Welcome to PlaaPlaaPlaa!

So you may be wondering why PlaaPlaaPlaa? What are those strange fish symbols above? What is ปลา and what does it mean? In short, this is a blog site, so surely there's going to be plenty of rambling. Unfortunately BlahBlahBlah was already taken, so I had to settle for the 'Plaa'. But there's actually more to it then just ramblings. The first fish symbol is actually a Christian symbol meaning ICTHUS - a greek acronymn which means "Jesus Christ is God's Son, the Saviour". The other strange letters you see in the last fish is actually the thai word for fish which funnily enough is pronounced "Plaa". So when you put it all together, this site is going to be my ramblings in telling people about how Jesus Christ is God's Son, the Saviour in Thailand (with plenty of good stories about food in between). Happy reading.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Touchdown


After a teary goodbye at the airport to my parents and a few close friends, my 2 stop flight to Chiang Mai ended up being a bit of an epic with an extra long transit in Hong Kong as my flight from Sydney landed 1 hr earlier than expected (4am HK time!) and the flight to Bangkok was delayed by over and hour with 'technical problems'. This left me with a mad dash at Bangkok to get off the plane, get through immigration, collect my bags and check in for my domestic flight before the check in counters closed. I felt like i was on the amazing race or something and somehow managed to check in with just 4 minutes to go (although the board already said the counters had closed). Praise God that at every step of the way, even though all the planes were full, I never got pulled up on my luggage being overweight!

As we flew into Chiang Mai, I looked out the window to see the city that is to be home. Rather than seeing the grey rain clouds of Sydney, i was greeted by another kind of grey - smog!! and lots of it.



It was so nice to have my niece and nephews come running at me with big hugs as I came out of the baggage claim. Then i saw my sister, brother-in-law and team mate Kristy and her daughter Amelia. It really felt like i was back home and if it wasn't for the fact that the kids had all grown up so much and that James is almost taller than me now, it would've felt like no time had passed at all. That night, my sister had organised for our team mates and some of my close friends to come around for dinner. It was so nice to see them all again in person and to hang out. Even nicer that I haven't lost too much of my Thai and could chat and have fun with them like the old days. Am looking forward to hanging out more - when i'm not so tired from travelling for 20hrs.


With Jai and Ang


With May, Daa & Boom

Many may think I'm strange, but I'm really enjoying the heat and humidity, maybe cos Sydney has been so cold this past summer. However, it wasn't so great when we ended up with a blackout late last night just as we were about to have a shower and go to bed. Trying to sleep in a room with still, humid air isn't so fun. So while we were waiting for the power to come back on, i thought it was an opportune time to play with my camera and get the kids to make letters with their torches. Here are a few of the better shots.





Then today, we went out on a 'tiaw' (day trip), to Mae Wang where we got to camp out in little shelters next to the river and eat REAL Thai food (it's never tasted sooooo good!!) and the kids got to play in the river on tyre tubes. It's soooo good to be back! So much to praise God for!


Eating REAL Thai food with Lop, Nit, Denise and John at Mae Wang


Mimi floating down the 'slider' rapids


The river.

For those who pray:
- Praise God for safe travels to Thailand
- Praise God for great family and friends here
- Pray for the reestablishment of friendships and development of new ones
- Pray for continued settling in, finding of suitable accommodation, cultural adjustment, further language learning etc

Sunday, March 25, 2012

1 sleep to go...

It's so hard to believe that there is now only 1 more sleep to go! The past week has brought back memories of what it was like as a kid waiting for Christmas to come. At times it felt like time had just stopped and it was taking forever. But even though at times it felt like it would never come, I loved every minute I have had to catch up with many friends and to have the opportunity to say way too many goodbyes (I still hate goodbyes). I'm still constantly blown away by the support and encouragement I have received from so many friends, and I'm really going to miss hanging out with you all in person. thankfully the many farewell get togethers, dinners, drop bys, bike rides, lunches etc have meant that i've been able to make good use of my camera and I've managed to get together a pretty good collection of selfy shots with many of you which i plan to print out and put into an album so i can be remembering you and praying for you all regularly. So as my final day draws to a close and as i reflect on the past few months of preparation in heading to Thailand, I am just so thankful to God for so many friends and family and all the love, encouragement, prayers, support, friendship and partnership. I am truly blessed by God to have each of you in my life and i look forward to the days when i am back on home assignment and can spend time together again.

I thought i'd share a few more pics from my commissioning service and some shots from various farewells and dinners over the past couple weeks. But the first couple pics are the prayers from 3 of the kids that I taught at Kids Church last year, Jesse, Gabby and Caitlin. They were asked to pray for me as a 'mini commissioning' service during the kids spot in the morning service. These prayers really encouraged and touched me and even brought me to tears.





The church at the commissioning


Those who came to the commissioning, but loved this shot as josh is doing a massive yawn


the charge


More shots from my commissioning service


Kevin & Luke praying at the commissioning service


college friends who rocked up to support


Birthday dinner for Don Don and Bridgie


ultimate group selfy shot (who knew my arm was actually that long to get everyone in)


great group shot by Alice


With college friends

Sunday, March 18, 2012

An Amazing Day!!

Today has been an amazing day which has just blown my mind in terms of God's provision and the amazing support and encouragement of family and friends from all over.

The morning started with sharing at the 9am service and morning tea afterwards. It was such an encouragement chatting to the 9am congregation. I then went to the 10.30 service where, even though there was a bit of fun in doing the chicken dance for everyone, on a more serious note, i was 'commissioned' and prayed for by some of the Lions kids (kids i taught last year). I was so touched and encouraged by the prayers of the kids. I'm so going to miss them, and even though i won't get to teach them each week, they will continue to be remembered in my prayers.



