the Vernon Journal

Serving the Kingdom in Southeast Asia

Topless in Bangkok

Pastors, leaders missionaries and delegates from countries all over Asia and the Pacific gathered to Bangkok for the Eastern Council of Foursquare Churches conference last week. Nearly 700 men and women came to fellowship and join in a community of faith.

Thai Girls wearing Traditional Dress

Pastor Jack was there.
Our supervisors were there.
Our supervisor's supervisors were there.
National church leaders from around the world were there.
This was a big deal - and I started the conference off wearing nothing but a sheet tied around my waist.

I didn't plan it that way.

We took an early flight from Chiang Rai with Pastor Timothy and his wife and arrived to find out that the conference didn't begin until 7:00 that evening. After a nice lunch and a little exploring of the area around the hotel we decided to take an afternoon nap to get ready for the conference that night.

Around 4:00 I found myself waking up halfway through a telephone conversation... I can answer the phone while sleeping and sound awake and coherent. Do any of you have this skill? I learned it in college and it has gotten me in so much trouble. I've had entire conversations while sleeping where I have committed to things I don't remember when I actually wake up... anyway, I slowly realized that I had just committed to do something to help the Bangkok team for the opening ceremony of the ECFC conference.

Voice on the line : "So, can you come down to the business center right now?"
Me (sounding alert) : "Sure, where is it?"
Voice on the line : "Third floor"
Me (still sounding alert) : "When do you need me there"
Voice on the line : "... um, right now"
Me (slowly becoming alert) : "Uh, yeah, sure... do I need to bring anything?"
Voice on the line : "No, they have everything you will need down there."
Me (actually awake now) : "They have everything I need, great... OK, I'll see you in a minute."
Voice on the line : "Um, one more thing... You are going to be topless"
Me (wondering if I'm awake) : "... "
Voice on the line : "Is that OK?"
Me (wondering what I committed to) : "I guess so. I'll be right down"

Topless in Bangkok

A few minutes later I was in a room full of the young leaders from Bangkok dressing up in very ornate traditional Thai dress - and discovered that I was going to be dressed as a traditional Thai slave who carried royalty on a litter. Apparently they couldn't get many volunteers for that role. So, while everyone else was dressing up in ornate costumes and jewelery and while the dignitaries from around Asia were dressing for dinner and the evening conference, I was having a sheet tied around my waist and a turban tied around my head. Finally with a slap on the back and an admonition of "Don't drop her" I was off to attend my first Foursquare conference.

Lori, of course, got a kick out of the whole thing, merrily snapping pictures of the scene. All joking aside, the Thai staff in Bangkok were incredible. They worked long hours, entertaining and helping everyone around the conference and Bangkok with great care. It was an honor to help them in even the smallest of ways.

The conference (and the subsequent meeting of missionaries from throughout Asia) was an incredible blessing and a rousing success. We met amazing men and women, heard insightful teaching (in English!) and received ministry where we are hurting. We will continue to share more about the entire experience through this next week and will hopefully have some links to Pastor Jack's talks from the conference.

We had hoped to share updates last week but did not have internet access while at the hotel (which was as much blessing as inconvenience), but are now back in Chiang Rai. We will be sharing at the Akha Bible Institute tomorrow and will spend the rest of this week in the city to celebrate Thanksgiving with our friends here. Tags:

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