Thailand is a beautiful country with beautiful people who love to smile.
Bangkok is a dirty city with pollution, harried people passing by or sitting in traffic for hours, lavish wealth next to horrific slums, posh shopping, side alleys where at night unspeakable atrocities go on for many young women and girls.
I went to Thailand first when I was 16 for a summer. I loved northwestern Thailand and the Hill Tribe people. We spent a week in Chiang Mai and I loved that city too. I didn't like Bangkok. I couldn't wrap my head around the great extremes everywhere you look. This trip was the same. We stayed in one of the fanciest hotels in the city and directly next to us were shacks where people were growing things along the river for a living-sifting through the garbage in the river to harvest. As you drive down the road you see fancy SUV's and then old rickshaw carts where people are pulling along their wares to try and feed themselves. There are high rise condos and beautifully decorated temples next to huge slums. One night we had the privilege of hearing a speaker who has moved to the slums with his family to love the marginalized there. Wow, talk about eye opening! I saw students from those slums come aboard the Logos Hope ship to get books and have their worldview widened ever so slightly. On the ship I also met University students who speak English quite well and have studied abroad in Japan and Hong Kong.
For 2 weeks we heard stories of how God is moving in His church all over the world! It was incredibly encouraging and grew my faith so much. In those same meetings though, we heard about the incredible scope of need in the world. We heard about the incredible sufferings of humanity - often times the result of one human against another. Just as I have such struggles reconciling a city like Bangkok, I am struggling with the stories. I'm in awe of the privilege that God has invited us to enter into his work in his global church at this time, and I'm overwhelmed at the amount of need there truly is. It was an intense 2 weeks and we learned so much about the world and ourselves. Hopefully we can continue to process some of it and share more with you!