The internet service was down here for the whole day yesterday, so there was no way to update. While it’s been fun sharing the trip with you in pictures, there’s also been a lot of very serious, deep learning – which I just didn’t have the time or mental capacity to process here. I’ll definitely get to sharing some of those next week when I’m home and can gather my thoughts a little more. It was an incredible two weeks.
We had the most beautiful communion service on the last day – probably the most memorable one of my life. For bread, we used Thai sticky rice grilled into a flat loaf form. I watched each person receive the bread and juice – the body of Christ – and remembered who they were. Canadians working in Mongolia. Australians working in Malaysia. Brits and New Zealanders in China and Pakistan. A beautiful picture of the body of Christ.
I was surprised by the intensity of emotion, both at communion and at lunch on the last day – saying goodbye to new friends and dear people who are having a real impact around the world. A friend who survived the devastating earthquake in China last year, riding a bicycle through the wreckage to check for other team members, and a friend returning to schools in Pakistan closed by the recent bombings. I cried. A lot. I don’t know how missionaries do it… the repeated good-byes. I have had my head turned upside down and my perspective radically altered.
We’re leaving Saturday morning – Chiang Mai to Bangkok to Taipei to L.A.
3 thoughts on “leaving thailand”
reminds me of a similar mind-blowing communion experience I had about a decade ago. I was a nanny for a missionary family in Kiev, Ukraine and generally did not understand much of the church services (they were mostly in Russian, sometimes in Ukrainian). On one of my last Sundays there, toward the end of the service, the pastor began preparing for communion. He took his Bible and opened it to 1 Cor 11 and read in Russian, and just as though a tape started playing in my head, I heard my own pastor’s voice reciting the same words in English… “and the same night in which He was betrayed, He took the bread…” At that moment I was suddenly overcome by the realization that only a few hours before, my own pastor *had* said those words, back at home in Texas. Here I was on the other side of the world, joining in the same exact remembrance, with people who loved the same Lord I did. It was the church universal as I had never pictured it before, imagining the Christians around the world joining the never-ending worship service going on in Heaven, all worshipping the same omnipresent God… literal communion: co-union across language and nationalities! I had always known with my intellect that the Spirit unites believers around the world but this was the first time I had ever experienced it for myself and knew it in my heart to be real. I wept; it was amazing, and I will never forget it.
Maybe there’s something about international communion that really drives home the message behind the symbolism. 🙂
Wow. Thanks so much for sharing this. I love how you said, “literal communion: co-union across language and nationalities” – I think that’s it exactly. Very moving to see and experience personally.
When I was on a short term mission in Thailand many years ago I was particularly touched when in church we sang songs that I knew from back home. They sang in Thai and I in English, but we were singing the same thing, to the same Almighty God.
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