Rain in Now

The rain slammed against the tin roof in sheets of cold water. The smell of dirt was all too familiar as the wind tugged at the windows. I rolled over and looked out at the haze of rain. It was a familiar site. The rain is thicker here and comes in waves. Tropical storms are incredible to watch here. The thunder here is the loudest I have ever experienced. It shudders the building and trembles your heart as it cracks across the sky and allows lightning to follow in its wake. Lightning flashes across the sky and leaves a staining mark in your eye sight. I looked up at the ceiling as the rain created a deafening sound. As I closed my eyes I tried to think of now. I so often think of tomorrow or yesterday, but rarely of now. I tried to focus in on the sounds I was hearing and the place I was at. The moments that have brought me to this now moment seemed to collect together to create the now I tried to focus on. How strange that people are constantly thinking of the past or what the future might bring and ignore the present. Being here in Thailand I constantly am hearing of people wanting or wishing for a different place. People talk of missing home, or missing a loved location. I also here how people are not the people they want to be yet. I am by no means where I think I will be in ten years, but I am content just to be where I am. Back in Oregon, my heart was always wishing or missing a different place. I am in my dream country, so my thoughts are no longer waiting and wishing, but seeing and being. I certainly miss my friends, family, and coworkers, but I know I will get to return to them. The people I meet here I most likely will never see again. So I want to take in every moment I can to listen and understand people’s lives, their stories, and what their hopes are for their lives and country.

The morning was spent in a staff devotional meeting. The discussion was around Acts 3. The questions were asked how can we be Ambassadors for Christ. I remember hearing the word Ambassador for Christ rather overused at George Fox. Some people would glow with the outward appearance of doing great things. And there is nothing wrong with that, but I have found the people who show Christ’s love are those who do it subtly and do not get great recognition or rewards for their good service. It is seen in the older couple who make dinner for almost an entire village, or the mother that ran away for a better life for her children. It is in the sweet great-grandmother’s life who cares and loves for her great-grandchildren while their parents have to go to the city to work. It is seen in the simple act, not in the grand act or great display. Thai society in general is very welcoming and loving, which is beautiful to experience. It is a saving-face society however, which means if they have a problem, they will not directly tell you. One lady we met said that Christ’s culture is different than our culture or Thai culture. How we should all come to know Christ’s culture and follow that. I am not sure how I feel about that yet cause western culture is more direct and eastern is indirect, so why does eastern culture have to succumb to western tradition? I definitely see culture differently being always the outside culture. I cannot erase the culture I come from to take on another one. I always carry my culture or my ingrained traditions with me. I can, however, learn another culture and respect the tradition, the love, and the understanding. I can learn and take on a part of the culture, but I will never be able to understand the full experience of growing up in a village. Or the struggle of full villages addicted to drugs and involved in the drug trade. Nor will I understand what it feels like to follow a witch doctor then to find Christ through a missionary that has come to live in the village. Or even the fear of police or checkpoints across the country. There are many things I will never fully understand in my lifetime, but I can listen, so that maybe one day I can support people here.

The afternoon was spent working on paperwork for MMF and trying to nap off a headache. There is a Thai word for people getting sick when the weather changes, and I think that may be what me and my fellow adventuremate may be experiencing. We cannot seem to sleep off the tiredness. I asked my Mom one time if she remembered being so tired when she was my age. She replied that she was really tired in her twenties and also super tired when she had kids. So it seems to be normal to be tired at this age, or maybe my years of sleep debt are catching up with me. It is challenging because I want to go out in explore, but my body just adds layers of limitations and it can be incredibly frustrating. Despite being tired, my heart still continues to be at peace. I still love being in Thailand and meeting so many new people. It is funny too what people think foreigners like to do. Perhaps I am a different kind of traveler, but the places I have enjoyed the most are places that only Thai people go. The hole in the wall restaurants to the markets full of food. It is the places that have normal every day Thai life that I seem to feel the most at home. Thailand captures my heart the longer I am here, and I absolutely love it.

Blessings,

Bethany Jane

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For those who do not have Facebook, this is what my teammate wrote about me. So sweet!: “So thankful for this beautiful shining soul to be in my presence. . Learning and growing together and from her sweetness. Always a reminder when Bethany speaks of Thailand being her dream for the last 4 years: dreams come true, invest in them, be thankful in recognizing their accomplishment and learn from others dreams. How so much of this world is dreamy . SHINE ON! Speak your dream into reality!”

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