Wednesday was quite a day for our LST team. We met for our morning devotional and talked about our need to help each other be responsible and above reproach in all that we do — there was not a problem, we just want to make sure that the impression we leave on our Thai and Chinese readers is the one we intend. What we do and how we do it leaves an imprint, good or bad, on the lives of these precious people. After discussion and prayer, we read Hebrews 3:12-14 and then saw the following public service video as a visual reminder of our need to help each other along the way:
Part of being a team is being there for each other in every way possible! Everything about being in a different culture as a friend of others sets precedents and leaves impressions that will last in people’s hearts long after we are gone. It is great having a person like Robert, so versed in this culture, as our mentor, guide, and friend.
Some had morning readers, others had email and other tasks. Then we went to lunch together at a Thai hamburger place called Mike’s. They were good ol’ “greasy spoon” burgers. In the bustling center of Chiang Mai, we ate one of the best American style hamburgers you can imagine.
This allowed more time for informal talk about strategy, for Robert to go over some of his longer term plans, discussion about this weekend’s upcoming retreat, and visit about how we connect our readers to those who will be their ongoing friends as the summer progresses — Robert has five ACU interns coming in to Chiang Mai to help with the rest of the summer work.
I spent some time specifically visiting with Debbie, one of the interns now here. We visited about several of my readers and Debbie’s involvement with them. Debbie is an incredibly mature young Christian woman who has lived several years in Japan. Her spiritual depth, coupled with her quiet demeanor and yet firm conviction enables her to minister well in Chiang Mai.
We ran a quick errand or two, then we all headed back to The Zone to get prepared for our afternoon readers. Each of my sessions went extremely well today. My readers were well prepared, our friendship in each situation is well established and the sessions fly by. We now read the material quickly and finish the lessons with plenty of time for meaningful conversation.
Each of my readers has a slightly different orientation and feeling about the material we are reading. Yet I believe I have a sweet and good relationship with each of them. I also learned that I will be getting a new reader tomorrow.
Today was a day that I invested in the culture of several of my readers. I prepared a little presentation for one of my readers and one of Kent’s — they are roommates and we had heard that they came from the beautiful city of Guilin. They young ladies were thrilled to see pictures of their hometown and talked about each of the places in the presentation. Valuing their culture and trying to respond appropriately and genuinely is crucial to building genuine friendships. It is also a way to expand your own knowledge of God’s incredible world and the sweetness of people in other cultures. Here’s a short YouTube of what that beautiful city looks like:
We completed our time with our readers, and one of my readers and friends, Tom, took our whole LST team out to a beautiful restaurant that overlooks the city of Chiang Mai from one of the mountains west of the city. The view was beautiful and food was delicious and we had a wonderful time! Robert and I plan to take Tom out for lunch on Monday, shortly before we leave to return home. Tom’s gesture of appreciation and hospitality was a wonderful blessing and great time for visiting. In addition to our LST team, a judge who is a member of the congregation, also went with us. Judges are highly respected and important people in Thai culture. This was a great way to finish the day and get real taste of Thai culture, food, and friendship.