My friend John Lovorn runs 3x a week near his home in Thailand for exercise. Nothing strange there. But how he does it is what’s strange or maybe even hardcore. He runs 8 miles at one of the hottest parts of the day on a main highway! I knew he was a runner, so I decided to try and get in a little shape before I headed over here so that I could go for a run with him. I’m thinking, ” a little jog around the park or something like that.” Not even close.
He wasn’t going to tell me all of the details until one of Ben’s kids gasped when they found out that I was going to run with him. I still went anyway. I have my pride you know…or maybe stupidity! But he took it a little easier on me. He let me run as long as I can then walk to catch my breath. We did this off and on most of the way. He even rode the Song Tow (pickup truck taxi) some of the way. We ended up walking through a local university and scoping the place out for possible ministry. Even though my legs feel like Jello now, I had a good time hangin with him and I learned a few things too about life, ministry, and missions. I would like to share a few of my thoughts with you.
1. If ministry is symbolized by running, missions work is symbolized by doing it in the 90 degree heat in the middle of the day with large trucks whizzing by you!
2. Mental toughness is needed in missions work. You don’t know how much you have until you start cramping. Pushing past the cramps is what makes a good missionary.
3. Anyone can talk about being spiritually fit, but the proof is in the running. You don’t know how much stamina you have until you get out there and do it. You can read “Runner’s Life” magazine, own a pair of Nike running shoes, and know all about the subject, but until you do it, it’s just talk.
4. Getting started is the hardest part. Everything in you is telling you to stop right away, especially if you haven’t run in a long time, but once you start moving your body adjusts. Once you hit a stride, your second wind can kick in and take you further than you thought you could go at first.
5. It’s always good to run with a partner who has gone longer and harder than you have. He had to break into where he is in increments, so he knows how to break you in too. He can push you just enough without completely breaking you.
As you see from the pictures below, we spent some time exploring the area on a motor cycle and a scooter yesterday. That was a learning experience too! I had to get used to riding that thing, but it didn’t take me long and before you know it I was buzzing down the road passing other bikes and swerving around the potholes!
Everywhere we went, from the Buddhist temple to the back streets of the village, people willingly stopped and talked with us. Last night, we went back to downtown to see the culmination of the idolatrous “Ya Mo” festival. This time the streets were packed. There was a parade, street vendors everywhere, loud music, and people bringing offerings and prostrating themselves before the statue. I found myself longing to see the whole thing redeemed. It’s a shame that thousands of people were having a good time enjoying street food and entertainment even as it was all tied to idolatry.
I went to take some pictures and my camera glitched out! I think John got some for me though.The boys have been doing great. I barely see Brayden as he has been playing with the other kids non stop. He says he loves Thailand, except for the heat! Aslan has been a trooper even though he is cutting a molar. Both of them have been needing a daily siesta because of the heat and playing hard.
Jacqueline has been doing really good as well. She seems to go with the flow of everything pretty good, except for when Brayden climbed an 8 foot hay stack and asked to jump into Ben’s arms from the top! That got her a little nervous! We are heading out to do some more focused evangelism tomorrow, so you can pray for us. Ben wants me to do most of the speaking while he translates. He has the language down really well and has not been at a loss for communication that I’ve seen since we’ve been here. It’s taken a good four years, but he can communicate pretty well!
Thanks again for all of your prayers and support. We love you all!