From Northern Minnesota to Northern Thailand: A Transition of Faith

rick-rhodes-childrenA pickup in front, cars on both sides, and a long line of traffic behind me. And what are all those motorbikes doing swerving in and out of vehicles and butting in front of the line at the stop light?! I thought a trip to the grocery store was supposed to be a quiet, scenic ride. Oh, that’s right! I’ve exchanged the quiet roads of Northern Minnesota for the busy streets of Thailand.

It was exciting to finally come to Chiang Mai, Thailand, after several years of planning and preparing. Once we got over jetlag, the first task we faced was finding a house to rent. With that accomplished, we set out to furnish our empty house and make it feel like home.

Probably the biggest challenged that we faced was the language. At times it was almost humorous – trying to figure out how to tell the repair man what was wrong with the fridge, or telling our land lord about our leaking drain in the bathroom sink. When we went to place an order for our living room furniture, the biggest couch they had was a love seat, but we wanted a full size couch. So, I placed a chair beside the love seat and said “Long, big. Like this!” A week later when we got our couch, it was “long and big” – probably all of 7 feet.

A blessing in all of this is the Thai culture – very friendly. I haven’t seen a Thai person get angry yet! They usually just laugh when we are struggling to communicate and can’t figure it out. Many times their patience has been a blessing to us during our struggle with the language. We hope to conquer this language barrier – starting next week when we begin taking Thai classes. Please pray for us as we study. Our goal is to learn the language so we can witness to those around us (and tell our repair man what is wrong with our fridge!).

Before moving to the other side of the world, I was often asked what it’s like in Thailand. My response was always, “I’ve never been there.” That usually brought a response of surprise, and an expression of “why would you move to some far away place where you’ve never even been?”

I often thought of Abraham and how he left his home and headed for a place where he had never been. But more than that, he didn’t even know where he was going – he was just following God’s call. That’s how I want to live my life – following God’s call, even if I don’t know where it will take me.

By Rick Rhodes, IGo Instructor (I Witness News/Winter 2006)

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