A few weeks ago I found out that my cell group at church (that I attend a few times a month – not every week) was going on a tea-ow. Initially I didn’t think I could go, but it ended up working out. All sorts of ideas were tossed around as far as where we should go. Should we go on a day trip tea-ow to a nearby waterfall (like the waterfalls I went to back in April – Seven Little Girls Waterfalls)? Or should we go somewhere for a few days? None of us wanted the trip to be expensive. And it wasn’t.
It turned out that one of the other members of the group, Pok, knew somebody who knew somebody who could find us free accommodation. Nice, eh? So once Koh Samet was decided as our destination, this person arranged for us to stay on the mainland, in a National Park. The house was much nicer than I thought it was going to be. One of the days that we were there, I was reading on the walkway/porch area and everything about where I was – the wind blowing, the water in the distance, the way the sun was finding its way down through the leaves in the trees – reminded me so much of being at my friend’s cottage in Canada. It was so strange.
The first night we sang some worship songs with actions. I don’t why all of them had actions. Not that it’s a bad thing but even in church we’ve never sung all songs that had actions… Maybe it was part of having ‘sanook’ (fun). And then Pok taught from the Bible. I have no idea what she was teaching about.
I actually had a really hard time understanding conversations while I was away. I’ve also gotten into a bad habit of turning my ears off when I’m tired. So it seems that when want to listen, I don’t do it very well. The other issue is that I may understand each word they’re saying but I don’t understand the meaning of the sentence they’ve created. Or I’m so stunned by what they just said that I figure I must’ve understood incorrectly and then I ask them to repeat themselves. For instance, my friend Geek told me one day while we were on tea-ow that she had never seen a foreigner up-close. I actually thought she was kidding but quickly realized she wasn’t. She was asking about my eye colour and she was surprised when I told her that my sister and mom have different coloured eyes than I do. She was also surprised that people in Canada have brown eyes, like hers. But the bottom line here is this: I need more practice conversing.
The second and last night we were away, we had another worship time and then there was discussion. Strangely enough, I understood what they were talking about and was even able to contribute. This was definitely a God thing because I have no idea why I was able to understand as much as I could. We discussed the purpose of our cell group. Why do we meet? If cell groups at the church are dying, what can we do differently? Why are the cell groups at church ‘dying?’ How can the cell groups capture people’s interest? What do churches do in America? In Canada? How do we deal with our group having not-yet-believers, new believers and people who’ve been believers for a while? Are there too many people in our group? Do we need to split up? Who can lead cell groups? It was a good discussion and I’m really thankful that I was able to actually be a part of it – even if it was just a small part.
We ended up only spent one day on Koh Samet itself. We hired a speed boat to take us to a beach near the south of the island and we spent the day there having ‘sanook’ (fun) and relaxing. Unfortunately the water had trash floating throughout it. In the middle of the afternoon, two guys were walking along the shore and were collecting the garbage that had gathered there. Yuck. I actually had been to Koh Samet 5 years ago, at the end of my DTS with YWAM. I remember that at that time the beaches also had garbage issues. It’s kind of sad thing really. Where does this garbage come from? Boats passing by?
I don’t have much more to say about the tea-ow. We stopped by a market on the way home to buy fruit and other ‘kha-nome’ (snacks) for friends back in Lopburi. This is something you’re supposed to do if you go on tea-ow somewhere – bring back a little present of food for your friends. If the area that you’re visiting is well known for a particular type of food, etc. then that’s what you should buy to bring back. Faye and I brought back Durian chips for our friends here in Lopburi and for the teachers at school as well. They’re really tasty. Faye, who doesn’t even like durian, likes them. And the teachers gave them 5 stars. We chose well.