If you just want to see pictures – scroll down!
It’s taken me awhile to put words around our trip. First of all, for everyone who prayed for, financially supported, and encouraged us along the way – THANK YOU. We really can’t say it enough or express it fully. Being able to do this trip together was incredible, and life-giving. Both of us were able to use our gifts in ways over the trip; Jon being able to lead worship throughout the Chinese Student Conference in Bangkok the first half of the trip, and me being able to rally around a group of Chinese women as we dove into the Word together. It was beautiful, I am so incredibly thankful for a husband who doesn’t look at me like I’m crazy when God places an opportunity like this on my heart, but who prays through, encourages and dives in with me!
Part of the reason it has been so incredibly hard to put words around this trip is because it had so many facets. We were in Bangkok for the first few days with Chinese students as FIVE gave their lives to Jesus. Their faith is incredible and challenging as they begin this new life in many cases in conflict with their families and facing major persecution from the area they are from. They pray without ceasing, are so full of life and joy, and hang on to every word in scripture as they read and process through it. We were of course, sad to say goodbye to these new brothers and sisters when we headed around 2 hrs south to Pattaya.
Pattaya was very different from Bangkok as we were out and about much more. In Bangkok everything was in one area, but in Pattaya we made much use of the van from hotel to coast, to restaurants, to fully experiencing SongKran. So SongKran is an epic water festival that falls around the Thai New Year. In this culture, and Buddhism being the [very] dominant religion SongKran is a way of cleansing, starting the new year on the right foot. However, it has become somewhat commercialized (think Easter egg hunts or Santa Claus) so everyone: native, tourist, relocated persons alike participate. We spent one day out experiencing the crazy, and it was enough for a lifetime.
So back to Pattaya, Bible distribution was the biggest component of this part of the trip. During the afternoon/early evening we would go out to where a majority of Chinese go to eat along the coast we would hand out Bibles in their language. Over 2000 total (we did hand out some Thai and some English bibles as well, unfortunately we were out of Russian but oh how I wish there were some – more on that later) Bibles were distributed over 3 days. The Elder home was also a fun part of our trip, getting to sing, do crafts, and engage with the older men and women of this country was a blessing.
One thing that was surprising, but amazing, was the fact that despite the language barrier – we needed a translator at all times – it really never seemed to be an issue, or keep us from communicating or engaging. The people there are so nice, generous, and serving. Smiles, basic words exchanged on both ends in both languages, and hand gestures kept things flowing, and what a beautiful example of what God wants His to children and Church to look like: You encourage and love no matter the differences, you overcome barriers despite the hard work, you don’t give up on people because they are loved and beautifully created.
There were hard moments, emotional moments, and moments so full of joy you thought you might burst. Some of the harder moments were just the fleshly battle of the evil that is boldly displayed in some areas and the people who engage in this versus the fact that God created and called them beautiful and loved, and He is able to call and
cleanse anyone and everyone no matter. Our job is to love well, using Jesus as our example.
The hardest moments since being back are not having my Allies (Allie and Ali) to talk through everything with. The team that we went with was absolutely incredible, fun but thought-provoking and spiritually challenging and refreshing! Would we go back: YES!
It is hot there like excruciatingly hot & humid
If you like spicy, Thailand is a great foodie place for you.
Thailand is pretty modern in some areas, some of their streets look like you are walking down Peachtree Street in Midtown, and there highway system is expansive plus WiFi is available almost anywhere.
The sun comes up at 5:45a and because of the temperatures, people are working at that hour.
Other than the Thai, Chinese and Russian are also regular encounters. It’s a hot (in every sense of the word) vacation spot.
The gospel is stagnant in Thailand. It’s a great hub for the spread of the gospel to other Southeast Asian nations, but Thailand is 98-99% Buddhist. The thought on this: while other nations face much persecution, Thailand is “free”.
It’s illegal to hurt dogs, the king loves dogs.
My attempt at keeping this short, might have been successful depending on how you look at it, but if you want to hear more I would love to chat with you!