Friday, October 21, 2005

Chiang Mai so far

Even though I've only seen it in the dark, the Chiang Mai that exists outside of my nice, but rather nondescript hotel is very different from anyplace in Cambodia. Chiang Mai is a modern city, about the size of Columbus, Ohio. After two weeks in Cambodia, Western-style roads are quite a relief. Everything else appears to be quite up-to-date, and the city itself is relatively affluent. The place is, apparently, a tourist haven, but we haven't seen any other caucasians since we left the airport.

It was already quite dark when we arrived at the orphanage, which lies about 30 minutes by car from our hotel. As we pulled onto the gravel driveway, we saw campfires burning and heard squeals of delight from children who were roasting chunks of skewered pork and beef over the open flame. We hugged and greeted the kids, picked them up and tickled them. They chased us around, hung from our arms and necks and shared their pieces hot, delicious meat until we were stuffed. The kids in Chiang Mai have only been at the orphanage for a few months -- sone of them less -- and are much more 'needy,' emotionally speaking. One little boy was sobbing inconsolably; he misses his mother, a widow, who was too poor to care for him. He had only been there for a week.

After about a half hour of eating and hugging, John Ward said to me, "Luke's here, and he wants to meet you." I hadn't even noticed that Tutu's husband Luke had arrived. I ducked into the dining pavilion and greeted Luke warmly. He introduced me to a man named Pastor L--. Pastor L-- is a Lisu tribesman from Burma. He lives in Bangkok, but his grandparents were from China. L-- has recently been given responsibility for the spiritual oversight of 500 underground house churches in the Yunnan province of China, as well as a number of churches in Burma. L-- said that in China, 35,000 people come to Christ each day, and that they are strong believers who are growing in maturity, and are experiencing the miraculous signs and wonders that often accompany the preaching of the Word, especially in unreached areas.

L-- invited me to come to Burma and China with him on my next visit. He also mentioned a number of projects he'd like Asia's Hope to consider adopting. This guy's the real deal, and an amazing man of God who, according to Luke, has unprecedented access to opportunities in China that would be closed to most other missionaries.

We listened to the kids sing some songs, and John and I sang "All Who Are Thirsty." With Tutu translating, we spoke some words of encouragement to them, and promised to return tomorrow evening. Liu told them, "You are not orphans. You are very important members of God's family," and he exhorted them to see themselves as God sees them. It was all very cool.

Very cool, but very tiring. All of this traveling has taken it out of me. I'm ready for bed. Tomorrow, we go to the Thai Cookery School, and then to the orphanage. Another big day. I can't wait!

3 comments:

erica said...

YES!
Chaing Mai Thai Cookery School!
I am having SO MUCH FUN right now imagining you there! It makes me feel like I was there again. I am happy happy happy.

HAVE FUN!
And, um, if you have an extra couple of bucks, I would really kill for one of their coconut shell spoons. Mine got damaged and broken and I've been wishing for one ever since. pathetic sigh of longing. I would pay you back.

Erica

John McCollum said...

Erica...Guess what I bought for you today...?

I hope I can get it back in one piece. I so, it's yours.

dee said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO JOHN, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU....

I know it is a different day for you, but here for your mom, it is still my "little boys'" birthday. I wish and pray for a great day..
MOM