Tuesday, January 14, 2014

I love "Sawadee" ... By Juli

Hi all!! Believe it or not our adventure in Thailand is nearing the end! In a lot of ways time has really flown by while every once in a while it feels like we are frozen in time. To be honest Kit and I have been kinda sick lately and it's really hard to pin point if it's the lack of fruits and veggies that's letting our immune system plummet or the over abundance of potential mysterious germs in food. I like to blame it on the former but often question the latter. At those times when you are stuck in a room for days the minutes seem to drag but when we are well and out in the ministry (five days a week) time zooms by like a motorbike on Sukhumvit (main freeway like road that can take you all the way to Bangkok...that we drive, um kinda fast) Currently we are plugging along in our quest to learn more Thai but let me tell you folks, it's not easy. For example the word maa could mean either dog, horse or come...you have to say it with either a rising falling or middle tone to determine the meaning. So if you say the dog and horse are coming it is "maa maa maa" for reals. It really does induce a lot of smiles and chuckles from the Thai people and sometimes that's worth it in itself. One word that I can say with the utmost of confidence is "Sawadee-Ka" ...please repeat... (Ladies) "Sawadee-Ka" (gentlemen) "Sawadee-Krap" Congratulations! You just learned to say "Hello" and "Goodbye" in Thai! What I love most about this is that it is usually paired with a wai. What's a wai?! Well it is a polite gesture to show respect. Please follow:

Place palms together
Lift up to face with thumbs near your nose
Bow ever so slightly
And say "Sawadee"

I think it is beautiful and so exotic from our usual "hey" with a touch of a ghetto head nod. Wai-ing makes me feel a little more Asian and Japanese-y (it's a word I'm sure) The best part is when little kids do it, absolutely adorable. Often the little kids blow you kisses too, love it! 

Also to show even more respect you really draw out the female/male endings (Ka/Krap) and do it in a slightly annoying complaining valley girl accent "Sawadee-Kaaaaaaaaa" There now ou have it! 

These are just a few things we have learned while hitting the streets of Pattaya. Here are some recent pictures of  what kind of mischief we have been up to:
This is Malcom, an English brother with his awesome Kawasaki...yes, this is his service vehicle! (Boys look at what you can take out I the ministry!! Sorry all you moms)
This is where we took break today, notice the shoes? At home it's usually "no shirt, no shoes, no service" but here "no shoes...come on in"
This is inside the little shop/break place. I had left the tract with the woman probably a half hour before and I was so happy to see it still there in the kitchen. Funny thing is when you go to a shop (mechanic/corner mart/restaurant/beauty shop) the people actually live where their shop is. If you peek around you can sometimes see a bed or their tv, a sleeping baby or all of the above. They literally live at work.
You can never be too surprised as to what will be hanging next to the laundry....
We witness to everyone we pass I. The territory. This is a local Thai brother witnessing to a motorbike taxi driver. 
Directly across the way this cute little lady was fully concentrated on reading he Truth Tract. A good percentage of the people we place tracts with will literally sit there and read the whole thing or even read it out loud to a friend.
Now that's a proper baby cradle :)
That's all folks! See you next time! (Side note...the brother on the far right...side side note he drives the coolest bike...is named Bond and his dad used to be a witch doctor before he came into the truth!)


Saturday, January 4, 2014

This and that...by Juli

Sorry all! It seems like it has been a really long time since I blogged! Here is a little this and that to hopefully make you smile :) my Mom told me that a family in their hall include our blog in part of their family worship to help show their kids that reaching out and serving another country can be very fun. This really touched my heart and I feel so flattered that our little adventure could hopefully inspire a little brother or sister to do that when they grow up. So thank you!!!

Today we had the awesome privilege of having our annual pioneer meeting with the local elders. In the picture you see a collection of those who serve in the foreign language group while there was another group of the local Thai pioneers meeting in the library. About half of the people pictured are actually Russian and had the meeting interpreted in Russian. We are a big international group from all the far corners of the earth but with all the same goals and lifestyle. I won't be a spoiler for those who haven't had theirs yet, but as usual it was encouraging us pioneers to keep up with our daily spiritual food, keep following the direction of the faithful slave and take advantage of all the tools given to us, like the website. At one point we talked about how we can't be attached to material possessions and to keep our preaching work at the forefront. At home I would think a need greater in our position has already accomplished not being attached to material things. From looking at our current home you would agree, a single room with the basics, and even a luxury or two. Transportation? A used and abused motorbike that got 3 flat tires this week, yeah not too fancy. But since we still have all of our "stuff" at home this point struck me like never before. I have come to a realization that it is harder than I thought to really give up EVERYTHING. I couldn't even comment when we were asked how we have applied this in our lives because I kept thinking, "I'm guilty..." I really love my little house back home with my unique do-dads that I have collected over the years...my mid century furniture, the class room size chalkboard, the headboard kit and I made, my beautiful yard I practically broke my back fixing up, and thats with out mentioning my most loved possession, Lola, our English Bulldog/child. None of these things in particular have huge monetary value but they are more emotional attachments. So the real question is, can I really forever and ever give up these things? I am going to be brutally honest ladies and gentlemen, this is a tough one and I hope that one day I can cut the emotional cords and be able to give myself fully without hesitation to wherever Jehovah wants me. It's just good to know that even when you think you are doing as much as your current position allows you can always push yourselves a little harder and further and do more and that it is something we all have to work on. 

Here are some more highlights of our daily lives here in Pattaya

Kit and I stumbled across a Buddhist temple {in Bang Saray} where monks lived on the grounds. I was really hesitant feeling like this was overstepping our boundaries, I mean they're monks they don't want to hear about the Bible. But I was with go-get-em Kit and he placed Truth Tracts with some of the Monks! So brave! Then as we were sharing this experience with the brother and sister we were out with they told us that a Thai Elder in the congregation actually learned the truth when he was a monk and also a sister came into the truth when she was a monk because she said that all he monks she was with seemed very unhappy. So this served as a good lesson to us that you really can't hold back the truth from anybody!

My brother in law commented previously that it seemed like we were in paradise here in Thailand based on some pictures I posted on Instagram. This picture shows that in fact most of Pattaya looks like this, but imagine a hot sewage smell, 10 street dogs barking at you along with lots of dog poop and trash you have to hopscotch over....so Joel, not quite paradise. Despite the ambiance when you turn around and everyone you just spoke to is still standing dead in their tracks reading what you gave them you get a happiness that could last a lifetime.

Service break {Bang Saray with Suzanne from Sweden}
 Return visits in the afternoon with Rafa & Lizette...while she was sitting there I was....
Petting this little lady.... A really sweet pit bull wearing a shirt {a lot of dogs where clothes...it may protect them from skin diseases or they are just really classy}
Nothing goes to waste here, old motorbike turned planter....side note...notice the lock on the door? It's really easy to tell which houses are "not at home" because they pad lock their front door or gate. So if it is locked from the outside you know nobody is home and don't need to yell "Sawadeeka" 

Well that is for now, I hope everyone at home is doing well and we miss you!!!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My two cents by rafa - link

Hey guys Rafa finally did his first blog post ! Check it out by following the link :