in thailand 2006 – iv

Well, Thailand has come to be my 3rd home it seems.  It is great to be able to stay in a country that is free to the spread of the gospel, has a free visa chop at the airport, has caring SDAs who will help support your work by giving a place to stay, has most of the things needed to live comfortably like doctors, raisins, computers etc., and that is centrally located so that transportation fares to other SE Asian countries are low.  Thank you Thailand!  Thank you Thailanders!!

Arriving from the airport, i head straight for Pantip with my computer.  90 minutes of poking, and mostly just changing out memory cards finally leads the repairman to say the control chip seems to be the problem, and that i need to bring it to the shop next door the next day.  It will start when you press down hard on the keyboard around the F,V,C area.  But otherwise, nothing happens when you press the power switch.

The next day finds me of course at the repair shop with my precious Toshiba.  It is quite a lonely feeling handing it over, and knowing i’ll be without for up to one week.  An even worse feeling is knowing it’s probably going to cost a lot to get it working properly again 🙁

11 days with no email has made me a bit hyperactive in my mind thinking about who all has contacted, and who i need to contact.  Since starting email in 1997, this has been perhaps the longest i’ve been without any.  The withdrawal symptoms are not pretty.  haha.  Actually, not many people have emailed, and i’m quite disappointed.  My computer is in the shop too 🙁  But one good thing happens today – the Mien pastor calls, and we have good fellowship on the phone 🙂

My plans to go to Sri Lanka this Thursday are down the tubes, as i can’t go with my Toshiba.  So what has God lined up for me to do while i stay here?

I go with the pastor to see my American friend and his wife and son.  It is so wonderful to see his wife is opening up to the pastor.  Seems like there were some preconceptions that were blocking the way before.  Thank you Lord for opening hearts!  Playing badminton with the son until we got the shuttlecock caught up in the gutter was a lot of fun too.  To someone with kids, little things like playing “chambara” (poking at each other with plastic light sabres, or umbrellas in a pinch!) is probably very unimportant, but to someone like me, who used to be surrounded by kids as an English teacher, but now has no one,,,,,this is precious time 🙂

I enjoy family worship with the pastor’s family at their home.  We sing a couple of songs, and then read one chapter in the Bible, each taking a turn with one verse each.  Then, when finished, we discuss what was the most interesting part to us.  This idea of going around a circle, and each reading one verse, is exactly like what i did in Japan when having Bible studies/worship.  This way everyone must participate, and it is more difficult for the mind to wander. 

The house is hot, even with the overhead fan turned up to “2”, it just seems to push the hot air around.  When i first came in January, it was comfortable – hot at nite, but now in April it is just plain hot and hotter, working on becoming hottest!  Maybe the overnite low in the house is 32?  Then, even with the mosquito repeller plugged in, the little beasties find my succelent flesh – ouch!  Yes, it still hurts and itches as when i left Japan in October, but have been bitten so many times now, that i don’t bother to get the Tiger Balm out to soothe it. 

The next day (29th), i go to Pantip again, this time to purchase a CD-R drive for my Mien pastor friend.  I’m giving him my old, beloved notebook, the one i bot from a homeless friend in 2000, and it has seen me thru many things, including the constant use in translating the Nihongo GC book.  All the settings are ready for him to be able to type in Chinese into it, as he wishes to use it mainly for learning Chinese, and of course Bible & SOP study.  Not having a CD drive may cause frustration, so i purchase a box for 450thb, and a CD-RW drive for 690, so the entire setup is 30usd.  3dollars difference in having a CD-R or CD-RW drive was simple for me to solve – what would you rather he do for you if the situation was reversed?

In the evening at Vespers i have a nice surprise, seeing a Japanese young woman i met at Aenon Health Farms in Malaysia.  Too bad our Vespers leader, the missionary from Philippines (Renato), in talking about Ruth, somehow got into the current events category where the man in Afghanistan was going to be sentenced to death for becoming a Christian.  This missionary said: “The problem is, is that the Muslims in Afghanistan don’t read their Qur’an”.  I couldn’t let that blasphemy go unchallenged, and piped up: “the Qur’an is from Satan”.  He seemed taken aback, and said: “You can’t say that”.  I replied that i could, and once more: “the Qur’an is from Satan”.  Well, you can imagine that we had a lively discussion, and it was interesting to see that out of our group of around 20, only i and one other lady from the Philippines voiced differing opinions.  The elder translating did voice agreement tho when i mentioned that the Qur’an says Jesus didn’t really die on the cross, it just “appeared” that way.  I showed 3 of them some of the differences between the 2 books, like the Qur’an saying that Allah has no son, that you will neither live nor die in hell, that you should not take Christians for friends, that you should fight for Allah, can have up to 4 wives etc. etc.  The missionary got highly agitated when i showed the part in the Qur’an where it says that Iblis (Satan) fell because he didn’t bow to Adam.  He said this is a prophecy, and that i should surely know in my Bible where it refers to Jesus as the Second Adam.  I looked at him incredulously, saying that this was a crazy opinion as there is no connection at all in the Qur’an anywhere between Jesus and Adam.  I must have said “you’re crazy”, when i meant that his opinion is crazy, because he got to a point where he was almost ready to fight.  Well, this doesn’t surprise me at all from a SDA Muslim.  Yes, he is one of the 4 Filipino missionaries who went to some Muslim island there and worshipped with them in their mosques with the Qur’an in hand, and raised up, i kid you not, a “Seventh-day Adventist Muslim” church.  God forgive us.

