After travelling for about 24 hours, we arrived. We are in Thailand. Wow – there were some days that we weren’t sure we would ever say those words! Because of God’s grace, provision, and the generosity and support of so many of friends and family members (a.k.a. you guys…) we are here!
Right now we are staying with our friends and super gracious and awesome hosts, Scott and Heather Lacy. They are awesome and have been such a huge blessing already in the first few days of being here. Our first day was super productive! We were able to get signed up for a phone plan, bought some helmets, and rented scooters for the week. We will probably try to buy a scooter within the next week.
Right now our main objective is learning how to live in Thailand; adjusting and just figuring out how to do life here. This involves finding scooters, finding a house to rent, learning how to navigate our way in a city full of signs that we can’t read, figuring out where we can go to get groceries, or other things we may need, (and hopefully for me finding a good place to be able to play some basketball with Thai’s).
I’m not going to lie – our first day in the city was pretty intimidating. There are some things in English, and some people speak a little English, but it definitely hit me how difficult it’s going to be to build relationships here and do life here, let alone actually have a conversation with any spiritual significance. Doubts started to creep in my mind, telling me how we can’t be effective or ever change someone’s life here. Who are we to step in here and do something like this?
Numbers 13 and 14 has been really encouraging me though. Numbers 13 talks about the twelve Israelite spies who went to explore the land of Canaan. They didn’t just go in and conquer. God wanted them to explore the land, observe the people, and use strategy. It’s important that we don’t go in blindly, but that we actually take time to observe the people, the culture, and different obstacles we may run into.
Numbers 14 is about how ten of the spies doubted God’s plan because of what they saw and experienced. “ Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” (v. 3). Moses and Aaron responded, saying “Do not rebel against the Lord, and do not be afraid of the people of the land….. The Lord is with us, do not be afraid of them” (v. 9). The Lord responds to them saying, “How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them? I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them but I will make you into a nation greater and stronger than they” (v. 11-12).
I can’t help but think even how differently this story may have been if God didn’t send them in to explore the land ahead of time. They may not have even had time to doubt – if they just went in and battled these huge Canaanites, they may not have had time to back out. However, God gives them the chance to see and doubt. He wanted their trust and obedience, and He should have it ESPECIALLY because of all the miraculous signs He had already performed for the Israelites. In spite of these miracles, the Israelites still let their fear for the unknown interfere with what they had already known (who God was and how far He had already brought them).
This gave me comfort in our scenario. The fact that we are even in Thailand, especially in the time frame that we were hoping and praying for, was definitely a miracle. This was not something that Nicole or I or anyone else could have accomplished – it was 100% because of God’s grace and provision. He did not bring us here for nothing. So as we face intimidating things such as a culture we aren’t familiar with, a language we don’t know, and obstacles yet to be seen – I think it’s so important that we continue to look back on what God HAS done, who God IS – so we can continue to walk in faith and confidence. We don’t have confidence in what we can do on our own, but what GOD will be able to accomplish. Hopefully this encourages you as well – in case you are facing some pretty scary unknowns. Don’t let fear of the unknown rule over what you do know about God and what He has done – He is faithful. Many of you have heard us talk about this verse, but it just continues to apply and be one of our theme verses for our Thailand story:
“Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential, not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of HIM that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.’” – 1 Corinthians 1: 26-31
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