Earthquake

I worked from home today, uploading files for some friends in the states to be able to use. That meant that I was tucked away in my apartment, away from people, plugging away at the task I had going….

By the time evening came, I was pretty desperate for some company. A few of the other journeygirls and I decided to go out for dinner and to a movie – Gnomio and Juliet. We had a nice dinner, then settled in for the movie. There was almost no one in the theater – maybe 20 of us in all. We were the only people in our row – and for the row in front of and behind us as well.

The movie had to be almost done, when our seats started swaying. Me and T looked at each other – it felt as though someone was trying to pass on the seats behind to get to their seat, and were bumping into our seats, making us sway.

But there was no one there.

We pulled off our 3D glasses and started at each other, uncertain of what to do. One man jumped out of his seat and sprinted to the emergency exit, which he couldn’t get open. He then ran back to the main door, and was so out of there. Most of the other people left – we were still sitting, uncertain of what to do. I mean, the movie was still playing.

We were still swaying, though.

K, one of the journeygirls looked at us. “Just in case,” she said. “I love you guys.” At that time, the place stopped swaying. It stopped for a moment, then started again – but didn’t last long.

Through it all, the movie kept playing.

After a moment, a guy opened a small window from the projector room and yelled “earthquake!” As he did, he shut off the movie. It was strange as we walked out of the theater – no one seemed to be fazed. Everyone was calm. Vendors were packing up, and the mall-goers were heading out. It felt freakishly – normal, actually. We were told that our tickets would be honored if we came back later with them, and we could finish the movie.

When I got back to the House of Jackfruit center, where I live on the 3rd floor, there were a bunch of people there. When I asked if they had felt the earthquake, one was like “Oh that little thing? Yeah. But no big deal.”

I dunno. I can’t say it was no big deal. I can’t even describe the sick, sinking feeling of the sway. Feeling petrified, uncertain if it would be smarter to run for it, or hang out in the theater. Wracking my brain for any useless information I might have picked up during your life on what to do in this situation.

Or even, what was the last thing I said to a particular person.

It’s truly remarkable what the brain can handle in a situation like this.

Tonight, an earthquake hit Myanmar. In my city, we felt the effects of it – they were felt as far down south as Bangkok, which is pretty insane. It’s going to be crazy in the next few days as the damage is assessed. The area affected doesn’t really have a lot of cities. We’re looking at it affecting more small villages. I’ve heard of one death on the border – an older woman who was killed when a wall collapsed.

Definitely PRAY for Myanmar. PRAY for northern Thailand. PRAY for folks affected by the earthquake. PRAY for those for whom it was a lot more than a moment of terror. PRAY for people who live their lives in fear of spirits, who may attribute this to being from a supernatural demonic power. PRAY that people will get their needs met – not just the physical, but their spiritual most of all. PRAY for those who are Christians, who may not have the same community as non-believers to help them recover.

It’s simple – just PRAY.

Advertisements

New friends in 1000 friends village

Last night we went to 1000 friends village. I was pretty preoccupied before hand – definitely nervous about going into an area where we knew they weren’t necessarily open to a Christian influence. While I knew that folks were coming for the English lessons, and we are very upfront on telling them that the stories we use to teach English are from the Bible – well, I still worry that someone will somehow miss that fact and freak out later when we are using the Bible as our story source. I spent most of the 45 minute drive stressing about it – as much as I hate this about myself, that’s what I do – and I do it well.

But God’s so much bigger than us.

When we got there, two young girls were waiting for us to arrive. Sun, one of my Thai friends who came along, encouraged them to go get their friends. Shortly, they came back with two other kids – a young boy and another girl.

Sun had brought a storybook that we used to start teaching easy English. It was the story of Namaan’s healing in the Jordan river. The story of the servant girl from Israel, who told the king to go to the prophet, and then the greedy servant who inherited the “skin disease.”

We had copies of the story book for each of the kids. I read the english, while they read the Thai afterwards.They’d attempt to follow along with the English as I read it, and I would try to keep up with the Thai. I do think they are better at the English than I am the Thai.

As we went through the story, Sun asked them what they understood. They’d ask about words, and recount the story. They’d write down words they didn’t know before; their faces puckered in concentration. It was completely precious to watch them gripping their pencils, writing the unfamiliar letters.

As they asked questions, I noted this – they were asking about the spiritual words. Yes, our board had words like “skin disease” and “hard” on it, but it also had “prophet.” They asked questions that were leaning towards the spiritual side of things. We read the entire story, and will be going back next week. It’s going to be cool to see who comes back. The children freely gave their hand phone numbers so we can contact them about next week.

I think that we might try to go from Creation to Christ – take them through the stories of the Garden and the Fall to the Savior. It will take time, but that’s ok. We’re working on God’s clock.

