November 28, 2006

Meditating Frogs??

Well, yesterday, I had another bathroom adventure, but this time it wasn't in the hill tribe village, it was in our bathroom at home.

After I woke up, I went into our bathroom and I saw something that looked like a nest growing in the bathroom corner, above the bathroom door. I thought maybe it was a spider's nest or a termite nest because we've had problems with termites before. I got closer, but not too close, to get a better look, and I was positive it was a nest. I told Tawm to come and look at it, but it was our day off, so she wasn't in a hurry to look. I returned to the bathroom later in the morning and the nest was still there. I asked Tawm, "Have you looked at this nest?" And she said no. She went into the bathroom and said, that's not a nest, it’s a brown frog. In Thai it is called a meditating frog because it can sit in the same place for hours without moving. I didn't believe her, it looked so much like a nest but later on when I went to get rid of it, there it was sitting on the toilet seat. I armed myself with a bucket, a lid and a shower hose. After about 5 minutes of spraying, chasing, giving the occasional yell (I can’t scream) and more spraying and chasing, I got the frog into the bucket, put the lid on the bucket and quickly disposed of it outside making sure not to touch it (didn't want to get any warts). After everything was finished, I felt like a warrior, but Tawm didn’t think I had done anything special.

Although, I have never had a frog in the bathroom, it isn't the strangest thing I have had in a room here in Thailand. No, I am not talking about Tawm (or me if that is what you were thinking)! Shortly after we were married, I woke up and heard something making noise in our bedroom. I was scared that it was a rat and so I turned the light on to investigate and to my surprise and delight, it wasn't a rat, it was a crab and we weren't anywhere near any water! That night I simply opened the door and it walked out of the room and in the morning, we never saw it again.
Although catching amimals makes me feel kinda manly, I hope I don’t have to chase or catch any other strange animals in our house anytime soon. I don't know if my heart can take it.

November 24, 2006

City Folk versus Country Folk

Since I grew up in a small city, I have always classified myself as a city kid. If I had to live on a farm, I don't know how I would survive because I have trouble changing a light bulb sometimes. However, the disparity between city folk and country folk isn't just a phenomenon that happens in North America. Case in point, the last time we went out to the hilltribe village. Tawm and I bought some rice because the rice from the mountain tastes better than the stuff you buy in the store. However, it needs to be sifted before you can eat. The hilltribe girls were masters of sifting. As they swirled the rice around on the plate, the bad rice would rise to the top and they could sort it easily. It looked so easy, Tawm wanted to give it a go. During her first attempt, the rice was like it was glued to the plate, it barely moved at all. Hence, the hilltribe ladies gave another demonstration. During her second go, the rice moved, but some of it moved all the way to the ground. Tawm blames it on her sore thumb, I think it is because she lives in the city. I didn't even try, because I know that if I tried, the chickens would be eating more of the rice than we would.

The AfterMath

November 22, 2006

Roughin It

When we head out to the hilltribe village, it always feels a little bit like we are going camping. Although we don't sleep in tents and the students prepare our meals, it feels like we are roughin' it. We are privileged to have pretty good bathrooms in the village, although you may not think the same by looking at this picture of the bathroom. This bathroom has four walls,it is relatively enclosed, the holes in the wall are pretty small. The only people that would be able to see anything inside would be someone that wanted to peek and came right up to the wall to look. (Hasn't happened yet at least to my knowledge!!) Going to the bathroom can be a touch experience if you are paranoid that people are watching. A couple of the villages I have been to, the bathrooms aren't this good. When you go to the bathroom, pretty much the whole village could see into the bathroom, no matter where a person is standing in the village. The good thing about that is you are able to see the whole village as you go to the bathroom too! Whenever I go to the village, I thank God for the four walls around the bathroom. As you travel in the villages, you really begin to thank God for the little things in life. However, when we get back home, one of the first things I always want to do is close the door and have some privacy.

