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Thursday, August 30, 2012

And life will go on

Sorry folks, no blog for this week. I'll update you when I have some interesting thoughts to share.

Friday, August 24, 2012


Tan works at an animation office, creating projects that her company uses for different films. She wears dark eye makeup, but her eyes look tired and her face flushed. She would like to travel, but her dad doesn't like her going off by herself. Her brother is also a student at the language school. He is a doctor and has a successful job, but he feels worthless.

Taan is a video editor. He works hard, spending the entire day sitting in a room editing videos. When he shoots them, sometimes the process takes as long as 7:00 in the morning until 5:00 in the afternoon. He wants to go to America, New York specifically, to study photography, but he has to have his visa approved first. Taan makes a lot of money, averaging 30,000-40,000 baht per video, but most of that money supports his family and a sick aunt. His father and older brother do not work, but he would rather work hard for them rather than face a confrontation.

Andrew is a former prisoner turned Jesus lover turned missionary. He grew up in a loving, supporting environment but never knew God. Before high school, the school bus drivers would suspend him from their routes because they heard about his bad reputation. He stole candy bars from safe houses and stores. At 16, he became the driver of a getaway for a gang that performed a series of home invasions. He met God in prison. He spent two years in solitary confinement as a juvenile and eight more years at another jail. His heart is with God. God blessed him with resources and education. Andrew truly loves God and wants to share Him with others. He says God saved his life and he wants others to be saved by him too.

During my preparation for Thailand, a part of me felt like I was going kicking and screaming; I wouldn't always want to go to Thailand every minute of every day. I didn't understand why God was calling me to this place, and on certain days I still don't quite know why. What I do know is that God is teaching me things I would have never seen or experienced if I stayed home. At times I find myself thinking, "Man, it's going to be so hard to leave this place." I feel moved and blessed by what God is opening my eyes to, and I would like to stay. There is much more traveling and seeing ahead; I still want to work and live in Japan, France, and the Philippines, and visit other countries (and return to Thailand). However, there is a strong voice telling me to return home and finish the work I am called to do.

Maybe God is teaching me to love His people. I mean, we certainly do not always love each other, but maybe we should try? I've had my fair share of conceptions and generalizations of the Thais, but I think that maybe stereotypes and generalizations hinder us from getting to know a person. When I talk to a student or met someone new in the office, my heart kind of melts after hearing about their problems and stressors in life and God always puts me in awe. I cannot really express the gratitude I have to live through these opportunities and be changed by these people. I don't know how much "progress" I've made, but I want to learn much, much more, and I want God as my teacher. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

What to say, what to say

I almost didn't write this week's blog because I couldn't think of anything to say, but then I thought that wouldn't be fair to you guys, so here we are. I went to the market today and found out that there's so much more there than I remembered seeing when I went with my neighbors, and it's cheap. You can stretch your money quite a bit and find all the produce and meat you want. Plus, it's a muslim market so you know that their meat's clean.

From my last post, I mentioned making more of an effort to go outside myself. However, I seem to be doing just the opposite of that. Instead of going outside my comfort zone and just talking to people I seem to be withdrawing inside myself. I think I'm defective, or something. I just can't seem to do it, and I don't know what to do.

So, I posted some pictures from my Pattaya trip on my Facebook page. I didn't take pictures of people and I really should have. When my neighbors and I were in Pattaya, we visited the Adventist center there, which is really a house church. They've been church planting, and it was such a blessing to be a part of that. Since I've been back, I found that I'm hungry for house church, not just a big, ornate ceremony with a large congregation. We need that in Bangkok; people are searching for it. I mean, isn't that how people started their churches, with one pastor building a strong group of disciples to lead in one area and then going to another area and starting again? I think the idea of a big church with the nice music and filled pews has led us astray. Please, bring me back to the old days.

Okay, so you know that boy issue I mentioned? I don't think it's going to be much of an issue anymore. The (not Thay as I've misspelled) hasn't been the kind of person I was expecting him to be. He's nice enough and he has a deeper desire to know God, but I don't know if anything's clicking between the two of us. It seems like he feels awkward around me, or maybe he's not interested either. It's too bad though, because it would have been nice to have a half-Thai, half-Filipino baby. I know I'm supposed to wait on God, but sometimes I'm tired of waiting. I shouldn't though, because God wants us to wait without complaining or asking Him why when we don't understand.

Since we're on the topic of love, I thought I should be honest and express my firm desire not to marry a Filipino. I don't know why. I don't have anything against them, and they're certainly better than Thai men in general, but my mentality is too different from theirs. If I were to marry a Filipino, he would have to be mixed or a third culture kid. My mom believes in "improving the race," meaning that I should marry someone outside my race because filipinos are dark-skinned, and by marrying someone of a lighter skin color it will somehow be better for my children. Call it what you want, racial profiling, stereotyping. It sounds bad, and it shouldn't have to be like that. But the reality is that if you're not white people look at you differently and they also treat you differently. I haven't had much opposition because I'm Asian, but it happens and it's something we have to deal with because we live in an imperfect world. I'll get of my soapbox now. I hope you have a blessed Sabbath and good weekend. Until next time....

Friday, August 10, 2012

Holiday in Bangkok

Hello again, dear readers! This coming Monday marks Queen Sirikit's birthday and, subsequently, Mother's Day, so I will be enjoying a long weekend. Tomorrow morning, I embark on a trip to Pattaya with my neighbors who were kind enough to invite me along. The husband was invited to speak at one of the local churches, so we get to go. Yay for invitations!

