|Picture by photoGAPphy.com|
“Christmas is really about the gospel of grace for sinners. Because of all that Christ has done on the cross, the manger becomes the most hopeful place in a universe darkened with hopelessness.” Matt B. Redmond
“Christmas is the end of thinking that you are better than someone else, because Christmas is telling you that you could never get to heaven on your own. God had to come to you. It is telling you that people who are saved are not those who have arisen through their own ability to be what God wants them to be. Salvation comes to those who are willing to admit how weak they are.”-Tim Keller (taken from a book of a collection of writings and sermons from various authors, on the topic of advent and Christmas – “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus” Edited by Nancy Guthrie)
The Christmas outreaches are nearly done. Ten or eleven done already and one more to go tonight. All the driving yesterday has exhausted me since we went to two different villages in opposite directions from each other. But I’m glad we went.
Last night, at the village we went to, the village headman was invited to say a few words after the Gospel was preached. It was kind of amazing actually – his response to what was shared. He said, “All religions teach people to be good. But only through Jesus Christ are we made clean from our sins.” Wow!!! And he’s not yet a professed believer! Pray for him and his village!
A dance for a Christmas festival last night that would never happen in North America. Each person had two torches. Torches.
Last night we went to help the church in Huay Nam MSG (not it’s full name obviously – and no, we don’t call it the MSG church… but I will in my blog) to do a Christmas outreach in a Thai-yai village outside of town. We (my teammates and folk from NPJT) thought that it was in a village just outside of town. We were wrong.
Moey, a teenager from MSG, sat in the passenger seat in my truck and gave us directions to get to the outreach location.
“It’s not far, right?,”I asked him.
“Uh, yah it’s far,” he answered.
“Really?! You’re kidding right?”
“Um no. It’s far.”
And so off we drove. Into the sunset. Literally. We drove west.
Pretty soon the good road turned into dirt road and eventually we came to a spot that still hadn’t dried out from rainy season (which, I might say, ended last month!). But we got through! Praise God! And PT who was following me in her truck, got through as well.
The following video is courtesy of Lori. Unfortunately we didn’t get a video of the particularly bad spot (all of us were praying furiously!) so this smaller puddle spot will have to do. Enjoy!
Yesterday and today I’ve felt… under the weather. But having missed one outreach last night in Huay Nam Mae Sa Guet, I decided I should go to tonight’s outreach – even if just for a little bit. I decided to treat myself to “jok” (a boiled rice dish; I have been having the craziest cravings for it for the last month or so, but especially when I’m not feeling well) and a latte (“to keep myself alert for driving,” or so I told myself) at my second home (Baan Tua Lek).
So I arrived at the town church (it actually has a real name but that’s what I call it, even though there are other churches in town – but they’re all Thai and I don’t know where they are. I only ever go to church in NPJT or in Huay Pha or some other Thai-yai church. I like going to Thai churches to, please don’t misunderstand me, I just only ever go to Thai-yai churches while I’m in MHS) just as the evening program was beginning. Then they proceeded to force everyone to play games.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s not that I don’t like games but it depends on the game. And these games had penalties… ie. if you were the one “out” or “caught” or “whatever” you had to suffer for it. This evening the chosen punishment was in the form of parading around the room waddling like a duck.
I actually should’ve been one of the ones parading around like a duck because I wasn’t listening during the game of “Moses Says” but I was a party-pooper and didn’t go up. I would blame it on being 30 and I’m “too old” to waddle around like a duck, but an old auntie happily waddled around the room like a duck, paying the penalty for being a loser in one of the games. Go auntie! My friend’s 13 year old son, Bam, also had to waddle around. I felt for him. He’s kind of shy in large crowds – doesn’t like being the centre of attention. I can relate.
Have a look at Bam and auntie waddling around the room…