Saturday, August 30, 2008

Stormy Weather in Texas

Hurricane Gustav is reeking havoc as it heads for the gulf coast, but the storm I'm writing about is one of the heart. Just a brief blog to let you all know that I'm heading for Texas in order to be with Vanessa and Riley as they rebuild their lives in the wake of Trey's departure. Funny, how in the last blog I posted the picture of the double rainbow. To be sure, there are rough waters ahead, but I know that we won't be facing the "storm" alone.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Singin' the Bangkok Blues...

Recently, Sam and I've both been singin' the Bangkok blues. We're really not quite sure why. Probably, it's just a lot of little things....all together called life! Fortunately, our concert is over and quite dramatically we were once again reminded that no matter how down we may get, God is faithful to keep His promises.

This picture was taken from our living room balcony. I wish I could have captured the whole double rainbow with my camera. I guess what's important is that it's etched in my heart.

"I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth." Genesis 9:13

"Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving towards all he has made." Psalm 145:13

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A "Prophetic" Party Hat

Today, August 12, all of Thailand is celebrating their beloved queen's birthday. On this special national holiday, not only is the queen celebrated, but also mothers are honored as it's Thai tradition that Father's Day and Mother's Day are celebrated on the birthdays of the king and queen.Since today is such an auspicious day, I thought that I'd to seize the opportunity to share this snapshot of one of my students in his "party" hat. Do you remember in my last blog that I mentioned that we made hats the day President Bush visited Klong Toey? Well, imagine my surprise as I folded this little guy's hat! Honestly, I can think of little more to write as the headline profoundly says it all..."The future of history is here." I do believe that Thailand's royal family and our president would most certainly agree.

Hope you have a happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Just Another Day....NOT!

Today wasn't an ordinary day in the Klong Toey slum. In fact, for days things haven't been business as usual. The sidewalks had been swept...or should I say scrubbed? Street hawkers were notified that they were to remain closed on Thursday, decaying building awnings were removed, even incinerators along the street were wrapped in brown paper to mask any unsightliness from our President's view. I can't help but wonder if President Bush is aware of the extraordinary lengths to which this community went to prepare for his visit today.
Of course, he didn't just randomly choose this poorest of the poor Bangkok neighborhood. President Bush came to visit and honor a very special American, Father Joe Maier, a Redemptorist priest who came to Thailand in 1967 as a missionary. Father Joe founded the Human Development Foundation and has lived in and served the Klong Toey community for over 40 years. His Mercy Centre, a shelter for street kids and a home for mothers and children with HIV/AIDS is directly behind the school I teach at.
Speaking of teaching, I did actually teach today or at least tried to! The children were certainly aware that it was a different day... after all, it's not every day that their playground gets turned into a parking lot for police trucks! Anyway, after our routine lessons, reviewing the letter "H", and making newspaper "hats" (check my next blog), I headed out onto to the street to see what I could see...kind of felt like Zacchaeus in the sycamore tree! One of the first sights I saw was a string of secret service agents and their assorted vehicles. The picture above is of an agent I befriended because he was in need of locating the "facilities". I really enjoyed chatting with him and his partner. This was their first trip to Thailand. With the exception of suffering from major jet lag, they were having a nice time...looking forward to a Thai foot massage this evening:) To show their gratitude for my help, they gave me some secret service pins for Riley. Now that's a souvenir I never expected to collect in Thailand!
I also never expected to be interviewed by an AP reporter, but as you can see from the picture above, I was. Talk about nervous! The tape will probably never be aired, but just in case you'd like to hear what I had to say, you might want to tune into CNN. And if you'd like to know more about Father Joe's ministry, I highly recommend his book, Welcome to the Bangkok Slaughterhouse, or you can check out the Mercy Centre website. My Shutterfly page will have a new album shortly containing all my snapshots from this most un-ordinary day.