The second half of my trip through Thailand led me to opposite sides of the nation. I first headed north to the foreigner friendly Chiang Mai. Probably my favorite place of my entire trip, Chiang Mai was old and new, with lots of things to keep you busy in a weeks visit. I had the privelege of staying with now friend, Ekk Jampa and his 3 American roomates. I met Ekk through couchsurfing.org and chose to stay with him because I knew he was a Christian guy and was the same age as me. Getting to hang out with him was much more than just a free place to crash for a week. Him and his roomates were totally hospitable and spent the majority of thei freetime showing me the better parts of the city. I had such a blast hopping from one thing to another all week. Some highlights throughout the week included:
~Riding elephants, ox carts, bamboo rafts, and scooters all in the same day!
~A 2 hour zipline course called “Flight of the Gibbon” that took you through the Thai jungle as if you were a gibbon yourself.
~$1 smoothies with virtually every meal.
~Visiting 2 international schools: Grace International and Chiang Mai International
~Street food: Pad Thai, fried rice, fresh fruit, Roti (banana & choc pancake), meat-on-a-stick. All usually under $1-2
~Walking street. On every Sat/Sun night an entire street is closed so Thai vendors can sell their homemade products and delicious food.
~Super Mario Bros. nights.
~Meeting tons of cool people.
~The “sticky waterfall”. You could seriously walk up this 100m waterfall without worrying about slipping.
Needless to say, my time in Chiang Mai was unforgettable and I really like forward to returning there again someday. I was also to meet missionary Andy Owen and his children to talk about life in Thailand and his particular ministry church planting and providing leadership services. My visits to the international schools sparked my ever-growing interest in teaching overseas in an international school and gave me a better idea of the process of getting in.
After nearly a week in Chiang Mai, it was off to Phuket for a short 3 days of fun in the sun. I stayed at a hostel for roughly $7.50/night and rented a scooter for a couple of days at about $6/day. On my first day out I simply grabbed my day pack and scootered around the island stopping for the occasional dip in the ocean at several of Phuket’s gorgeous blue water beaches. I took plenty of pictures since taking a bad picture in Phuket is virtually impossible. That evening I enjoyed an amazing meal of barbequed chicken and pork with cucumbers at the beach while I watched candle lamps float toward the star studded sky. It doesn’t get much better than that. The next day I spent on a ferry that took us to multiple smaller islands. At each island we would unload on kayaks and cruise in and around the island. One particular island had us go through a cave that led to the inside of the island which was filled with monkeys. I also met some really cool Aussies named Brad and Jasmine that invited me to their resort the next day to hang out by the pool and eat free food. So that’s how I spent my last day in Thailand. Sipping free Pina Coladas pool side working on my October tan…rough life huh?
Looking back on my time in Thailand/Cambodia I can’t help but see how much God taught me and the many ways in which He blessed me. I learned about the need for genuine Christ followers in these countries boldly proclaiming the gospel to the many lost and unreached people there. I see the need for the basic needs of many people to be met. I witnessed the corruption of men and the power of Satan in their lives. But, I also saw the grace of God in the lives of many. I met individuals who were sold out to Jesus and were willing to follow Him to literally the ends of the Earth. That’s what I want for my life. I want to say and actually mean it when I say, “Jesus, send me anywhere you want me to go.” It’s certainly an intimidating way to go about your life but is there anything else other than that? When will we as Christ followers stop making excuses for why we can’t do this or that and just follow? I feel like God had me read the book “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan for a reason while I was on this trip. If you haven’t read it, go and read it…now. If you have already read it then read it again and ask God to reveal to you the ways in which you can better serve Him, a God who is crazy in love with you!
What a blessing the last month has been in my life. As I look toward the future I’m excited for what God has in store. The Philippines, Indiana, Virginia…He is so good. Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers while I was and still am traveling. Please continue to pray in these ways:
~That God would give me the wisdom I require for my future in moving and finding a job back in America.
~Leaving Korea and saying goodbye to all the wonderful people that I’ve met here.
~The Philippines and however God will use me there.
~Praise: My friend Stephen Howard has scored an amazing job in VA beach and already a promotion!
~Jacob & Candace Barr and their futures back in America or around the world.
~Praise: My friend Minnie got into grad school at Syracuse U!