I am literally on the other side of the planet from my home.
In an amazing opportunity, I’ve joined a small team to come alongside the ministry of Farthest Corners in Thailand. We are here to host several biblical training seminars in rural villages. I am humbled to be a part of this team and to offer my small portion to further God’s Kingdom.
This is my first visit to southeast Asia. What a new world for me! Language, customs, food, mannerisms… all is new. Being in a new culture causes me to pause and think more closely about what I do and say. I want to honor our hosts and learn from them. One thing never changes across cultures: a smile. It translates to beauty and warmth every time!
In addition to getting acclimated to our new culture, we shopped and prepared for the upcoming ministries. We found balloons, rubber bands, string, and candy for the children’s ministry in the market. We bought flip-flops for the little boys’ gifts and packed up the pillowcase dresses for the little girls. We gathered our books and resources. We are ready for tomorrow (I hope)!
Adventure in Thailand
Every where we go the people welcome us with a slight bow, a smile, and gentle words. They are a most hospitable people. The shop vendors are patient as we work out quantities needed to be purchased. Waitresses patiently explain (and explain again) the contents of the menu. Even the drivers pause and wait as we step out into the street and look left … while the cars come down the right side of the road!
We concluded the day with a visit to the Buddhist temple high on the mountain overlooking Chiang Mae. The golden temple testifies to the strong presence of Buddhism in the lives of most people in the country. Their search for peace and significance comes through the religious teachings of karma, prosperity, intelligence, good health, long life, and success.
God’s grace and mercy, however, are not part of the Buddhist life. The search for enlightenment is ongoing. Merit after merit is sought and paid. Similarities in ethics and moralities exist with Christianity; however, Jesus’ message of grace and His sacrifice represent a tremendous divergence in beliefs. As we drive around town and interact with new friends, I am intensely aware of the differences by the personal yard altars, elaborate temples, and jewelry worn for good luck.
Tomorrow we are off the villages in western Thailand! Here are a few photos from the temple visit…