Today was a most amazing day! What a way to end a super fruitful week of impartation.
Let's be honest. I did look forward coming to the New Pang Nga YWAM Base to help for many reasons! One of them being...they are not only situated among some of the most unreached muslim populations in the world, but... they live next to some of the most well known beaches in the world, including Phuket, a mere 15 minutes on a bike from here. (I personally do not like Phuket... its unclean and have lots of drunk tourist who dress near naked in a Bhuddist/Muslim nation... and then tell Thai's "yes I am Christian" - I rest my case)
PICTURE: WHITE DOT IS PHANG NGA BASE (The South Borders Muslim Malaysia)
Back to my AWESOME DAY
We saved the best for last. The thai base leader, Daow, who grew up in this region as a Thai Buddhist, took me on a trip today along with 2 of the new DTS students.
Daow is still the only believer in her entire family. She told me the dynamics of Thai family culture and how we take for granted that in Christian Bible-based nations, family is important and that one care for one another. I could never understand how one could sell your child, or just leave them at home while you go out to work. I think I have better understanding now. It is very sad.
It has been my wish for 6 years (since coming to Thailand), to see the famous James Bond Island (actually more like a rock sticking out of the ocean) Daow told me that she had no idea that she grew up one hour away from these beaches. It was only much later as a teenager during a school camp, that she got to see the ocean.
As a little girl, she had to help with the tree plantations (2-5am!), collecting the gum from the bark before the sun/heat. (see my previous post and pictures of the "crying tree and the roach that got stuck on the gum-tear") It is a high value for Southern Thai's to make sure their children know how to sell things to make money. There are no idle hands among children and adults.
Because of the YWAM base, and the volunteer work they do in the Muslim schools in the community, Daow had the most amazing open door for us - we paid ONLY 20% of the actual price!! SCORE!! We are seen as teachers, and therefore respected.
When they heard my age... I received an increase of respect :-)
On the way there, I opened my pack of Salted Chips. Being polite I offered some to our tour guide (the Muslim lady we had favour with) She said no thank you because it is not HALAL. I said OK, but immediately felt to share the story of Jesus explaining what is clean and unclean.
I asked Daow to translate for me so that there would be no mis-communication. I knew that if I said something that would offend, I could put Daow and the YWAM base in jeopardy! I felt nervous but then went ahead, with a demonstration, that later proved to have been the right thing.
I first asked if she knew about Prophet Isa in the Koran. She started to tell me about Muhammed. I thought "just stay calm and patient" I listened to her, and asked again "Do you know about Prophet Isa in the Koran?" She said yes. I knew she would... but then I asked her if she knew what He said about clean and unclean! She did not know, and said I could tell her. (Happy moment of relief)
I pointed to my chips in my hands and said: "I eat" and then I pointed to my bum and said "It leaves!" We all laughed. Then I pointed to my heart and said... what comes out of my mouth... that is what Isa says, makes us unclean.
There was no unseen wall between us. She actually smiled and understood what I meant. I left it there.
When we got to the James Bond Island there were a high school visiting, and they were all Muslim. The teacher was a very big man with grey and black hair. He had presence. Some of the girls stood ready for a photo to be taken by this man. I shuffed my phone into Daows hands and wispered "I am taking Farang (Foreigner) liberties so please take a photo"
I PHOTO BOMBED THEM! Everyone laughed. In this pic you can see they had no idea I was coming.
But then... THEY ALL CAME!! Daow and I became famous. There were many onlookers. It was fun. When we were done I shouted "I AM NOT AMERICAN, I AM AFRICAN" Of course I have white skin, so... the questions came immediately - by the head master! Just what I wanted: A nice innocent, yet bold cultural exchange moment. In peace. On James Bond Island. A Super Happy Moment.
This is the banner they pulled out while photos were flying. (Many phones in front of us) I had no leg covering so I placed a short girl in front of me. It is quite interesting, that our tour guide actually commented on this very fact! It proved what I knew to be true : I took a major chance because of the way I was dressed, but because this was tourist heaven, I was safe from this debate that moment.
Then we went back (after lots of swimming. My hair in this picture look like this because of what I did 5 minutes before that... here is a picture:
Behind me, the Famous James Bond Stone.
On our way back, we stopped on another island, and swam. There was a jelly fish. It was a poisonous one. It remined me of the story of Ian Mccormack, who got stung by them, died, and then, when they were cutting his foot in the morge (he was an actual dead corpse) he came back to life and all the people ran "from the ghost" He was in the mean time in heaven with Jesus and Jesus sent him back to his mother that was busy praying right then. God told Ian that he was answering the prayer of his mother because he was actually an unbeliever! The Grace of God! The two muslims in our boat loved the story.
Then we finally had to drive back to the main land. On the way there, the muslim lady took some of the fried banana we had. We were all shocked. She pointed at me and said: "She told me I can eat it!" and laughed. WOW... Did that really just happen, I thought by myself.
Then I had another thought... I wanted to ask her, how she knew she had salvation. I was going to do this by just asking her questions. I was not going to tell her anything. I said: Daow - "are you ready to translate, and I will be careful." She was ready but then this lady pulled out her phone and said: "You are teacher, you teach good, I record you"
DUDE - MY NERVES!!! I had to be careful. But somehow I sensed that Trust had been established. Daow told me later that the lady loved the stories I told and she was amazed at how I was able to look at something like chips or jelly fish... and then connected it to teaching. I was really blessed by that! I really was!
So here I was staring into her phone, and now I just had to speak. I said: "In the Koran, Isa did this and this and this (including bringing a clay bird to life, and many miracles) The I changed from "Isa only" to "Isha Almasih" I told her that if I made a mistake today, I don't have to worry about my bad karma! Jesus was the perfect sacrifice. I told her how he was raised from the dead and that He had many eye witnesses.
She recorded the entire thing until I was done. I tried to make it as contextual as possible, never mentioning the Bible or Christian.
Who knows what seeds where sown! I will most likely never know... but I knew THIS WAS RIGHT. She was completely open with no defence.
This picture, in one of the caves we visited, is a reminder for me of today. This is the lady. She is really short. But I think... I hope that she was able to see the Light of Truth, even just for a moment today.
Thank you for reading my news.
Thank you for praying for me.
I am about to go have the most deliscious Welcome Meal with the students. It smells amazing right now.
Tomorrow I fly home to Chiang Mai and my doggies.