By Tom Franke
Hello to all of our dear friends and family back home! Thank you so much for your prayers and support. God has been very kind to us as you can read from Makayla’s report. Saturday was a little more scheduled for our team. After solitude and breakfast Dan had the team meet up for that day’s instructions and layout. We were all given the task of trying to better understand the culture around us. To do this, we all had to walk around Chiang Mai with a pen and notebook in hand, observing interesting practices and objects in the city. Then, we had to write down our best guesses at what the significance or meaning of our observations might be. Next, we had to ask for the actual meaning of our observations from the locals around. Many of us went to temples to do our observations and questioning with the results that our interpersonal questionings were sometimes far different then the guesses we had come up with. The purpose of the exercise was to show how often our own opinions of the people around us can often hinder our ability to share the good news of Jesus Christ with them. Without taking the time to understand the people around us it becomes easy to miss avenues of opportunities for the gospel and when our own personal judgments get in the way without the facts. It often keeps us from being Christ like in our love and witnessing.
That evening we all left for the Eubanks’ Ranch and set up our living courters there. It’s one step down on the ladder of comfort for us, which is part of the experience we’re after. The goal is to recognize the gifts God has given us and see our luxuries as blessing, and not our rights. Also, we want to develop a lose grip on temporal things. God must come first in our lives, and sometimes setting aside the everyday blessings can help us to develop trust in Him, and to see His grace demonstrated in ways we can’t experience with our normal comforts. Dinner was brought to the ranch by Dan and I riding a moped with a jerry-rigged side car attached! One interesting thing happened to us as we were out getting dinner from one of the local restraints. When the food was ready, the lady who helped carry out the great quantity of food walked to the nicest vehicle she saw in the parking lot thinking it was ours. Both Dan and I stopped her and pointed to our actual ride (the dumpy moped and sidecar). The affect this information had on her face was just as shocking to Dan and I as for her the fact that the “rich” Americans weren’t driving the nicest car in the lot. It was revealing to us just what people around think about us…it was kind of humbling. Not that we felt any guilt in the fact, but just in the thought that other cultures can have about us as Americans and how we as Americans must often portray ourselves to them as the privileged ones. Dinner that night was wonderful and afterwards we spent time in worship through songs and sharing somethings God was teaching us.
Sunday morning again began with solitude and breakfast, this time out at the ranch. There were a couple of giant spider sightings and killings that night and morning for our excitement. Church began at 10am at Chiang Mai Christian Fellow a church mostly made up of missionaries in the area. Afterwards, we spent a good part of the afternoon walking around Chiang Mai and finding food. We spent the latter part of the day at another church called Chiang Mai Community Church and had wonderful fellowship with the believers there. That evening we got to go to the grand night market out at Thapae Gate and experience the crazy night life of Chiang Mai. God has been good to us. Thanks again for all of your prayers and love!”