We woke up to another glorious day in Thailand. This is seriously one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. It's breathtaking. I really felt like today was going to be different. Worn out after hours of crazy-woman processing, I decided to give myself over to enjoying the moment. It's going to be better today.
Our new great Thai friend, Jeff, (Hi Jeff!!!) pastor of the Rayong Vineyard Church, picked us up for a meeting with Jessica Mock at the Tamar Center. Jeff coordinated our entire trip here. Amazing! I was all geared up for a good day when we were driving down the street and I saw her. There was this beautiful woman inside of an HIV Clinic and I noticed her standing at the counter crying. While we were waiting at the stoplight, she walked out noticeably disturbed, covering her mouth, crying, holding onto the wall. She looked like she was in shell shock. Insert assumption here -- I think she was just diagnosed with HIV. I know, it could be something else. But you should have seen here. It was so raw.
It just made me think. Wow, look at what happens here in the day time. At night it's all dancing and drinking and sex and fun. But during the day, whoa. Turn the lights on and it gets real, like HIV real, unwanted pregnancy real, STD real. My heart broke for this woman. I fell back into my dark place. This place is too much. Is this all there is to Thailand? Darkness, depression, pain. Ugh.
But then we visited with Jessica. Jessica coordinates the Pattaya House of Prayer, and she's "on a mission to see Pattaya transform from a city known for prostitution and brokenness to a city known for beauty, purity, healing, and for praising God." She partners with several churches and organizations in Pattaya. Her work and the Tamar Center's work is so amazing. Tamar trains women to be hair stylists, bakers, business owners and how to make jewelry, cards and journals. Their mission is all about unity and equipping/training and prayer and worship. Check out their website. I felt so hopeful after our meeting. We all did. We actually can have an impact here. There is a bright spot in Thailand. A big one!
After Tamar, we drove to Rayong with Jeff. It's another beautiful city on the beach. He spent the afternoon sharing with us about his life's journey and his heart for the Thai people. He wants to start a coffee business to help provide an income for the tribal people in northern Thailand. And he wants us to get involved. Yay!
We spent the evening with Jeff's family and friends at a seafood dinner! They are so great and so normal. They could be our neighbors. Just normal people loving Jesus, doing His work, making an impact in their community and country. It was so refreshing. There is so much more to Thailand. I guess it's like judging the U.S. after one visit to Las Vegas or LA. There's more. Much more!
Yeah, there are big-time problems. But I'm seeing and feeling big-time hope from the people here. And we're all feeling more and more like we want to be a part of the solution. Can't wait to see what's next for us.
- Continued health and safety
- Quick adjustment to the time change/life in Pattaya for Marcia
- Lauren is preaching at Rayong Vineyard Sunday morning - pray for a great response/ministry time
- More clarity and direction about our purpose here
- The people of Thailand - for justice, hope, light, freedom, to know Jesus
- We've been praying for Jenny's back and it isn't hurting her! She's shocked. It usually causes a lot of discomfort!
- I had a picture come to mind while praying for a woman today and after I shared it, she said she's actually painting that picture at home right now! Goose bumps!
- None of us are sick and we're adjusting quickly to the time change!