Friday February 6, 2009 [Editor’s note: Sorry this is out of order, chronologically speaking!]
Jumped on song-tay-o this morning no idea where it was going; Lord gave us perfect 8 mile trip out into very bucolic rural coconut farms and salt farms ending up at most beautiful wat seen yet after a 15 minute stop in the middle of nowhere amidst coconut palms and fish farms. Got out walked around chatted with people at most rustic little shack of a store and song-tay-o queue point imaginable. Canâ€™t express how peaceful seemed the tiny hamlets of poor people; although we know without Christ there is no true peace. Monk at wat was more outgoing than any weâ€™ve encountered; usually they appear withdrawn from the world and avoid personal encounter. Pleasant chat in which he said we had good heart to which we responded that our good heart is gift from God through Jesus Christ without which our hearts are terrible; he agreed. Song-tay-o driver in a separate situation, and with no prior mention of Christ from us, told us Buddha is â€œson of God same as Jesus.â€? Didnâ€™t have Thai language ability to proclaim the immeasurable supremacy of the Christ over the Buddha. We did speak of peace with God through Christ. Sorry, no pix of this one. We had determined to take camera less often as time to take, sort, caption, upload pix is distracting us from other things, and carrying camera suggests weâ€™re tourists; whereas, we want folks here sense more identification with them.
Saturday February 7, 2009
The Lord has done it again! What joy. From song-tay-o on return journey yesterday we spotted anattractive open air restaurant beyond radius we normally walk for meal. Tonight we decided pay price of walk couple miles, and try place. Several stops along way to admire babies in arms parents having meals on streets, sidewalks in cool evening, socializing characterizes life so many here and opens up connection parents, brief conversations, and as we pass onward invariably much chatter about â€œfarangs who speak Thai.â€? If they only knewâ€¦ At restaurant we surprised by waitress speaks halfway decent English, wanted practice English w/us. Thai university accounting grad; worked few years Bangkok branch Ernst & Young global acctg/audit/consulting requiring moderate English capability. Then moved â€œdown marketâ€? to here for marriage and motherhood, working evenings in family restaurant, days finance dept small company making plastic petroleum products containers they sell Exxon, Caltex, et. al. Company hopes go public if/when stock market shows a little life, she will need write financials in English for IPO â€œroad showâ€?. She worries sheâ€™s inadequate; we offered tutor her via e-mail and edit her reports, for no charge whatsoever. Her shocked surprise, joy huge compensation for us. (She) â€œPreemâ€? and husband â€œDteeâ€? then offered devote part of their one day a week off, Sunday, today, to taking us nearby see fireflies that appear every evening along certain khlong of great river, attraction of countrywide fame draws many Thai tourists, no foreign. Please pray to God they will hear of the Lord Jesusâ€™ person, life, cross, resurrection, ascension, reign, promised return, and glory somewhere along the way in this new relationship. From us it will mainly be via tracts, as the Thai language of the Gospel is complex. If they respond to the tracts then Thai brothers and sisters will do the oral preaching. Open doors.
Sunday February 8
They picked us up their newer tiny-mini-van w/GPS, also Michelle, Christopher, Filipinos have lived here two years as couple, Michelle also lived here two years prior single. Michelle tutors Preem & her little boy in English. Michelle teaches English in Thai govt high school. Christopher fruitlessly hunts work. Has no work capability better than Thais so heâ€™s shut out. Very nice early twenties somethings. Will seek them out for gospel purposes. Taken see fireflies in grove of coconut and lamphu trees, night, no lights other than moon and fireflies, walking narrow pathways between ponds, one slip and youâ€™re both soaked and embarrassed, also visited small palm sugar making operation. Both fascinating, delightful. Palm sugar local equivalent brown sugar, boiled sap of top branches coconut palm. If youâ€™ve had mango sticky rice at Thai restaurant the syrup is coconut milk w/palm sugar. Treasured evening, Godâ€™s fathomless gift. Heâ€™s giving us open doors at amazing pace. Amazing grace.
Wednesday February 11
Yesterday He did it again. Our cup runneth over. Hired boat to tour river and khlongs four hours. Marvelous time. Please watch for many pix upload soon. Along river saw many fabulous things but will focus one: fish farms, floating fish pens yoked together. Waved to men on one; they waved back, motioned us come see; we tied up alongside; Chuck got off and chatted for 30-40 min. with Som-kidt, owner, father, 67, as he fed fish (see pix), â€œPla-ka-pongâ€?, he sells to mkt or restaur along river for Bt 180/kg. Also chatted with â€œFlukeâ€? and â€œFahâ€? his early twenties somethings son, daughter. Fluke works part time with dad, part time with elder brother who owns lg fishing boat, and takes summers off. Fa grad school student public health. They brought us fruit, drinks, then invited us visit them in their home onshore right by fish farm. Very nice. Will call them to arrange.
All in Thai. They no English. Open doors.
Today he just did it again. Throughout the local church here and her visitors from other churches since we came, the word has spread that we are members of â€œhome churchâ€? or â€œsimple churchâ€? as some here say. Itâ€™s evidently a hot topic in Thailand. So Gong introâ€™d me to brother in Bkk who just phoned me about meetings monthly for prayer and mutual encouragement with 8-10 others, some paid clergy, others not, but all sharing conviction from Scriptures regarding â€œsimpleâ€? churches (his term). All wanting to see Lord develop simple churches in Thailand which evidently God has been doing here for some time. He asked me join their meeting 19th in Bkk, share my understanding re the subject, and otherwise participate with them. He referred to himself and some of the others as â€œpastorâ€?, but indicated he â€œmakes tentsâ€? for a living and serves the brethren without pay, and the others also do or intend to do likewise. Wonderful! Open doors.
Thursday February 12, 2009
For the sport fishermen among you, today as we breakfasted on fresh pineapple, coffee, and noodle soup with veggies, on the river, we were entertained by two men fishing off the landing not 20 feet from our table. We watched them catch a 16 inch catfish whose â€œwhiskersâ€? they gingerly avoided while unhooking as if they were cannibals poison darts, and two amazingly large freshwater shrimp bodies easily 12-14 inches long and two legs each of same length. A big crowd gathered to admire the shrimp.