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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Migrant Workers

Check out this video from Mekong Minority Foundation about their program to encourage and assist Burmese migrant workers that come to Chiang Rai.  I love it!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Just a few days short of 7 months in Thailand, I have my own sweet little space.

My first home in Thailand was with the gracious Coats family where I stayed and on whom I was completely dependent for three weeks, even while they were grieving the loss of their Dad/Grandpa.  They have been just as gracious every day since.  Then it was to a one-room dormitory where I passed my neighbor laundry man everyday on my walk to Thai class.  He was the first person to wave and try to talk with me in Thai everyday.  "Hello!  Where are you off to?"  "I'm going to study..."  Well, that was usually as far as our conversation got.  I'd like to go back and talk to him now that I can use more than a sprinkle of words.  Every Saturday morning I ate breakfast with Nit's precious family even if they had other company, and spent some quality time playing with her boys or throwing berries at each other from the tree out front.

After three months, I was blessed with the opportunity to house-sit for the wonderful Golin family who went home for the summer.  They let me take up their space and use their things, and even decrease their office by half to store my fridge and washing machine after they came back.  

And then the terrific opportunity to serve Pete and Mary as they went home to settle their last son into his first year at college.  Watching their home and dog was a close as I've been to really "home" here yet.  They have taken me into their family and lives and I am blessed by them everyday, even in their absence.

And everyday so thankful for the opportunity to be here.  I am so thankful for each of you who support me regularly or irregularly, and all of you who pray and follow my journey here.  And now I'm looking forward to this new chapter and everything it will bring...

Monday, September 5, 2011

Turn Left At The Pineapple

The building address system here remains a profound mystery to me.  A sprinkle of numbers and slashes, a few unpronounceable words, some commas and dots and abbreviations, and you've got an address.  Trouble is, it does little to help you actually figure out where your house is located on the planet.

Business cards here don't have the address of their establishment, they have a map drawn on one side.  See, because in order to get anywhere, you have to know how to get there from somewhere else.  Your friend doesn't tell you how to find their house with an address.  (You can't Google Map it anyway.)  They'll casually explain, in their normal everyday voice, "You know that coffee shop where we stopped last week after going to the bed sheet store?  Well if you go from there down the street opposite from the clock tower, keep going straight until you see a large pineapple and turn left.  You'll pass a shop selling tires [they failed to mention that there are two shops selling tires caddy-corner to each other] where you turn right about half way before you get to a video rental place.  My house is about 400 meters down and has a purple gate [matching the gates of several neighbors]."  

Right.  All I have to do is figure out where the bed sheet store was, retrace my steps back to the coffee shop, and start looking for pineapples and tires.  Oh yeah.  The bed sheet store is around the corner from the noodle shop where we went that one time...

So, I am filled with wonder when that little red metal box attached to the outer surface of the gate in front of the house is not empty.  Mail.  How on earth did it know to turn left at the pineapple?

Today, as I pulled up to the house I am watching for another week, I noticed with astonishment a manilla envelope peeking out of their red mailbox.  I unpacked my car from the day, carrying two large bags, a laptop, a coffee cup and two umbrellas and keys, and leaned over just right so my thumb and forefinger could slide the envelope out of the slot.  Slid open the gate, jumped over the mud.  Said hello to the dogs, unlocked the door.  Plopped everything down.  

And that's when I noticed:  the envelope was addressed to me!  Not only did it find it's way from Seattle to Thailand, but it made it's way through the cryptic corridors of the Thailand Post to Chiang Rai, my friend's house!  My mail (only the second piece I've gotten since coming) came to their house.  I'm calling it a bona fide miracle.

What's more, the envelope was full of notes from all of you who have been thinking of me and praying for me over the last several months.  What a precious gift that the Lord knew I needed.  Thanks so much for your encouragement, prayers, and blessings.  Sometimes I feel pretty far left of the pineapple, and pretty out of touch from so many of you that I love and miss.  What a wonderful gift for the Lord to bring you all the way to me today.