Saturday, June 24, 2006

A week in Thailand

Some of you have said you like it when I do for lack of a more creative I idea, here's an overview of my week in Thailand...

Friday night, the 16th, I left to join our team already here. I skipped through 2 days as Thailand is 14 hours ahead of Pacific Friday night in California is sometime Saturday morning in Thailand. The flight took me through Guam, Manila, Bangkok and finally, Chang Mai...a large city in the north. I arrived Sunday evening pretty rested as I lived on Thailand time for my whole flight (which reduces the effects of jet lag). Like, if it's not time to eat in Thailand, you pass on the meal...if it's not time to sleep, you stay awake. It really helped! I found the team in good spirits and tackling a job we had no idea we would be doing.

Monday the 19th was right into the fray...the previous week, our team had been helping at the Home of Joy, a YWAM ministry that takes in at risk kids (abandoned or orphaned) and gives them a real family environment to live in. Our friend Kathleen and her staff serve these kids with a beautiful commitment. Her kids that of school age go to a Christian school called "The vineyard". Our new friend Tuk is the pricipal there and she is a wonderfully spirited lady. There is no holding her back when she gets an idea.

Tuk's heart is to see Thai children develop a love for reading. It's not really a part of the culture for kids to read a lot or for parents to read to their children. Tuk felt her school should have a library. They had no money. One day, while listening to the radio, she heard Thailand's king encouraging citizens to return to simple living and environmentally friendly ways of building. That's when she had the idea to build a mud library...a library completely made of mud...mud walls, shelves, furniture. So, her and her church and school staff began the work.

Tuk's husband is the overseer of Methodist missions in Thailand and Singapore and they are getting ready to spend a couple of years in California at Fuller seminary for him to have further training. Before they leave, Tuk's heart is to see the library done, so she prayed months ago for help to finish it. So here come some crazy people from Modesto that have no idea how to build a mud anything but we quickly learned...sort of and have been plugging away at it all week. Mixing mud like the children of Israel in Egypt, preparing the walls for shelving, doing some of the shelving work, sawing, chiseling, cleaning and scraping. It's been awesome!

I'll write about other parts of the trip later but it is really neat to see how faithful God is...our goals were to serve at risk children in Thailand and God sent us to the Home of Joy. We wanted to find one or two small ministries to serve and partner with in the future and we were sent to a little orphanage and Christian school. We wanted to address our passion to see the "sex industry" of Thailand end...more on that later...but here's these kids, some of them born to prostitutes being cared for by God's people and then here's this school that wants to shape the leaders of tomorrow by providing Christian education and God let us be a part of it all! Not just us, but all those back home who helped us come (we were able to provide the first 100 books to the library!) and all those who have been praying for us, this has been a particularly blessed time. And now we can look forward to our new Thai friendships developing as Tuk and her family will be in California for 2 years and we have more ways to continue to help the Home of Joy!

God loves this stuff and it's such a privilege to see him join hearts and visions together over a huge expanse of distance and culture. He seems to love mixing his kids up with each other so that we can help each other do the stuff of his Kingdom. There's nothing better than that.

Friday, June 16, 2006

I'm a goin'

Well, just stealing a couple of blogy minutes this morning before my big ole day. Later tonight, I fly to Thailland...farther away than I have ever been and longer away from Amie and the kids during our marriage. It’s gonna be hard but I am also excited to go and experience what God is doing in Thailand. It’s an epic flight! I guess some of you will have been to Asia before but I have not. I, like the team before me, change planes in Guam. Guam! Have you ever seen Guam?! It’s like a tiny dot on the globe out in the middle of Pacific ocean nowhere. How did people ever even get to Guam? Well, I’m goin’.

This has been a difficult process to get this team to Thailand. Three of our original members did not make it due to circumstances. We did not get the money that we’d hoped for but we did get just enough. We’re squeaking by but I got a good chunk to take with me today so that’s good. The tickets were a bear to secure. We had ‘em then we didn’t then we did and didn’t then at the last minute we got some and scraped one more in So I’m going.

Please pray for this last bit of the trip, that I can be an encouragement to the team leader...a good support on the final push. Pray that we all get home safely and for the teams continued health. Pray that we get done what God has purposed for us to accomplish and that we can build on that work in future fund raising, trips and projects.