October 23, 2012
Dear friends, I am completing my third day here in Thailand with Kevin and Sandy Barnar. They have been marvelous hosts! I flew in here from India on Saturday night and arrived at approximately 6:00 Sunday morning. After clearing immigration and customs I met one of the staff members of the church who accompanied me to their worship service at 9:00. I was a little disheveled from my flight but I was received wonderfully.
Their church is amazing! They rent two floors of a high rise. One floor has administrative offices, meeting rooms and Sunday school classes. The 11th floor is the sanctuary. It is a great reminder that the church is the place where God’s people meet and worship, it is not necessarily a steeple and layers of bricks with a sanctuary. But it is not the facility that REALLY captured my attention… it’s the fact that they have people from over 45 nations who participate in their services!!! It is amazing to look out at the congregation and see all sorts of skin color and many forms of dress… and all of them praising the Lord.
Sometimes we American Christians think we have the franchise on worship… that is anything but true. We have much to learn from our brothers and sister from across the planet.
I thought you might like to know some statistics regarding the last two cities I have been in… By comparison Pittsburgh is 55.37 square miles in size with a population of 305,000. That works out to 5,521 persons per square mile…. Hyderabad in India by contrast is 250 square miles with a population of 6.8 million. That’s 27,200 people per square mile. And Bangkok where I am now is 605 sq. miles with a population of 8 million… That’s 13, 207 per square mile. You can see that the size of these cities dwarf Pittsburgh in both size and population.
The contrast between Bangkok and Hyderabad is impossible to comprehend. Bangkok is a very western looking city… but cleaner. It is filled with high rises and an effective mass transit system and highways. Hydrerabad is none of those things I’m afraid.
On my first day here the Barnars took me to lunch after church and then we came back to their apartment and said goodbye to some missionaries they were hosting… it was a revolving door for them… missionaries leaving and me moving in. We then spent the rest of the day taking care of a few things before retiring for the evening. I had been up for over 30 hours so it didn’t take long to fall asleep… I slept like a stone!
On Monday they took me to downtown Bangkok and we went up to the observation deck of the highest building in Bangkok… 84 floors I think. The building rotates on top so we had a beautiful view of the city both during the day and after the sun set. Then we walked through some streets and looked at all of the street vendors… there are thousands of them! All very organized and clean.
Today we went to a floating Market… it was so cool! If I can get the pictures to attach below you will see some of the boats and some of the market. We rode in a boat through an absolute maze of channels and looked at the wares. We also went to a Buddhist temple while on our ride.
The rest of the day we are spending relaxing. All this travel and time zone changes has wreaked havoc on my system! I feel tired all the time and my body can’t figure out what time to sleep!
Friends, the short of my travels tells me this… God is doing amazing things around the world through some amazing people. They don’t think of themselves as amazing… but they are!!! They have left home, family, friends and familiar surroundings to travel to far away places to testify of the Good News. They deserve our support and are so grateful for it!!! It truly is a privilege to share in just a small way in their ministries.
I look forward to coming home. I really hope and pray that many of you will be available to hear about the adventures I have had for the past few weeks. I am without question or reservation here as a representative of Mt. Vernon Church and proud to do it. I have told each of the missionaries that I have visited that I am here not to vacation or see the sights… although those things have been nice when possible… I am here to tell them personally that we appreciate them and are glad to share in their ministry.
I’ll write more later.