Drip Drip Drip…Nope, It’s Not the Faucet…

Well, I hope this isn’t too blunt for anyone…the drip drip drip…it’s my nose. Yep, for some reason, Thailand pollen, pollution, smog, dirt, dust, and other things have decided to reek havoc on my nose and throat. I can’t seem to do anything to help it at this point…I’ve already started taking extra vitamin C, wearing a face mask, taking antihistamine, as well as still taking my normal vitamins. I am now driving the motorbike, which could be a big reason for them flaring up so badly. But at this point, it is my only constant form of transportation. In the future, there may not be much access to a car. There’s always public transportation, but that can be pretty inconvenient and expensive (when all added up.) The allergies…eek…absolutely zero fun…all through language class today I kept blowing my nose. By the end, I was more frustrated with my allergies than I was with my inability to read certain words correctly. 🙁 Sad! The weird thing is, ever since I’ve moved here, my allergies have been pretty non-existent. In fact, just last week I was thinking how wonderful it is to not have them here, and what a blessing. Hmmm…another lesson in not putting our hope in something we have here on earth…as well as teaching me to not take advantage of anything that I do have. Learning so many things here…even if they are in small steps…

The month of July looks like it will be completely full. The first week I have the privilege to serve at a camp for our worker’s children…called Camp Buddy…here in my city. It’s only one week, but I’ll get to stay at the camp (camp counselor for 3rd-5th grade girls). I hope I’m not getting myself into something messy with elementary girls. 🙂 I’m sure it will be fun. Then the next week I have a conference for our region (everyone at my training for this region will be there…YAY!) The following week is a conference for new workers on the field, so I’ll see many of my Journeyman friends from training, plus I am again blessed to get to sing on the worship team for that week. The following week is a conference for strategy leaders in the company, where I’ll serve on the childcare team. Whew…that’ll pretty much complete all of July. I think just one week left after that. 

August will bring with it many changes, organizationally and work wise as well. I will have a boss here in the city, as opposed to having one back in America. Also, assignments will probably become more local (as in Asia) instead of “the world.” Things will be changing, and change is always hard, but we are praying that it is all for the better. Many new folks will be moving to this city, I hope in some small way I will be of assistance to them, maybe helping them find where to buy such and such, or just welcoming them to town with a dinner at my house or something. We’ll see…I’m sure He will open doors where needed. 

Thinking of many of you, you are often on my mind and heart. Thank you for your care and thoughts. 

Blessings!

Something More to Share…

Here are some more points from the study I am doing right now. For some reason, it is really really pin-pointing some major things I need to be hearing right now. Maybe it is for you too…I hope so. If you could, please remember me and my relationship with Khun Nira…at the jewelry shop. I hope that I can just listen to Him, follow what He wants me to do, and be tender hearted toward her. Maybe there’s nothing He wants me to do, but I want to be ready if He does. And maybe there’s nothing here for me to do for Him, but I want to be molded and changed and transformed and touched by Him, just as He’s planned for me. Thank you so much for all your thoughts and kind words and encouragements. I hope to hear from you soon…

Blessings! 

From the study:

~When you obey Him, you show that you love Him and trust Him. (trust is something that is coming up over and over in my life right now…a pounding reminder)

~Obedience is the outward expression of your love for Him.

~He is all powerful. He can enable me to do His will. 

~Unless He allows you to see where He is working, you will not see it. When He reveals to you what He is doing around you, that is your invitation to join Him. 

~Frequently the reason we do not join Him is we are not committed to join Him. We are wanting Him to bless us, not to work through us. 

~”What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned that will I do.” Isaiah 46:11

~”Surely, as I have planned so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand…For the Lord Almighty has purposed and who can thwart Him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?” Isaiah 14:24, 27

Motorcy (motor-sigh) and Suuk San Wan Keut…

Well, it’s official…I am crazy…or silly…or just not thinking…or maybe I am thinking…practical? Hmm…can you tell I’m not too sure of myself? 🙂 Here’s the news…motorcycle (really like a scooter) is being lent to me very graciously from my team-member…so I can try it out…get comfortable with it (or never feel comfortable)…just finding out if I can actually handle it. It turns out, transportation may be getting harder here, because of new personnel coming in and not really having enough rot yon (cars), so I thought I’d try another route…the ever present motorcy. There are indeed millions here, everyone drives one, even little 13 and 14 year olds. Hey, if they can do it, so can I, right? Well, I’m giving it a try. It’s really sanook (fun) but a little scary. The more I drive it the more comfortable I get…so I’m sure with time it won’t be so frightening. At the request of many, here I am on “the scooter.” 🙂 I should name it…well maybe not…since it is just borrowed. Maybe if I buy one, then I can name it and get attached. hahaha….anyone who knows me knows that I love to name things…mostly inanimate objects. I know…I’m a strange bird. 

