Monday, June 09, 2008

Back from the land of smiles

I made it back Sunday night from Bangkok, Thailand. It was about a 24 hour travel experience, and I was pretty worn out by it all. But, it was very refreshing to JY waiting on me in the airport. Monday and Tuesday were pretty rough. I was constantly tired and wasn't getting much sleep at night. But by Wednesday, I think I was finally back to normal.

The trip itself was great. I actually had some anxiety the week before the trip about some of the discomfort that I would probably experience while over there, namely the heat, food, and just not being in my normal comfortable setting. So, excitement wasn't much of what I was feeling, until I actually arrived in Bangkok.

After stepping off the plane, and having an encouraging ride to our hotel with a Canadian missionary from the Thai church, I knew I was finally excited to be there. The next day, we wanted to get out and about around the city, both to experience the city as well as to get over some of the jet lag. We visited the reclining Buddha, rode on a water taxi, walked through the smelly fish markets, rode on a motorized rickshaw called a took-took, ate some authentic Thai cuisine (for only $1), and finally visited one of the massive malls right near our hotel.

The next day we went to a university campus nicknamed Ram U. It has the most amount of students enrolled in the world, with something like 450,000 enrolled! Basically what we did that day (Wednesday) and when we went back on Friday, was to spend time with the very small Christian club there. We had some good prayer time with them and assisted with them in their goal to get more people to join. The successful, and highly exciting time for me, was when we went out to all the different students hanging around the campus, and just talked to them. But we tried some things at first that were...a little awkward. In order to try and attract people to the group, we were told that we should sing or play a game or something. So, in sight of a couple hundred Thai students, we first sang "Jesus loves me" while dancing to the Electric Slide, while following that up with a little game of "Hokie-Pokie"!! Needless to say, I'm glad everyone agreed after that that we should go out and try to meet people.

The next day we went to a Buddhist school and got taught how to "why" people. This is the traditional way of greeting someone in Thailand, as opposed to the handshake, high-five, head nod, etc. To the left is a picture of Brianna being taught how to "why." We also had some Q & A time between us as we shared about life as an American. We also went to a Christian school Friday morning, where we did a lot of the same thing, but talked more specifically about life as a Christian in America. Here's a picture or our team with some of the students.Saturday, we went to a very poor area of town and dialogued with some kids (8-16 years old). We talked some about sex and the influence of the media on us, but then moved on to some more personal dialogue telling them about our interests and hearing from them about theirs. They all gave us Thai names and my name means "one who has gold," I guess because I told them I work at a bank. I then played a miniture game of soccer with a few of the kids. Then we walked through some of the poorest areas I've ever been in contact with. One of the girls that we were talking with wanted us to show us her home. It was small and only had one bedroom for maybe 4-5 people. To get there, you go through narrow alleys that are paved with concrete but are directly over an open sewer system. It was a very humbling time. It helped us all remember how much "stuff" we have as Americans. Here's a picture with one of the boys I played soccer with, and then of everyone there from that morning.Overall, it was truly a great experience. One of the many highlights for me was getting to know all of the high school students that were on the trip. They all were really fun and had such cool, unique stories. I hope to remain connected with them. Also, the Thai Christians were an encouragemnt to us in many ways, and I do believe we were an encouragement to them in a few ways. We serve a big God, with a big heart for the world. It was a blessing to be able to see among the millions lost in Buddhism over there, that he is really working through a select few to impact that country for Christ. Thanks again to all who supported me on this trip and to all who were praying for us.

You can check out the rest of the pictures here.

1 comment:

  1. first: very glad you got to go
    2nd: dave with scruff equals sexy.

    glad you are back.