Barefeet, dogs and lizards

WHO WILL GO? Sept 29- Oct 2

Arrived in Chaing Mai Wednesday am. Beautiful smiling faces welcomed us to the Voice of Peace headquarters, where we stayed during our time in this charming city. Neatly manicured trees, shrubs and flowers adorned the streets, with peaks of the Himilayas creating a perfect background.

In the evening we were driven forty-five minutes to the Tribal area in outlying villages. Tropical trees covered the van as it inched its way over the last few hundred feet. Thatched roofs hung over bamboo walls, light peeking though the cracks.

A group sang and played instruments as we entered the simple church making our way to the front. Dr. Buakap, our hostess, told us to leave on our shoes. Although wanting to fit in to the culture here, the sight of bugs, and lizards on the tile floor helped us compromise our earlier desire to conform to the barefoot tradition (Wimps)

Children played in the aisles as dogs wandered around enjoying the companionship. I’d never had an animal in my audience before, making it difficult to keep a straight face. I couldnt help smiling as a large black dog meandered up the aisle towards me and on out the door opening. Meanwhile the profile of another dog sitting in the doorway, as though listening to my talk on self worth, gave rise to a few personal chuckles.

Althought set up as a womens meeting , men arrived as well…several pastors and wives from the surrounding area. What a special opportunity to encourage them in their ministry in the villages.

This was the first time we’d met outside a city so the casual atmosphere, the open air, the sounds of the thick jungle bush all made for new memories.

Contrast that evening with Thursday night when we particpated in a city church gathering. Interpretive dance , a worship team with flags, banners, and a small band set a positive atmosphere for sharing our hearts and singing. (The four of us have been featured as a quartet few times- no laughing please!) At least half of the audience was young people including a group of twenty from RUT (Rise Up Thailand) Christian youth rising up to change their world for Christ. Such courage, boldness and determination they displayed.

Friday mornig, we shared the devotions with the staff at the Voice of Peace office, then off to the Christian hospital to distribute reading material and pray with patients. What an atmosphere with such freedom to share the gospel.

Thais are naturally shy. To see them go from ward to ward sharing the peace of Christ, convinced me that anyone can do this when the love for Him is strong.

More lasting friendships made in this beatiful nation.
Flying on – back to India October 3

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