Thailand: Day Four (part 2)

After our time in Benjasiri Park, we hopped on the Skytrain to travel a few stops up the line to Erawon Shrine.  Erawon is a famous shrine that was once constructed to ward off bad spirits as one of the local hotels was being constructed. Many construction accidents were happening in the area so the powers that be thought that the spirits of the area must be angered.  The shrine was built to appease the spirits so that the project could continue without more bad luck.  Over time the shrine became more auspicious to the locals.  To this day many Thais and others come to present offerings to the shrine and to ask for favor for the situations in their lives.  Incense is lit and marigold garlands are presented as offerings of appeasement.

Erawon Shrine

Lighting incense.

Erawon Shrine

Prayers and recitations

Erawon Shrine

Garland sellers line the street in front of the shrine. Patrons use the garlands as offerings.

Erawon Shrine

Thai dancers are hired to dance before the shrine as people present their requests.

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Tim cools off with a refreshing coconut drink after visiting the shrine.  It’s a perfect day for a coconut.

*As we speak of cultural differences and beliefs, let’s remember to let our comments be gracious.*

Linking up with Songography and Black and White Wednesday.

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Thailand: Day Four (part 1)

The day began with a 15 minute walk down Sukhumvit Road to Benjasiri Park.  Sukhumvit is a very busy road with lots of traffic, businesses, restaurants and it is a feast of things to take in.  In the midst of all the chaos of Sukhumvit Road, is a little oasis called Benjasiri Park.  The park was built to celebrate H.R.H Queen Sirikit’s 60th birthday.  It’s a beautiful little green space, and green spaces are a gem in Bangkok.  We spent a little time singing and reflecting in the park, as well as doing a prayer walk around the perimeter.

Benjasiri Park

Rebekah, Kay, and Ty

Benjasiri Park

Grounds keepers take a rest

Benjasiri Park

Art and rest

Benjasiri Park

Tim and Birds resting on a Thai style roof

Tim is the resident artist of the MTW Bangkok team.  He is gifted in many arts such as music, drawing, photography, and most importantly his pottery.  It’s no surprise to those that know Tim that he would bring us to Benjasiri Park because of its artistic leanings.  There are many works of art on the grounds that reflect a modern touch to traditional Thai art.  Tim has a vision of using his talents in Bangkok among other local artists.  It’s an exciting vision.  What I loved about this time was how Tim used Thai architecture to explain the idea of rest.  A sala is a place of rest and refreshment to Thai people.  Tim explained how the gospel is a sala of rest to all of us.  It provides shade, comfort, and protection.  It was an amazing visual picture for us.

Benjasiri Park

Tradition meets modernity

This was such a peaceful morning before we headed into downtown’s hustle and bustle once more.  Stay tuned for part 2 of day four.

Linking up with Good.Random.Fun.

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Thailand: Day Three

This is Ann.  Ann has been a long time friend that we have had the pleasure of networking with for years. Ann is currently running a home for rescued women called New Beginnings.

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Ann of New Beginnings

Ann shared her heart with us about her love for women that other people see as worthless.  She helped us understand that no one desires to work in the “trade”, but that so many circumstances put women in this very thriving industry.  Ann’s desire is to show them another way and to offer them hope.  Her story and journey to love the “unloveable” is very touching and I encourage you to check out the website and perhaps support a ministry such as this.  Many of the women are in fact girls.  Ann has taken them into her home and has become their “mother”.  She is putting them in schools, and teaching them responsibility.  She is walking them through tough situations.  Mostly, she is showing them that true love does exist.  This woman has a heart of gold.

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Sweet woman on the street in Bangkok

As much as I love Thailand, there is so much brokenness that cannot be ignored.

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Reality of the streets

Check out the happy hour times. More like Stumble Out, don’t you think?  The sad truth is that many spend their days looking for the next “good time”.  Sadly, its mainly westerners who come looking for something here.  Brokenness comes in many forms.  It’s heartbreaking to see a young mother begging like this, but even situations like this do not have easy answers or solutions.  Many of these beggars are merely pawns in someone elses’ game.

In a city rife with brokenness, there are beacons of hope.  One is Bangkok Bible Seminary where Thai men and women are seeking Biblical training and teaching to prepare them for ministry.  The school has both Thai and Western teachers.

Thailand: Nana/Patpong Areas

Rev. Karl Dahlfred

Rev. Karl Dahlfred lead us in a time of showing us how the school operates.

We wrapped up the day with a walk through Silom Road where the night brings out pop up markets in some unsavory areas. It’s was a good and eye opening day.