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Khruu Panida took this pic of me, after our class at a fav restaurant of ours…

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Khruu also wanted to take this pic of me. We were getting ready to leave and she said, “Neisha, do you want a picture in the (insert Thai word for this vehicle that I can’t remember right now)?” Me: “Sure!” 🙂 

Khruu Panida also had a birthday just the other day. Suuk san wan keut (happy birthday) to Khruu Panida! One of her other students and I planned a small surprise party, including dinner and bowling. We had fun, and Khruu Panida was really surprised, she said to me, “This year I am very happy. I think the most happy I have ever been on my birthday.” That made it all worth while…

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Khruu Panida and I at dinner…

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Some of her other students getting ready to chow down…MK Restaurant is the place where you order the ingredients and basically make your own soup right at your table…aroy (delicious)…

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To end the day, black light bowling…the two little girls had never gone bowling before. They were hilarious to watch…

Hope you have a GRANDE day!

A Sprinkle…Then Torrential Downpour…

Today was a completely open day. I went to services last night (with my co-worker’s house church…which was really a blessing by the way). So this morning, I didn’t have any plans to go anywhere, except for a nice quiet walk, a talk with some friends with the power of skype, and then meander around to find some more wat’s to photograph and explore. The idea was that I’d hit up 3 or 4 wat’s, since the last two days I haven’t gone. 

I went walking toward the moat, where the old city is located, as well as several wat’s. There was one really large one that I thought I would go to. Didn’t make it that far…

The walk was much farther than I thought it was (according to my handy map). Once I made it to the first small wat, I was sweating, really thirsty, and the bottoms of my feet had blisters. I decided, although this first wat was far smaller in size, I’d check it out…

I took a few shots around the outside, near the back. As I made my way around front, there were some flowers I was admiring. I turned around to look back toward the wat and literally almost jumped out of my skin…a monk was standing in the window area of the wat and was looking right at me! It wasn’t scary in itself, it just startled me. He motioned that I could come in…at first I declined (out of amazement and also the unknown of what’s appropriate with a camera…for that matter…I didn’t even think monks were supposed to be so “forward” with women…but anyways…), I kept walking around the exterior of the building and taking a shot here and there. A minute or two passed…(dialogue in my mind) “What am I thinking? A monk just invited me inside the wat! I’ve never been inside one…and especially not welcomed in by a monk. What am I doing? Of course I wanna go inside!” 

I walked back over to see if he was still there, and he was. I motioned to see if it was still ok to enter. He nodded. A few steps up and then remove the shoes. Deep breathe…

Snap a few shots…nerves tend to get me sometimes, which can be really good…or really bad. In my case, usually when I’m nervous, my images reflect it in a negative way. A few more clicks of the camera…

I looked back at him, sitting near the back of the wat. He motioned for me to come back where he was and sit. Before I knew anything that was going, he had a “brush” sort of tool and was sprinkling me (all of me…including camera) with water from a brass bowl next to him. 

Literally, I had to fight to keep from crying. I don’t know what came over me…I was so shocked and confused…I just sat there. He chanted and sprinkled for a good 30 seconds. Either I was really being blessed, or he was really trying to get the evil spirits out of me…I don’t know which…but it was quite interesting. I just kept thinking, whatever this symbolizes, they actually believe it works. The chanting, the statues in the wat, the offerings, the prayers to cement idols, they believe it. They actually believe it…and here I am…sitting here with a camera…a white girl…in the midst of this ritual…

When the “sprinkles” had stopped, we both sat there, just for a moment, silent. He rose to his feet and began to lead me to a small glass case with several small “buddha’s” and other figurines…100 baht each. Thankfully, I didn’t have to lie to him, I didn’t have money to pay him…only a 5 baht coin in my pocket. He looked disappointed. 

