I know I promised to write something about goats and green trucks last time I posted but it will just have to wait until next time. I would like to share with you some other things
Being in Thailand is hard sometimes. No, I am not referring to the 80-90 degree weather in the middle of January and the bright sunny skies. I am talking about being away from family and friends. I can take the cold baths and washing my clothes by hand. I can eat rice and vegetables three times a day. I can handle getting covered in poo when diarrhea overcomes the little girl I am holding. No problem! What’s difficult is not getting to sit down at the kitchen table and have a good ol’chat with my mom. Its difficult not getting to visit my brother as he roasts coffee at Dunn Brothers and do crossword puzzles with him. I miss eating Sunday dinner with my family and friends. I miss working in the garage with my dad in the freezing cold of December. Its difficult. I miss getting to watch my little nephew grow up and learn to say things like my name. I don’t get to go out for coffee with my besty friends or stay up late talking with them.
So its difficult sometimes and I miss a lot of things. So why am I here in Thailand serving at Bamboo School? I don’t have to be here. I could be home. I could be building a career or something like that. But God didn’t call me to take the easy road. (Luke 14:25-33) Being a Christian means doing the hard things and taking the bumpy roads for the sake of sharing the gospel (2 Corinthians 6:4-10 and Matthew 28:18-20)). It means being true to what one believes and the salvation that we have received through Christ. No hypocrisy or halfhearted living. We have a race to run! (1 Corinthians 9:26-27)
I recently traveled to Vientiane, Laos to get a new visa and then spent some time in Bangkok. I noticed a lot of young travelers out on a gap year after high school or traveling around the world after finishing university. All of them were very excited to be out and about, seeing new things and going exotic places, but they were all traveling with friends, staying in guesthouses, eating at restaurants and visiting touristy places. It hit me that they were all excited to be in Laos or Thailand but were not actually connecting with these places. They just hopped from one business that serves foreigners to another. They weren’t doing anything for the places or the people they visited except provide a little income.
It would be easy to live one’s life without caring about the rest of the world, or anyone else or those that are less fortunate than us. That’s the easy road, not caring or doing anything about the things that bother us. As a young, 23 year old, most of my peers are out there doing nothing with their lives. A few of them are pursuing careers or are starting to build their own families but most of them are out there “living it up”. Going out and being free by drinking their guts out and doing the partying scene. They think that they are being rebellious against society and anarchist by getting wasted. “Take that world! I am free enough to give control of of myself over to whatever I want! You’ll never own me!” This is the lie they believe and fall for.
It would be pretty easy to forget the cries of hurting people not hear them with loud, mixed, techno music thumping in your ear dancing on on a dark floor - unless you happened to come face to face with those hurting people.
I went out with some new Thai friends for dinner in Bangkok. They took me to a club after wards. As I was sitting there, I kept trying to decide why in the world was I there. There was no appeal in this place to me at all. Everyone around me was laughing, drinking, and dancing together. Singing out loudly together to the music. It seemed like a very merry time, but all I could remember or think about were the kids I left behind at Bamboo School. For this? I remembered their voices singing in worship together in the early morning hours. I thought about all of their stories. For example, the little seven year old boy who walked across the Burmese border after his parents had been killed the Burmese military. He had had nowhere to go. That's how he end at Bamboo School. I thought of little Dokmai whose mother left her abandoned at the hospital or the pregnant mother whose husband left her for another. She had no money to take care of her son and the baby that was on its way and no home.
So that's where the danger lies. It lies in connecting with people and children face to face, living where they live and living how they live because it forces us to make a choice between taking the easy road or actually doing something. Dangerous! Satan has done a pretty good job of distracting my peers by filling them up with myths that drinking and partying means that they are free. That traveling places means that they are doing something with their lives. If half my peers that are traveling around the world actually took time to do something for the people that they pay to visit and/or fill up their glasses than this world would already be a lot different. Hopefully, it would be for God's glory.