Reflections

Well, both David and Alan are back home now.  David has only just arrived, and since I have been back a couple of days now, there's a good chance that I will make more sense than David today.  (:biggrin:)  I suspect he'll stop by here and add a few more comments in a day or two.

We did spend some time in Singapore en-route home.  Aside from time spent in debrief, my time there was spent as a tourist.  Singapore is a beautiful city.  In many respects, it is difficult to differentiate from my home town of Melbourne at first glance.  Tree-lined streets and green open spaces were something that I had missed in Thailand, and they were a striking feature of Singapore.

Given Singapore's history and the influence of the British through the likes of Sir Stamford Raffles, it is not surprising that there are similarities in design and appearance with some of our Australian cities.

I could go on, but I think it more appropriate at this stage to provide some reflections on the last 19 or so days.

We travelled around 17,000 kilometres, and visited 4 cities.  What used to take months to accomplish not that many years ago is now done so quickly, and relatively easily.  Praise God for the tools that he has provided us with that enable us to go out in this way in Jesus' name.

Travel indeed does make the world a seemingly small place.  While in Thailand, we were privileged to serve folks from many different lands.  I really can't say how many (I lost count!), but I can say that many had come further than us to answer God's call.  We were able to minister to workers from as far away as Holland and Canada (as well as Australia!).  It was challenging to see that most of our missionary friends were serving the Lord alongside their families - often with young children.  It was also exciting to see the number of recent arrivals to these mission fields.  God is certainly at work.

The Thai people that we were able to spend time with also left a special mark in our hearts.  Not only did I warm to the Thai people, but I came to understand that we are more alike than perhaps you would think.  Given that all men are created in God's image, this is hardly a surprising revelation, but let me give you an example.

In Thai culture, there is a term "sanook", which loosely translated means "fun".  It is said that anything you do - including work - should have an element of "sanook".  Working with language differences in Bangkok, for example, soon became a source of sanook.  Now, I think that this Thai concept is not dissimilar from the Australian concept of larrikin.  Particularly when you consider some of the other basic cultural differences, it's not hard to make the connection between larrikin and sanook.  By my perception, the same spirit is at work in both.  

Indeed, this serves to confirm that we do share a single creator God, and as we are made in His image, we would have to conclude that He has a sense of humour!  We call it larrikin, the Thai call it sanook, but it all comes from the same place.

All considered, the trip has been a wonderful experience.  Aside from being able to render assistance as planned, it has also been an opportunity to make new friends, learn about and from others, and to learn some things about myself.

To all who have supported this trip in various ways, thank you, and bless you!  Your support made this trip possible.  I am confident that the work we were able to do by God's grace will continue to be a benefit to His Kingdom for a long time to come.