Missions Moment – Thailand

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Terry Gibbs, Wycliffe Bible Translators

Thank for your prayers and financial support this past month. Over here we continue to enjoy our spring weather with temperatures above 95 each day in March and with a desert like humidity level of only 15 or 16%. One web site had a comment today that we would have cooler weather since the high would be below 97.

I’ve been keeping busy in the department helping students with software and hardware questions. I’m also helping 2 Thesis student that are going through the 45 day process of revisions and filling out Payap forms (this is a paper based society). There will be 2 more students ready in a few days. I had a chance to talk with the 2nd year students in the Language Data Management course two weeks ago when I did a presentation on Acoustic and Articulatory Phonetics. It basically an explanation of how we produce speech sounds and how we process speech sounds.

Up coming events here in April will be our yearly Mainland South East Asia business conference from April 4 to 10, which I will miss since I need to help a couple of students complete their Thesis, and the following week is the Thai new year on April 15. So we will have the Songkran festival from April 13 to 16, but it may start as early as April 10. The festival is know here as the worlds largest water fight. The Thai Tourism Department estimated that last year 440,000 people came to Thailand for the festival, with most tourist going to Chiang Mai.

Jamie is expecting her baby in early April, but I can not leave here until the Spring Session ends on May 8 at Payap. It look like I have 3 loops to drive while I am in the US. First is to visit my sister in New York (recently moved from Texas), then visit Leilani in Ohio, then back to Waxhaw to unload the 10 boxes of stuff my sister is giving me. Then second is down to Georgia to visit my favorite Aunt Jenny, with stops in Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas and finally on to Colorado to see Jamie and the new grand baby. Then third to visit friends in California. I must be back in Thailand by mid-August or I will loose my Thai Visa (which means a lot of money and paper work to re-do everything). So I’m going to try and see as many of you as I can. I will start writing personal emails to see if you will be available as I pass through your area.

Since we have come to the end of our ‘high season’ here (March 1), there are now very few people out walking around. On one Saturday this past month, I walked for two hours, and only saw 2 girls walking together and later 2 guys walking together and that was it; the city was empty. But there were times when I had a chance to talk to some people which were: while riding in the back of a songtau truck (public transportation) I talked to 2 girls who from London, later while walking down a street, I met 2 Chinese girls from Shanghai and later a man and his wife from Australia who were sitting in a coffee shop.

On another weekend while walking down the street I stopped on the sidewalk to talk to 2 girls who were sitting in an open-air cafe. One of them was from France and the other was from Germany. They had just met each other and were looking at a map trying to decide where to go. I talked to them for a few minutes about places to go and things to do when suddenly the German girl said “and I’ve come here to study Buddhism”. I thought Ah-Ha, what better way to talk about the Lord. I started off by saying that in Buddhism you need to live, die and get reborn as many as a 1000 times in order to work your way to Nirvana (a place of total quiet and the lack of all materiel things) and that this “climbing of the ladder to heaven” means you must always keep working to gain more and more Merit in each lifetime so you can be better off than the time before. Than I talked about Christianity in which people who believe in Jesus die once and then go to heaven (short and to the point). I gave her a Tract and said ‘have fun while you’re here’. I assume that what I said was going to bother her for a while.

While I was in large hotel lobby, I noticed a young girl (probably late 20’s) who was spending all of her time looking at her cell phone. I eventually walked over and asked her where she was from. She said Amsterdam. I asked what she was doing here and she said waiting for someone. I said oh, your parents, she said no, they were in the Netherlands. I said oh, how are you staying here, and she said I’m living here alone, my parents have a lot of money. We talked for a few minutes more and then she said that her mom had told her years ago that if she was kind to people and lived a good life then she could go to heaven. I talked with her a bit more to kind of straighten that idea out, and then I gave her the tract “Help from Above”.