October 28, 2012
I hope this note finds you well today. This will be my last correspondence while out of the country. I will no doubt continue over the next few weeks to process my trip and share some of my observations with you. In an hour I will leave for the airport. At 8:40 this evening my flight leaves for Dubai… a 6 hour and 50 minute flight. After a short layover I board another plane for the 13.5 hour flight to JFK in New York… UGH!! Then a 7.5 hour layover and then a hop skip and a jump home. I am hoping that this storm coming up the coast will not wreak havoc with the airlines.
So, what to say about my week here in Bangkok??? A few brief observations.
- Kevin and Sandy Barner have been the most amazing hosts!!!! They have taken me places that I will never forget and our fellowship with one another has been sublime.
- I have had the opportunity to sit with Assembly Missionaries from all over Thailand on two separate occasions to worship, pray and hear a little about their ministries and their lives. A few things… They really love Jesus. I mean really love Jesus! You would be amazed at how young many of them are!!! Some are college students here for a semester. Some here for a two year commitment before applying for full time missionary status. And some have committed their lives to serving Christ here in Thailand. Many of them in their 20’s and 30’s. It was truly inspirational.
- I have been struck by how clean and orderly Bangkok is. Not by comparison to India and Tanzania, but by comparison to any place I have ever been. The streets are clean and the many plants and trees that line the roads are manicured.
- I heard a speaker in church this morning that really challenged us regarding the work that needs to be done for the faith here and in the surrounding countries (Laos, Burma, Vietnam and Cambodia). In Thailand only 0.6 % of the population is Christian… the other countries aren’t much higher. Most of the folks in this part of the world are Buddhists. Over 60% in Thailand. But there is great hope. In South Korea after the Korean War most of that country was Buddhist… but now they are over 50% Christian!! And they are on fire believers.
- Lastly, it has been really inspirational to worship at the Barners church these past two weeks. (Last week I went directly from the airport to church and I was a little foggy.) They serve an international church here in Bangkok. That means that most of their parishioners come from countries outside of Thailand. The congregation represents 45 different countries! Honestly, there is something amazing about worshipping with folks from all over the world. If you want to do a little bible study, read the short letter to Philemon. Paul writes to Philemon to ask him to accept back his runaway slave Onesimus … not as a slave, but as a brother in the faith. These three men in this letter are from radically different lives and backgrounds but they have one thing in common… their love for Jesus Christ… this church reminds me of that letter.
Well, it’s time to finish packing. Thanks for taking the opportunity to read my ramblings. And once again, thanks to the saints at Mt Vernon Church for this once in a lifetime trip!