Friday, January 29, 2010

Thailand- Day 4 & 5

Day 4: One of Team 2000's church plants (Bethel church) is in a rural area called Chachengsao, a little over an hour outside of Chonburi. Dave & Louise Sinclair-Peters are the ones who branched off from the Chonburi team, to get it going. And what a church it is!! Its basically just a roof with partial walls and is located, literally, in "the sticks." :) Its out in the middle of a field and the shanty houses that surround it, aren't much more than slabs of tin & wood thrown together.
But let me tell you... these Thai believers really know how to praise the Lord! There were probably only about 40-45 people (including our team & the YWAM team) but that just added to the close-knit feel of it. The church service was one of the most genuine & touching things I've ever been a part of. Although the worship songs were sung in Thai, they were all songs we knew and we were able to sing along in English. It was moving to watch the mix of Thai & North American people, coming together in worship like that.
One of our team members, Paul, preached the sermon & had it translated for the Thai people. He did a fantastic job! And then after the service, we all cleared out the chairs & set up tables for lunch. I loved the fact that Bethel church always eats together after a service. It brought about such a sense of community.

Getting ready to feast together...

Before digging in, I made sure to ask one of the English-speaking Thai girls, if the food was spicy. She quickly reassured me that it wasn't because they knew that not all of the North Americans would like it. But after one bite of the curry dish, I thought my throat was literally going to start on fire! I laughed and said, "if this is what you call non-spicy, I don't want to know what spicy is!" None the less, the food was incredible and the company, even better.

Jon volunteered to help with the dishes after the meal, but it took a lot of convincing to the sweet Thai ladies that had prepared the meal. They're not quick to accept help :) But eventually, they finally gave in, and thought he was the sweetest thing because of it :)


Some of the Bethel children...

Louise Sinclair-Peters enjoying a little Callie time...
(** Oh, and if you're wondering what is around Callie's neck, it was a little gel-filled bandana that stays cool when you wet it. It was one of the only ways to keep her cool in the scorching heat!)

Sunday evening was spent back at the TLC church in Bangsaen, and was again, a delightful time of praise & worship. We didn't stay in the service for the sermon though because we had the opportunity to go upstairs & help out with the children's ministry. We put on a skit for the kids & then did a craft with them. I quickly realized that pretty much every kid on earth is the same in that they love a good craft that involves stickers & bright colours :) I couldn't wipe the smile off my face as I watched them get creative & chatter in excitement about what they had made.

After church, Ricky gave us a tour of TLC and spent some time sharing their goals & visions for the next years of ministry in Chonburi. So if you think of it, please pray for the missionaries and the ministry they're doing in Thailand. They have hearts of gold and want desperately, to see continual growth in having Thai people come to know the Lord. They will need both prayer & resources to continue the work there, but we know that God is faithful and will meet their needs. I'm excited to see what the Lord is going to do in the years ahead in Thailand!

Highlight from Day #4: For me, (and I know I can speak for Jon as well) being a part of both the Bethel church service, as well as the TLC service, was incredibly special. It was unbelievably beautiful to feel so connected to people we didn't even know & worship the same God, together. The Holy-Spirit is very much living & active in the hearts of the Thai believers and we felt richly blessed to be a part of such an intimate time of worship.
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Day 5: A day at the zoo! Monday was our "day off" so we met up with the YWAM team, as well as the TREK'ers, and enjoyed a day exploring the Sri Racha Tiger Zoo...






Ricky made sure that we got in on all the shows and first up, was the crocodile show. Let's just say... these people must live each day, wondering if today's the day they'll die on the job! I couldn't believe the stuff they did with these crocodiles and had to agree with our teammate Tracy, when she said, "honestly... I will need some serious counselling if we're the one crowd that ends up seeing these people get eaten by a crocodile!"
Thankfully... we didn't :)


Intrigued by the crocs...

Probably the toughest woman I've ever seen...


Hanging on for dear life... the suspense was too much ;)

At the end of the show, you could pay to sit on the crocodile. Ricky jumped at the chance :)
This was something that Ricky would call and "OIT" moment...
... "Only in Thailand!"

Next was the tiger show...

Again, very impressive but I found myself feeling very sorry for these animals...


And last but not least, the elephant show. Probably my favorite of the 3 shows...

Elephant massaging one of the YWAM girls...


Our teammate Cecil, also getting a massage...
just not as pleasant as Leah's :)


Carolyn, another one of our team members, catching a lift...

Jon and I taking a ride on an elephant...

... very fun, but a very bumpy ride!

Baby Callie with Baby elephant... :)
And last but not least, the highlight of the day (especially for Callie!) was getting to play with the baby tigers! It only cost 150 baht (about $5 CAN) to go in the pen, and have your picture taken with them. Callie was entirely taken by these furry little creatures and was surprisingly gentle with them. I thought she would try to pull their hair, but she just stroked them gently and stared in amazement...


The little guy on the ground beside me, kept scratching at my foot & trying to play with it. Guess he was feeling left out... :)


"Can you even believe this!? I'm actually holding a baby tiger!"

There were bunnies in the pen too. Seems random, but a whole lot of cuteness in one place...

Highlight from Day 5: As I said, definitely the baby tigers! Cutest things ever!! :)

~~ STAY TUNED FOR DAY 6 & 7... COMING SOON!!~~

7 comments:

Niki said...

Sounds like Bethel Church was a wonderful experience! I love the sound of two different languages singing the same songs to the same God...nothing quite like it!

Jen Glen said...

I LOVE the picture of you and Jon on the elephant from behind! Getting to pet the baby tiger totally reminds me of petting the lion in South Africa. I think it too was around $5 Canadian and was completely unbelievable! Our lions were a bit bigger than that tiger though! Did it playfully bite you at all?

Bonnie said...

Jen-- Yeah... the little one that kept scratching at my foot, also nibbled my toes a bit. But more scratching & pawing at me than playful biting :)

Paul Nikkel said...

Hey - I see my photography skills on display! (I believe I took the elephant pictures of you while minding Callie.)

Denita Dyck said...

A few things:
1. That food looks AMAZING
2. Those crocodile tamers are insane
3. I want a baby tiger

thecolorplaid said...

woah! those tigers are soooooooo cute!

seriously. i want cuddle them to bits! it would be so cool if they never got big.

Lisa said...

love it. still waiting for some direct quotes from jon....thanks for writing Bonnie. I am waiting for the next installment.