A cooling shower at nite makes it very comfortable to sleep.  Thank you Jesus!  Having stayed with the Chinese SDA church pastor’s family for quite a long while, yet not ever attending Sabbath services at the church just a 15 second walk away, i’ve been feeling a bit sheepish.  Today it is nice to attend, but not nice to see that while the song “Vila da Rosa” (spell?) is being sung, two teenage boys are acting out the part of one whipping Jesus, and the other carrying the cross.  It is horrifying to see all the youngsters, and many of the oldsters too laughing at the boys.  Perhaps this is one reason we shouldn’t do drama?  I’m sure that if Jesus were on that cloud with his piercing gaze, piercing to the soul, that no one would be laughing.

I join the English speaking group for lesson study, and meet an American man.  We have a deep conversation about the church, about the GC book, etc.  I show him some things, and when we part he says that this time has helped him to see again how unique the SDA church is, and how we have been brought up to a higher plane, to be separate from the world.

Today is communion day, and i’m happy to be able to take part.  This church is very rich tho, as the bmw/benz parking lot attests to, and it is disheartening to hear people talking about how business is on the Sabbath hours.  But in the afternoon i meet a French-speaking man from Madagascar.  It is very difficult for him to communicate in English (but impossible for me in French!) but i get that his mom was from Madagascar, and his father French, and he works for a French telecom company, and that he helped lead 180 souls in a prison in Anananatarivo last year, and he plans to go there again soon, and that he wakes up at 3am to study the Bible.  WOW!  God bless you C!

Three 20-30 year old church members see me with this man, and come over and start talking.  They are eager to hear about Ellen White’s first vision, and the GC book too.  They ask intelligent questions, and i can tell that they are probably the ones God has kept in reserve in this church to be on fire for him.  Yes, there are others doing a great work, sponsoring missionaries to run English schools here and so on, but to have that humble heart – that is an asset that i see very few have.  God bless you to O & P!  Keep studying, and God will lead you into what to do to be able to give him the most glory, and save the most souls.  Perhaps meeting you, the American this morning, and the Madagascaran is what God had in mind for keeping one week longer in Thailand? 🙂

The next couple of days are spent going to Pantip to pick up my precious Toshiba, (and to drop off 7,300thb – around 180usd).  It is good to see it working nicely, but i should’ve looked a bit more carefully at the screen, as there are a couple of large white-looking places that weren’t there before….  Don’t find out for a couple of weeks that Toshiba-san, while working better, still is not right, shutting down instantly sometimes.  I get my ticket to Sri Lanka too, thanking my brother for usage of his credit card for that.  I poke around on the computer some, wash clothes, play Reversi with the kids here, and just in general, take it easy.

I head to Pantip again, this time after seeing that the new CD-RW i bot for my pastor friend isn’t working after 2 successful tries.  They check it out and without any hassles exchange it for a new one.  Thank you God!  May this equipment be used to glorify your name, and spread your last message of warning and mercy far and wide in the northern Thailand hills.  In the afternoon i pick up my airplane ticket, and then bus 143 to my friend’s house where the pastor is supposed to meet us.  Bus #7 goes much more directly, taking around 1 hour, whereas this thing twists and turns and takes back streets for over an hour and a half.  It may not sound too bad, but in a 39 degree oven, this is torture!

Pastor and i wait awhile, reading chapter 30 – Spiritualism – in the 1858 GC.  He is impressed with the book also 🙂  I’m impressed how God has been changing my friend, making him more gentle, peaceable, and Christlike every time i come.  His wife takes an active part in the discussion too, encouraging me that this good thing will continue to happen, and that the Spirit of Peace will be upon this household more and more.  I stay the nite, playing with the son some more, and getting scolded like i should for playing chambara a bit too rough in the house – ha!  Sorry about that, glad nothing broke.  We play some video motorcycle game in the morning after worship with the son, and then do some gardening.  It feels really good to get the hands into some soil, even if of the boughten variety, and work with plants a bit.  Wish i had done that more as a kid.  It is a great feeling being requested almost urgently, to come again and be a guest at their house.  Lord, please bless this family, and may they all become members of your family soon!!

The 6th is my last day in Thailand in my plans.  Thank you for the 3 entry chops in my passport!  I spend the last day furiously sending out emails to all my friends, even calling some people, especially the translator of the Thai GC, and the family that graciously put me up when i went to Mission College.  The Mien pastor calls in the morning, and his brother comes by in the morning to pick up the old notebook.  Goodbye!  Goodbye!  You really helped me out old Toshiba-san.  Now please do a good work for the pastor to the Mien people – tanomu!

Bus#29 goes by the airport, and i leave the house at 6:20pm to catch my 9:30 flight.  Last time when i went to there it took around 1 hour, but i figure with it being evening rush, i should count on 1:30.  Perfectly timed.  Even when taking into consideration the 2 times the engine stopped, and young men got out to push it – ha!  Sure am glad no one seemed too upset at my suitcase, this 19thb (50cents) method of getting to the airport sure beats every other way by many baht!!

After going thru immigration, always a simple thing in Thailand, i call my contact in Sri Lanka who is going to pick me up at the airport.  Then i spend my last few credits on the telephone card to call my brother in America.  Why are my eyes blurry after talking with him?  Perhaps it has something to do with feeling so alone when in an airport, and knowing you have a brother always there who will listen to you (after he’s aware that i’m not a telemarketer – ha!)  Thank you brother, and thank you especially Jesus for helping me to be a light here in Thailand, meeting many people, finding someone to translate the GC book, seeing my friends, and for the pastors who showed Jesus in their dealings with me – thank you, thank you, kap kun kap!

NOTE: Post written April 19, 2006

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