Here in the Land of Smiles
Well we're here! As I write this it is 5:00 am on Friday, February 25th. We arrived shortly after noon yesterday and made it through customs and picked up all of our baggage with no problem. We might have a little problem getting all of our luggage from Bangkok to Chiang Rai, however, so please keep us in your prayers. Kelly Hilderbrand and a number of the staff from the Good news Study Center (this is what the Thailand Worldbase is called) were at the airport to pick us up. When you walk out of the baggage area in Bangkok you are greeted by a sea of faces looking for tourists, sightseers, taxi fares and those in need of a hotel. It can be a little overwhelming and it was a welcome relief to have someone there for us. We were further encouraged when we arrived at the Good News Study Center (GNSC) to find George Butron there. We met George in LA - he's originally from Golden, CO with an FBCI background - and were able to share our story with him. He is now the Regional Coordinator over Southeast Asia for FMI. He was on his way to Myanmar, but we made tentative plans to meet him in Chiang Rai when he comes through next week. We had a great time with the staff at the GNSC and a very good talk with Kelly about Foursquare and its ministry in Thailand. The church here is really exploding, especially among the younger generation. It's an exciting time to be in Thailand!
Around 4:30 yesterday is when we were hit with a ton of bricks - jet lag. We managed to tape our eyelids open until about 7:30 when we finally had to go to sleep. We should be adjusted in a day or two.
The GNSC is a really great place. It is a five-story building located very near the University in Bangkok (the largest university in the world - 400,000 students). They have three church services on the weekends, a Friday night service, a Sunday morning service, and a service in Burmese on Sunday afternoons. They spend a significant amount of time in the surrounding area ministering to everyone from the university students to the prostitutes. They also teach English language courses, currently they have 550 Thai students who are learning English in a Christian setting.
Today is the "day off" for the GNSC. We expect to make some phone calls & emails this morning and then get a personalized tour of Bangkok - which should be MUCH better than our original experience in this city. Later this afternoon we will go down with some of the University students for "UNO ministry". Apparently, they sit in the "Free Speech" park at the university and play UNO. Students are especially drawn in if there are foreigners (apparently, we're the "bait") and will come and play cards and just hang out. We will go to church this weekend and then plan to head to Chiang Rai on Monday
Thanks for all of your prayers! We have been encouraged again that our time here for the first 2 years will be a learning time. We are excited to learn new cultures and language, but it is a little overwhelming 20 hours in. Keep us in your prayers that we might build strong relationships and adjust well to new ways of life.