Friday, August 28, 2009

Reflecting.

Being the sentimental person that I am, I've been reflecting and thinking about all the last things that I'm experiencing as my time closes out in Thailand. Last Friday. Last time at the mall. Last time in church (for the record, this one is going to take place this Sunday and I'm sure it will be a tearful day). I said good-bye on Sunday to a friend I just met two months ago; she's returning to the States tomorrow. I also said good-bye to a missionary family from Australia. They returned to Australia this past Tuesday. I plan on saying good-bye to their daughter this Sunday. On and on these good-byes go. I've been thinking about how sweet Heaven is going to be - no more good-byes!!!

But in the midst of all the good-byes and the flurry of last things, I am anticipating several hellos, including meeting my two-month-old niece! I can't wait to see and hug my family and friends. Being back in a church service is going to be a precious time. I'm looking forward to driving my own car again and eating a cheese steak. I set such high ambitions, don't I:).

As I finish out my last week in Thailand, I stand back in awe and remember all that the LORD has done this past year. From meeting new people to seeing closed doors open, God has blessed in an immeasurable way and He allowed me to get in on all of it! I can't thank the Lord enough for this opportunity to serve Him in Thailand. My desire would be to return to Thailand some day, but I am stepping on that plane next week knowing that I've been in His perfect will each step of the way. And it just doesn't get any sweeter than that!


"Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes."
~Psalm 119:68

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Praise And Thanksgiving.

It's been a good day. I've been amazed -- once again! -- by the mercies of God. Isn't He good? His timing is just right -- as always -- and He worked out something that I never even thought of as a possibility. Without going into details, I just wanted to take this opportunity to praise the Lord for His great faithfulness and love.

Today was also a good day because of being in the house of God. It's Mother's Day in Thailand and I was so blessed by the way the Thai people honored their moms. As I listened to their testimonies (translated into English!), I began to cry as I thought about my mom and what she means to me.

  • She loves God. I couldn't ask for anything else! My mom has been so faithful to the Lord since she became a Christian and has the testimony of being a faithful prayer warrior. Several times throughout the day, I would glance into our sitting room and see my mom kneeling at a chair as she brings before the Lord her husband, children, grandchildren, other relatives, expectant ladies, church family, missionary requests, special outreaches, and a host of other things. I've prayed for someone/something and then stopped after a couple of days, while my mom has prayed over the same request for months on end.
  • She loves me. My mom once told me, "Anne, I've given you to the Lord." Love is the reason behind that statement. I know my mom loves me, and every good-bye we say is completed with a "Be careful, I love you." I also know she loves me because she hasn't tried to hold me back from following after the Lord and the path I believe He's leading me on. That is one of my greatest treasures.
  • She makes me laugh. My brothers can attest to this one. We always say, "Mom is so cute because...." and then we'll relate something she did or said. Or one of my favorite "mom" quotes is: "You may be taller than me, but I'm still Mother!" Which is completely true:).
  • She has endured suffering. If you know my mom at all, then you'll know life hasn't (and isn't) always been easy. I look to my mom and admire her endurance, strength, and stamina. My mom's endurance has also taught me not to complain. I do, but then I think about my mom and realize I have it easy.
  • She communicates faithfully. If I haven't heard from my mom in a while, then I know there's something wrong. Whether it's a chatty e-mail filled with inconsequential details or talking with her on the phone, I know my mom will cover the bases in keeping me connected with everyone/everything I might know.
  • She is considerate. I would never think to do half of what my mom does for other people: bringing a treat to her Sunday school table because it's someone's birthday, taking the time to sit down and write a letter to a missionary she's never met, getting together a little goodie bag of mints and other treats for some kids, talking to a complete stranger while out and about with my dad and finding out interesting facts about that person, driving 50 miles (one way) to pick up an older relative so she can come to a family function, taking a 1,400 mile trip over a 3-day period just to see some faraway grandkids, being sensitive to the needs of a lactose-intolerant grandson by making him his own special apple cake, preparing a special gift for my pastor's granddaughter every year because they share the same birthday and on and on I could go.

Mom, I know you will read this and I want to publicly honor you for all that you've done and all that you do for us as a family. I am so blessed that YOU are my mom and I love you very much. I haven't seen you in a year, but am so grateful for all that you've done for me, even while I've been in Thailand. I love you, Mom.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Border Trip.

A few team members and I went to the Thai border on Tuesday and returned today - a whirlwind of a trip, but much took place while we were there! Below is a video of about 20 men unloading a container packed full of boxes containing God's Word in a regional language:


video

There is nothing quite as thrilling as seeing God's Word printed in a different language! Of course unloading the container was just half the job. We don't want to keep "the seed in the barn" and so we started distributing some of the books this morning, which was a real blessing to do.

While passing out these booklets, five of us were walking down a muddy, rain-soaked road, attempting to reach some more people. I was trying to stay out of the mud puddles (as much as possible) and as I took a step on what I thought was solid ground, my left foot sunk into a pile of mud... sandal and all! Good thing I got that pedicure last night;). There was nothing else to do besides pull my mud-covered foot out and keep walking down the road. It was pretty funny to see! We just continued down the road (*squish, squish*) until some kids had compassion on me and threw a bucket of water (already used once for soaking fish!) all over my legs and feet. Those little kids got down and did a pretty good job cleaning up my sandals and feet! I don't think anyone got a picture, although I did see a video camera come out... of course!

