A lot of things happened during my last few months in Thailand before coming back to America to get married.
-Lots of wedding planning and marriage counseling over skype.
-We had 6 interns from Payap University teach English and lead crafts with the kids at HOSEA for a month. (read about what they did and see pics here: https://www.facebook.com/Pradfoundation?ref=ts&fref=ts)
-I ran 102 miles over 24 hours.
-I made some incredible new friends.
-I invested a lot of time building relationships with locals. (Ex: playing soccer several times a week with a small group of Thai guys using tree stumps as goals on a small field surrounded by grazing cattle in a little village, visiting with the “bird lady” and her daughters at her roadside cafe several times a week on my way home and buying some freshly grilled wild bird and quail eggs, and having many intense, deep, and confusing conversations with my new Thai masseuse friend about Buddhism and Christianity. (She is very strongly Buddhist so we always have very open and straightforward conversations about what we believe and our lifestyles. I ask hard questions that cause us both to think. She even asked me one day, “Why do you like coming here and talking with me? We just argue about our differing beliefs on religion every time.” I told her that despite our differences, I still want to be friends and I want to learn about her beliefs and life and I want to share with her what I believe because I believe it will save her soul, bring her everlasting joy and happiness in eternity, and bring her peace, love, and joy here on earth. I want her to know that I care for her as a person. I want her to know the truth that will set her free. She was very excited to hear about my relationship with Amanda and was shocked to hear that our first kiss would be on our wedding day. She went with me and some friends my last night in Thailand to dinner and to the airport to say goodbye and is excited to meet Amanda upon returning to Thailand and see many pics from the wedding. Pray for our relationship with her.
-Another one of the older girls at the center said that she wants to know more about Christ. It seems she has a lot of resistance from her family though. Pray for that situation.
-We hired a young Christian Thai woman (Thip) to come to the center part-time to mentor the kids and disciple the girls that are wanting to more about Christ.
-I surprised the older girls at the high school the day I left Thailand to say one final goodbye. They were so excited to see me but were super sad to say goodbye. I miss them a lot.
-My last night in Thailand I had a great time relaxing on the roof of my apt with my roommate talking about life and looking at the stars.
-Update: Pond, the girl from Ban Pong who accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior a couple months ago is digging into Scripture hard, going to church every week, being mentored/discipled, and is enjoying learning more about Jesus. She started reading through the New Testament starting in Matthew back in April and when I left she was reading through Colossians! Pray that she stays strong in her walk and is bold in her faith.