A Sad Time for Thailand
Sad faces, flags at half mast, and people in mourning black. King Bhumibol Adulyadej died this past week, and the people of Thailand are grieving his passing. We are grieving with them, because the king was a good leader, concerned about the needs of his people. He was a unifying force for the Thais. He also did many good things for the Hill Tribes peoples and was tolerant of Christians.
We are praying for the crown prince who will soon be crowned as king. We ask for your prayers for Thailand as the new king begins his rule.
It’s quiet around the house here. The kids are on their three-week semester break and have gone to visit their families in the mountains. Some went reluctantly, even with tears. We felt hardhearted for making them go, but we feel it’s important for them to keep those family ties.
My list of things to do while the kids are gone is about a mile and a half long. Of course, it’s far too ambitious, but I have been able to accomplish a few things. I organized all my teaching supplies and worked ahead on making flashcards for English class. I also deep cleaned the house. It was so good to get that finished!
On Wednesday morning Paul came in and said, “Change of plans. We’re going to a Thanksgiving service in Pa Tong Eh today.”
We had planned to do shopping and errands and I was at that moment sitting down to write my blog before we left
“Why did they wait so long to invite us?” I asked.
“They asked, but the invitation somehow got lost in translation,” he answered. That happens to us a lot.
“When do we need to leave?”
“In about an hour,” he said.
That was the end of the blog and the plans for the day. I moved into frantic mode and dressed and packed up medicines.
We arrived on time and filed into the simple bamboo and block building with the cement floors. The benches were back-killers, but at least they were sturdy thanks to Cy and Casey Smith. Fixing the benches was one of the many projects they undertook when they visited last March. Before that the benches wobbled. Shaky pews tend to be distracting, especially when you share them with active toddlers.
The little church was filled and the people who couldn’t fit inside sat outside the door and windows to hear the services.
Thanksgiving isn’t relegated to one day here, but the villages take turns hosting the celebrations all through the months of October and November. The one this week was pretty typical with lots of special songs. A children’s home in Chiang Mai heard of the celebration and came to sing and play their unusual instruments, which appeared to be a cross between a recorder and a mini-keyboard. The founder laughingly said, “They don’t know me, but I just came and brought the kids to sing.”
Folks are more casual about those things here.
Evidently that home has no outside support and relies on stray contributions. The kids looked well fed, so I guess they are doing okay.
The church choir had several songs for us and several individuals sang, including our Asa and Ika.
Then Paul preached a good message and we had more music. Lunch was a bit different. Usually, the group eats together outside or under a canopy on homemade bamboo tables. It was raining that day, so the group scattered to eat the holiday food in homes. As guests of honor, we were invited to the home across the street. We had a good meal of the traditional pork balls, wrapped in banana leaves and roasted, and cooked mountain cucumber, bamboo, and other special dishes. For dessert we ate pieces of pomelo, a fruit that looks and tastes somewhat like an overgrown grapefruit. They are tart, but were served with a bowl of coarse, brown sugar for dipping.
We are looking forward to the arrival tonight of friends from America. Robert and Mary Hudson will be flying in about eleven o’clock tonight. Since the kids are still out of school, I will be able to go with them and Paul to Mae Ai for the preachers’ training next week. I help out by teaching English when I am able to go. I’m looking forward to it.
Please pray for us, that the doors to serve will continue to be open as they are now. We have enjoyed freedom and great opportunities to serve our God here in Thailand. It’s our prayer that we can continue to do that in the future!