This is a diary post from 2009 I made while in the country of Laos…
Once we decided to go to Laos, it seemed like everything tried to work against us to keep us from going. My friend Freddy got a high fever and a very bad stomach flu the day before we were supposed to leave. My landlady had also just told us that we would have to move within ten days which was only a couple of days after I was set to return from the trip. It seemed that hell was breaking loose on us at once. We came to the conclusion that this resistance was even more proof that we were doing the right thing in taking this trip.
The night before we our meet up, we prayed for Freddy’s healing. He got up the next day and headed up to meet us in Udon Thani. As he soldiered forward, he progressively got better. Before leaving, I had talked with my wife about our situation and we both felt we would deal with the situation when I returned. In some way, I knew that everything would work itself out. And eventually it did. After I returned, my landlady gave us another month and a half in the house before we needed to move which was just enough time to get into our next home.
Freddy came to Thailand from Cambodia with the intention of going into Laos. When he mentioned the trip to me, I felt strongly that I wanted to go, so I began to make plans. Freddy found our Thai contact through a friend of a friend from Cambodia. This Pastor then connected us with our contact in Laos. Freddy also invited an older Thai man who spoke good English to come with us as our interpreter. One brother who was thinking of coming with us backed out at the last moment and it turned out to be a good thing. We would not have had a seat for him in the truck we traveled in. We later saw that if another one of us would have backed out of the trip, it would not have been possible for the rest of us to go. Everything had to line up so that this trip could be accomplished.
Once we arrived at the border, our interpreter was only able to get a three day visa because his passport was within six months of expiring. Another hurdle for us to overcome that cut our trip by a few days from our original plans. After we met our contact in Laos, our plans changed on the spot. We were going in the exact opposite direction that we talked about going. Not only that, but our ministry plans had changed and both Freddy and I were beginning to feel that we might have to separate and go our own way.
As the guys prepared for the trip, we talked and prayed among ourselves about what are options were if we still wanted to go in the direction we had originally planned to go. We then discussed everything frankly with our Thai contacts and were just about to pull out from our trip when I decided that we should just go with the new plan. I felt that I was willing to go along with the new plan even if at worse case we would be disappointed or even defrauded. I saw that the potential of us pulling out could hurt not only our relationship with our new Thai contact, but also his relationship with our Lao partner. As we headed down the bumpy Lao road crammed in the back seat of an extra cab pickup, we were unsure about what was ahead, but we worked to redouble our trust in God that we were here for a purpose.
To me there are so many lessons embedded in our experience…revelation, intention, resistence, connection, circumstances, flexibility, and trust.
Little did we know it, but there would be many more valuable life lessons and experiences to come…