Lest you think that was the only embarrassing thing I did today, I have another rather amusing story to dispel any thoughts on that matter:). As we drove home today, we stopped at a rest stop that included several little shops, a gas station, and a 7-Eleven store. I had just woken up right before we stopped, so apparently I was still sleeping when this incident took place:). I walked over to the 7-Eleven store and waited for the doors to slide open. That's what happens at the 7-Eleven right down the street from my house, so I guess subconsciously I was expecting the same thing here. I knew the doors opened because I saw people inside, so I just kept walking up to the door waiting for them to open. My mortification was deep when a smiling store employee came over and pushed open the door for me! I'm sure I turned five different shades of red while the Thai people (customers and employees!) all tried not to laugh at the farong who couldn't open the door.

*Sigh*

Just another day in the life of Anne:).

Monday, August 3, 2009

Yet Another Cultural Experience!

The Land of Smiles offers many things: good Thai food, cheap foot massages, accessible public transportation, and a host of others things.

But.

One thing it does not offer are refunds. As in may I have my money back?

Case in point - One of my co-workers was going to the mall to take care of some business for Bro. Tom, so two of us decided to send along with her two things that needed to be mailed back to the States. I gave my co-worker 200 baht (approximately $6.00) to cover a birthday package for my nephew. I figured if it was more than that, I could always send it home with Ben who is heading home next Tuesday and he could mail it.

After my co-worker mailed my package, she called me up and said it was actually 400 baht (approximately $12.00 and 200 baht more than I wanted to pay). I asked her to see if she could get the package back and waited for her to call back. She did so and said this to me: "The lady at the post office said you could have your package back, but not your money."

Umm, I'm sorry? Why in the world would I want my package back without the money? It would be like making an unnecessary donation to the postal system of Thailand. Uh, no thanks!

Another time I was shopping at Food Land (clever title for a grocery store, don't you think?) and I looked at a price wrong. I didn't realize it until after the transaction was made and so while I was still in the store, I went to the customer service desk and explained my mistake. The lady just looked at me and proceeded to explain that they couldn't give me back my money. After making a big enough fuss (I was dealing with almost $10.00), they finally told me in hush, hush terms that they were going to make one huge exception for me since they knew I came grocery shopping every week.

We've all made this mistake at one point or another and have pretty much come to terms with the fact that Thailand is good for many things, but not refunds! Apparently it's a foreign concept:).

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Random, Useless Information (aka a survey)!

1. What time did you get up this morning? 8:40... gotta love those early morning phone calls! (Especially since we tumbled into bed at 2 AM)

2. How do you like your steak? Ok, confession: I never had an entire steak by myself until I came to Thailand. Isn't that weird? Anyway, I prefer my well done:).

3. What is your favorite TV show? When we had a tv, it was Little House on the Prairie.

4. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Hmm, not quite sure yet!

5. What did you have for breakfast? Toast with peanut butter.

6. What’s your favorite cuisine? Based on the amounts of Mexican food I've consumed recently, I suppose that must be it!

7. What foods do you dislike? Curry of any kind. Tried it and it tastes like dish soap to me.

8. Where is your favorite place to eat? In Thailand it would have to be Que Pasa - we happened to go there tonight so my mind is on that;).

9. What is your favorite salad dressing? It's a toss-up between Ranch and Thousand Island.

10. What kind of vehicle do you drive? Nothing at the moment! In the States it's a Toyota Corolla.

11. What are your favorite clothes? Jean skirt and a comfy shirt.

12. Where would you visit if you had the chance? Scotland.

13. Is the cup half empty or half full? Half full.

14. Where would you want to retire? Retire?

15. What is your favorite time of the day? Early evening.

16. Where were you born? Allentown, PA.

17. What is your favorite sport to watch? Football for sure!

18. Are you a bird watcher? Only if the bird happens to be right in front of me.

19. Are you a morning person or a night person? Definitely night. I tried the whole morning thing and it just didn't work for me.

20. What did you want to be where you were little? A teacher.

21. What’s your best childhood memory? Playing with my siblings. Seriously! I loved running down to the park just a couple of blocks away with them:).

22. Do you always wear your seat belt? Ok, another confession: I always do in the States, but the only time I wear a seat belt in Thailand is when I'm in the front seat.

23. Do you have any pet peeves? People who cluster around an entryway, thereby blocking it for other people.

24. Favorite type of pizza? Cheese and pepperoni. I cannot wait to have some real, honest-to-goodness gooey pepperoni pizza when I return to the States! Pizza Hut here in Thailand just doesn't cut it:).

25. Favorite flower? I don't know the name of it, but there is a pretty, pink-tinted flower that grows all over Thailand.

26. Favorite ice cream? Midnight Brownie from Swenson's. Mmmm, mmmm!

27. Have you done anything spontaneous lately? I walked to 7-Eleven tonight. Does that count?

28. Do you like your job? Yes, for sure!

29. Do you like broccoli? Oh yes, especially cooked.