It’s 12:42 am. And I’m wide awake. Today has been a day of being introduced to people, resting and unpacking. My body is still trying to get adjusted to the time in New Zealand, which is six hours ahead of Thailand. Since I’ve been here, my usual “exhausted” time is around 9:oo am. This morning, my friend was almost late for church because I thought I would nap for 10 minutes. It turned out I was out for almost a half and hour. I was still very groggy during the service and tired most of the morning. Then, as usual, you get that back-up energy when you’re past the sleepiness or exhaustion. All afternoon, I cleaned my room, did the unwashed load of laundry from Thailand, unpacked, arranged my room, went grocery-shopping and took a walk to the beach! I should have been wiped out. But I am not. I did try to go to sleep but I had to turn the computer back on because I would just lie there with my eyes closed but my mind running crazily in the dark.
The highlight of my day was strolling around the neighborhood. Otumoetai is completely different from where I have grown up – both in Bangkok and Chiang-Mai. The air is crisp and clean with sweet fragrance of trees and flowers whereas all one can smell in Bangkok is smog and the rotten-sweet scent of garbage. The street is spotless with no litter, stray dogs or beggars. Each house is carefully planned and constructed with beautiful touch of a beach-resort feeling. And almost every family owns a car – some normal and some fancy. To me, this community is a whole new world. There is no trace of poverty. No tattered shirts or grimy faces. No yucky smell that makes you gag or the sound of stray dogs barking at night. No city’s pollution or webs of entangled wires dangling from power poles. This is like a Stepford town…except that these are real people, not robots…thankfully. 😉
And I enjoy it – this beauty…this convenience. It’s like God allows me to take a break and to recharge my battery through His beauty and richly-blessed time with people who are head-over-heels with Him. But I miss the dirt, the grime and the smell sometimes…because that’s where my root is…where my heart is. And I think this is the reason that God sent me here – to ascertain the plan of His life for me and to train me for His people in the developing world.
It’s a humbling experience – being reminded of the purpose. It’s so easy to get excited about new things and get distracted by them. Food, friends, church, people, environment, culture are all new. My eyes go wide when I see dairy cows grazing on the hills. My heart skips a beat when I watch the sun sinking and the sky changing colors from bright blue to pink to orange to purple and to navy blue. I almost break into a run when I breathe in the scent of fresh clean air with pinewood fragrance. I rejoice in everything around me and give thanks to God for the blessings! But, while walking back home, God reminded me – that I am His, that all I have is His and that it is my deliberate obligation and willful responsibility to live for Him, in every way.
And it’s not easy. When you ask God to give you patience, He doesn’t thrust you that abstract faceless “patience”. Instead, He shoves you into a situation that tests your endurance and stamina. Likewise, when I ask Him to help me live for Him, I am put in situations that test my faith in the Lord and give me a chance to practice what I learn from the Bible. The ways I respond to people when they are harsh or mean or when things are going exactly opposite from what I have hoped reflect my commitment to be all God’s. So my prayers come down to two things:
– To rise over each situation with wholehearted faith in the Lord no matter how hard situations seem to be
– To practice living out of the word
…That I may not forget why I am here…That classes will not be just mundane responsibilities…That this degree will be more than an education success…That I will continue to press on towards the goal that Christ has set for me…That eventually I will stand before Him, out of breath and all sweaty, hearing Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant”.
So if you’re reading this, pray those two things I mentioned above. And, last…pray that I will be able to finally adjust to the time here and go to sleep at normal hours! 😀
Thank you! Kawp Khun Ka! Dta Blu! Whakawhetai ki a koutou!