As we near the end of our time here in Thailand I’ve begun to reflect on the blessings and trials that have come our way. What a wonderful blessing it is to be used by the Lord in this way. In ANY way really! However He will use us is a privilege and an honor. As a Mom of young children I have found this time to be a time of growth for me. I learned some lessons that I could not have learned the same way had we not taken this extended trip. I would like to share some of those things with you now. I hope you will get a laugh and also be challenged by how some of these might apply to you right now.
T Traveling with children is no joke! Before we flew here in January I had no idea what was ahead of me. 20 hours of flying with an 20 month old and a 5 month old. No matter how much research I did and how many people I asked for advice, nothing could really prepare me for the struggle ahead. But 24ish hours later we arrived in Chiang Mai with no problem. Were we exhausted? Yes. Were the kids miserable? Yes. But did we make it? YES! As our time approaches for returning and doing that long flight again, I am reminded that we WILL make it! Is Gideon super mobile and active? Yes. Will it be exhausting? Yes. I ask that you pray for us as we travel home for patience and proper preparation.
H Hope can be given to anyone anywhere. Observing a culture that is steeped in Buddhism seems so hopeless. Jesus Christ and the gospel are such foreign concepts to most of the people here. But we have seen over and over again that God can and does save people from the bondage Buddhism has given them. And we see people hungry for truth, truth and hope that only the Bible can give!
A Attitude makes all the difference. It’s so easy to get frustrated when people don’t meet your expectations. And let’s face it, in a culture that also doesn’t understand YOU, you are bound to be disappointed from time to time. But what a difference it makes when you put on a smile and give the grace and love of God. Every day I could prepare a laundry list of things to complain about. Things that have disappointed me. Things that aren’t going the way that I like. But what has complaining EVER done for me? It has only pulled down those that I love and brought shame on the name of Jesus.
I Insects are not creatures to be trifled with. The routine in our home is to always have a bug zapping racket within reach at all times. They are one of the most wonderful inventions and I think someone who was tired of squishing bugs must have invented it. It looks like a tennis racket but has electric wiring like those bug zapping lanterns so you can literally whack the bugs in mid air and they are zapped. Mosquito hunting at night has become a new hobby of mine. 😀 Not really but I do it often enough! I think now we are up to three kinds of ants in our house and we get a kick out of discovering their behavioral differences. “Oh! These walk in a nice straight line and are predictable. These other ants look like they’ve just had espresso!” It’s always a mystery what new bug we will discover next. Last night was a Bombardier Beetle in our bathroom. THAT made for an interesting evening. HAHA!
L Lies of Satan are very real. Satan is an enemy who knows just how to cause you to question God. He knows your struggles. He also knows just how to plop the perfectly curated lie into your lap. Lies such as: People don’t really care about me. I can’t do anything big for God if I’m just at home with my children. If people reject my sharing the Gospel with them they are rejecting me. I can’t be truly happy where I am because of xxxxx. If only this would happen THEN I would be happy. These lies ARE real. It’s easy enough to say that we will see the lies for what they are. But Satan is the Father of Lies and is a slick one. So we need to keep our eyes open and our hearts in the Word!
A Aptitude is only found in Christ. I like to find things that I am good at, things that come naturally to me. And my temptation is to avoid anything that does NOT come naturally to me. What a way to limit God right? But my ability to do anything can only come from Him. This is another lie of Satan: “There are some things that I am just naturally good at. Go me!” The truth is, I am no where near as capable as I think I am sometimes. It takes a few flops to remind me of that sometimes and I am so thankful the Lord puts those speed bumps in my path.
N Never forget your reason. Why are you doing what you’re doing? Is it because you have to? Is it because other people might think badly of you if you don’t? Is it because it makes you feel good? Is it because it’s what God wants you to do? Is it to please Him? Reasons can get lost in the mundane and repetitive days. Sometimes remembering your “Why” can make things fresh and give you new eyes on your job. It should be what motivates your every action. I could elaborate a lot more but I think I will leave it simple for now. What is your reason?
D Desserts aren’t the same in Thailand. Having any other expectation will just set you up for disappointment. One time I ordered a lime cheesecake at our favorite restaurant. Doesn’t that sound amazing? The waitress kindly brought it out and I couldn’t wait to taste a cheesecake again. I quickly realized that the only thing lime about it was the fake lime drizzle on top. My second disappointment came when I bit into the beautiful swirl of whipped cream on top only to realize it wasn’t whipped cream. It was butter! Okaaaay? Set that aside…maybe the cheesecake itself will make up for this. I took a bite and began to savor it, when I realized the inside was stuffed with a raisin filling! To say the least, it was not at all what I expected! So I have learned to get creative with making my own desserts when the urge comes and savor a little taste of America on occasion. However, the amazing coffee makes up for the dessert disappointment. So my love for Thailand will remain, thanks to coffee. 😀
Serving the Lord in the country of Thailand, Alyssa is the wife of missionary Benjamin Hall and Mom to four young kids with one on the way. Each day seems to bring new adventures as she studies the Thai language, homeschools, and ministers to the many little hands that reach for hers. Of course, music is almost always part of the day, whether by listening, singing, or playing and it now echoes through the voices of little ones. Read Alyssa’s salvation testimony here.