Getting Settled in Thailand
We have finally arrived in Thailand! Thanks to all of you who have given help and support in bringing us this far. We are praising God for this opportunity to see the “great and mighty things” which we know not that He wants to show us (Jeremiah 33:3).
We have been told that “one well-ordered, well-disciplined family tells more in behalf of Christianity than all the sermons that can be preached…. The greatest evidence of the power of Christianity that can be presented to the world is a well-ordered, well-disciplined family. This will recommend the truth as nothing else can, for it is a living witness of its practical power upon the heart.” Adventist Home, 32.
A missionary friend once told us, “The Thai people just need to see Christian families living among them.” We do not feel that we have any special capabilities. Satan would have us believe that we are not fit to answer this call, that there must be other people or families that are better qualified. Yet God has promised that all who will trust in what He can do, instead of in what they can do, may expect success. “You need not go to the ends of the earth for wisdom, for God is near. It is not the capabilities you now possess or ever will have that will give you success. It is that which the Lord can do for you. We need to have far less confidence in what man can do and far more confidence in what God can do for every believing soul. He longs to have you reach after Him by faith. He longs to have you expect great things from Him. He longs to give you understanding in temporal as well as in spiritual matters. He can sharpen the intellect. He can give tact and skill. Put your talents into the work, ask God for wisdom, and it will be given you.” Christ Object Lessons, 146.
Should God’s people wait for the ideal time or perfect conditions to move forward? By God’s grace, our family is expecting Him to work through us to reach the people of Thailand.
Upon our arrival at Chiang Mai, we stayed in the same hotel that we had four years earlier. The owner and staff all remembered us and were very happy to see us again. After a couple of days, we realized that the whole hotel and restaurant staff were being drawn to our family. The staff was always watching for an opportunity to do something extra for us. The owners Lee and Noy
would invite us to just sit with them and visit. Noy would tell us what a nice family we were and how rude a lot of the foreigners are. Then she began confiding in us about her nephew and his family, about all the problems that they are having with their children—how, when the children are given everything that they want, they still are rebellious and unhappy. Both parents work many hours a week to make a lot of money. Painfully, Noy told us how one child climbed to the top of a tall billboard planning to jump off and end his life, but the nephew was able to talk
him down. Thai people have the same need for Jesus that Americans do. We are humbled to realize that God can use our simple lifestyle to be a witness to those around us. We have begun a lasting friendship with Noy and her husband Lee. This has been a confirmation that God is blessing our plan as a family to live and let the light of Jesus shine through us to the Thai people. Please pray for our relationship with Lee, Noy and their staff.
Since the days in the hotel were rapidly passing by, our quest to find a rental home became more urgent. Even in Thailand hotel bills add up quickly with a family of four. Our dilemma was to find a home we could afford away from the hustle and bustle of the city and still have access to the local public transportation. Their routes outside the city are limited. We also wanted to live among the working class and not too close to foreigners. After searching the internet for an address we might be able to afford,
we hired a tuk tuk (an auto rickshaw) driver who wholeheartedly took us to find the house. The house was located in a mu bahn (village or housing track) about six and a half miles from Chiang Mai in an area that he was not familiar with. He could not find the village but was willing to stop and ask many times until he found it. We stopped at the office and asked how to get to the house and were informed that the house was already rented. “Will you just drive around the village so we can see if there are any other For Rent signs?” we asked the driver. To our delight, he said “Yes” with no mention of more money, so off we went, up and down the streets. At the first For Rent sign he saw, he stopped and called the number. While the driver talked to the owner, we began to look at the details around the house. “Look at those ugly faces on the tiles beside the gate,” said Elyssa. “That looks like a temple above the carport!” added Lynette. We all looked in the direction she pointed. There were stairs leading to a room with gold statutes imbedded in the walls. The house was surrounded with images and spirit houses. It was becoming very apparent that this house would not work for us. We told the driver we were not interested in this house and should keep looking. We started feeling that maybe we were asking too much of our driver and were about to tell him we could return to the city, when we found another For Rent sign. This house was surrounded by grass about two feet tall, but it was clean. There were no spirit houses or signs of idol worship. The driver called the number, and in less than five minutes a Thai lady was there to show it to us. Our excitement was hard to contain when we saw that it was reasonably clean and nicely laid out. It had three bedrooms, two
bathrooms and air conditioning in two rooms for only $265. We began asking many questions. Is there any furniture? Can we get internet service? How often do the song taos (modified pickup truck taxis) pass by? Where do we get drinking water? What about propane for the cooktop? Neither the Thai lady nor the poor tuk tuk driver could speak enough English to help us, so they called someone else on their cell phone and handed it to me. It was the owner of the house and he spoke English very well. What a blessing! He said, “What do you need for this house?” I was not sure what to say. Was he going to change the rent price if I had too many needs? It seemed as though he had decided that we would be renting. My mind was racing. “Well, do you have any furniture for this house?” “No!” said the owner, “I don’t know what kind of furniture foreigners like, but I will take you to the furniture store and you can pick out what you need.” He told me he could meet us at the house on Sunday, and he would take us to the furniture store then. He said he would have the lawn mowed and house clean and furnished, and we could move in by 6:00 pm Monday.
Praise the Lord! We are out of the hotel! We have brand new, clean furniture. We will have internet soon. Drinking water will be delivered once a week. We have replaced the empty propane bottle. A truck full of fresh produce stops next to our house every day between 4 and 5 pm. We walk about three quarters of a mile to the highway, and we have not had to wait more than ten minutes for a song tao. We are in a quiet village surrounded by very friendly Thai people. God is so good!
Here are three easy ways you can get involved with our project:
1. Pray for us! Moving to a foreign land has been a real adventure. Trying to do simple things in a culture that is much different than our own has been a challenge. God has blessed us by putting us in contact with people who were willing to help us with our daily needs. Please pray that we may have diligence, alertness, perseverance and confidence in God. We realize that we now need to make language study a priority in order to be the most effective and productive in God’s work here in Thailand. Please pray for sponsors to help us with our monthly needs so that we can focus on Thai language study for six months. Pray that we may have the gift of tongues, concentration, patience and a willing spirit. Please pray for our health as we attempt to meet the personal needs of these people. Pray for our courage as we miss the fellowship of our friends and family back home. Pray for spiritual protection as we feel the influence of spiritual darkness all around.
2. Tell others about our project. We are interested in developing a team of friends who would be willing to pray, send or go. You could encourage your church or small group to be more actively involved in fulfilling God’s global mission by adopting projects like ours.
3. Support our project with your finances. Our needs include language lessons and monthly living expenses.
Your monthly commitment to our projects will provide the people of Asia the opportunity to see the Great Light.
By Steve Rawlings. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Leading to the Light, 26710 N. Yale Rd. #18, Chattaroy, WA 99003.