It has officially been 7 months that I’ve lived here in Thailand! WoOhOo!
This weekend was fun because we celebrated Songkran. It is the traditional Thai New Year and supposedly represents a sort of cleansing as people run around throwing water on others and smearing on face paint [however, nowadays it seems like a 3-day excuse to get drunk and party]. We would line the street and toss buckets of ICE COLD water on passing motorcyclists and trucks full of people. We had water guns, water balloons, the hose on full blast, and great aim! ;) I especially enjoyed when our girls and the Weber boys collectively ran up to trucks full of people and poured frigid water on them; the reactions were priceless! LOL
In contrast to this exciting weekend, I have to confess that with 7 months passed, I naturally started to feel bored. Initially I was uncomfortable even admitting that I was bored. Shouldn’t I be thankful for this opportunity to shape these kids’ lives and live out the gospel in a foreign land? However, the Hope House was starting to feel too confining, and the days too routine, and the faces too familiar. I finally admitted to my prayer team my feelings of needing change.
As it so happened, in the first week of April we packed our bags and took a 14-hour road trip up to the Northern Hope House to pick up our newest member, Wiit. She is 14 years old and the oldest sister of Star, Ruby, and Lucy. Now, all four of these sisters get to live together as family. :) The road trip was exciting and I expected that a change of scenery and routine would snap me out of my “boredom.” Up North we met some more amazing people who are following the direction of God in their lives and making a huge difference to many children and families in Thailand. One lady in particular, Kathy, was someone with whom I connected. I helped her teach English to Thai students in First grade and Third grade. Kathy has a magnetic spirit, so helping her with English and chatting with her over dinner was a joy!
As new as this experience was, I found myself getting easily irritated and snapping at fellow team members. Spending time in a new environment for a week had not cured my boredom and more than before I was seeing myself allow my pride to divide our team. We returned back south to Kabinburi and I confided in my best friend about this ugly problem of pride staring me in the face. She challenged me to do a Reflective Prayer Model, that is, to take some time to identify the heart issues at work in my moments of irritation, and to confess them to God. With her encouragement and empathy, I took up the challenge!
The Lord revealed to me not only my pride that refused to give preference to others, but also a boastfulness that filled my head with thoughts like: “I would never act like that” and “At least, I know how to keep control of my emotions.” In my pride and boastfulness I began to withhold love (which I learned was also sinful). However, love is a free entity. When I refused to give love, I clutched it tighter to my chest and it transformed into a different sentiment -bitterness. The Holy Spirit would speak to me as I mulled over my bitter thoughts, but I did not want to give love or forgiveness to those who hurt me. Turning my face away from the voice of the Holy Spirit allowed darker thoughts to come into my mind, thoughts like: “God is dissapointed in you because you are immature and refuse to listen to Him. He has wasted His time trying to teach someone so hard-headed. He’s done trying, might as well give up on you!
Thank God that He came to my rescue and when I repented, He forgave me. I asked for the power of Christ to fight wrong thoughts and attitudes in my heart that had a strong hold over me and for His help to stay in the love of God.
God answered my prayer amazingly this week! I feel so full with the goodness of God because He is helping me to make war against pride. I’m studying the incredible prophecies of Daniel. The events leading up to the coming Messiah were so detailed and the number of days so precise that it is truly amazing how God is sovereign over every movement in history. And as I study Ephesians I am reminded that, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.” Praise God! As I read D.A. Carson’s How Long, O Lord?: Reflections on Evil and Suffering it ties in perfectly with this week of remembering Christ’s suffering on the cross for the salvation of many. “Since the children (human beings) have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might break the power of him who holds the power of death — that is, the devil — and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Hebrews 2:14–15).
So, Happy Resurrection Day everybody! I hope you all are equally blessed as you remember God sending His Son, Jesus the Christ, to die on the cross for our sins so that we would not have to experience the wrath of God and separation from Him. Now we who were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ and we celebrate Jesus rising from the dead three days later. Praise God that He had the victory over sin and death. This assures me that God can also help me experience victory over the sin nature with which that I still battle. Nothing is too hard for God. “…We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37–39).
Ps. I will add some extra pictures of the girls and the events at the Hope House