Chatting with so many people after church was also a huge encouragement. To have many more people continue to come forward wanting to support me in various ways is just so humbling and encouraging. It's hard not to be blown away by God's provision. As an added bonus the kids came back after kids church where they had made some gingerbread as part of their lesson, and they made a special box of ginger bread for me which included my pieces that spelt 'DEB' :)



Then, early this afternoon, i had a couple come round to look at my car. Having never sold a car privately before, there were times that i was a bit anxious in wondering if i would ever sell it, and for how much. Thanks to lots of advice and encouragement from some friends to hold out for the right buyer, God delivered the right buyer this afternoon, and i have now sold my car for more than i thought i would get for it. It's a real answer to prayer, not only for price, but also for the timing of the sale.

Then tonight was the commissioning service. If i wasn't already blown away by all the support and encouragement in the morning, i was even more blown away in the evening. After having a chance to share what i was going to be doing, it was really encouraging to hear from Kevin Murray (APWM) and Craig (DPC) about mission and partnership. Then Simon Longdon gave a really challenging talk from 2 Corinthians 4 about why we need to persevere and not lose heart. It was a great reminder to know that we have God on our side, that we need to be renewed inwardly day by day and make sure that we do not drift, and to be fixing our eyes on what is unseen. Then came the time for the commissioning which you can watch below if you missed it.

video

It's a huge responsibility to be taking the gospel to Thailand, and i know it's only possible because of God and the support of my Christian family in DPC, CCC, Pioneers, APWM and many others. It was just a huge encouragement to see a church full of people standing as an expression of their support and partnership in heading to Thailand. As Luke and Kevin prayed at the end, i was so overwhelmed by the support, prayers, encouragement and reality of the future that the emotions hit and the tears began flowing. Thankfully being at the front during the last song meant that most people probably didn't notice, but I am just so thankful for all God's blessings, for the amazing family and friends he has provided me and for the encouragement, support and prayers of so many.

For those who pray:
- Praise God for all his abundant blessings
- Praise God for the partnership that we can have in the gospel
- Pray that i will be someone who perseveres, is renewed daily by God and continues to fix my eyes on the things that are unseen

Friday, March 16, 2012

Commissioning Service 6pm 18th March at DPC

For those who are in Sydney, my commissioning service will be 6pm Sunday, 18th March at Drummoyne Presbyterian Church. It will be a night where i will get to share briefly about what i'll be doing in Thailand (in case you missed my info night), hear a talk by Simon Longden, the national director of Pioneers Australia, i will be 'commissioned' to go and there will also be a time of prayer. While at times, i must admit that this night has felt a bit daunting, i'm also really looking forward to it and have already been immensely encouraged by the number of people who have said they are coming, or who wish they could come. It's such a blessing to have such amazing support and affirmation from my brothers and sisters in Christ to be going and serving God in Thailand and I really thank and praise God for each one of them.

It's now only 10 more sleeps til i leave!!! Most things seem to be under control, i have my visa, my ticket, most of my things are packed into boxes ready to be stored or sent over with people going to Thailand in the few months. Just need to sell my car, which is no longer a 'stress' as God has also provided a generous friend who has offered to help sell it for me after i leave if i don't sell it before hand. What a blessing!! So with days to go, i'm able to just spend time with friends and family and say lots of goodbyes!

For those who pray:
- Praise God for the amazing support, encouragement and generosity of friends so that i can go
- Pray for the final few days, for good time with friends and family, but also adequate rest before i go
- Pray for safe travels

Friday, March 9, 2012

Thing to look forward to

Given that the countdown is on for my departure, it's been challenging trying to work out how to fit everything into my final couple weeks. It's been really nice being able to spend time with family and friends amongst the less 'fun' things that need to be done like getting visas, vaccinations, cleaning out my stuff, selling my car, dental checks etc etc etc. But there is also the realisation that i also need to start thinking about what will be happening in my first couple weeks when i land in CM. There will be plenty of people to be catching up with, i'll need to meet with the lawyer to start getting my work visa organised, and there was talk of possibly going away on an overnight trip away the day after my arrival! I have a feeling that it'll be pretty full on as soon as i land, so good to start preparing for that.

Until last night, i was kinda looking forward to leaving the Sydney rain and cold summer behind for the heat and humidity of CM, but then i was hit with reality of not only heat and humidity that i'll be facing, but also the smog. To quote my sister - "the smog here is DREADFUL at the moment and you can barely breathe. Now your eyes sting pretty bad when outside and the respiratory issues are mounting up thick and fast.". Hmmm....good to be reminded of reality before i hit the ground :)

For those praying:
- Praise God for the chance to spend time with friends and family
- Praise God for the provision of needed support to go
- Pray that there won't be any problems in getting visas, selling my car and other logistical matters
- Pray for the smog problems in Thailand, that it will ease and won't cause health issues amongst people

Friday, March 2, 2012

CCC Missions Dinner Video

One down side of going across the Tasman last week was that it meant i couldn't make it to the CCC missions dinner. However, the upside of not being there meant that I had the chance to make a quick video to explain some of the needs in Thailand and what i'll be up to when I get there which i can now post up. So for those of you who missed my info night, my sharing time at CCC or the CCC missions dinner, here's a quick video which outlines briefly what i'll be up to and how you can be a part of it.

video