there were 3 males on the truck when i got on; 2 shabby looking boys and a drunk western man, who was holding on to his liquor bottle like he was gonna lose it. one boy, gangly and dirtier than the other, was filled with mischievous look and without shoes on. his friend who looked more solemn and better dressed, though his clothes weren’t better than a tattering t-shirt and a loose pair of shorts, was sitting close by.
when i sat down, the gangly boy, whose name i later learned “ping pong”, decisively moved from his seat to sit right across from me and said, “pee krab (literally means ‘sister’), can you give me 20 baht? we don’t have money at all.” i sat stunned for a good moment then said, “well, where are you from and where are you going?” another boy, “ko”, replied, “we’re from here. but we’re catching a train to bangkok tomorrow morning.”
after many questions and lots of confusing answers, i instinctively knew that these boys weren’t speaking truth. but my weakest point is that i can’t EVER turn this kind of people away. my heart tends to get wavered and i have to do something to help them. so i told them that i’d give them 20 baht and pay for their ride.
when i got off, they also got off because they were going fishing by the ping river, close to where i live. they were behind me, unintentionally though, as they left quite a big distance between me and them so that i wouldn’t think they were following. as i trudged home, i began to wonder what jesus would do in this circumstance. a cliche thought, i know. but as i couldn’t rely on myself that moment, i prayed silently that He’d inspire me.
nothing fancy happened except that i felt the urge to turn and wave at them to come to me. they ran at full speed with huge smile on their faces. the next sentence that came out of my mouth was, “have you eaten yet?”
a typical woman with her work clothe on with backpack and flip-flop striding ahead of two teenage boys; one without shoes and another with a fishing net in his hands…that must’ve been a sight. we crossed the nawarat bridge and walked for another 10 minutes to the restaurant where the boys had their order; fried rice with shrimp and fried rice with pork.
these boys were polite in their manners, although ping pong was quite demanding…always wanting something after another, and even discerning.
as i watched them eat, i wondered what their parents looked like and why they let their kids wander on the street. i learned over the dinner that they’d been friends for a very long time. ping pong comes from another part of the country with his dad. his mom passed away a while ago. ko has been born and raised in chiangmai and is now living in a slum community. i’m not exactly sure what their parents do but they mentioned something about begging. and i wished i could do something for them more.
then i suddenly thought of my friend, who’s working with street and slum kids in the area where ko’s house is. so i called her and asked if it’d be possible for these two boys to join. she was more than welcoming. i gave the kids my friend’s phone number and told them to go. i don’t know how much i can trust their word but they said that they’d stop by.
i knew that i put myself so much at risk. first, letting my guard down. second, talking to strangers. third, buying them meal. and last, giving them my number. but here’s the confirmation from Jesus to me:
35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Matthew 25: 35-40
i don’t know why the hungry, the lost, the drunk and the homeless are so attracted to me. i don’t know why i’m always approached by these folks. but i do know that God gives me the opportunity to show Him my love and loyalty…and this is the least i could do.