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Wednesday, January 22: Day 275 – Made in America

I am always sad to say goodbye to the friends and acquaintances that we have met along the way. But at the same time, I am ready for what adventure lies ahead.

Our hostel host was Joe. I am learning some advanced photo skills by blurring the background.

He has two hostels: Family Home 1 and Family Home 2. He is very excited about Donna’s baby as we are checking out and flying to North Carolina for two weeks in anticipation of the arrival of Baby Girl Miller. He will see baby pictures on the blog.

We did not anticipate returning to the USA until May 1, but when we learned a baby was on the way, we bought our plane tickets. We don’t want to miss out on the GRAND adventure of being there when we become grandparents.

Many of the hostelers wished us safe travels and to have a good life.

Rob has been looking forward to being where things make sense. He is proud to be an American. These are a few of his favorite things:

  • Drinking the water from the tap
  • Flushing without dumping a bucket of water in the floor toilet
  • Recognizing the food on the menu
  • Using napkins that are not small pieces of toilet paper that are used in great quantities and often blow off the table.
  • Eating beef from cows and not water buffalo
  • Being able to chew the pork
  • Walking on the sidewalk without zigzaging obstacles
  • Navigating traffic that really does stop at red lights
  • Being able to use and flush toilet paper instead of throwing it in a trash can
  • Taking showers that keep the water from getting all over the floor
  • Not having to be concerned about the air quality.
  • Not fearing for my life due to cars and motorbikes coming from all directions and riding anywhere!!

Today we scheduled lunch at Huan Chao Bua Tip with O’B O’Brien who works in Thailand for Frontier Ventures. I am interested in the lives of missionaries. He has so many encouraging stories. O’B has been involved in missions in Thailand and other places in Southeast Asia for most of his life.

As a ministry coach he asked very good questions of us as we are trying to discern how we can best follow God’s will in our retirement. All Christians know God’s will…to spread the good news to all people. The implementing is the challenge, and it changes at every age, and every stage, and for each person.

We have heard about the often difficult task of fundraising for those called to the harvest fields far from home. (The rest of us are harvesting in the garden plot near our homes.) He shared with us that it takes about 18 months. If God calls you, God will provide the funds.

I asked O’B how do you know when you’ve raised enough. He told me that when one selects a sending agency, you are assigned a coach and a fundraising coach. It sounds like there is a lot of support for those out in the field before, during, and after their God-chosen assignment.

O’B will be living in Chiang Mai to set up a Frontiers Venture support hub for Asia. Many other sending agencies have their hubs here as well. The goal is to communicate better with each other. Even though they are separate entities, all of the agencies have the same mission of spreading the Gospel especially to those who have not heard. These organizations do not want to duplicate efforts as there is much to do.

O’B worked in Cambodia and with Cambodians in the USA during the Pol Pot era. He never married but adopted five Cambodian boys. (Move over, Angelina!) The first one of the boys was the son of the second in command to Pol Pot, and he was being recruited by the Khmer Rouge. O’B was able to get him out of Cambodia. Many years later his son came back to visit his biological parents and was able to testify about Jesus. They all became Christians. As O’B said, no one is too far gone to experience God’s saving grace.

I was interested in any work that he had done in sharing the gospel with animists. He said they know that the Spirit of Jesus is stronger than any of the evil spirits that they have worshipped so they are very open to the gospel.

One day a family of nine said that they wanted to become followers of Jesus. The question asked of everyone is why and why now? Here was their story:

They had a daughter who was very sick. They went to the shaman to ask what they needed to do in order for her to be well. The shaman went through his actions and said that they needed to sacrifice a water buffalo in a nearby field.

They were horrified because they were very poor and didn’t have so much as a chicken.

They asked the shaman if the spirit would make their daughter well, would the evil spirit allow them to save up their money in order to buy the water buffalo and then they would sacrifice it.

The shaman went back to the evil spirit who told the shaman that this was agreeable so they made a contract of sorts.

The daughter became well, and it took about three years for them to save enough money to buy the water buffalo.

They sacrificed the water buffalo and told the spirit that we have met our obligation, and we are done with you.

Immediately, they came as a family to the Christian gathering to indicate that they wanted to become followers of Jesus.

That is a fascinating story and speaks of their integrity. Thanks to be to God!

Milestone: This is my 300th blog. Thanks to all who read and encourage me to write of our adventures and tell of what we see God doing in the world.

Update: My father, Stewart, is soon to be discharged to a rehab facility. He struggles with eating which has nothing to do with his fall. Also, he has a terrible cough. Just the day before the fall, he had been to the dentist who said that he needs to have a rotten tooth pulled right away. That is now on the back burner but is still a big concern.

My brother, Jeff, who is a doctor is coming this weekend to visit, assess his health, and assist with his transition to rehab. It is hard not to be there. Please pray that his health will continue to improve and give all of us wisdom for his care.

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