Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Thailand- Day #2 & 3

Day 2:
Our second day started out with more soccer (unfortunately I didn't take any pictures this day... not sure why!). Only this time, we actually got to play! Definitely a highlight for me as I've always loved soccer but haven't played in years. The school that the camp kids attended, held a little 'end of camp' tournament and had us adults play against the kids. There were a couple of guys matches and a couple of girls matches. I got to play on the women's team along with Karen Sanchez, some of the YWAM girls & a couple of Thai ladies. It was a blast and I must say, those little Thai girls were pretty darn good soccer players! :) By the end of it, I was drenched in sweat and completely out of breath. Its tough playing sports in intense heat & humidity! Jon also played with the adult guys' team & had a lot of fun, and both of our adult teams ended up winning the tournament. The school even handed out trophies! ;)
It was awesome getting to interact with the kids that way, and I quickly realized just one more reason I love sports-- they're the great neutralizer. In those moments of running up and down the field & scoring goals, it didn't matter that there was a significant language barrier. We could just enjoy a common interest and have fun doing it, without battling through not being able to speak with each other. I think both Jon and I could really see ourselves enjoying some sort of sports ministry in the future.

After the soccer game, we grabbed some lunch, had a bit of free time, and then met back at TLC (The Life Centre-- Team 2000's original Bangsaen church plant) to participate in the Friday night Slum ministry that Carmen Owen has started. Carmen is one of Team 2000's missionaries and she took us to a slum community that is literally just a block or two away from TLC church. The TLC team has a ministry where they go and provide the slum kids with crafts, games & songs on Friday nights and then also take that time, to interact with the parents in the community. Seeing as the day had been long & hot for Callie (and she desperately needed a nap), Jon stayed back with her at the guest house so that I could experience the slum ministry. He had a chance to do it when he was in Thailand 6 years ago and knew that I would enjoy it. I was so thankful I got to go! It was incredibly eye-opening to see the conditions that some of the Thai people have to live in, and yet, they're still so happy & friendly & inviting. The evening was full of coloring activity pages with the kids, playing catch with a beach ball, teaching them a worship song in English & spending time with the parents that were standing by. My heart broke for the people I met that night and I still have vivid thoughts of the kid's faces from that evening. It warmed my heart to see the love that Carmen & the other TLC team members have for these local people and how they are showing that love in such a practical way.

Next up was a "pizza & pop night" with the ALH kids. ALH stands for Abundant Life House and is the orphanage that Karen Sanchez has started in Chonburi. Its specifically for orphans with AIDS and we got the opportunity to go and see the orphanage and interact with the kids there. Much to our disappointment, this happened to be Callie's "fall-apart" night and we ended up having to leave early due to a VERY unhappy & overtired little girl. But in the short time we did have there, Jon enjoyed shooting hoops with the teenage boys from the orphanage & getting to connect through the sport he loves most.
Highlight from Day #2: For me, it was definitely getting to play soccer again, as well as being involved with the slum ministry. While at the slums, I had an awesome one on one talk with Carmen, and just really felt like God spoke into my heart through her. A lot of my fears & anxieties about going into missions full-time, were put to rest because of things she said to me. Very much a God-thing, and very much appreciated.

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Day 3:
Andy (Carmen's husband) took us on a tour of one of the local Buddhist temples. The main attraction, and most ironic part of this temple, is the section of "heaven & hell." The concept of heaven & hell are not a part of Buddhist beliefs typically and so the fact that they have a whole area of the temple grounds, dedicated to this is very interesting. I didn't take any pictures of that part of the temple because quite frankly, it was the most graphic and horrifying thing I have ever seen.
In it, they have sculpture after sculpture of intensely graphic "consequences" of sins in this life. Each sculpture had a plaque in front of it, explaining that "if you commit the sin of... (blank) then you will be condemned to... (blank)." I honestly can't even begin to explain just how graphic and just how terrible these images were. Andy explained that he wasn't showing us this section of the temple to creep us out, but to show us just how powerful Buddhism is in Thailand, and the intense barrier they're dealing with as Christian missionaries there. The Thai people NEED Jesus in a big way and this part of the temple made that especially clear.
Pretty much as soon as we entered the temple grounds, Jon decided to take Callie back out to the main entrance to wait because we didn't want our little girl seeing such awful things. So I toured through with the rest of the team, but after getting part way through "hell," I had to turn around and leave because it became too much to handle.
And the thing I found the most interesting is that the "hell" section was so big, whereas the "heaven" section was very small and not really all that "heaven-like." It was just a few statues of the "good-gods" and very unspecific. It really saddened me to see just how much negativity is drilled into the Thai Buddhists, when they could be experiencing true freedom in Christ.

Entering the Buddhist temple grounds... not exactly the most "inviting" sight ;)




Our team walking through the temple grounds...

After seeing so many grotesque sculptures & negative images, I decided I would take pictures of more 'happy' things... like the beautiful flowers :)



Riding the song-tao...
After the temple we went to the Chonburi market to do some authentic Thai shopping. Then it was time for lunch...

One of my favorite dishes while we were in Thailand...
Roasted duck & prawn Pad Thai. SO delicious!

On the ride back to the guest house, Callie fell asleep in Jon's arms. Just more proof of how flexible she was throughout the trip...


And this was her bed during our time in Thailand...
our suitcase!

She loved it and always went right to sleep when we put her in it :)

Then, after supper it was time for the 'Angsila Christmas Extravaganza'. Team 2000's church plant in Angsila, put on a big Christmas event for the people in the community. It was a huge success! So many people came out and they had everything from singing, to door prizes, to hip-hop dancing & break dancing. It was a really fun evening and the entire street was filled with Thai adults & children...


Some of the ALH girls doing a hip-hop dance...

Angsila Church...

More flexibility from our munchkin.
How she slept through all the noise & excitement is beyond me :)
Highlight from Day 3: Getting to see the community of Angsila come together for the Christmas Extravaganza was extremely heart-warming. Everyone had such a good time and it made me smile to see little Thai kids dancing in the street & enjoying all the music and fun. The whole event was just such a neat experience.

7 comments:

Sonja said...

Thanks for sharing! Your writing just brings this all to life!

Niki said...

So often I take for granted the freedom that we have in Christ. That "hell" section of the temple grounds really seems to put it into perspective...

Again, thanks for sharing! I'm enjoying your writing.

Kelsie-Lynn said...

I really love hearing more about your trip. I met Ricki years ago at Bethany and since then Team 2000 has always been on my heart so hearing about there ministry is very exciting. It has grown and changed so much since I met him. Its encouraging to know that God is at work in such an amazing way.
I also love Callie's suitcase bed, what a great idea. And her arms behind her head is too cute!

Jen Glen said...

I can definitely see the rolls in those pictures!!! She hides them well. :)

thecolorplaid said...

callie = cutie in a suitcase! that is so hilarious

this heaven/hell place you speak of sounds ridiculous and freaky! oh so sad. :(

Erich, Naomi, Konrad, Ava and Calvin said...

Interesting stuff, I'm glad you decided to protect Callie from the temple, you never know what kind of things little babies dream and think about. I love her bed and seeing her little chubby body sleeping, I have to admit I have the cutest niece in the world! So when are you guys coming over to tell us more about your trip?

Yvonne and Eric said...

Thanks for sharing about your trip so far! I need to remember to visit your blog more often. Callie is such a sweetie and I'm glad she slept so well for you.