March 4, 2012-Sunday
It’s funny how the time zones are; we leave today and arrive yesterday. How time flies. The pace doesn’t get any easier even though we have finished this mission trip; we have to pack. Some representatives of a particular gender are going back with substantially more than what she started with. Those super shoppers. The more you spend the more you save. Some saved a lot. We have a shorter door-to-door trip of maybe 26 hours, plus or minus. This trip has been at total blur. I have to go through my blogals to see what we did. Really.
I forgot to mention that Steven, who had the responsibility of videotaping the mission, is developing a DVD for FCBC and ABC to help us to share our experiences with others. We hope that it will inspire others to not only want to participate in these trips, personally or financially, so that ongoing missions can occur more frequently. The American Baptist Churches (ABC) are interested in using this video on a more regional or national level and FCBC is a church to emulate since it supports overseas missions and one of the top giving churches toward missions and sends teams overseas (China, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar) for healthcare and non-health care support.
Steven also had the opportunity to meet with and interview two ABC missionaries, Mr. Larry and Mrs. Jan Martin living in Northern Thailand. God has called on Steven’s creative talents and education in the Visual Arts for this project. They have asked him to also prepare a video for them so that they can communicate to others their mission in life. He has two weeks of video to go through and edit and create a video for ABC. So Steven will be in post-production for several weeks even when we get back and the rest of us are done. We look forward to being the first to preview it. No pressure. No pressure. Not only as a team member, but, as his dad, I just want to say that I am extremely proud of my boy. His youthful insight has brought a separate perspective, which we have all enjoyed on this trip.
As far as winding down from this whirlwind of a trip, we stayed up late last night after a hard days work. Our efforts for the mission did not go unrewarded, however. We were treated to one of the favorite American traditions: the buffet. Bill finally treated us to the Dusit Island Hotel dinner buffet. We were ecstatic to go until we saw the surroundings of this beautiful resort and thought, “what could have been…” We could have stayed here. We could have had hot water, even running water perhaps, a TV, consistent WIFI, and room service! Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about. If we only had that duong fundraiser, Hmmm. Maybe our moral would have been even higher then we could have been even more productive like treating 3000+ patients. I know, I know, be humble. Yeah, that would’ve been awesome. Many of us worked so hard that we actually lost weight, even anorexic-looking. So we reconstituted our bodies here at the buffet and replenished our stores of muscle and fat so that is why we probably will look a little bigger when you see us again.
Nonetheless, we gathered our mission team with Luka’s team for one last big hoorah. Pastor and Luka conducted communion after giving thanks for one another’s support and gave each other well wishes. We briefly celebrated interpreter Lin’s 21st birthday. (So many birthdays this trip!) It was a difficult long good bye and many tears we shed, even Andy. Cry baby! (I’m sorry to be insensitive,) I guess guys are supposed to have feelings too. Hear that Richard? Okay, I was crying too, but only because we didn’t stay at the Dusit. Call me selfish, call me spoiled, but…Okay, God forgive me. Thank you for the golden Triangle Inn. Cozy and as Lena says’ “Good Enough!”
Some of us did last minute shopping at the night bazaars and we see vendors that we have met years before. There are literally hundreds of vendors, maybe one thousand vendors, on either side of the streets for blocks. The shopper is focused on a bargain trying to save a few Bhat, but when you look at each vendor individually you may or may not realize that, for many, this is really their livelihood and only source of income. This is their family business. Some stare at you like they’re begging, begging for your business. Then you are less likely to try to save 50 cents, even for just the fun of it. I feel guilty after writing this. Why did I write this? God must be telling me again to be thankful for what I have.
I’m thankful for our 12 year-old SUV with 170, 000 miles on it. It’s still a lot better than that old rickety school bus that we had to ride it again from the inn to the airport. I’m not kidding, you have to ride in it yourselves to see how bad it is. We fit about 28 in this bus with Luka’s daughter sitting on the dashboard, the backdoor is open while we’re driving, and Bill is standing in the stairwell clutching the overhead rail bar holding on for dear life. He looks scared. I asked him to take a photo from the front of the bus and he literally would not let go looking at me thinking’ “Are you Crazy?” Well, I took photos from that position before so maybe I am. Bill, you have to live a little. Get out of your comfort zone.
So maybe that is what the message of this whole mission trip is for, aged bus and all: In order to serve God, you have to get out of your comfort zone. You cannot be complacent. You have to take the step and evangelize and use your talents. I think when God asks you to serve, you use your gifts and talents that He’s blessed you with and you use them for His glory. I like to go on medical mission trips because I only have to serve every two years, right? WRONG! Well, I have to take off three weeks and suffer lost revenue and risk my life and isn’t that sacrifice enough and reasonable enough? NO! Jesus didn’t just risk he life but he gave his life for God. OMG am I being convicted and it’s in writing. Where’s that “delete” button? I guess I have been the only one impressed here. It’s funny how God has been talking to me through my very own blog writing this whole time. God, you’re sneaky, aren’t you? I hope that in reading this blog, He has been talking to you too.
Get out of your comfort zone and hang on for the ride-Mark