Monthly Archives: January 2010

Security guards and doctors without municipal borders

Songtaew

One of our security guards is so sweet, so earnest. He spoke to my roommate and I our first day asking if we could write our names down.

He wants to practice English. He capitalizes on every opportunity to speak with us.

“It was a pleasure to talk with you,” he’ll say, beaming.

He also has about 20+ brochures about our Father. I stumbled through the stories about who JC is in my broken Thai and tried to respond in his broken English.

Please pray for him—pray that my language would improve enough to talk to him on a deeper level. Ask that our Father would prepare his heart.

We went to the Sunday Night Walking Street this week. Street (stay tuned for a post about that) It is by far one of my favorite places to go. We took a songtaew (red taxi) and shared it with a couple from Bangkok. They are both doctors who are in Chiang Mai for a research placement. Their English was stellar.

They paid for our fare (there were four of us). This was really sweet and it surprised us. They too seemed like persons of peace. Not just because they paid for our songtaew—mind you.

I’m really praying for an opportunity to meet up with them again

3 Comments

Filed under Life

Popping in and out of chalk drawings

It’s so great to be back in Thailand.

Coming back really has been like stepping back into a movie of my past. I have been regaling my roommate with old recollections I have as we explore the town (It’s more of a re-exploring experience for me). I am sure she is tired of it.

Everywhere I go, my old high school, the night market, the mall–I watch a newsreel, black and white yet oh so colorful, of memories from my past. I stand in a place and the clip plays and I watch the younger version of myself. It sometimes feels like I am Mary Poppins, popping in and out of chalk paintings into a different place and time.

Don’t worry. I am not going crazy or hallucinating nor do I have a mosquito-born illness. Bear with me.

I went up to a look out spot on Doi Suthep (a mountain here) and stumbled upon a little rustic dorm-like retreat place. I can’t place the memory I had there. I vaguely remember going to a youth group camp there back in my early middle school years. But, I am not entirely sure. I very well could have made that memory up.

It’s neat to remember how God grew me here. I feel like such a different person now. Walking through the memories reminds me of His faithfulness, how He has answered prayers and promises that were fulfilled.

I am thrilled with the prospect of making new memories here that I will remember when I am older. (Older as in at least 35).

Someone asked me if I was disappointed I didn’t move somewhere new. The answer is most certainly no. Chiang Mai has been the one place that has consistently felt like home in my years of moving. I can’t describe what a blessing it is to come back.

Now, if you had asked me as a middle or high schooler whether I could have ever imagined myself back here as a 22-year-old, I probably would have told you I couldn’t fathom what it would be like to be that old.

My brother Taylor thinks I am old. You see, when you are in high school, graduating college seems like eons. College goes by faster than high school though. I think he wonders why I am not married yet. Twenty-two is not that old, I tell him.

“Suurrrrreeeeee.”

30 is the new 20. Right?

Don’t every underestimate the God’s ability to use past haunts to remind you of His love, lessons and faithfulness. Maybe take time to revisit places from your past. You may find healing, find a misplaced newsreel memoir and maybe you’ll learn something about yourself.

“We all feel the riddle of the earth without anyone to point it out. The mystery of life is the plainest part of it … Every stone or flower is a hieroglyphic of which we have lost the key ; with every step of our lives we enter into the middle of some story which we are certain to misunderstand,” G.K. Chesterton.

3 Comments

Filed under Beginnings

It’s the Climb

View from my balcony

You know the song, “The Climb,” by Miley Cyrus? I’m not too keen on Miley as an artist or individual, but I can’t help but think about her song now that I am back in my new-old environment.

My last two years of high school we lived near the international school I went to and later graduated from. We had a great house. I had a room with a king size bed and a balcony that faced Doi Kham (a mountain). I loved sitting on the balcony and reading my Bible, praying and contemplating life and its intricacies. I had some great times with the Lord. It was a great time of solace. Those were the times that I felt most keenly the “Sacred Romance” John Eldredge writes about.

Now, I am back in Chiang Mai–my hometown. I’m here not as a high school student in pleated skirts and polos but as a recent college grad with a career. I’ve landed my dream job at 22. I’m not here for play like I was before. I have responsibilities. I am here by myself. I am going to be doing ministry as a single– not a family. I have an awesome, light-filled apartment in a bustling part of town that has several coffee shops and a plethora of eateries. It is very convenient. Where we lived before was kind of out in the boonies.

Guess what? I have a balcony. Actually, in the apartment there are a total of four. Yes. Three of the balconies face a mountain. I almost cried with joy when I first walked into the apartment. It’s more than a balcony–it’s communion with God. I’m reminded of His glory every time I look out. I am reminded of what He has done for me, the lessons I’ve learned and the victories He’s granted. I look out and see the city I love so much.

But this time, the mountain is Doi Suthep, which is a much taller mountain. How fitting that it it’s a bigger mountain. It fits my new role here. There’s more challenge now. With challenge though, there is adventure and we all know how much I love adventures. And adventure, as I’m learning, is the pursuit of a Sacred Romance with God.

So to get back to our teen phenom, several lines in her song, “The Climb” popped out at me.

“There’s always gonna be another mountain.” This has proven true. “I’m always going to want to make it move.” I don’t want to make my mountains move. Instead of looking at mountains as a challenge, look at them as an adventure–a mystery.

Valleys, in the Christian metaphor world, are usually synonymous with low times in life. They are associated with the times you are far from God. “Mountain top experiences” usually denote a time of closeness with God. Mountains can be fearful and make you sit in awe. God is a powerful God. It’s good to have a reverent fear of God. I think that is the beauty of mountains. They make me think of Him and how powerful and awesome He is.

So I don’t want to make my mountains move. I know that mountains can also be an obstacle–in that you have to get around or over them to see the life/future on the other side. It doesn’t really bother me what’s on the other side of Doi Kham and Doi Suthep. As Miley said, “It’s the climb.” It’s not what’s on the other side. It’s the lessons we learn on our climb up the mountain. It’s the intimacy with God that comes from the challenge presented.

It’s the adventure we all crave.

Don’t look at mountains in your life and be dismayed and discouraged. Look at them as a chance to find intimacy, solace and learn lessons in your walk with Christ. It’s about running the race in a manner worthy of winning the prize. The mountains in our lives are there for a reason and a season. Allow God to use them to grow you and remind you how great His love is for you.

1 Comment

Filed under Beginnings