As a missionary, I am supposed to be a witness to others here. However, I tend to get sidetracked because I have so much free time on my hands. I don't suppose it's all that terrible. It gives me more time to focus on the reason I'm here, more time to be intentional about the things I'm doing. One of the things that I need to work on, and I think will help me, is going outside my little box and talking to people. For those of you who know me, you know that I am not the most extroverted person out there. I can be quite shy and timid if I don't feel comfortable in my environment. Still, I must try. I'd like to think that God wants me to be a stronger, bolder person, not a little mouse who runs away all the time.  This is really something that I have to pray about because I cannot do it on my own will or strength. On the bright side, I look at it as part of the refining process. Think positive, think positive.

So we have a problem readers--there is a boy. His name is Thay. Thay is Thai and he is a pastoral student, or his occupation involves pastoring, ministry...something of the sort. I first met him during my first week or so here and didn't seem him that often, with the occasional bumping into each other during lunch at the local vegetarian shop. Well, I saw him this past Wednesday, three times--once at lunch, another during work, and yet another time during prayer meeting. Oh yeah, he's also looking for a single Filipina. :/ It seems that a little love interest has been developing and he's been a distraction for me. After all, missionaries are not supposed to date. Grrh. Boys. I've been praying about it and I have decided to surrender that part of my life to God. If Thay ends up being the person God's brought into my life, then great. I can wait. If he's not the person, I'll be okay too. In the meantime, what I can do is develop a "strong platonic relationship with him" as my neighbor has suggested, and if any further feelings develop afterwards then perhaps I can move forward with that.

To wrap things up, I want to talk about my dearest mumumsy. I don't want to belabor the details about her surgery because you all know about that, but this past year there had been concern that one of the tumors from the surgery was growing. The doctor said there's a lot of scar tissue, but the good news is that for now it's stable. My mom says that as long as it's not growing she won't do anything, and I think that's the right decision. Her body went through so much from chemo and radiation; she couldn't handle seconds. I have felt this added stress since I came here, and to have that burden lifted is a huge blessing. In all honesty, I'm not ready to lose my mom, but I also have to trust that God knows what He's doing.  Worrying won't do much for me, but He has a plan. I need to let go and just let God be God.

In closing, may the good Lord keep you well and happy. I hope you are savoring the lazy summer days. Enjoy it, because school is going to come by fast. ;) Much love to you all. A bientot!

Friday, August 3, 2012

A paragon diamond

Hello again, dear readers! I hope this post finds you well. As for me, I had some fun today exploring downtown Bangkok. I went to three malls-Emporium, Central World, and Siam Paragon. Unfortunately, I am soo tired. I walked from Emporium to the other two malls and then walked part of the way back from the train station to my apartment. When you decide to walk to anyplace in Bangkok be aware of the fact that your journey will be longer than what you expected.

One of my past times since I've been in Bangkok has been getting lost. But it's not really a bad thing because there's always a main road and if you can't find what you're looking for it's probably because you've gone too far or haven't gone far enough. Even if you're destination is on a soi street (side street) they are numbered for you. So there you go. If you're ever in Bangkok, don't be afraid to explore and get lost in the city. The only bad thing is that the constant traffic makes it very noisy and the pollution caused from it isn't good for your body. Oh yeah, and it rains at random intervals so bring an umbrella.

There was a hint of sadness yesterday as I left the classroom. Simply put, I wanted to visit someone and that person wasn't home. I didn't think I was supposed to feel bad about it because she was having dinner with her family. But as I was walking back I saw my neighbors watching their kids on the playground and it hit me-- I was lonely. Everyone had somebody here they could share their lives with, and I didn't. When I was told I would be the only missionary in Bangkok I figured I would be okay; I would just plug into my community. But it hasn't been quite that easy. Most people here are older than me, they have jobs, they have families. They have lives. I figured it would be nice to have someone I could vent to, someone who could relate to my experience.

Sad to say, I think I had a little pity party in my room. And I say this because when you're listening to pop ballads in Spanish when you don't even speak Spanish and are eating oreos with peanut butter and nutella you've probably hit just a little bit of a low point. But I'm okay now. I have to get past that, because I will need my emotional strength for bigger things ahead...or maybe this is one of those bigger things? In any case, please pray, pray that I won't feel so lonely.

Before I forget, I wanted to share with you guys the word paragon. I was intrigued by the name Siam Paragon so I did a little research on the word. The word paragon refers to something that is perfect, flawless. The Thais called their mall Siam Paragon because it's supposed to reflect a level of perfection in Thai culture, but paragon also refers to the diamond. The paragon diamond is the tenth largest colorless diamond in the world. It's huge, weighing over 100 pounds and it's cut in a unique kite shield shape. Simply put, it's perfect.

I say all of this because it made me think of how God is trying to perfect us through our own experiences. We're supposed to go through that refiner's fire because we'll be stronger, more mature, better people. It's going to be hot, but the blade can't be sharp without the heat, just like we can't grow without the trials God gives us. It says in 2 Corinthians 7:11:

"For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner; What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter. Therefore, although I wrote to you, I did not do it for the sake of him who had done the wrong, nor for the sake of him who suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear to you."

Keep on, fellow Jesus lovers, keep on. I've included some pics from my mall excursion and then a little extra. Because it's the Olympics, I have to pay patronage to the US women's gymnastics team for their team and all around gold medals. Go USA! Also, the Korean Air commercials crack me up sometimes; they really play up the chicness and luxuriousness of their services. Cherries on top of the airport, anyone? But really, they're quite a sight to see. When I was waiting for my flight in Hartsfield, I couldn't help but notice the fleet of porcelain skinned, silk wearing, blue ribboned flight attendants. For those of you who've been to Korea or have flown Korean Air, you'll know what I'm talking about. That's really all for now. Until next week!

I had to take this one. I love hair straighteners.

                                 The text isn't very clear, but one of them says Best Dad and another Best Mom.