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.

Thailand: Nana/Patpong Areas

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

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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!

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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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I Really Want It

I’m feeling the world go round

It’s spinning me upside down

I’m finally homeward bound

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I really want it.

Yep…this song is pretty perfect for where I am.  I love where I am! I love where I am with my family and our life callings.

And, not but…And…I’m really loving this gift of being able to take a little time to go.  My nervousness and my excitement are fairly equal.  I’m only nervous about not taking my family along and not being the keeper of all the things.

It’s a mother’s prerogative.

Yet, I can trust the One who is the real keeper of all things and I can freely enjoy this gift! Not that I won’t be a nervous Nelly from time to time. See above.

Thailand is such a part of my story…our story.  It’s really hard to explain to those who haven’t lived it. But if you have lived somewhere really special, you know what I mean.

Some of the first words spoken to me after leaving Thailand were, “You’ll get over it.”  I wasn’t looking to get over anything, and so I haven’t.  Moved forward?  Yes.  Change of direction? Yes.  Content? Yes.

Over it?   It doesn’t need getting over.

I’m so looking forward to taking friends along and showing them this topsy-turvy-chaotic place that I love and once called home.  I hope they bring home the souvenir of loving it, too!

After the shock, of course! But, that’s half the fun.

Linking with Songography| I really want it| A Great Big World, Black and White Wednesday, and  Wednesdays Around the World.

 

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Seven Years Later…

I found out in May that I am getting the opportunity to return to Thailand briefly this October.  The team that we worked with extended an invitation for a few people from our church to come for a visit to see how the team and ministries have grown over the last seven years.  We will be meeting up with a few other churches across the States for a joint venture to go have a peek!

I’m kind of excited.  Just a bit.

Thailand has always been near and dear to my heart as so many foundational years of life were spent living and ministering in Bangkok.  I won’t be bringing my family along, but I do get to bring some ladies from our church with me!  I didn’t want to announce the trip until I knew exactly who was coming with.  God has brought such a great little team together!
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So being me, I have brought out my old language study notebooks for a quick brush up. I have been watching Thai TV through an app on my iPad…but let’s be honest, I do that anyway. Trip or no trip. So much effort was spent trying to learn the language that I have been fearful of losing what I know.  I’m hoping not to stammer through too much.

I’m also finding some cultural studies for my travel partners so they can get a feel for what to expect, though theory and reality are quite different.  Still, it’s nice to get a little feel for what Thailand is like.  We are going to spend the next few months getting ready to go. For me, this trip is such a prayed for and yet unexpected gift.

And can I admit that I’m just a little bit looking forward to having my camera with me this time? I’m looking forward to bringing a little bit of Thailand home with me through image.

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I think I even scraped up enough coins for a bowl of street noodles.
I’ll be sharing more the closer the trip comes and I hope to bring you along via Instagram when the trip is taking place.

It feels a bit unreal right now.

Linking up with Wednesdays Around The World and Black and White Wednesday (but I’m cheating).

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Five years ago

Five years ago ( in 3 days) we left our lives in Thailand when we boarded Korean Airlines bound for The States.  The decision to leave did not come easily, and yet the perfect storm of our situation left us with no other response but leaving.

It is quite a long story…our leaving. My husband would tell it one way using words like “change of calling”.  I would use words like ” backed into a corner”.

Each perspective has its truth.

Our family was in a deep season of trial.  We had two significant medical issues happen within 9 months.  The first involved our 4 year old daughter falling down a staircase, fracturing her skull, and several facial bones…as well as an arm.   I can’t even go into what that was like then, but if you read this blog you know she is perfectly fine now.

The next event was a severe hemorrhage at 11 weeks in my 3rd pregnancy leaving me bed ridden for 7 and a half months.  The result is the beautiful blond headed boy you see on this blog every week.  To say that was a hard time of waiting for him to be born safely, would be putting it mildly.

In the midst of my 5th month of bedrest, we were asked to finalize our decision about our contract in Thailand.

We were in no position to think clearly.  When pushed for a decision, we couldn’t say yes with clarity to staying…so we had to say no.  I’ve asked myself 100 times over why anyone would demand an answer in the state we were in.  Clearly what we needed more than anything was pastoral care, rather than making life altering decisions.

And, I have wrestled with this for 5 years.  What if we were given more time? What if we just had insisted upon a small break to visit our families (after the baby was born, of course) before making any choices?

I know God is sovereign, and His plans are perfect…but I do struggle with the what ifs?

It’s fair to conclude that I miss our lives there.  Each year near the anniversary of our being back in the States I need to take time to express grief.  It does help me to move on, even if not getting fully over it. I need to express what I am struggling with to come to terms with this life here.

There are some amazing things about being here.  I have great friends!  We have great parents who love our kids so. much.  We are grateful for those things.  These are things we hoped for in coming back.

But there have also been hurts and expectations unmet… you know, the things you imagine when you look across the fence to the “greener grass” and then later realize you should have taken off the rosey lenses.

In that clear view of reality, you question.

You remember the things you are grateful for, but the hardships erode any certainties.

Photography has been one of the avenues in which I try to find beauty in the ashes of what use to be.   Capturing the now, the every day,  helps me to see that even in disappointments there are beautiful moments.  I might miss them otherwise.

I’m grateful for it.

I must leave this lament here.  For on that anniversary of leaving, it is also our daughter’s birthday.  We boarded that flight on her 6th birthday, at her request.  I can’t wallow and celebrate at the same time.  It is an unexpected mercy.

I allow myself to grieve on July 28th, but July 29th…the actual day of leaving, we celebrate our very first souvenir from The Land of Smiles.

And I know that somehow, it is all worth it.

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