I took a few more shots, and even though he had “told” me he didn’t want his picture taken (like any reasonable photographer) I pushed the limits. 

That was the only wat I made it to today. Whatever actually happened in there (significance wise), affected me. I left apologizing to the Lord (I don’t even know why except to say that I’m sorry that people don’t believe in Him..and that I just saw firsthand what they do believe in…). Walking down the street, I couldn’t contain the “sprinkles” that came from my eyes…

Later…those tiny drops of water turned to a huge storm outside. The rain, although in America is usually depressing to me, is very much a relief here. The skies turn crystal clear and the cool the water and wind bring?…ohh…it’s indescribable. I took a rot deeng (like a public bus/truck) home from the market…and enjoyed every second of getting wet…again…

Today…I felt the drip-drop rain of a false god and later the enveloping rain of the Father, creator of Heaven and Earth. Which do I prefer? Hmm…give me negative 60 seconds and I’ll tell ya…

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Exterior of Wat Phabong…

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Gotta love the Subway advertisement on the back of a tuktuk…

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Another angle…this golden cone had a different statue in each side…

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The elephant tusks were almost as tall as me…

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Sprinkle brush and “the monk who didn’t know I was taking his picture too…” 

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The king’s photo is posted in several places inside the wat…and again…”the monk who didn’t know…” 

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Not good quality because it was dark and far away, but a large painting on the inside wall of the wat…”sacrifice”…

Something to Share…

I’ve been doing a study called “Experiencing God” by Henry Blackaby. It’s amazing how He speaks to us in strange and perfect ways…always sending the right words…right when we need them. Granted, we may go and go and go and not “hear” anything…but then there are times when He chooses to speak…and the words will always be perfect. Here are some notes from the study that have really spoken to me…right when I’ve needed them. I hope these can touch you where you are as well…

~”I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit. Apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

~The right question is not, what is His will for my life, but what is His will?

~We are a “doing” people. We always want to be doing something. Once in a while someone will say, “Don’t just stand there, do something.” I think He is crying out and shouting to us, “Don’t just do something, stand there! Enter into a love relationship with Me. Get to know me. Adjust your life to Me. Let me love you and reveal Myself to you as I work through you.” A time will come when the doing will be called for, but we cannot skip the relationship. 

~We often act as though He tells us what He wants us to do and sends us off all by ourselves to try and do it. Then, any time we need HIm we can call on Him, and He will help us. That is never the biblical picture. 

~When you believe that nothing significant can happen through you, you have said more about your belief in Him than you have said about yourself.

~Don’t measure your life by the world’s standards, He will look for and reward faithfulness whether the person has been given responsibility for little or much. 

~You never find Him asking persons to dream up what they want to do for Him. Submit, wait, watch, join….

~Understanding what He is about to do where I am is more important than telling Him what I want to do for Him.

~Though He likely will not give you a detailed schedule, He will let you know one step at a time how you need to respond to what He is doing.

~He has not changed, He still speaks to His people.

~”He who belongs to Him hears what He says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to Him.” John 8:47

~”Well done good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share Your Master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:21

~He develops my character to match the assignment He has for me.

Blessings on your day….

Open Wide…

Trip (day 3) to a different wat. It’s been interesting, so far, it is a little adventure to find a new wat each day, hunt it down in the crazy city streets, and then see just what it holds. Some are big, some are old and small, most look similar…all are dead. My co-worker went with me today, he said, “How many maps do you know of in America that have churches marked on them?” Interesting thought…

cemetary

In a back corner, secluded behind many other buildings, cars, and piles of trash, lay a cemetery of sorts. “Headstones” line a cement wall and lead to a small yard where it looks like bodies could actually be buried…

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Mirror-less reflections…

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Candles left to burn on a small offering platform (made of two stacked bricks) located in front of a room housing 4 large buddha (golden) statues…the green wax flows down through the cracks in the cement bricks…

