Continuing our summer updates!
Raw Till 4 Fruit Festival
In July about 250 fruit-loving, health-seeking people came from all over the world to gather in Chiang Mai. We heard about the festival a few months prior from some friends who were planning to attend, and after praying about it for a couple months we decided to get involved as well. We decided to do as much as we could throughout the two weeks of the festival in order to build relationships with attendees – people from all different backgrounds and beliefs.
Over the course of the two weeks, we attended several group dinners, bike rides, and an assortment of other get-togethers. I had the chance to get to know quite a few of them while riding together and talking at the numerous events. Most conversations started simply with people asking where we’re from, in which we replied, “America, but we live here in Chiang Mai.” Then that would follow with: “What do you do here?”. So I would share about volunteering at Grace, a Christian international school. They would typically then ask lots of questions about how we made money to live and why I choose to work without pay.
They were blown away when I told them we have people in America who support us. And sometimes they would change the subject as soon as spiritual things came up, but some seemed interested in learning more. Multiple times I was able to share that we live and serve in Chiang Mai because we want to share Jesus with the people here.
On the last day of the festival I had good conversations about spiritual beliefs with three different guys. I offered small New Testaments to them to take and read. Two of them were travelling around Asia before heading home to Australia and said they would love to read it during the abundant downtime of their travels. They seemed appreciative of the gift and for the conversation.
Friday Night Potlucks
Every summer the Grace community hosts Friday night potlucks at the pool. It’s a fun time to swim and fellowship with the few families who stay in Thailand over the summer (most go back to their home country to raise support and/or visit friends and family while their kids are out of school). This is also a great time for all the new-to-Grace families to meet people and get connected before the school year starts. We really enjoyed these evenings and the chance to get to know families better.
Cricket and a New Church
A friend invited me to play cricket with him and some of his Pakistani friends a few months back. I had no clue how to play but it sounded fun so I went, and I’ve been playing every Saturday morning since! There’s not as much running as most of the sports I like to play, but it’s still really fun. The players consist of three Pakistani families (kids and parents), a couple guys from India, and a few guys from America and their kids – all Christians.
The Pakistani families are actually refugees here. They have incredible stories of being forced to flee their country following persecution, including death threats from radicals, and one family’s home being burned down by hostile Muslims.
After a few games the Pakistani families invited us to come to their church, Multicultural Church Fellowship (MCF). We accepted the offer and found we felt very at-home in this small, close-knit church. Prior to settling into MCF we had primarily been attending a local Thai church, Cool Shade. I stumbled upon Cool Shade shortly after moving to Chiang Mai, and then when Amanda came back with me we just continued going there. But the sermons are spoken in Thai with no English translation so we always had a hard time keeping up. We just went for the fellowship.
The MCF congregation regularly consists of our Indian pastor along with his Asian-American wife (who are expecting their first child in a few weeks!), two Pakistani families, a Thai family, an Indonesian family, a Chinese family, two Korean college students and a Korean pastor who also attends our service, and a couple singles from India. It’s a great community to be a part of.
Most of the members (at least the male ones) play cricket together on Saturday mornings. And our families love hanging out together, supporting each other, and encouraging each other spiritually.
The last summer update coming in a few more days!
Until then and in Christ,