18 January 2012

Thailand - Third Wave [Day 6: Cultural Immersion]

I know that my experience in Thailand and at Third Wave is taking a long time to appear here on my blog, but bear with me! We are nearly done!!! And I can't wait for you to see some pictures and hear about these last few days :-)

Friday January 6 was ouir "cultural immersion" day. As the day went on, I realized that "cultural immersion" was just a fancy term for "sight-seeing" ;-)

We had an early Plenary Session that morning (8:00am start), titled "In Our World".
Then we headed out for a long day of seeing the sights and spending time with each other.

I was not feeling good all day. After a few days in Thailand, the food really began to affect me. The worst began on Friday - I was feeling VERY light-headed, slightly dizzy, and couldn't really focus on much at all. I later found out that Thai food has a lot of MSG, so I think that would have been the major reason why I felt the way I did - especially since I had been on my Whole Food Detox. Going from very healthy, non-processed, non-fatty [etc] foods, to eating everything that was served [including this food loaded with MSG]... Well, I can understand why my body reacted that way!

Anyway, so even though I felt terrible all day, I faithfully took photos so that I could go back and look at the day with fresh eyes!

First, we went to this temple:

So many statues inside the complex...

Just in case you missed them - see the little people in the bottom left-hand corner? Now you can see the real size of this thing!
And so many people there to pay their respects.

It was crazy.
It was crowded.
It was hot.
And with my light-headedness, I got out of there as quickly as I possibly could.

I spent the day with my new friend Jamie. Loved getting to know her a little! We were seat-mates (is that even a word?!) on all of our travels throughout the day.

With one gorgeous young lady!! So blessed to have met Jamie
After sitting down outside the temple waiting for the others to come out, we wandered down a small strip of markets just across the carpark. There were some pretty weird, wacky and wonderful things there!!

And I met a lovely gentleman who just happens to be the pastor of a church in South Africa, that my pastor planted years ago! It was so cool to meet him!

Me and Uncle Kenneth. He just loved being called "uncle" ;-)

Next, we drove to a Thai village, that the Queen of Thailand set up, basically as a place for disabled and disadvantaged people to work at. They do handicrafts and many other things, and people (aka, tourists, like myself) can go there, watch the work being done, and purchase the products.

Jamie and I wandered through the Bird Park...

Andre, this one is for you :-) His name is Joe ;-)
...the Aquarium...

...the streets...

...the workshops...

This man is glass-sculpting...

...they HAND-MAKE figures like this! Amazing! (sorry, the photo quality isn't terrific)

Making beautiful wall hangings, tables, and more, with coloured glass - mosaic style. This man has one finger on his left hand, and you can see his fake right arm. Blows me away.

These are tiems when I wish I was an artist! How cute are these?!

...and when we went to the cafe to rest (I was feeling even worse by this point), we got interrupted by this little cutie:

He flew right inbetween Jamie and I [scared the living daylights out of us!] and calmly sat on the table and looked at us!
Ohhh, and Jamie tried to kill me:

hehehe... Good times!!!

At around 5pm, all of the Third Wavers joined up again, and had our official group photo:

The entire Third Wave group!!! Almost 200 people, from 55 different countries!!

Chilled out for a little while, and played a game, similar to duck-duck-goose, believe it or not ;-) Pretty funny! And more dangerous than you would think!!!

Thai-style duck-duck-goose

Then, we piled in buses and took the short ride to have our buffet dinner.
We were welcomed by these gorgeous people!

The tables were set on a cement "decking" type area, set right on water! The chairs had chaircovers; there was music playing; tables of food (although, I heard some people didn't get any food :'( Maccas run for them that night!)...

See the lights strung up? They looked beautiful when it got dark!

Our welcome drink! Exotic!

For me, it was nice to just sit down and [try to] not think. I was thankful that the sun was disappearing - the day had been SO hot! - although night-time = mosquitoes.

Terence, Bradley and Jamie

We had some beautiful girls dance for us...

...and some beautiful boys as well ;-)

And some crazy-amazing-out-there-scary sword fights!

These fights were so real. Some girls actually screamed because they thought heads were going to be chopped off. I would have as well, only I was filming the fights, and didn't want my loud voice to be blasted into the microphone. You're welcome.
It was such a beautiful evening! Although I wasn't feeling well, I made sure I took everything in. I tried not to miss a moment. Because I knew that I probably won't get the chance again to be with 200 brothers and sisters in Christ, all from different family, race, culture, nation and language, fellowshipping under the starry sky, living for the same God. This was such a rare and beautiful experience. I breathed deeply. I drank in the laughter. I fixed my eyes on everything, etching it all into my brain.
Oh, what a mighty God we serve!!!


And finally, the night was finished by sending off these beautiful lanterns.

I'd never experienced that before, and it was so fun; so breath-taking. It was the kind of thing that made me want to just sit down and stare up at the stars and at the dozens of lanterns floating in the sky. I was in awe of the Lord's greatness, and the huge privilege it was to go on this trip.
Thank You, Jesus!!!

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