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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Come Awake

It's still dark here this morning as I prepare to go to the combined-church sunrise Easter service in Chiang Rai.

He is Risen!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Good Friday

I once heard a sermon on why we call this day "Good Friday".  What's so good about it?  After all, it's the day our Jesus, loving and lovely, was mocked, beaten beyond recognition, suffering physically and spiritually until his final breath.

It makes me think of Peter, who protested his unworthy feet being washed by Jesus just hours before events were set in motion for Jesus to be crucified.  He said Jesus would never wash his feet, to which Jesus replied, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me."

"Then Lord, not just my feet but my hands and head as well!"

It's the ultimate gift: to have seen Jesus humble himself for our sake, take our punishment, die in our place that we may have abundant life.  It truly is the best day all humanity has ever witnessed.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

As Bright As The Promises Of God

Three weeks has passed since the earthquake in Myanmar (Burma).  There are still several thousand people homeless in the aftermath, and without clean drinking water.  It seems as though the earthquake has disrupted something relating to the natural water sources in the area.  Since the quake, the clear streams have now become murky and foul-smelling.

With everything going on, I've been thinking a lot about Myanmar lately - its history and current situation and the battles being fought inside those borders- both physical and spiritual battles. And the history of the Karen people.  I work with Karen people on this side of the border, but the Thai Karen have only been in the country for less than 100 years.  They originated from the Tibetan plains centuries ago and settled in Burma, but they came to Thailand as they fled from the Burmese mountains.

Recently a documentary was released, capturing the plight of the Karen in Burma.  It is a gut-wrenching and heart-breaking story.  You can find the 45 minute video free here: The Road.  Please, please watch.

And the spiritual battles have raged there as well.  Adoniram Judson, missionary to Burma from 1815 to 1850, spent his life in pursuit of Burmese and Karen souls knowing Jesus.  He faced severe hardships, harsh imprisonment, loss of loved ones (including his first wife and second wife and several children), and countless discouraging reasons to quit.  And yet, his course was sure.

"If I had not felt certain that every additional trial was ordered by infinite love and mercy, I could not have survived my accumulated sufferings."

"In spite of sorrow, loss, and pain, Our course be onward still; We sow on Burmah's barren plain, We reap on Zion's hill."

"The prospects are bright as the promises of God."

I'm not sure how these thoughts fit together.  The earthquake seems to have shaken up more than just the geography - it has shaken up my heart and mind to ponder the history of a nation so acquainted with suffering, and yet marked by God's grace.  Oh Lord, I pray for Burma.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Practice Makes Perfect

Last week was my big debut into animal health training in Thailand.  I took 3 days off of language study and went with Peter and Boon up to Doi Wawee again to hold a training for the villagers selected by their communities.  We had approximately 10 people on the first day, the second and third days we lost a couple, but gained a couple of people brought along by other participants.

Practicing observing a group of buffalo in a rice paddy.

Peter helping to read the thermometer after a successful data collection on a pig.
They were most interested in learning about diarrhea and pneumonia in cattle and pigs, so that's what we taught about.  Everything from dissecting a pig (which we later ate in a curry over rice) to see the lungs and intestines, to learning how to take a temperature, to doing a physical exam by observing the animal far away, to using flow charts to determine the best antibiotic to give, to outdoor hands-on practice of giving injections.  It was a great time, and I learned as much as everyone else.  I even learned some new words and got to practice my Thai!

With some Karen ladies who kindly let us give their pigs injections for practice.