November 21, 2006

An inside view

Although the bathrooms in the village can be a little daunting at first, an experienced village person can grow quite accustomed to the facilities in the middle of nowhere. All you need is some strong legs and good balance, and you are set to go. The most complicated part is the flushing part because the toilets don't have a flusher. You and your trusty bucket are the flusher. It all works pretty easily, you just have to know which bin of water to take the water from. In most bathrooms, there is one bin of water for flushing, one for bathing. One must be sure to use the right bucket, because the hilltribe people don't really like it when you use the bathing bucket to flush and it is a little embarrassing when you find out you have been using the toilet bucket to bathe. But, like I said, an experienced person learns quickly!!

November 17, 2006

Teaching the Girls

This time when we went out to the village, Tawm and Susan taught the girls about how to prepare lesson plans and the qualifications of a teacher

Student at the Bible School

Thanks to Rusty and Susan for taking all these pictures wile we were in the village (I forgot my camera at home). I really like this picture, I think it captures the students hunger to study and know the truth.

Teaching the guys

While the ladies were teaching the ladies. Rusty and I had the guys. Rusty taught the guys in the mornings. He taught on sermon preperation and qualifications of a pastor. I taught in the afternoon on salvation.

Buu and his garden

Buu requested this picture too!

Tawm with Buu (Grandpa)

When we go out to the village every month, one of the people we look most forward to seeing is Buu which means Granpa in Thai. Buu has a great personality, loves to laugh and talk even if you have no idea what he is saying. Buu is the man that donated the land to build the school in the hill tribe village. Buu reads his Bible everyday and when we go out to the village to teach, he usually sits in on classes too. Buu really likes Tawm as Tawm can speak a Northern Thai dialect to talk with him. The month before when we went out to the village without Tawm, Buu kept asking where Tawm was. Unlike most older people, Buu really likes to have his picture taken and he asked if he could have his picture taken with Tawm.

November 16, 2006

Grandpa in the Village

More Great News!!

This past Monday through Wednesday, we travelled to the Hilltribe village to teach at the Bible School there. Tawm and Susand taught the women, Rusty and I taught the men. We had a very good time, even enjoyed the cool weather (Tawm and I had to wear long sleeved shirts!). Rusty taught on homiletics (sermon preparation) in the morning. In the afternoon I reviewed salvation and talked a little bit about baptism. As I taught, some students started asking questions about salvationn and baptism which made me begin to question their salvation. We quickly gathered all the guys and girls together and had them share their testimonies. As they shared, some said they had never made the decision to put their trust or faith in Christ. Others shared things that weren't scriptural. In total there were 4 students. As a result, the gospel was shared more clearly with these 4 students as dinner was prepared and all 4 made the decision to put their faith in Christ.
Statistics say that many hilltribe villages are evangelized. This may be true as most hilltribe people admit they are Christian but most of these villages have no idea what salvation is. They think since they live in a Christian family or are baptized they are saved. I am quickly realizing how much work needs to be done in these villages and how much they need correct Biblical teaching. Please pray for Dixon, Noot, Monday and Beauty, the four 1st year students that put their faith in Christ and that the true gospel will be preached in the hilltribe villages around Thailand.

November 10, 2006

It's Beginning to Feel a lot Like Christmas...

Since Thai people don't celebrate Christmas and Thailand has never had snow, you need to look for other things that make you think of Christmas. The holiday that feels like Christmas most here in Thailand is the Loy Gratong Festival, although there is no family get togethers, turkey, presents or celebration of Christ's birth. Loy Gratong is a 3 day festival during November's full moon. The most important night is the night that the moon is full. On that night, when it starts to get dark, people come out of their homes and light candles all around their property. When all the candles are lit, it looks like Christmas lights but the lights only last for one night. Although it kinda feels like Christmas, the reason for having this festival has nothing to do with Christ's birth. People light candles in order to bring blessings on the people living in the house and so that people will have a longer life. On this night, there are lots of fireworks and firecrackers (which are illegal all year except during Loy Gratong). People like to throw firecrackers at people's feet to scare them, especially foreigners. Thai people do this for fun, Chinese people do it to scare off any evil spirits. Unlike North America where they have noise laws, here the celebration and the noise goes on until all hours of the night. You just have to put up with it.

