Proverbs 15:33 “The fear of The Lord teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor.”
We have been blessed this month to take some time and go down south for a vacation. We needed the time to just connect as a family, have some fun and unwind. Our littlest boy, isn’t so little anymore. Connor turned the big 13 and for a Mother’s Day gift he decided to grow taller than me. I am officially the shortest one in the family now.
We also want to share about some other amazing missionary families we have been getting to know. God is placing some great people in our lives that bless us with their wisdom. It is so cool to learn from many different cultures and points of view while realizing we are all together in one family under Christ Jesus. It is good to encourage each other and uphold each other in prayer for the work God calls us all to with the many challenges we all face.
The journey of faith is challenging, not because we lack the understanding of what The Lord is teaching or asking of us or that He is far away from us, but because our ideals, expectations, pride and ego can take grip in any moment and sweep over us like a wave and turn our eyes and hearts away from Him. To continually walk with Him hand in hand, moment by moment is a rich opportunity and privilege we should always be thankful for. We have been reminded of how incredibly awesome our Father is through His Holy Spirit, His Word and His children. When we struggle to keep our head above water, God is working in ways we may never know about. And why do we need to know if God is working the ways we want Him to anyway? What a selfish thought. It isn’t about us at all, it is about revealing His kingdom to the many in this world so they can know their Creator Father.
Being in missions here in Thailand we came with many assumptions and expectations, and truthfully, very few of them were accurate in the least. Especially the ideals we had about ourselves and our faith being so easily, for lack of a better term, transferable here. There are so many different parts of the equation we really had to stop and ask some hard questions. In doing this we have realized many things but we will only mention two.
Time. God does not work on our time table and wants us to notice His ways, plans, and directions. We see the needs, the awesome ministries people are doing, the great vast ocean calling just jump in. Do. Do for the sake of doing, even if it’s the best idea in the world, without God’s voice and hand in it, it will fail. It fails because it is out of our own strength and own glory. We felt The Lord teaching us to wait and learn. Earn the respect and trust. So we continue building relationships with the beautiful Thai people God has placed around us. Listening.
Change. Like Paul said, I become all things to all people so to win some for The Lord. We have learned about some Thai social structures and behaviours that don’t completely fit into well…some of our personality traits. To be Thai is to be Jai yen which is to be cool, calm hearted. This is shown in your body language and speech. I was talking to two new Thai friends and then realized I didn’t know where my car was. I said in Thai “rot yuu thiinay kha” and my friends smiled. Then as energetic as I usually am, wildly flung my arms into the air saying with a loud voice and smile “where’s my car? ” My friends smiles quickly changed, and I knew the instant I said it and the way I said it was not good. Thankfully Thais are very forgiving. However, we realize we have to leave some of our personality at home because it is not socially acceptable. This may seem easy, and no big deal, but it is very difficult. We aren’t aware of how many things are just reactive impulses until we have to stop and think about everything first.
The verse in proverbs spoke very loudly to us because it reminded us to keep our eyes on Jesus and walk hand in hand, moment by moment with Him. If we do this He will open the doors and He will reveal Himself in power and He will build the trust and He will establish His kingdom. It reminded us as well, we are here as Christ’s servants and here to be servants to the Thai people. We need to strip ourselves of any pride or ego or any other things that may be hindering and accept with joy things we need to change. To completely humble ourselves so that Christ is visible through us. These are good things because we want to live lives of Christ’s compassion, love, mercy, joy and grace. We receive it from him all the time and we just want the Thais to know that freedom and unconditional embrace of The one true living God.
We have been in Thailand for about 5 months now, and as I write this I am enjoying sitting in our house escaping the heat and sipping on some cold water to rejuvenate my body from being bombarded with the sun all day. My Canadian friends and family are, as they read this, plotting my demise from across the ocean for even mentioning hot weather. We have been enjoying motorcycle weather for the entire time we have been here. We have seen things that are so exotic, and we have done things that leave us each time saying, “only in Thailand”. It is pretty amazing living here and every day, literally brings something new our way. We are starting to get a small understanding of the Thai language. (In fact we took our car to a mechanic today and had to do the whole transaction in Thai…woo hoo WIN). We post pictures on facebook that look like these ones (below) because most of the time we are excited and happy to be here…at least NOW we are.
But it wasn’t always the case in this last 5 months. As I write to you, I am now writing from the perspective of a survivor of culture shock. I have been unraveled, torn, wrung out, and trampled as my heart and mind have tried desperately to hold on.
I know, it sounds really melodramatic, and to be fair it probably is. What can I say, I’m artistic.
But the reality is even though we were told it would happen, when approximately it would happen, and even how it would feel, I feel like I was not really believing it would happen to us. But it did, as it does for everyone in some way who lives cross culturally. We are not unique, but our story of it is and I want to share it with you. Continue reading