We started the weekend last week by cooking & hosting a large farewell party for missionary friends who were leaving. They were only here for just under a year. They felt that God was giving them a new amazing opportunity to serve in a way that they are more gifted & with a different mission organization. It was sad to see them go, but also exciting because we are excited to see how God changes them & to hear what new things He will do through them in different places.
Our son had a crazy week with school, football (soccer) games/practices 4 days this past week, a cross country race, evening Bible study, worship team practice, track & field practice, homework, his daily quiet times with God & weekly family time. He is usually amazing at organizing his time wisely & making sure he has some personal down time each day. However, Teresa & I felt we needed to discuss with him about knowing when to set personal boundaries & the need to communicate clearly with us in the midst of life. Just because you can make you life super busy & can handle so many things doesn't mean that you can long term for many reasons. This year has been a challenge for him because he has had to work through some personal disappointments & is learning to move past them in a positive way.
I am enjoying my times at the community centre & the kids like to be with me. I always laugh inside because I am the one, usually that has to discipline, say, "no" ten's of times in an evening, set a boundary & tell the kids they cannot play with us or do an activity because they are used to having no boundaries & doing whatever they want at home. I have learned that Kids like boundaries deep inside, it gives them security. They may not like it at first & clearly show you, but it gives them some security. Especially with the kids at our centre, life for them is very challenging. Now each time I go to the community centre, cycling down the poor village street the kids see me coming, start calling for their friends & run after me. It always causes me to smile & at that minute I pray for the kids & that the kids with see Jesus clearly through me.
The challenge is that in Thai culture you are not allowed to show any strong emotion. Things have to be calm & peaceful at all times on the outside. You are required to push down, lock up & bottle up all of your emotions for a lifetime. They way you are on the inside does not matter compared to how you look & the perceived peace you show on the outside. We all know that is not possible or healthy to hide your emotions because God created us with emotions. When a Thai cannot hold back or push their emotions down inside any longer they have a word for it "moho" (transliterated). Thai's & foreigners with extreme seriousness warn you about causing or are around a Thai that completely losses it (has completely uncontrolled extreme rage). I have heard stories from Thai's of people (adults & kids) being murdered, being beaten close to death, cars being smashed, etc…It brings me back to the Thai government official that knew I was a Christian missionary & told me to "please give us peace because we have none. We look like we have peace, but we don't."
This week was a challenge because I had to break up a fight between 2 boys. An older boy said something to a younger boy that went right to his heart & he lost it. I told them in Thai that if they could not get along & be nice to each other then they would have to go home. The younger boy agreed to change & went to play with the other kids. But the old boy had an evil grin & kept speaking to the younger boy softly. Finally the younger boy ran after the older again. I had to hold the younger boy back, he told me to hold him back. His little brown fists became white because he was clenching so hard. His pupils were dilated because he was so full of rage. As I held him back I hugged him & prayed quietly because I desperately needed the Holy Spirit's help. When I hugged him he started to well up as if to cry. Then seconds later the other leaders & I noticed that he would shake his head, his fists would clench down & his rage would come back. The boy took his sadness & channelled it back into anger. After 30 minutes of holding him & me praying quielty did the younger boy calm down. We sent the older boy home & drove the younger boy home.
"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." 1Peter 5:7 NIV
"When you are angry, do not sin, and be sure to stop being angry before the end of the day. Do not give the devil a way to defeat you." Ephesians 3:26-27 NCV
"Give your worries to the Lord,
and he will take care of you.
He will never let good people down." Psalm 55:22 NCV