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  • Susan Brown

Blue Teeth and Bad Hair

It’s difficult to be gracious when your teeth are blue….

I knew Molly’s teacher would be coming over to see me this afternoon after school, so I planned to spend all afternoon scrubbing the place up, then fixing my hair, putting on make-up, etc. First things first, though. Too often my devotions keep getting put off as I do “one more thing” and then are hurried or even missed. The same thing happens with studying Thai. I moved these items to my “do first” list. I had a good time with the Lord and a profitable time studying Thai.

By the time I finished, my early morning breakfast had disappeared and I decided to fix a snack before started the housework. I had a special treat – cottage cheese blended with frozen blueberries and my sugar alternative. All of these ingredients are hard to find here, so I was preparing to enjoy it to the full. I had just taken a few bites when Molly arrived with her teacher! I had no idea she would come during school hours. I endeavored to be gracious and welcoming, but was painfully aware that Molly brought her through the back door, which was littered with shoes and gave a full view of the kitchen with every dish I own dirty and on the counter. (I don’t have many, but they were all dirty.) I had a bad suspicion that my hair was standing on end, but an even worse fear that my teeth were blue from the blueberries.

I hastily straightened the cover of the couch and invited the teacher to have a seat – which was a mistake. She speaks English, but a very basic version. I tried again, “Please sit down.” She looked relieved and sat. She refused all offers of refreshment and we had a short chat about Molly and her progress.

“She speaks English well,” the teacher said. I was glad to hear her give this praise in Molly’s hearing.

We had reached the point of discussing how many children we have and where they stay. I began to fear that I would have to show the house, which is not in a condition to be shown.

But a knock at the door revealed another teacher with a camera. He would like to take my picture, he said. So I stood with my arm around Molly and my hair standing up in disarray – and possibly blue teeth. But I smiled and thought about how even at my best I’m not photogenic. The picture can’t turn out much worse than usual. I hope. They left soon afterward to visit other homes..

How do my good intentions go so wrong? My house is not hard to keep clean, since it is fairly small and we don’t have much stuff. I could easily have had it in apple pie order if I had done the cleaning first – and could have washed my hair, too. In fact, in another hour or so it would have been done.

But, again, I’m reminded that my part is to obey. If I put first things first, the Lord will take care of the consequences. After all, it wasn’t bad enough to call in the Thai equivalent of the health department, so I think the only damage was to my pride.

And He gives grace to the humble. Maybe I would be insufferably proud and know-it-all if I didn’t continually make mistakes and get myself into awkward situations. Perhaps the Lord keeps arranging the little humiliations because He would rather have me embarrassed than vain and self-centered.

And maybe it’s another little practice session of shaking off the things that aren’t important in order to focus on the things that are of eternal value – like children and people who are poor and needy. And souls. There are so many here in Thailand that are totally unreached by the Gospel. Statistics I’ve read say that less than 1% of the people here are Christians. Most of those are Hill Tribes rather than Thai. Spending time with the Lord and working on the language so I can share the Gospel are eternal things.

Blue teeth and bad hair – are not.

Blessings from Thailand,



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