man, i did it ALL today! (except go to monkey mountain, which was actually a good call, it being a long day as it is. i swear to you, though. i will make it to this mountain) we went to the tiger zoo (we again being me and the california team, and laura peters), and i held a baby tiger, and fed it a bottle of warm milk, and they had a cage where tigers and pigs live in harmony, and then laura and i each hatched a crocodile (they hand you an egg with a baby crocodile in it, one that's already started pecking his way out, and then you help pick him out, and he chirps at you the whole time, and then you cut the umbilical cord, and that's gross) and then i fed some green beans to a camel, and had iguanas piled on my head, and held a wallabe (A WALLABE!!!), and saw a lady covered in scorpions, and rode an elephant, and fed a chicken on a string to a bunch of crocodiles (ain't no thang like a chicken on a strang), and i ate a coconut!!! out of the coconut!!! so check out my photo blog. it's gotten WAY more exciting in the past 24 hours.
and THEN we got home and i had about 2 hours to shower and plan our kids program (i hadn't had a chance to pull anything together last night because i was helping the boys sell popcorn at the market so that they have some spending money, and then i helped the california team teach the first of the adult english classes that dave and i will be taking over for the rest of the summer), and then i thought i'd lost all my photos (see previous blog), and then i came to the church to throw something together, a program of my choice for an unknown number of children of an indeterminate age with varying english ability...those 4 years of school and $50 000 have just paid for themselves. the program was awesome, we had like 20 thai kids show up (plus tiffany's 4 wee farang, plus our boys were in and out), we played a rousing game of david, david, goliath (VERY similar to duck, duck, goose) and acted out the david and goliath story, and taught them 'my God is so BIG' and 'only a boy named david,' and we had 20 little buddhist kids singing about how our God is so big, so strong and so mighty, and i almost cried. now if we can only get them to believe it.
spoiler warning: this blog gets rambly in the next paragraph, and there aren't any scorpions or baby crocodiles in it.
i do a LOT of english teaching over here. it's totally not my favorite thing, and honestly, i'm not sure how much english anyone's going to learn from me. but every time we build a program to teach the thai english, we're meeting what is for them a felt need, which gives the team credability, and enables them to build relationships, and also brings thai people into the church. to be thai is to be buddhist...i think i've talked about this before, but if our boys didn't have HIV and weren't orphans, they'd be buddhist, and there'd be almost no chance of them ever coming to church. it is the hardest thing in the world for the thai people to become Christians...anyway, it just kind of puts the whole english teaching thing into perspective. and places something of a heavy responsibility on me to be a credit to the reputation of this church, this team that has spent years building credability in this community. as sheri says, they have eyes everywhere. bang saen isn't a real touristy area, so most of the farang are associated with the church, and any white person causes a stir. i'm starting to recognize faces in the community, and i KNOW they recognize me (hey, it's the new farang!). this isn't really going anywhere, except maybe towards a request for prayer that i uphold the values of this team and help bring them honor in the eyes of the thai people. thanks.