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At first glance I simply thought, “Oh, two locked doors.” This building in the “wat campus” was all boarded up, locks on the doors, etc. As I stood there staring at the intricate doors, the beautiful decor, the heavy lock and chain, and the secrecy of what the doors guarded behind their gold and red designs, it reminded me of a verse…Psalm 81:10 “Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.” If we but “open wide,” unlock our guarded and decorated hearts, that He might come and fill us…and not just fill us with anything ordinary, but fill us with Himself, all that we need, all that we long for, all that is true, more than we imagine. Behind these large and impressive doors (much like our disguised lives) lie things unknown. So, where’s the key? Those who know Him, already hold it. They need nothing more but to “open wide.” A friend actually wrote a song regarding a similar thought…if he happens to read this and cares to comment, I’d be happy to see the lyrics posted. 🙂 

“Put in me what I cannot buy with gold. Put in me, Oh Father, come restore my broken soul. Put in me, what I cannot give myself. Put in me a clean heart….” ~Enter the Worship Circle

Another Day, Another Wat…

Yesterday I took a trip to a wat called Wat Tasatori. It was on my way to work (I looked at my handy-dandy city map) so I just took a short detour. It was really a large “campus” with several buildings…however I haven’t explored any wat very thoroughly. I need to speak with my local friends about what is appropriate and what is not, especially being a woman and having a camera. 🙂 More to come…

wat-tasatori

Wat Tasatori…I like the name…

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Blessings on your day…

Wat-Nira-Som tom…

Lots to include in this little post…

This past weekend I spent with my teacher, Khruu Panida. I stayed at her house (the one she is house-sitting) and we watched t.v. together, played Uno (she won!), made yummy food for a party we had, and talked in English and Thai. 🙂 It was a great time. On Sunday, I got to go to my first all Thai service. I didn’t understand much, but that’s ok. I was able to listen to a lot of Thai and pull out the words that I did recognize. I made my mom’s carrot cake for the party, and despite the changes I had to make (due to lack of availability of ingredients) it still turned out really yummy. 🙂 Khruu Panida LOVED it, as did the other party goers. I think I did well by my mom’s special family recipe…not too bad for a first try. 

I went to visit Khun Nira today…just to say hello and chat. She took me to some of the other shops near her and introduced me to some of her friends that run the other shops, like a clothing store and a purse and shoe shop. We went back to her jewelry store and then she got a phone call. “Can you do me a favor?” she asked. “Sure!” “Well that was Compass Magazine (a local entertainment magazine here) and they want a picture of my jewelry for the ad I’m running. Can you take some?” I happened to have my camera on me…so…there you go. Perfect timing…I think Someone knew what was going on. 🙂 Usually I don’t have my camera with me when I go to visit her (I know, shame on me) but today I did…because I was going to start on my new “project.” There are over 300 wat’s (temples) here in the city. I’m going to try to visit as many as possible, maybe going to one every day, and documenting what I see there. Today was Wat Dab Phai.

Tonight, I went to a pizza parlor…called 8 Inches. Yummy eggplant, black olive, and basil pizza. Who knew Asian’s had the homemade pizza thing down? They must have known I was coming…I don’t think I could live somewhere without pizza. 🙂 

Also, one more thing…I’ve started a new study…very very good. And thoroughly applicable for me right now. Again…Someone must know what’s needed at this moment and time in my life…

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Khruu Panida is making som tom…a really common dish here…baby papaya, shrimp, spicy peppers, lime juice, tomato, all mixed together…really yummy. Some of her other students stand by and watch…

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The early beginnings of the spicy dish…

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Khun Nira in her cute little jewelry shop…I’m grateful for the opportunity to get to know her…

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Wat Dab Phai…broken elephant trunk…

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This wat had several buildings, including this small prayer area, the main wat building, and a “holy well”…

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Shoes removed…

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Complete chaang (elephant)…

 

Blessings!

Sunrise and A Pretty Lunch…

This morning, I woke up early to get a ride to the office. My co-worker and I have been working on a video from North Africa, he (the videographer) and I are creating a short movie that will play at the SBC Conference this coming summer. He’s working so hard on it…I hope he saw the sunrise this morning…it was lovely enough to whisk away a lot of worry and stress.

Later, I went to a birthday lunch for his wife’s birthday. It was lovely…and the food? Very yummy. Happy Birthday to my sweet friend (2nd mom) Susan. 🙂 

sunrise

Sunrise from my living room window…

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Crazy good slushy made by the hostess…have to learn how to make this…

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The birthday girl herself, serving up some couscous salad…

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The whole gang…

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Gorgeous flowers to decorate the table…

Hope your day is blessed…