Debrief after Thailand

Thailand, what to say. I didn’t exactly fall head over heals love, but it is a place that grows on you after awhile. When we first arrived, Jason and I were constantly afraid of being pick pocketed. You see signs everywhere warning you about protecting your belongings, and we had read plenty of horror stories online before coming! We were worried about the infamous “lady boys,” the taxi rip offs, the Grand Palace schemes, and being robbed in our hotel room. We were worried about not being able to get around the city, about our bank accounts being locked out, and about getting in trouble for doing something culturally wrong. Pretty much the entire first day there was spent constantly reminding each other about what we needed to look out for! We were the epitome of the conscious and safe tourist. Which also meant that we trusted no one, and we assumed that everyone who looked at us had the intention of harming us.
The second day was quite different. On our second day, we took a trip into the rural parts of Bangkok on a Canal Trip. Ahh the canal trip. Here we did not have to wade through large crowds, merely a peaceful river with the ocasional Thai on a small river boat selling fruit or a bowl of soup.

This is my favorite face in Thailand:
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Certainly, I don’t know much about this woman. Nothing that would lead me to trust her anymore than anyone that we saw in the crowds of Bangkok. I know that she sold us a wonderfully delicious bowl of soup, and I know that she smiled at me when I took her picture. I know that she has an adorable little boy who ran out to meet her at the pier (Butt naked by the way… I will not include pictures of him, in case you were wondering). I know that she had a spirit house built in front of her own, which means that she is a Buddhist. With such little information about her, how can I love her more than all the other faces I saw in the course of a week?

The reason is that for me, she represents all the other faces in Thailand. This woman means that even though there may be darkness in Thailand, there is still hope. If there is one thing that I learned from my week there, it is that there is so much work that needs to be done in Thailand. There are so many lost people, hoping to find peace by making the right sacrifice, meditating in the right way and for the right amount of time, doing good things, and thinking good thoughts. They believe that they are capable of eventually freeing their minds from suffering by concentrating on constantly and thinking what is good. And I’m not sure why, but when I saw this woman smiling her precious goofy grin on a hot Thursday afternoon, it reminded me that Jesus is capable of bringing the peace that they desire. The difference is that his peace cannot be earned, it can only be accepted. If only this beautiful woman could know how easy it is to be filled with peace.

Well. Now still have no idea what we actually did on the trip, but I’m sure I’ll manage to get another blog out soon enough with some more details. For now, lift a prayer to God and thank him for the free gift of grace that saves us and pray for those in this world who have yet to receive it.

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