2013 is the year I fell in love with Thailand.
It took me awhile to wrap my head around the implications of what I have just recently realized after living in Thailand for over 2 years. Now, I am ready to put pen to paper (or put my fingers on the keyboard), and begin marking my thoughts on a blank page that has been haunting me for weeks.
Before Jason and I got married we already knew we were going to Thailand. We knew we would be serving in fulltime ministry. Though Jason has been in the ministry for many years, this would be a leap of faith for me. I have never served fulltime especially in the mission field, which was a very foreign concept to me not too long ago.
Yet despite being armed with the knowledge of where we would be in the very near future, I never did look in-depth into this country even after arriving here. I wasn’t as interested with learning Thai, as I was interested in relearning Chinese despite being branded as a Thai person everywhere we went.
At first, it was funny to me that Thai people thought I am Thai, that they spoke rapid Thai with me, or that they always handed me the Thai menu. Eventually, I got annoyed with this and even at one point felt really angry that I could not communicate. It was the first time, in all my life, that I could not fully express what I wanted to eat or what I was feeling. Adding to this the fact that the Thai people were oblivious to what I was going through and always presumed I was one of them, I felt lost and displaced in a country where people looked just like me but acted and spoke very differently.
Thus, my learning of what it means to be in the ministry began.
I started to learn Thai; but in the beginning, my heart wasn’t fully in it. There was a lot going on in my mind and in my heart — a web of mess I had to untangle that learning a new language was not really in the top priority. My progress was slow and painful, and not only did my frustration grow but I was constantly disheartened to continue learning. However, I also strongly felt that I should not stop. I felt God’s tug on my heart that I have to stay with it, and to stay strong.
And so I did. I stuck on studying Thai.
The perpetual cycle of ups and downs not only in learning Thai but also in understanding the culture and in life just happening really pushed me to the edge of my limits. But without fail, I also felt the steady and stable hand of God. I knew I was on the right track despite feeling defeated.
Then slowly and gently, He opened the eyes of my soul to the reality of what is going on the lives of the Thai people. They are a people who desire to do what is right, whose hearts are bent on pleasing their gods and believe that they are bowing their heads to true gods.
This shatters God’s heart; and as He has shown me, it is shattering mine.
In 2013, I began a journey that crushed my heart for Thailand into pieces and scattered it. It was the year that I genuinely felt the heavy spiritual bondage that has kept the Thai people from seeing Jesus. It was the year that God broke me to unequivocally love them.
I don’t know how or where we can begin to share Jesus in a place where there is only hope of escaping punishment and there are only acts of worship in appeasing gods.
I only know that He is doing something and working out a plan that will initiate the love relationship He longs to share with the Thai people.
I only know that He wants us here today, right now — to love them, to live amongst them and to build relationships with them.
(And oh, I have progressed so much in Thai in the last few months of 2013 that without doubt this was definitely God’s handiwork. I am truly ecstatic to witness what He has in store for Thailand and totally stoked to be a part of it.
Partner with us in this by praying for Thailand, for us and for all the missionaries in the world. I know of missionaries who are in more dangerous and more stressful circumstances than we are here in Thailand. The work can take its toll on His servants, if not for God’s strength many would have already given up.)
January 22, 2014