Fire Balloons

One thing people do often in Thailand, especially at Loy Gratong, is send balloons into the sky. The balloons work like hot air balloons. People light some sort of wick and hold on to the balloon until the air inside heats up and then they release the balloons. The balloons go high up into the sky before running out of fuel and then they come tumbling back down out of the sky. On Loy Gratong Day, you will see hundreds of these balloons in the air. If you are ever coming to visit us here in Thailand, make sure you do not fly on this day as it is very dangerous with all these fire balloons flying through the air.

November 07, 2006

Ministry Battle Wounds

   Last week, after living with pain for awhile, Tawm went to the doctor to get her thumb checked. As it turns out, her thumb has a hairline crack and as a result, Tawm has to wear a cast until Wednesday this week, that's if her thumb heals properly. How did this happen? I am sad to say, it happened all because of me and my competitive nature. Near the end of VBS we played a game of chair ball. A game similar to basketball, but instead of a stationary hoop, you have a team member standing on a chair with a basket, and that person moves the basket around so that people can get the ball in the basket. It helps inaccurate shooters a lot. I haven't played basketball in a long while, and living in Thailand, I am kind of like Yao Ming (a really tall guy from a foreign country). I was soaking in the glory of swatting everyone's shots away when Tawm came up to shoot. The thought "not in my house" came to mind as a jumped to swat away her shot. I was successful, except my follow through was a little too strong, and the ball along with my hand bent Tawm's thumb back and as a result broke her thumb. Tawm tried to endure the pain thinking nothing was wrong, but after a number of days she finally decided to get it checked. It is her right hand and as a result, she can't drive a car or a motorbike, can't really write and has trouble doing a lot of other things too. It has helped her realize how blessed she is to have 2 working hands and she can't wait to get her hand out of the cast. As the story spreads around friends and family here in Thailand, it will probably be something I will never live down.

November 03, 2006

Open House Ceremony

Today I thought I would put up some pictures about life here in Thailand. Soemtimes living here, feels kind of like home. The traffic, McDonald's Pizza Hut and the other modern immenities of life, but pretty often, different things happen that remind you, that you are long ways from Kansas, or in my case Canada. Yesterday, we attended an open house ceremony of one of Tawm's high school friends, it also happened to be her engagement and wedding day. (I will talk about that stuff in a later post). The idea sounds very western, opening up your house for people to come and take a look around the place. People always have this ceremony when they move into a new place. Typically, in Thailand, any ceremony includes monks. For this particular ceremony, 5 monks came and chanted for a long while and then they gave a blessing to house and the people living in that house. They also went around sprinkling water at different place on the property and on people as a form of blessing. They also put a Buddhist drawing above the door to ward off any evil spirits or ghosts. Life sure is different.

Another Open House Pic


Spirit House Dedication

Along with the other events of the day, there was also the spirit house dedication. We knew that it would be happening and we tried to come late so we didn't have to be there for the dedication, but in typical Thai fashion, the dedication started late and as a result, we were right on time. I took the opportunity to take some pictures to put here on our blog. The whole idea of the spirit house is kind of hard to understand because I have heard so many different versions of what the spirit house is for, but I will share the version I think is the real one and stick to it. (Mainly because this is what my family here has told me). The spirit house is an important part of a Thai household (if that household is Buddhist). The spirit house is put up with the idea of good spirits dwelling there in order to protect the property, even when the landowners aren't there. Along with that, the good spirits also protect the people living in the house. Strong Buddhists, will bring food, drinks or flowers to the spirit house daily trying to keep the good spirits happy. Although most houses have a spirit house, from my observation, they seem to be losing importance. Spirit houses are not only put up at houses but at places where lots of accidents happen or other important places. Even western stores put up spirit houses in maintaining with Thai culture. Atlhough they seem to be less important, it is still very bad to do anything to a spirit house. Thais have a specific manner of removing a spirit house, and is good follow the appropriate ways of having the house removed, even as a Christian so that othere Buddhists are not offended.

Another Dedication Pic