Sunday at Long Koad
The children lined up with eager faces, holding their bowls. They had a special treat for Sunday morning breakfast. Ramen noodles — or their equivalent. Yes, Brother Anond went down the line handing out a package of noodles to each child. They poured the noodles and the seasoning, which was, no doubt, spicier than our Ramen noodles, into their bowls. Then they lined up to have hot water poured into the bowl from the big pan on the bench. They ate those noodles with as much enjoyment as if they were eating waffles and bacon!
Only one sad face in the group. Su Pucket, our smiley four-year-old, sat dejectedly staring at his empty bowl. He wiped his arm across his eyes, trying not to cry.
“What’s the matter with Su Pucket?” I asked. And I heard the sad story. He and three-year-old Arlong were having a great time spitting their noodles at each other, so Brother Anond took their treat away from them. Arlong wasn’t much concerned and was eating his ordinary breakfast of rice and vegetables with enjoyment. Su Pucket had already finished his rice and was mournfully watching others enjoy their noodles. He looked so woebegone that I wanted to give him back his noodles with just a reminder to not spit out his food in the future. I restrained myself, though. Brother Anond assured me he would save the treat and give it to them at lunch, if they promised to eat their food correctly from now on.
A young woman I hadn’t seen before was in the breakfast line. She was carrying a little boy in a sling on her back. I peaked into the sling and was horrified to see the worst skin condition I have ever seen. The baby had caked, red skin and looked so miserable as he stared at me with big, sad eyes. It turns out this woman brought her child for Anond to treat, but Anond sent her to the doctor with someone who could translate into Thai for her.
“The doctor say not serious,” Anond said. “She live in a place in the mountains where it is cold. She not like to give him bath because the water cold. No hot water. She take care, he get better.”
I was not completely satisfied with this diagnosis, but he assured me the doctor had given her a cream to use and she will stay a few days to make sure the child is getting better. This is another small example of what the mission here does — although these good works aren’t the type that usually find their way into reports to churches. To the child, though, this service is a very big thing!
After the children had their treat, we loaded up into the tiny rental car, picked up the Camps at the condo and headed out to Long Koad. All the village churches want us to come for a service, but we are limited to the ones which are at lower elevations. The little car can’t make it up the steep slopes where most of the villages are located.
As I unfolded myself from the too-small space in the back seat where I had been riding, my friend Pa Li came running out to meet me. She gave me an enthusiastic hug. What a blessing to be greeted so warmly! A surprisingly large group for this tiny church were gathered to greet us with handshakes and “Aboo i jah.”
We were late, but it didn’t seem to matter. The folks here don’t live at the dictates of the clock, as we do at home. It’s handy that you don’t have to worry about people being upset if you aren’t there on time. It’s a bit aggravating on the other side, though, when you are the one left waiting. I figure I will learn lessons of patience while I am here!
We heard a son by Pa Li and her husband, the pastor,Se Lah. Pa Li is a noted singer, but she and Se Lah parted company more than once during the song, singing in different keys. She was so embarrassed. I wished I could tell not to worry about it. Not being able to communicate is such a handicap!
Then a guy with a guitar and wildly uncombed hair sang a couple of songs which sounded exactly like country/western songs (only in La Hu), and the congregation sang several more. Paul preached a good message and we headed home. For some reason we don’t eat at Long Koad. We headed back into Chiang Mai for lunch.
We ate at Duke’s, which specializes in Western food for tourists. I enjoyed a hamburger, which actually tasted like a burger!
We dropped the Camps off at the condo and then went to the biggest mall to try to find a solution to our Internet problem. The phone line hasn’t been repaired since the line was stolen, and we don’t know when we will ever get Internet. After a l-o-n-g wait we finally bought a little gadget. It does work, but is painfully slow. Poor Anond was exhausted, but waited with us without complaint. He had preached several times at a youth retreat over the weekend before a busy Sunday of travel and translating.
We got home late from our long day. No Bible school tomorrow because it is Monday, and no ladies’ Bible study because they are having a big meeting for all the churches. They will be discussing plans for the Bible conference. The ladies will be meeting, too, to discuss food and to plan their specials. I thought of our own Bible conferences at Sherwood and the love and planning that went into them. Some things are, indeed, the same the world over!
Blessings from Thailand,
Blessings from Thailand,