It was awesome to work with Sun to tell the children the story. She’s a born teacher – she shares super well, and works very well with the kids. It’s a blessing to have someone to come alongside and take my hand as I go through falteringly, stumbling over the words that I would say.

Definitely praying for thousand friends…

 

Surrounded

Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

This past week, we had meetings for people who work in Thailand, ministering all over the country. We had folks from Bangkok, who work with the student centers there; folks from Isaan; folks from Hilltribe areas. We had folks coming to have a time of refreshment from others who are faithfully working to share the gospel with the Thai people.
One particular thing that happens at meetings like this is recognition of those who have achieved longevity. Just like in the corporate world, time achievements are recognized, we like to highlight them too.
We call out those who have achieved 5 years, 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, and even 25 years. Claps resounded through the meeting room as these folks were called to the front to receive a pin. Folks cheered loudly – longevity is HARD out here. It’s a big deal to make it for so long.
Just when it seemed that the cheering couldn’t get any louder, or last any longer, they called 30 years.
Yes, we had one couple who had lasted out on the field for 30 years. Let’s call them C&N. Folks bolted from their seats to line the aisles, and formed a tunnel for C&N to run through. We cheered loudly, thumped them on the backs, high-fived them. Cheering didn’t die down quickly, either. 30 years of service means that you know everybody, and everybody knows you.
As they ran down the aisle, it seemed that each clap represented a tear. A discouraged moment. A time when the missionary had to lean on God just a little bit more, cause everyone else had failed. Each clap stood for a joyful moment. A triumph. A failure. A time when they couldn’t be home with their families. A time of sickness.
A life devoted to God – that’s what it was.
The clapping was like praise rising to heaven, lives lifted up as a sacrifice of praise.
It was moving. But it made me think of Hebrews, quoted earlier. We’re surrounded by so many others who are running the good race. We’re looking at Jesus, and no one else. It was a moving and deeply inspiring moment. It challenged me to remain faithful. To seek God first. To put his call before any of my life’s paltry desires. And the best part is that God doesn’t make folks like me run the race alone. I can’t even imagine running it by myself.
I’m surrounded.

Tuesday Progress

So when the volunteer team was here last week, we went out to a nearby village. Me and one of my Thai friends have been prayer walking at this village. Let’s call it “1000 Friends.” There aren’t a thousand people there – but something in the name makes it sound like “thousand.” While we were there, we found ourselves praying for it – we claimed that village for the Most High God. We asked: no, begged, God to give it to us for his glory. That people would be willing to meet with us. That they would want to meet with us, and that we would have inroads to the gospel.

Hold on. Let me start at the beginning.

My Thai friend and I have been praying for her village for the past few weeks now. She’s had it on her heart for a while. See, she grew up there, and when she became of university age, moved into the larger city where I live. As she’s been away from her aunt and cousin, she’s felt God tugging her heart for her people.

So we decided that it was time to go out. Each Tuesday, I’ve been driving folks out to the village where they all minister, but I’ve always felt like an extra person: like I wasn’t really needed, but that I was there for my car. I was thankful to go. I loved it. I loved going out, and holding the older women’s hands as we prayed together. But I wasn’t needed. So there was no point really in going.

I approached my friend about this, and asked if there was somewhere else we should go – if we should go out in the village and talk to people, or if we should try to find a new village.

As it turns out, she had been praying for her village, about going there.

So we went and prayer walked one Tuesday night. We didn’t get to talk to many people – our purpose in going that night was to walk through the village and cover it with prayer, and if folks asked what we were doing, we would surely tell them.

But as it happened, we didn’t get asked. But we went over the whole village.

The next week, we went with a missionary from the area. He’s in his early 40s, so he’s more highly regarded than me, a 26 year old single girl. He talked to the village leader, who was very open to people like us coming every week.

The next Tuesday, we had a volunteer team in town. That was last week, btw. So we went to the village, prayed through some parts, and ended up holding an impromptu worship service in the aunt’s home. We prayed for her family; and sang songs of praise to God. I thought that the bamboo rafters were going to fly off as we lifted God’s name high.

One of my prayers was that people would be being prepared. That their hearts would be open to us coming and sharing more than just the English lessons that a lot of people use to break through.

This past Tuesday, when me and two of my Thai friends went, her aunt invited us to dinner. We sat on bamboo mats, eating an omelette, curry, and fried morning glory. During the dinner, we talked and just enjoyed hanging out.

A monk, a friend of the teenage daughter, showed up and sat against the wall and stared at me. He’d shuffle off the other room and talk to the daughter, and then come back and stare a while.

As the evening progressed, my thai friends would step out to get little things for dinner. When they came back, each time, they said, “we have more people coming to meet with you next week. Many people are coming.”

