Laughter and Miracles
The older lady with the brightly flowered dress and jaunty hat climbed into my taxi, followed by her white-haired husband, who wore neon turquoise capris. She looked cheerful and friendly — just the person to practice my Thai on.
“Suwadee Kha,” I said.
She grinned and said, “No money.”
I was taken aback. Was she begging? Did she think I was selling something?
“No money?” I repeated stupidly.
She stared blankly at me for a moment, then broke into loud, boisterous laughter.
“No money! Hahahahahahahah.”
Her husband held his sides, cracking up with laughter, too.
A young lady sitting next to me leaned over, her eyes laughing, but her face politely serious. “She say ‘Good-morning’ in English.’”
Well, it sounded like “No money,” to me, but I could see how she meant it as ‘Good morning.’”
Meanwhile, the older couple were still slapping their knees and laughing. I laughed, too. What else could I do?
Finally she calmed down enough to say, “Ohio?”
I was surprised, but thought maybe she had a relative there.
“No, Oklahoma,” I answered. She looked at me blankly.
The helpful young lady leaned over again, still valiantly trying not to laugh. “She say ‘good morning’ in Japanese. She from Japan.”
Japanese! So much for practicing Thai.
I gave up on trying to talk to her, but the rest of the journey she would look at me, look at her husband and say, “No money.” That would set them both off to peals of laughter. As we got off the taxi she said, “Good-bye — No money. Hahahahaha.”
Well, I probably brightened her day, but that wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I prayed earlier that morning that the Lord would use me to be a blessing to someone.
After language school I lingered by the nail salon. I love having my nails done here, since it is cheap and leaves me feeling pampered. Today was the last day before I would have to hurry home to teach English. It was the day for a manicure. Two ladies rushed out to lure me in — a change since they were usually busy. But I said, “Not today.” I went on — wondering why I did that. I just didn’t feel I ought to take the time. I sped on through the market and made my way to the taxi stand. There were two white taxis, so I headed for the nearest one.
“Where you go?” a man asked.
“Mae Rim,” I replied.
“No, no,” he said. “You get on this one.” He took me by the arm and steered me toward the second taxi. I knew they both went my way, but I figured if he really wanted to take me, I’d go in his taxi. I climbed in and settled down to wait for the taxi to fill so we could leave.
A young man got in, looked at me and said in careful English, “Hello. Where are you from?”
Often people will try to practice their English on me — with frequent embarrassing results when I can’t understand them. (No money!) But I smiled and answered. He spoke English well and explained that he was going to volunteer at a school in the mountains.
“I volunteer, too,” I said. “I help in a children’s home.”
“Why do you come to Thailand, and not someplace else?” he asked.
“God led us here,” I told him. His head jerked up and he looked at me intently.
“How do you know that?” he asked.
I explained how He gave us a concern for the people of Thailand, and how we left our home and security with no problem, because God is good and we trust Him to care for us. He asked more questions, and I was able to give my testimony and share the Gospel with him.
“God sent a miracle,” he said, his voice awed. “I was forgetting God and He sent you to remind me.”
He went on to tell me his story. He “did something bad” and went to prison for three months. There a Christian missionary held services every Sunday, and he was saved.
“When I was in prison, I read the Bible they gave me every day,” he said. “After I got out, I kept reading it. But after a while, I did not read. I began to forget about God. I wasn’t happy. I went to parties and drank alcohol, but I did not enjoy it any more. I was on holiday, but I thought, “I don’t enjoy this. I will go early to the school.”
That’s why he was on the taxi that day — the taxi a strange man, who turned out NOT to be the driver of the taxi, had steered me to. The taxi I climbed into at the time I planned to be getting a manicure.
We talked about the importance of Bible study and prayer and attending church to stay close to God. He agreed and said there is a church in the village where he is going to teach.
As I got out, he shook my hand, and with shining eyes said, “God sent you as a miracle to remind me. Now I won’t forget.”
I walked up the mountain road to home, feeling humbled and happy. God had heard my prayer. What a joy to be a part of a miracle!
Blessings from Thailand,