I decided to take a walk one day and see what was ten minutes from home… Or I guess maybe I should say, I was walking ten minutes one day before I found a songthaew that was going where I needed to go. But either way you look at it…
Ten minutes from home there is a spirit house with a cool table in front of it for all the taxi drivers to play checkers on. Spirit houses are everywhere. They usually have offerings on them and sometimes I have to be careful when I walk by them so as to not get a bee in my eye as they are drawn to the sweet red sodas the Thai offer the spirits.
There’s also some graffiti… don’t ask me why it’s in English. I’m not sure. Graffiti is everywhere here. I rarely see it in Thai. I’m not sure if it’s legal here or not, but I like it.
Ten minutes from home there is currently a carnival. It wasn’t there a couple of months ago. During the day it’s quiet. At night all the lights come on and kids come to play. There’s also a lot of vendors and such further back. I haven’t wandered back to see what all is there. Maybe someday.
As I was waiting for these pictures to load, I started thinking about how each of these things represent something that is important here. The spirit houses represent a very large part of the belief system of the Thai people. Spirit houses literally are everywhere and even where there aren’t spirit houses, red Fanta and smoking red incense sticks can be found as an offering to the spirits.
The graffiti to me represents a quest for family. So many here are searching and it’s common to hear people refer to individuals who aren’t their blood family as their “mom” or “brother” or “sister”. While gangs seek to find that family among each other, the individuals I see day in and day out are seeking family that will not let them down and will be there for each other.
The carnival represents the Thai’s love of “sanook” or fun. To me it speaks of the desire to be fascinated that God put inside each one of us with the intent that He be the one to fascinate us.
In each of these things, only ten minutes from home, I see the cry God put in humanity for himself. A cry to be freed from the weight of sin. A cry to be a part of something greater than ourselves. A cry to be a part of the family of God, A cry to be fascinated. A cry to return to our eternal home, in His arms.
I arrived safely in Pattaya on Friday and have spent the last few days settling in to my apartment and into my new city. Though I’ve been here before there are still many things that surprise me:
1) How much God-lovers stand out in this city. I was at the mall the other night and smiled at a farang (foreigner) and he called me over to ask me where I was from and said he never has Americans smile at him. He shrugged me off a little when I told him that I was working with a church here in Pattaya, but he told his girlfriend that I was “a good Christian girl” and told me to be careful.
2) How many bars there are… Enough said.
3) How much just seeing a ladyboy stirs my heart… How fierce is this love that the Father has for these ones! I’ve seen a couple of the ladyboys I’ve met on previous trips and have begun a friendship with a ladyboy named May who is from Cambodia. May has been attending True Friend Fellowship for the last couple of months, along with another ladyboy named Lisa, whom I haven’t met yet. I’ve also found another ladyboy hangout that I won’t mind frequenting – the gym! A lot of ladyboys gather there to play volleyball.
4) How many different ways there are to worship. I loved joining the Thai in worship on Sunday and was overflowing with joy when I saw that some of the skateboarders were break-dancing during worship! Sanook mak (very fun)!
5) How much just a little love impacts hearts. I saw Kay this Sunday. She’s one of the girls I met last year and she was so excited to see me because I had poured just a tiny bit into her life. It’s good to see that the Lord’s moving in her life, continually bringing her into a deeper relationship with Himself. Friendships are easy to build here because just a tiny bit of genuine love breaks down walls.
Despite how much I love this city, I’m finding that I miss everyone at home so much. Love to all!
I’m leaving in just a few minutes for my first flight from DEN to LAX and then on to Thailand, so I thought I’d just make a quick list of some of my favorite things about Northern Colorado. (No particular order)
1) The mountains and lakes around the area… best enjoyed with friends. 🙂
2) The great coffee shops that I get to spend time with friends at.
3) The wildflowers.
4) The many lovely parks. Best enjoyed with small children with a large sense of adventure.
5) My friends and family. Love you all dearly.
I will miss you all so much. Thanks for standing beside me in this adventure.
February is drawing to a close. I hope this month has been an opportunity for you to encounter the Love of Christ in a fresh way. It has been such a month for me; it has also been an amazing opportunity for me to see God’s faithfulness. I am now at a total of 70% of the funds that I need for my first year of ministry in Thailand! Thank you to each of you who have been a part of seeing this increase. I am still in need of 23 individuals who will partner with me at $30 a month before I can depart for Thailand. Because of this need and because of a visa issue that has arisen, my team and I have decided to postpone my departure until May 1, pending the finances coming in. Thank you to each of you for your faithfulness to partner with this work in the midst of a very difficult financial time in our nation. Thank you also for your prayers. They are much appreciated. If you
have any questions concerning this news or would just like to connect, feel free to contact me.
My heart was so thrilled when I heard this testimony of Jesus’ faithfulness to pursue. I met Erika, the ladyboy Rob shares about in this clip, when I was in Pattaya this May, though I had seen him and his friends before that. I love how even when we don’t get to see the fruit to sowing the truth in love, even when we are met with a negative or discouraging response, even when a healing touch does not result in a salvation, Jesus does not relent until love wins out.
I heard Bluetree’s song “God of this City” once again this weekend and, once again, I cried. I always cry or at least tear up when that familiar melody touches my ears. Here are the top ten reasons for those tears:
10. This song reminds me of God’s sovereignty.
9. When I hear this song, I see many nations lifting praises and doing the “greater things” that have yet to come.
8. This song exalts the One my soul loves as being greater than the darkness.
7. This song declares His desire to bring transformation.
6. His love for the broken overwhelms me.
5. I hear Jesus declaring, “Greater things have yet to come.”
4. This song was the battle cry for a group of fellow love warriors (you know who you are) who joined with me in Thailand for two weeks that forever changed my life.
3. The line “When glory shines from hearts alive” makes me remember the power of living fully, loving deeply, and seeing beauty.
2. The history of this song declares the destiny that God has for the city in which it was written.
1. Every time I hear this song, I feel as if I am overlooking the city of Pattaya and am reminded of how much Jesus loves this city.
To hear the song complete with video clips from my first trip to Pattaya, check out the video God of this City.