Thailand: Nana/Patpong Areas

Young boy resting under a market table

Thailand: Nana/Patpong Areas

Motorcycle taxi driver takes a rest in the red light district

Thailand streets

Street life and markets

Thailand: Nana/Patpong Areas

Board games in the red light district

 

Thailand: Nana/Patpong Areas

Rebekah and David: Two vision team members posing Thai style on the Skytrain platform.

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Thailand: Day Two

The second day of long distance travel is usually the hardest in terms of jet lag/fatigue.  Thankfully, this real first day of the vision trip was pretty low key.  We began the day meeting for orientation at one of the leader’s apartments downtown.  This was where we spent a little time getting to know each other and the work in the downtown area.  The newbies were given some mini-Thai lessons, which is always fun.  It was great to see people begin to use what they learned throughout the week.

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After orientation, we gathered together for our first “team meal”. We walked to Silom Village and had a Thai style lunch. This means that several dishes are ordered to share. No one orders a meal and keeps it to himself.  Personally, I love this way of eating because you get a bit of everything.  Thai food is just too delicious to not try it all.  Look at all those fruit shakes! Can you tell they were a favorite of everyone?

Later in the day we headed to the newer church plant downtown called Grace City Bangkok.  This was a real treat for me.  When I left Thailand there was one budding church, and now there are two growing churches!

Grace City Bangkok meets downtown at The Emporium Suites on Sukhumvit 24, floor EL at 4PM.  This church is a mix of Thai and western people.  Services are usually Thai, but with some English worship mixed in.  It was great to worship with my Thai brothers and sisters in their language.  I was surprised at how my Thai language came flooding back and I was able to participate with them.  I always think that worshipping in another culture is a snapshot of what heaven will look like with peoples from every nation. It’s a blessing.

Grace City Bangkok

The City

This is the view from worship services.  Look at the vast city! It goes on and on.  There is always new construction going on making Bangkok a city in perpetual growth.

Grace City Bangkok

Grace City Worship Team

These guys lead some great songs for us to sing both in Thai and English.

We ended the day by joining the church for a meal in the food court in the mall that is connected to this building.  This day was a sweet time of getting to see the church and dear friends.

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Thailand: Day One

This is the beginning of my attempt to share my trip to Thailand.  Why did I even go? You may be wondering.  Well, the nutshell is that my family and I were once missionaries in Thailand working with MTW Thailand.  We spent many years living and working there and we came to love it.  It’s been seven years since we left, and the opportunity arose to go visit and bring along a few people from my church.  We call this a vision trip.  A vision trip is where you go experience the country, culture, and the work, first hand, that you may “cast a vision” within your church when you return.  My church joined with several churches around the US forming a team of 12.

But before we get into all that, I brought my team a day early to do a little adjusting.  Thailand is on the opposite side of the planet with about an 11 hour time difference from EST. Combine that with 19 hours of flying and you have a recipe for serious fatigue.  We decided to give ourselves a buffer.  The first full day was spent with me playing tour guide to my friends in an effort to keep them moving.

Thailand: Day One

Thai style architecture

Our first stop was Jim Thompson House.  However, I was surprised by how many Thai taxi drivers had no idea where we wanted to go.  We finally popped into an English teaching center to borrow wifi to look up the location.  The actual address is an address called something else by locals, thus the confusion.

Thailand: Day One

Lotus blossoms

Jim Thompson was an American living in Thailand after WWII who started the Thai silk industry.  He was also a collector of art. He connected several Thai style homes to create one larger home for his living space.  His home is filled with gorgeous Thai and Asian collectibles.  One day as Jim was visiting friends in Malaysia, he decided to go for a walk in the jungle and never was heard from again.  It’s a great mystery.  Theories suggest that he was murdered or perhaps killed by some type of jungle cat. His home still stands as a museum and luxury silks are still made under Jim Thompson’s brand.

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Thai girl at Jim Thompson House

Thailand: Day One

Demonstrating extracting silk threads

Thailand: Day One

Boiling the cocoons to unravel the threads

Thailand: Day One

Jenny at Jim Thompson’s on site restaurant

After our tour we decided to have lunch at the on site restaurant which has AMAZING food.  Their fruit shakes are incredible, and the Cashew Nut Chicken was the best.  THE BEST. We all ordered it and it was the perfect way to begin our culinary tour of Bangkok.

When lunch ended, we walked around a local mall to keep moving more than anything else.  You absolutely cannot take much downtime when dealing with jetlag.  However, we found a way to take a rest without taking a nap.  We found a hole in the wall Thai foot massage place and popped in for a one hour massage for roughly $4.  Yep, you read that right. How can you say no to that? However, my masseuse was a bit rough and bruising.  Still, my legs felt the circulation return after that bum-busting flight.  We also found a little place to get a Thai hair wash, because this is pretty amazing too.  Safe resting, folks.  This was the recharge we needed to keep going until bedtime.

