Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Thailand Stories: The Falling Snake

I often get caught up in the large things I'm processing while living here, and that is what often gets captured here on the blog.  However, the daily stories get lost and usually forgotten.  I'm hoping to chronicle more of the things that happen here....

We just love going to the waterfalls that are within an hour drive of our home.  Our favorite one is in Mae Kasa.

If it says "Hug" you better hug!

Down below there is a concrete pool where you can swim and play in different deepness levels.

Alisha's Dad enjoying the base on a different trip.
But then, there are some stairs that lead you up to different sections of the waterfall.  Each one is pretty with a wonderful view.  When you get to the top, there is another pool with a makeshift water slide made out of large PVC pipes.

No one had been in the pool for a couple of hours, and the water was super clear.
Until we got in and stirred up all the rocks, of course!

This place is awesome.  It's not as crowded as down below, and the water level reaches to Z's chest so he can feel confident moving around and trying to swim while still being able to always touch the ground.  The slide is fun too.

Z loves this pool

We can spend many an hour here.  It's shaded by some big trees that are growing up right in the middle of the pool.

This is where our story starts....

Back in November, we were enjoying our trip to Mae Kasa.  We had been in the water for an hour when suddenly, a branch broke overhead.  What we didn't realize immediately was that there was a SNAKE on the branch.  Everyone in the pool started screaming and running for the edge of the pool.  Everyone, that is, except N.  He just stood there as the snake came right towards him.  He was standing between it's escape from the pool.  Instead of bolting for safety, N just reached out and touch the snake's head.  Alisha was the closest to him, and was able to grab him and get him to the far end of the pool.  The snake was so startled from it's fall that it swam to the edge of the pool and rested for a few minutes.  It was then that we got a good look at him. He was long!  It was probably close to six feet, and all green except for his tail that was brown.  After regaining his composure, the snake slithered off to hopefully find a branch that isn't hanging over a big pool with humans in it.

N playing right where the branch would later fall.

We looked up the snake afterwards.  It was relatively easy to identify since we knew it lives in Thailand, in trees and near water.  The all-green body with brown tail was also helpful.  Apparently, it was a Red-Tailed Racer or Rat Snake, and thankfully it is non-venomous and not dangerous!!!

Here is a link to a video of some guys in Thailand with a smaller one.

It gave us quite a fright, but despite the craziness, we took Alisha's parents there the next week when they came to visit in December.  They were game!  But I'm glad that we didn't have a repeat occurence anyway.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave
Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with him again
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave   
Oh death! Where is your sting?
Oh hell! Where is your victory?
Oh Church! Come stand in the light!
Our God is not dead, he's alive! he's alive! 
- "Christ is Risen" by Matt Maher 

Happy Easter!  He is Risen!

As I contemplate Christ's death and resurrection this year, I recognize that there has been so much of me that has died over the past two years.  And yet, I still have reason to be thankful for my God meets me right where I am.  He knows death.  He knows death better than I can or ever will know it.  He "trampled death by death" so that I can live.  He then gloriously arose from the grave.  Because of this I get to see that there truly is abundant life after the dying.  He made this way for us.

I really needed this Easter.  I needed to know that Jesus knew what my struggle feels like.  I needed to grieve with Him as I remembered His cross and His pain.  It helps me to see my pain in a better light.  There is hope.  There is a resurrection and life.

Last year, we spent our Easter mostly alone.  We had so many hopes for our ministry here.  We went to the border to pray over the people there, and had a Easter "feast" from street food from the Sunday Burmese market.

Easter feast
Our blurry Easter feast 2015

This year was different.  We began the morning by going out to the reservoir for a worship time and breakfast.


Earlier in the week we spontaneously invited anyone from my women's group that didn't have a place to go for Easter to come to our house for Sunday lunch.  No planning - just come and bring what you'd like.  We ended up having 11 people join us!

The Grown-Ups

The kids
We had so much food this year!

As I continue to grieve the death of some of the dreams that I had for us here in Thailand, I remember that Jesus is enough.  He is our model as the firstborn of his new creation.  Old things have passed away, and He is making all things new.  He will lead us into the glorious life that He intends for us.

It is already beginning...

Saturday, March 19, 2016

New Beginnings - January and February

My monthly picture updates are now becoming my every-two-months updates.

My year began with an ingrown toenail.  I somehow managed to escape 2015 without having to go to the doctor for myself, although my last visit was 12/31/14.  I went to the local hospital here on 1/1/2016.  Hopefully, it is not a sign of things to come.  =)  My foot feels a lot better now though!

After a year of being in Mae Sot, the boys finally made it to the one and only park that they have in town.  It's called the Science and Evironmental Park and it seems to have had some interesting activities to do back maybe 10 years ago.  Now, though, many of it's stations are falling apart.  It was still fun to explore though.




The boys continue to learn a lot at home.  Phil teaches a programming class to them and another boy.  They love being little engineers.


Our biggest change this year is that Alisha is now homeschooling 8 kids in town (2 of which are N and Z).  They meet at another family's home every weekday from 8:30-12:30.  It's a great fit for Alisha, and it has been great for the boys to spend time with other kids everyday.  It's really an answer to prayer.





Because she has an actual work role now (even if it is volunteer), it is important to have a work permit to continue to be legal in Thailand.  Phil got his permit a year ago, but this is the first time Alisha has gotten hers.  She had to go to a clinic though to get a medical exam for her work permit application.  The clinic was downstairs in a parking garage.  Not exactly American standards.  =)




Ever heard of Superbowl Monday?  Well, that's what you get in Thailand.  Some of our American friends here hosted a party of sorts for those interested.  Kick-off was at 6:30AM and we feasted on a lovely brunch before heading off to school at 8:30.  We were able to find out who won after school was finished.


It seems like it is always New Year around here.  Every few months there is a different culture or religion celebrating their official start of the year.  Phil got a glimpse of the dragon parade going through downtown celebrating Chinese New Year.  The kids at the co-op were learning about China at the time, so they were excited to see the pictures of things happening right here in Mae Sot.


The homeschool co-op has been learning about a different country every week.  We've focused on Asia to begin with, and we had another week where we learned about India.  We had a field trip to a local Indian restaurant.  We were definitely entertaining with 8+ kids (siblings included).  It was really fun though.


We are enjoying going to our friends' house weekly to play with their Burmese neighbors.  The boys have made some friends, and it is fun to see them try to play even when there is a language barrier.



And this is just one of those pictures that captures some of the crazy life we have living in a small town.  These horses were roaming down the street so I had to wait for them to go by.  The red truck decided to take advantage of the fact that I was stopped in order to go the opposite way on the one-way road in order to get going the way he wanted.  (In case you are wondering, in Thailand we drive on the left side of the road.)