I have one more post about Thailand. I hope it is not too much. So many of the lessons learned while on a trip such as the one I had to Thailand are, often, God taught and just for yourself. Other things can, hopefully, be used as an encouragement to others. I shared a couple of those things earlier. However, after the photos last week (which were just for fun), I thought I would wrap up my thoughts today. The sights, and the sight-seeing, are fun. The projects completed are rewarding and, certainly, the new friendships made are well-worth the trip. But the real impact of any missions trip comes from the people. The personal bonds with local people that you will, most likely, never meet again but with whom you connected after just a few hours of talking. Talking is actually communicating – but not necessarily through the same language. In many ways, the language barrier forces a deeper type of communicating with body language and facial expressions.
I love seniors. My heart sings when I have a chance to simply sit and chat with a senior. To soak in their wisdom and especially, if they are a Christian, to learn from their testimony and the paths that God has led them on. Its no surprise that meeting this new friend and the hours that we had to fellowship, go to church and then visit over lunch were some of the highlights of my trip. Her name, in English, is Little Grandma. She is, indeed, a wisp of a woman – small in stature but huge in heart!
Years ago, after college in Thailand, she was awarded a scholarship and came to the University of Michigan to earn her Masters. She went on to teach advanced science at Chiang Mai University. She speaks English but she is very soft spoken and her hearing is quite poor. I hung on her words but her actions, and her life, spoke more than her words. She has never been married and Thailand has no type of social security and, so, these days she makes simple banana treats and jello-type desserts that she sells at a stand in the local 7-11. She also shares her treats (that she could be selling) during the fellowship between Sunday school and church service. She does not complain and simply lets the love of Jesus shine through her as she loves others.
We are all called upon to love others. To show Jesus to others by loving them unconditionally. It is so easy for our past hurts, disappointments or regrets to make us fearful, skeptical or even bitter. Our busyness keeps us unaware or, often, indifferent to a lost and hurting world around us. None of us have an excuse. Wherever God has us right now is where we are to be serving – and to be sharing the love of Christ.