I'd Rather Get a Shot

We took Joshua to a Thai hospital the other day to get his BCG vaccination (against tuberculosis).  It is a rare vaccination in the States but all Thai children routinely get a BCG at birth because TB is much more common in this part of the world, especially in less developed neighboring countries like Laos and Cambodia.  Joshua took the needle in the arm quite well and cried for only a moment.  He is quite a trooper when it comes to injections.  However, if you try to wipe his nose, it's a completely different story.  He has had a runny nose for about a week and if you try to approach him with a tissue to wipe his face, he violently whips his head in the other direction.  If you can actually grab hold of him long enough to wipe off the snot running down his face, he screams bloody murder as if we were trying to torture him.  I find it quite interesting (read "strange") that he takes shots so well but not having his nose wiped.  Then again, I suppose I don't see the world as a seven month old does.

Christmas in Thailand 2006

There's a classic song that says "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas" but almost nothing here in Thailand signals the coming of Christmas. A few stores have tinsel and santa hats but there is no snow, no commercial push for gift buying, no Christmas carols playing at the mall, no Christmas vacation for school kids, and no day off on December 25th. Any why should it look like Christmas is coming in a nation where over ninety percent of the population is Buddhist?

With this said, there is a significant amount of curiousity about Christmas since it is, popularly, a Western cultural holiday that shows up in a lot of movies and English language learning materials that make into Thailand. Of course, movies mostly show the side of Christmas that has to do with Santa, Christmas trees, and gifts but here in Thailand, many Thai churches and missionaries seize upon people's curiousity about Christmas to share about the true meaning of Christmas. Schools and colleges are open to having Christians come and do Christmas activies (in Thai and English) as part of the school's English curriculum. Many churches (which there aren't too many of, to begin with) do special Christmas outreaches and evangelist meetings to present the true meaning of Christmas to those people brought to church by their friends.

Two Teeth and Other Developments

A brief update on the boy - he has two teeth now which he loves to use to gnaw on anything and everything. All his stuffed toys go straight into his mouth and get a rich drenching of slobber on a regular basis.

He is also sitting up quite well now which makes it challenging to put him down to sleep. We rock him, sing to him, and then lay him down in his crib but then he whines rolls over, and sits bolt upright and cries. I am no sleep expert, but unless you are a cow, it is awful hard to sleep sitting upright in the middle of a bed. Cows can sleep standing up but to my knowledge, Joshua has no bovine heritage. I have yet to convince him that sitting up is not condusive to sleep.

A Small Country Church

The past two Sunday, we have visited a small country church in the next province over from where we are living and going to langauge school. We drove with Ulrich, a fellow OMF missionary, and his family we found ourselves bumping and jostling over severe potholes as we made our way further away from the city and into the countryside. Brillant green rice paddies lined either side of the road way and small wooden houses on stilts and little mom and pop shops were visible every so often. We pulled the truck into the dirt yard in front of a concrete store-front type building where two side of the building opened up completely like garage doors. A handful of blue plastic chairs were lined up in about four or five short rows and we were greeted by a few of the believers who had already gathered.

Like many churches in Thailand, both urban and rural, the church was very small, with only about ten people or so in attendance, not counting Ulrich, his family, and the three of us. All of these dear saints are fairly recent believers, the one who has been the Christian the longest has only been a Christian for maybe five years or so. Some of the other have only believed a few months. Interestingly enough though, the youngest adult member of the congregation is about forty! In God's providence, He has chosen to call to himself a handful of elderly women who make up about half of this congregation of ten or so. The miracle of salvation is so obvious in the lives of these women since there is very little human reason why someone who has been a Buddhist for over sixty years would decide to make such a drastic break with a society at large which equates national and ethnic identity with Buddhist. The Thai say, "To be Thai is to be Buddhist."

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