding personal beliefs to an extent unusual for Thais with one another and even moreso with foreigners. Weâ€™re convinced the Lord has opened a door for the gospel. They took us on our first ever usage of the public bus system. Quite an experience that will be very helpful in future. Tomorrow, in fact. The evening was spent in Lumphini Park, sort of like Central Park in NYC, both in size and importance. Gorgeous place surrounded by skyscrapers of fantastic modernistic style. At the park, we sat on ground for concert of Bangkok Symphony Orchestra in the open air. Ma-meeowâ€™s classical music professor plays flute in the orchestra, and it was a homework assignment for her to attend and report in class. They want us to get together with their large extended family soon. The door here for the gospel is not only open, but itâ€™s large.
This morning we had breakfast in a tiny foodshop where the waitress who speaks practically no English told us her daughter runs a Thai restaurant in Snoqualmie WA. We did out best to converse and soon her husband appeared and sat down with us to chat. Also practically no English so it was mostly in Thai. Turned out they are Mormans and he a teacher in the local group. We took our first opportunity for proclamation of Christ and he seemed at least slightly arrested. They invited us to be guests in their home, a rare opportunity we intend to pursue. He was a professional musician and is now a barber, age 67. He was supposed to open his shop at 9am, but stayed chatting with us till 10am, for which we thank God.
Used our new Thai cellphone to call Ajarn Gong (â€œPastor Gongâ€?) of the only church of which weâ€™re aware in the town and province of Samut Songkhram AKA â€œMaekhlong.â€? Had to use our poor Thai as their English almost non existent. We arranged to see them tomorrow when we make a daytrip to their area to find a place to stay. Will then return to Bangkok till Friday when weâ€™ll move there for the duration.
Have put many miles on ancient backs, legs, and feet. Being less than fit is now fully felt. Soreness everywhere. But overshadowed with joy. Have spent many hours walking the streets of Bangkok, traveling on the river, poking through crowded marketplaces, waving off touts, enjoying exotic sights, smells, sounds, people, and snacking on fresh tropical fruits and juices in profusion.
The Lordâ€™s blessings never cease flowing.
With His love,
Chuck and Judy