Next up, we took the SkyTrain to the Chao Praya River, where we hopped on a ferry to the Oriental Hotel.  This is a must see area.  All the gorgeous hotels are right on the river. Completely unaffordable, but nice to tour, nonetheless.

Thailand: Day One

Thai ferry

We stopped at The Verandah at The Oriental for another fruit shake refreshment.  We watched the ferries, the water taxis, and the life bustling along the river.

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River Taxi

Thailand: Day One

Sunset on the Chao Praya River

Thailand: Day One

I need to brag on these two friends and travel partners. They were incredible! The right people came on this trip with me. They took everything in stride. Thailand is a place that will make or break you. As much as I love it, there are challenges. These two were total champs.  I love how they embraced it all.

Lastly and very wearily, we headed down the river a bit to Asiateque. Basically a night bazaar. We did a little shopping and grabbed a quick dinner.

Thailand: Day One

The Thai “eye”.

We didn’t ride, but it was cool to see their big ferris wheel.  Maybe next time. By this point were on our last legs.  We grabbed a taxi and headed back to our hotel, showered, and crashed into our beds.  We were so grateful for the rest that followed, be it fitful.  We survived our first day.

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Little Things Thursday: The Jet Lag Edition

Hello Friends! I’m back from Thailand and am in the throes of readjusting to this time zone once again.  I’m doing fairly well with jet lag, but I’m definitely less productive right now. So, word on those jet lag pills I mentioned a couple weeks ago is that they definitely have lessened my symptoms.  What once was a week adjustment has turned in to 3 days, roughly.

I’m sharing just one little teaser today, but I will be sharing all my images sorted by days.  I think that is probably the easiest way to share them.

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I found this lovely Thai lady at Jim Thompson House in Bangkok. I’ll be sharing more about this tomorrow.

I’m happy to be back with you lovelies this week, so let’s get the party started!

Link up with Little Things Thursday: Link Back, Grab your permalink, Link up , and Mingle!


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Little Things Thursday

Hello and welcome once again to Little Things Thursday! I’m still in Thailand and I honestly don’t have anything to report about my trip today because I scheduled this post before I left! :)

And, I’m totally recycling this image!

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If you follow me on Instagram, you can see what’s happening on the trip in real-ish time. It’s more like #latergram-ing since I have to wait for a wifi spot to post.

Thank you for being here today, and I do hope you will come follow me @ kim_littlebylittle to see a little bit of Thailand. I’ll be back home on Tuesday and resume a normal blogging schedule then! I hope I have lots of images of Thailand to share with you!

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Little Things Thursday

Good morning! The day is here.  I’m leaving for Thailand today! I think I have to let that sink in for a minute.

Okay…

It’s been 7 years since I have moved from Thailand to the States. In many ways, I thought I wouldn’t ever get the opportunity to go back.  In other ways, I knew there must be more than just a clean break from the years invested.

The latter came true.

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I’m a mixture of excited and apprehensive. It’s really hard to leave the family behind. I’m just so used to them being right here.  I’m used to being right there.

I’m mustering up all my courage right now. I’m putting on my brave face. I’ve got the “Mommy Knots” in my belly.

Praying people, I need you!

Come along with me, friends.  I’ll be gramming my trip @ kim_littlebylittle.  I apologize for blowing up your feeds in advance.   It’s for my kids and husband…and those friends that love me enough to let me annoy them.  #sorrynotsorry :)

Today, keep me company at the airport and while I’m jet-lagging.  I’ll be checking in when I have access to wi-fi!

First stop Seoul.

I’ll be back in the States October 14, but we will keep the party rolling here next week, too!

Link with Little Things Thursday: Link back, grab your permalink, link up, and mingle!

 


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Black and White Wednesday

Today I am sharing one more photograph from the session I had with my friends recently.  I simply loved the light in the barn loft.

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These images in this series pretty much begged for a conversion.

So I obliged.

Linking with Black and White Wednesday and Wednesdays Around the World.

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These are the days

These are the days you’ll remember.

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And as you feel it, you’ll know it’s true
That you are blessed and lucky.

These are the days.
See the signs and know their meaning.

I had the pleasure of photographing these sweet friends recently. You can see more of their session on www.kimcunninghamphotography.com.

One of the things I most love about photographing families is preserving for them “these days”. I love to show them as they are right in this moment in time, because this time will move forward.

I want them to remember what it was like to be at this stage, because this stage gives way to new stages.  Raising a family is a dynamic thing.  You don’t notice changes until you’ve changed.

I feel so blessed to hit the pause button for families and say, “Look at your beautiful family! These are the days”!

Happy 16th Anniversary, you two!

Linking with Good Random Fun and Songography|These Are The Days.

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