How Hot Is It?

In my last entry about the heat here, I neglected to mention exactly how hot it has been in degrees. Lest anyone think we are exagerrating or just wimping out, at one point it hit a high of 113 F (45 C) but there were many days when it was somewhere around 110 F (43 C). They do it in celesius here so initially it took some backwards conversion to figure out how hot it was in numbers that we can feel the emotional weight of. Praise God that it has started to rain more this past week and with that some cooler temperatures. It is still in the 80s and 90s with lots of humidity but it sure feels better than 110.

Hot, Hot, Hot

When even the Thai themselves are complaining about how hot it is, then you know that it is hot. This is a particularly hot "hot season", and we are oh so glad that we have some A/C in our home. Our bedroom has A/C and baby's room has A/C and we will often turn it on around bedtime for a few hours to make sleeping a bit more bearable. Air conditioning in Thailand is fairly expensive to run, especially in comparision to the cost of living so we don't use it that much but it sure does feel good when we do.

It is simply easier to get work done when you are cool. Going here and there in the heat is quite draining and I've heard from others what I myself have been saying for a week now: I'm exhausted. And I think the heat is the culprit. Motivation lags too when you feel like you are sitting in a sauna. Before I leave the house in the morning, I can already feel the sweat rolling down my back. Not a promising start to the day. But this is the place that God has called us to and we just do the best to put up with the heat and whatever else.

Yesterday I was reading Ephesians 5:20, which says "giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." That is a tall order and difficult to implement when I am feeling miserable because of the oppressive heat and sunshine that makes me feel exhausted. How shall I give thanks for something I find bothersome? Thank you God for reminding me of my human fraility and weakness compared to the power of the forces of nature which you have created and which reflect your power and greatness.

Idol Madness

Jatukhamramathep amulets for sale in a Thai shop (photo credit: www.jatukarm.com)We recently took a field trip to Southern Thailand to check out a potential ministry opportunity in Nakorn Sri Thammarat province and, among other things, we observed how much the people there are into a particular amulet called Jat-Tu-Kham-Rama-Thep. In fact, the amulet comes from Nakon Sri Thammarat and is so immensely popular right now that people come from all over the country to buy up these amulets and resell them at a 30-60 fold profit. Jat-tu-kham, unlike a lot of other amulets, is not a Buddha image but is an image of an ancient king of Nakon Sri Thammarat who has been elevated to divine, or angelic, status. Every place in Nakon is selling these things - restaurants, beauty shops, malls, convenience stores - everyplace. It's idol madness, really.

Something really notable about the Jat-tu-kham, besides the fact that it is so immensely popular with Thai people, is the probable reason why it is so popular. I recently read an article in a Thai national newspaper's weekly magazine that said the Jat-tu-kham amulets are popular because what the amulet promises corresponds to Thai people's current needs - i.e. the desire to have money and get rich! The economy is down and people want something to help them make money (or get rich, perhaps). Listen to some of the names of the different editions (or models) of the amulet that

First Family Vacation

Beach located right in front of the holiday homeSun & I are finally enjoying our first real vacation since our honeymoon almost two years ago. With the pregnancy and Joshua's birth, there was never really a good time to get away, not to mention all of the busyness involved with preparing to leave for Thailand. Joshua is at a good age now where we can start to do a few things with him and we all, especially me, need a break. OMF has nice holiday home on the beach in Southern Thailand that is available for missionaries.

We've enjoyed sometime to sit back and relax, read, go for a swim, walk on the beach, and play with Joshua. Sun's had some time to do cross stitch and I am working on some books that I've been meaning to get to for a while. I am slowly working my way through Revival and Revivalism by Iain Murray but I got sidetracked by a book of sermons by J. Gresham Machen that I found in the library here at the OMF holiday home. There is also a book on Calvin's life here but I don't know if I'll get to it before we leave in a few days.

Karl's First Thai Sermon

This past Sunday I preached for the first time in the Thai language and I praise God that my Thai brothers and sisters in the congregation at LopburiChurch understood the message and were blessed by it.I made sure I read over the sermon text (sections of Psalm 119) a number of times and had a Thai teacher at our language school help me read over the text to get the correct pronunciation and rhythm of the text.At the very least, I wanted to read the Scripture well and clearly because even if the rest of the sermon were to be a disaster, God’s people would at least hear the inspired Word of God read clearly.

I recorded the sermon with Sun’s phone and when I started to listen to it later that night I immediately knew that I had started off speaking too fast.I was nervous.I had the whole manuscript typed out in Thai although I have trouble reading off a manuscript even in English.However, I wanted to type out the whole thing to help me think through how exactly I would say things in Thai when the time came.Also, I wrote out a manuscript so I could show it to one of the church elders to check the overall flow of the sermon to see if it would make sense to a Thai congregation.English thought patterns and Thai thought patterns are often structured differently and I wanted to make sure I was phrasing things in a more or less Thai way to facilitate understanding.In the end, I didn’t use the manuscript that much when I was preaching because I just am not accustomed to reading off a page verbatim when preaching.The up side of that is that I had good eye contact.The downside is that I wandered around looking for the right word more often than I would have liked.

For the Love of Money...

Recently, I have encountered a couple of stories that have highlighted the fact that many Thai people are as devoted to money as they are to Buddhism - perhaps even more attached to money.

We visited a small church in a nearby province last week and one of the leaders told us of a new believer who would only come to church when her son, who isn't a believer, could come watch her home for her. Now, her son hasn't been coming, so she stays home on Sundays because she is afraid that theives will break into her house and steal her many possesions when she is out. Break-ins are not uncommon in Thailand this is just such a sad story because

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