Thursday, May 26, 2011

At Last!

Since we arrived here on August 8, 2004, in just a little over two months, we would have been here seven years. It’s a really long time. We’ve been to many places, going as far south as Prachuab and across the borders of Burma in the north. We’ve checked out hot springs, elephant farms, umbrella stores, silk factories, waterfalls, and the mountains. All the mountains have names that start with “Doi”, the Northern Thai word for mountain. We’ve gone to Doi Suthep, Doi Angkan, Doi Pui, but not the tallest and most imposing of all, “Doi Inthanon”. It wasn’t deliberate. Eng had been there several times because his close friend lives just a few minutes beside the National Park. Some of my sons have gone there to camp. The rest of the family does not seem interested to go there, all except me. Since finding out that it was cool (literally!) and had the highest spot in the whole of Thailand, I wanted to visit it. For years, I waited and asked if we could go. We never did, until last Sunday. YAY! Finally!

We didn’t go to church but started the close to two hours drive instead. Like a child, I was excited. I anticipated the cool air, the beautiful view, the flowers, and all kinds of foliage. It didn’t disappoint. I enjoyed being there. It was quite cool which was a blessing because we’ve been having #3 days. A #3 day for me means it’s so hot, the electric fan setting has to be set to the highest (the 3rd setting) to get some relief from the heat. It’s been an unusual NOT hot season here because it’s been raining a lot but just recently, the #3 days have been frequent. It was a relief to be there. We were invited to join Eng’s friend’s family for a meal so we helped cooked tortillas and dumplings and soon feasted on them. =)

Later, we went to the spot that was supposedly the highest peak in Thailand and stopped at a scenic view point. Ahh, the beautiful panoramic view, the fresh air, the flowers, and the cool breeze made the over six years wait and the two hour drive worth it to be there. Thank you, Papa God! You just create so well! =)

In retrospect, I wish I had laid hands on the ground while I was at the top. Whenever I go to another country, I’ve been purposeful to do that as I pray a blessing for the land. Thankfully, the Lord isn’t bound by time and my prayers now still matter. Please join me in asking that ‘Papa God, you will touch this nation and bless it, that you will bring healing to it. Lord, please draw people to yourself, that they may know who you are and who you should be in their lives. Let revival start, Lord, from this highest place in the whole of Thailand, from the north, all the way to the lowest part and across the country towards the south. Thank you, Lord, for your love for the Thais. You desire for them to be saved. Please, Lord, let it be so.’ Amen.

And please pray for the Hmongs who live on the mountain. The missionary with me shared that there is a spirit of suicide that oppresses them. As she’s heard of many deaths, she’s been praying against the oppression. The next two that attempted to take their lives failed but the third one succeeded. Let’s join her in interceding for the Hmong people not to end their lives but to turn to the one who can save and help them. Thank you!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Six Again

Linda, Eric, Eng, Ethan, and Evan. Eli was out working on a project.
It's good to have Evan back in Chiang Mai. He arrived on Monday, May 16th, and will stay for three weeks, leaving on June 6th. He's here to attend Eric's graduation on June 1st. It's great for all six of us to be together once more. For those who don't know Evan, he's our oldest son. He just finished his 3rd year of post secondary studies in Western New York. He's working on a degree with a double major in English and Writing and minor in Psychology. When he leaves from here, he'll spend the summer in Toronto where he's looking for a job. Depending on the location of his future employment, he may live with us for the summer, or live with his grandparents.

While here, he intends to eat LOTS of Thai food and do a bit of shopping for clothes. With graduation just two weeks away, some of his classmates with graduating siblings are trickling back. Soon he'll be connecting with old friends also. We hope for him to enjoy his time here. We're certainly pleased with the idea that he's here in the flesh and not a virtual image through a Skype call. We are all happy to have him back.

Eric's not shy, not afraid to be bitten by bugs, nor of getting too much sun. In the picture on the right, he's playing with his PSP (a small electronic game gadget). The sun was shining too brightly so he wanted his shirt to give him the shade that he needed to see his game better.

The day after Evan got here was a Thai holiday so we didn't have to go to school. We (except Eng who had to work and Eli who did a filming project with friends) hung out at a National Park and had lunch at an All-You-Can-Eat grilling place. While out near the water, it didn't take long for their personalities to come out. We still have Evan our reader, Eric the gadget player, Eli the extrovert - out with friends, and Ethan the adventurer. It's amazing how uniquely we are all made even in our own family. We have such a creative God!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Why Be Still

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18

I guess because I spent my last Silent Retreat in Thailand at Lanna Resort (since we leave in five weeks); the question crossed my mind as to why God wants us to be still.

For me, it’s because as I choose to be still, LOTS of realizations happen. When I look around me as I sit outside, the beauty of every single creation begin to command my attention. It’s almost like each one is saying, “Look at me! Do you see how intricately I am made? There is an awesome God!” If I have no one or nothing to look at but myself, the fact that my hair is numbered, or that each of my fingerprints are unique stands out. I begin to ponder on how each bird, insect, or ant is sustained. Nature speaks and points to God and even my very cells do it!

Last Friday, as I looked at the stream by the room, I noticed that the water was slower. At times, it was even still. I sat longer and noticed a LOT more. A dark, beautiful, green butterfly flew by. Floating leaves cast beautiful and unusual shadows on the stream’s bed. White butterflies fluttered mischievously and happily. There were several of them. And then there were the long and slim, grayish, brown fish. They swam in unison. Where one turned, the leader, the others followed. They glinted in the light when their bellies swayed ever slightly to the left. Since I was on their right, their leftward slant is when they reflected the sunlight to me. They’re beautiful and fascinating creatures. I followed them with my eyes but I couldn’t make sense of their movements. One moment they were heading upstream and to their left, the next moment, they’re heading speedily in the opposite direction going left or right. Were they purposeless and direction challenged? Didn’t they know what they were doing? They seemed to just be going around in a big circle! Were they going nowhere?

As I continued to remain still, understanding dawned on me, I finally saw it. The leaves floating atop the water cast shadows on the floor of the stream below. As those shadows passed, it frightened the fish beneath them. The fish evaded dark figures that really could do them no harm. They got out of the shadows’ way and changed their swimming direction. How interesting! I wonder how often I’ve evaded something in my life because it scared me. I wonder how much of what scared me couldn’t really do me any harm. I just perceived it that way but I changed course, I retreated, even changed direction. What did I do it for? What were the harmless shadows in my life that directed me elsewhere? Thank you for helping me understand, Papa God. When I became still, I understood them, the fish. When I gaze at you, Lord, as the verses above states, I understand you more, too! I can only reflect you well when I’m facing you. More important, when I’m gazing at you, I become more like you. Amen, that is what I want to do.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Six Left

I will definitely miss the flowers.

I hope in the next six weeks to be purposeful about saying goodbye to Chiang Mai and life as I’ve known it in the last seven years (by the time we leave). I will miss it so much; the flowers, the beauty of the land, and the amazing friends I’ve been so blessed to have. May it be the Lord's will that we come back to work here again in June 2012.

I'll also miss my tree friends at Seven Fountains.

I'm so glad I didn't relent and ease up on the relating, caring, and loving as I was tempted to do in November last year (written about in the November 2, 2010 posting titled "Seven to Go"). Thank you, Papa God. I realize that even though I know I’ll grieve, you have been so good to me. I cannot help but be grateful. What I will miss the most will always remain in my heart, how you loved me through your people. They are precious and beautiful. What a joy to behold!
But most of all, I'll especially miss these!