I began this post at Antique Cafe in downtown Bangkok. There’s something about sitting in a coffee shop with a cuppa that makes me feel like I’m meeting a dear friend for a leisurely conversation. I was craving one of those, and since my roommates weren’t around, I packed up my laptop and headed to the coffee shop alone.
Truth be told, I’ve felt lonely a lot lately. I don’t yet have close relationships with friends I can run with in ministry. There are people in ministry all around me – including others at NightLight – but we keep such different schedules or live so far away from one another that it sometimes feels like I’m working alongside practical strangers.
My life here is busy – and when I have downtime, I usually need to catch up on house work and sleep. My roommates and I keep different schedules, and I don’t live near enough to anybody that I already have established relationships with to be able to just chill and do the normal things of life with them. My interaction with people I do have relationships with is so consistently on such a surface level – either because I don’t speak Thai well enough yet, or because I don’t get quality time with them – that it leaves me feeling lonely.
My heart took a few hits this month too after some cultural misunderstanding. I wonder how many more hits I’ll have to take before I escape the stigma of being a foreigner (and all the baggage that term carries) and have the opportunity to be seen as just another woman – maybe even a real friend.
There’s a term called “incarnational ministry,” which refers to how Jesus became like us (He “in-carn-ated” – became flesh) to relate to us. Jesus’ heart took so many hits in coming to humanity. I’m glad He understands my own pain in trying to adjust to a new culture. If my heart hurting can connect me in any way more deeply to His beautiful heart, well, then, I guess that’s good, right? Win!
Last month, I had the opportunity to talk on the phone a couple of times with my adopted Sudanese brother, Malik. I remember the good relationship I was able to develop with him over the course of my years in Sudan, and I feel more hopeful for the future here.
There’s good news, too – lest this update be simply a litany of complaints – I’ve been blessed to begin participating in weekly prayer meetings with others who are eager to see God pour out His Spirit for transformation here in Bangkok. That time, my friends, is a deep joy and consistently one of the highlights of my weeks.
And, so the adventure continues.
Peace to you!