Thursday, June 25, 2015


How are you?

It's a question we get a lot.  And thus, we have a relatively standard response...  "We're doing great. Homeschooling is going well.  We are enjoying our language lessons.  We like living in Thailand, and we are looking forward to partnering more with the Charis Project as we set up a community center to help empower the families here."

What's life like in Thailand?  How are you adjusting?

It's true.  We like Thailand.  We are adjusting fairly well, and we've tried to make that pretty clear here on this blog.  However, it's really only one side of the story.  Surface level, really.  Life is so very different here.  It's difficult to express just how much I'm constantly trying to process what is going on here.

How can I explain, for example, what it is like to sit in a sweltering hot one-room shack, knowing that this is how a majority of the people live here when I go home to my big house with A/C?

A three-walled "house" where a mom, dad,
baby boy, and physically and mentally-disabled son
were living.
Or the time when I walked into a non-profit handicraft shop that seeks to empower the women here.  How do I tell you about my initial shock and regaining my composure when the woman who comes to help me is using crutches because one leg is severely mangled and the other one is missing?  It's obvious she stepped on a landmine in her home country which is unfortunately not a rare sight here.

How do I process what it feels like to look into a three-year old girl's face that is covered with sores and bruises, and knowing that she has been raped by an eight-year old boy this week (and not for the first time)?

How do I share what's it's like to be greeted with respect as a teacher simply because I'm white?

The four bedroom house I live in with
my husband and two boys.
Our rent here is 1/6 of what it was in the States.
How do I deal with the knowledge that a teacher I know spent three years and then another ten years locked up as a political prisoner simply because he was an activist who desires political reform in Myanmar (something they desperately need)?  Thirteen years is difficult for me to grasp!

How do I empathize with the people here who have fled their homes because the Burmese military's Four Cuts policy and whose homes and villages have been destroyed (and now planted with landmines so they can't return and rebuild)?  Many of them are illegally in Thailand which makes them ineligible for decent pay while making them never cease to worry about deportation back to their country where they have no home.

Can I, Should I, Could I.... live incarnationally among the people we serve here?  Could I live in a bamboo or tin one-room shack with no electricity or running water?  Would that lead to burn out?  What would that look like for my kids?  Would I even be useful?  What really should my standard of living look like?

Questions like these and others like them plague my daily existence.  Most seem to have no answers, but I live in the wrestling of them.  On this blog, I've chosen to mostly focus on the good things since I know it would be all to easy to be discouraged.

Life is more complicated here.  It's not fair.  We are here doing the little we can to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this place.  How to do that the best we can is what we are striving for.

So, we are adjusting.  I think (hope!) we are adjusting well.  We are definitely functional.  I am not the same person I was before I came, but I'm not sure I'd want to be.  It's difficult to describe, so in the meantime, "Yes, we are doing well.  We like Thailand.  Thanks for asking!"

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing at Velvet Ashes, Alisha. This life can be wonderful and horrific at the same time. May you continue to see places to be His hands and feet.