Archive for May 18th, 2010
We said goodbye to our Westover friends about midday as they headed to the airport for the long trip home to Austin. Our prayers are for their safe arrival at home with their joy and passion still ablaze! They did a great job connecting to readers here and getting them started reading about Jesus and building relationships with them. We had a joint meeting Tuesday morning and prayed over each other and the interns, before they took off for their long journey home.
We are blessed to be connecting to a group of Chinese students who are here to study Thai. The fun and genuine loving fellowship of the PCZ (Payap Christian Zone) has had a powerful impact on these young ladies. The majority of our readers come from this group. About half of them had never heard of Jesus … at all. They knew nothing of church or what it was about.
These are incredibly bright 19-20 year old young women who have stories that will break your heart as well as stories about family and home we would all recognize: they are some of the cream of the crop. Many of their parents are sacrificing greatly for them to attend the university and then to do their extension work in Thai. They have studied English for 6 years in their schools in China and are learning intensive Thai at Payap University. Their ability to read English is amazing, but the conversational English is the tough part. Yet for them to have a future, they need to learn and use both Thai and English in their work.
I share this, because one of the principles of Let’s Start Talking is that the Word is the teacher and we are the illustration. That’s why our parties and worship times are so important. The joy of other believing students living out their daily lives and the genuineness of worship and friendship create bridges that connect hearts across cultures. I’ve shared some pictures — a silly one of me, one of singing some Hawaiian songs together, and a serious one of worship (involving people from Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Australia, China, and the USA). But please understand, there is nothing silly or unimportant about these events. These are ways to connect and let people see our hearts and for us to see their hearts. We have fun, for sure, but we also are getting to know each other in ways that are important to break down barriers and build friendship!
I met with my four readers yesterday afternoon. It was a joy to journey with them as they read about Jesus and as they asked questions that included issues of diction, pronunciation, meaning, emphasis, and definition as well as sharing questions about Jesus and why he did what he did. The deep respect and appreciation was shown when two of the young ladies wanted to take several of the teachers out for dinner to show their respect.
This is a very difficult situation culturally because these young ladies don’t have the money to do this, but their culture demands that they show respect in this way. We are hoping we handled this appropriately to help them know that we were honored by their gesture of respect, but that as older people (people of respect in both Chinese and Thai culture) it was important for us to take care of the costs but were deeply honored by their kindness and show of respect. This is one of those special areas of cultural concern and not wanting to give offense on either side.
Please keep us in your prayers. We are hoping the next few days to find more readers and also continue to build deeper relationships with the ones that we have. Please, please pray that the Holy Spirit will do more with our time and with these hearts than we can.
Grace to all,