A particular Thai-yai festival (Boi Sang Long) took place in my village from Friday morning (with some elements on Thursday afternoon) until early afternoon today. The video shown below is of a particular part of the the festival which took part on Saturday – day two of the festival. The villagers were on their way to the temple, most of them having just passed by with all their offerings. The boys dressed up like princes and being carried around on people’s shoulders are called ‘sang long.’ These boys will spend some time in the Buddhist temple as novices (young monks) in our village from this afternoon onwards – some staying for as long as a month (or maybe even longer).
Through observing the festival, spending time with neighbours before, during and after the festival, asking questions, doing some reading about it and asking more questions, I’ve learned a lot more about not just Thai-yai culture but also about the people in my village. I’m thankful for the increased number great opportunities I’ve had to connect with my neighbours, over last few days. My heart is burdened for them to an even greater degree and I want to see the Lord do a miraculous thing here in Sop Soi, in the lives of each and every person. From my neighbour’s two year old granddaughter who wais me with great glee, to the 96 year old woman who lives on the far side of the temple. From the young boys who so freshly experienced all that being a sang long entails, to the middle-aged men hanging out, drinking and reminiscing about when they were sang longs back in their youth. I want God to do a mighty work in them and give them understanding about who He is and how He is the Lord and there is no other.
The words “I am the Lord” and variations of it appear 17 times within Isaiah 42-48. The idea of “I am the Lord and there is no other” is repeated at least 10 times from Isaiah 43-46.
“I am the Lord, that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to idols.” Isaiah 42: 8
“I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior.” Isaiah 43:11
“I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.” Isaiah 43:15
“There is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is no one besides me. Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, from my mouth has gone forth in righteousness a word that shall not return: “To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.” Isaiah 45:21b-23
“Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. Who is like me? Let them proclaim it, let them declare and set it forth before me. Who has announced from of old the things to come? Let them tell us what is yet to be. Do not fear, or be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? You are my witnesses! Is there any god besides me? There is no other rock; I know not one.” Isaiah 44: 6-8
I pray that the people of Sop Soi come to believe that all these words are true – that the Holy Spirit would remove the veil that “the god of this world” has blinded them with (2 Cor. 4:4), that they’d turn to Him, be saved and that He’d transform their lives. That “this one will say, I am the Lord’s,” another will be called by the name of Jacob, yet another will write on the hand, “The Lord’s,” and adopt the name of Israel” (Isaiah 44:5).
Please persist in praying for the Thai-yai.