We’re going to start meeting next week. It’ll probably be small and simple – just sharing with English stories. But even as I teach, I love to tell stories. I also love to tell the stories that I know best. And what stories do I know best?

Yes.

The stories of God.

Now, I’m at the prayer point. What do I tell? How do I share best? How to break into an unreached village? How to share the love of Jesus; of the almighty God, in a village that wants to turn their back on him?

I’m confident that God will answer that as Tuesday draws close.

For now, I’m rejoicing in knowing that A GROUP IS MEETING next Tuesday.

Volunteers, Warfare and Prayer, Oh My!


As I am working on other projects, I’ve decided to intersperse a little more blogging. I’m truly working on getting more consistent – it seems that life just happens sometimes, you know?

This past week was insane – in many good ways, and in a billion bad ways.

First, let’s talk about the good. I got to spend time with a volunteer team who came here to my city to work on a class media project. Me and several of the other journeymen who live in my city took our portion of the team (6 students, 1 professor, and 1 alumni) all around to gather materials and get ready to produce more materials for personnel in Thailand to be able to use.

I’m pretty stoked about what they got. I think that good stuff will come of it.

The best part of it was having the team here – I really got the chance to connect with my folks – they were more than just the average team that comes through, does their stuff, and heads back to the states (or at least, right now it sure feels like they aren’t like that). Having them here this past week was so much fun – I got to spend a lot of time with them, and really connect them with what my life looks like, and how amazing things are in my city.

God really is working.

But it was best for the fact that for me, the team ended up being a major piece of support for me this past week.

See, this past week, my 18 year old sister eloped. It was one of those things where it truly came out of the blue, and a lot of hurtful things were said. Not gonna lie, it was one of those events that makes you question if you really knew the person – not to mention that now, each of the rest of my family members are wondering if there was something, sometime along the way that we should have done. This sort of thing comes with a lot of hurt for all involved.

It was just great to get to have a group of people around who I knew were praying – people who came to experience life with us, and got perhaps more than they bargained for. I had some people in that group who reminded me of some of my best friends as I accepted “the call” to missions; people who were instrumental in my life.

And God, in his great mercy, sent version 2.0 of those people to be with me at just the right time.

I mean, how crazy is that?

I’ll post a few pics from this past week later. I didn’t bring my camera with me to the office today. I’ve got a million other things on the brain.

I do want to finish with this – pray for families of missionaries overseas. Sometimes Satan slaps our families to make us feel pain. It hurts. I wish I could be there with them right now. But I have stuff here that God is doing, and while I am thankful to be part of his plan, that doesn’t make it easy.

Hey guys – 

The media team is looking to have a survey of the trip you guys just went on. We’d like to get your feedback on how the trip went for you guys as we determine whether or not this kind of trip should be done again. Your input is super important.

Thanks a ton for taking the time to fill this out and give your feedback. It’s been epic to work with you guys.

Additionally, as you look at who got this message, you’ll certainly see that some folks on the trip didn’t get this message. Can you forward it to them, and let me know? I need to get it to everybody!

https://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=dGZjQTBPZHU3V0cxaHVzcU55OVN4Qmc6MQ

Thanks!

HB

March Mail

Did you know that sending me a letter is actually quite cheap?

One friend and her husband (M&D – you guys are SO special to me!!!) has figured that out. I just got my second card from them in the mail – they are totally precious. It really doesn’t take much – only 50-odd cents and a lot of time to travel halfway around the world.

If you ever want to send mail, I’d love to get it. Leave a comment, or contact me for the address. It’s a little more expensive to send stuff back, but I will try my bestest.

As a side note, and in all seriousness, if you know a missionary out on the field, please, get their address and send them letters. Packages are awesome – like a birthday, Christmas, Easter, and every other awesome holiday put together and wrapped in a rainbow and given to you. They are the best. But they cost a lot of money too, and tend to be something that is a rare treat. A letter is a simple spoonful of love, and easy to do. Sending someone your handwritten words just shows them how special they are to you. And it’s more cost effective for you.

It’s love, man. You cared enough to take the time to write a letter, lick that envelope to seal it shut, affix a stamp and drop it into a mailbox. It’s awesome.

just do it.

lovelovelove.

February 28, or 2nd visit to a new village

I’m working on becoming better friends with my camera. She’s a Nikon D700 – and going to go right up there to the tippy-top of my BFF list. I have decided that we really need to work on being better friends, so I am working on being intentional about taking her out with me as I go around.

Last night, me and my friends went out to a new village for the 2nd time. We prayer walked it last week, and had a great time. This week, we went to meet the leader, who was currently at the วัด, or temple. While one of my friends was talking to him, I caught a shot of the tiles in the วัด courtyard.

Really, really gorgeous.

As part of good news, we’re going back next week. The leader liked us, and is quite willing to have us return.