Friday, March 26, 2010

The Glory of Quiet

When everything comes to a screaming halt and activity ceases, there is a quiet which can be very loud at first, but then settles into a calming stillness. This is a place where one can hear God! The scriptures define it as "waters of rest" (Psalm 23:2); a place of restoration and renewal (vs 3). Other descriptive words come to mind, i.e. His Pavilion, or the Secret Place (Psalm 27:5). Those who inhabit this place are "radiant" (Psalm 34:5). No worry lines or droopy hearts here - GOD is in the midst. And thus there is the "glory of quiet" as one sits in the Presence of the Lord of Hosts and finds rest, restoration, renewal, strength, instruction, comfort and love. One should pass into these places often as we walk through this world for there is nothing in the world which resembles REST! God alone is rest. Here we are abundantly satisfied and drink from the fountain of life itself. What can compare to this?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

So You Went to Thailand?

I never dreamed I would go to Thailand, ever! But as my husband has said to me many times, "Stick with me babe, and we'll go places!" Truer words have never been spoken. My husband is a traveller and I am a homebody, so you can imagine what it takes for me to get on a plane! Yet, we have had the priviledge of meeting so many of God's wonderful people. This indeed is the key to travelling - He has said, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20 And so this is our purpose to go as the Lord leads us and love, encourage, strengthen and support the Lord's people as well as drawing all men to Himself. What a joy and priviledge!

So.....Thailand, a very different place than I imagined. I had some kind of exotic picture in my mind which didn't materialize as we travelled around. Yes, there were exotic places like the Grand Palace in Bangkok and their very fine beaches which we didn't see, but to travel through a bit of the country and see how the people lived wasn't very exotic. Life is hard! Most people are scratching out an existence just trying to survive day to day. They call Thailand "the Land of Smiles." A smile can change everything! A smile can endear you to them! Of course, we were all smiles! The Thai people are very gracious and kind and helpful for the most part. Their greeting, "Saw-wa-di-ka," with folded hands to their forehead and a slight bow speaks so graciously of their welcome. And we were welcomed, cared for and looked after like Kings!

We visited Bangkok the first week and then travelled by bus to Mahasarakam which is north of Bangkok about a 8 hour drive. Then we travelled south beyond Bangkok to a place called Chon Buri which was another 10 hour drive and then back to Bangkok for a few days before leaving for Korea and then home.

Bangkok was a large city, 90% Buddhist, Buddhist government, while 30% of the people claim to be homosexual. It was very strange to see men with men walking down the street, "very public". Stranger still to see men wearing makeup in shops. They call them the "she-males." You would be surpised to see how westernized the world really is even in the out of the way places! I was amazed to find places like Good Year Tires and Mitchelin Tires in Thailand! Yes, McDonalds is standard world-wide, same with Kentucky Fried Chicken but Good Year Tires? Swensens Ice Cream was big in Thailand. They love ice cream and smoothies. The food was great with a few exceptions. A delicacy found in the countryside included ant eggs wrapped in a bananna leaf; or grub worms, maybe roasted grasshoppers. It's all about what you grow up with right? Perfectly normal to the Thai people, just a bit outlandish to our western palates! We visited most of the sites in Bangkok - the Grand Palace which was grand indeed (just like out of the movie - Anna and the King. We visited the many Wats (temples) and took a river cruise on a longboat. We visited the different King's royal palaces and royal barge boats, musuems where we learned the history of Thailand. All very interesting and intriguing. We visited a folk musuem where they demonstrated the different Thai dances and customs which included an elephant ride. And we met some wonderful people who carved out a place in our hearts forever.

Mahasarakam was a University town but definitely more country than city. We visited some friends in YWAM (Youth with a Mission) and learned more about the Christian work in this part of the country. They drove us out into the country to see the rice paddies and visit a "monkey park." We loved it. Learning more of a farmers life and seeing the countryside with its water buffalos and natural terrain was fascinating. Seeing monkeys in the "wild" was also fascinating, although they are flea bitten dirty creatures! AND aggressive! Don't get in their way or they'll bite you! There are many churches springing up all over and it is a joy to hear people worshiping our Lord Jesus in a place where Jesus in not Lord! It must be sweet music to the Lord's ears.

Chong Buri was south near the Gulf of Thailand - there we visited a group of Youth for Christ folks who also were very endearing. We stayed in a family's home and once again they were so very kind to us. Again, another small town very much like Guatemala. Being on the same parallel as Guatemala one can understand why the vegetation, weather, and terrain are so similar. The group put on a special show for us and then the next day we drove to the mountains to a waterfall to baptize some of them. There wasn't water enough at the waterfall so we travelled on to the Gulf of Thailand. Six of the young people committed their lives to the Lord and we rejoiced with them. Taking our leave of them we went on back to Bangkok. And then to Seoul Korea where we spent 13 hours before flying home to Los Angeles.

Seoul, Korea - we had a 13 hour layover so we arranged to meet with a friend and Richard was to speak at her Mongolian church. A lovely group of Mongolians living in Korea welcomed us royally and we enjoyed the presence of the Lord together in their gathering. Many hearts hungry to know the Lord there - we felt very priviledged to join with them.