Let the Good Times Roll

Trip Start Sep 04, 2008
Trip End May 19, 2009

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Friday, September 12, 2008

Hey no matter whether, rainy weather,
If you want to have a ball,
you gotta get yourself together,
Oh, get your self under control, oooh, and let the good times roll
~Ray Charles

So things are great. Really really great. I've never been in a place before, where despite mucho rain, it's still gorgeous. I really need to get some time to take some pictures for all of you, but I've honestly been kept more busy than I am at home.

But I have found the time for some real good things. One of the things that turns each day into a good time is dinner. Between Cat's fantastic cooking, and the restaurants of choice for dinner, every meal has been superb. Amazing. Delicious. Mouthwatering. Tasty. Toothsome. Palatable. Succulent. Scrumptious. Yummy. Finger-licking, lip-smacking, melt-in-your-mouth GOOD! An perfect example of the caliber of the home cooked meals is pizza made from scratch. Literally! (I'm talking dough made from fresh flour, sauce made fresh from the tomatoes, meat straight from the local deli, mozeralla ground fresh from the cheese block, and at least a half dozen fresh tasty herbs and spices :-)

So I'm leaving in a few hours for South Africa, but for now, I feel I owe you at least one more update.

Yesterday, while Cat was getting her hair cut and nails done, I spent about 3 hours walking around the shopping district on the West side of town, as well as the heart of the city, in the center of the moat. (I mentioned the core of the city has a giant square moat in it, right?) Whilst visiting the Three Kings monument (dedicated to the Three Kings who founded the city) I was saved from disgracing myself and Thai culture by a Thai who spoke enough english to say "No Shoes!". (The statues are located upon a marble slab, that is displayed on a large platform, that takes about 10 steps to get up to, and I was about to hike up to the statues with my sandals on). I kinda stared at the monument for a while, but I couldn't read any of the writing or inscriptions because it was all Thai, so I turned around and began to walk down to my shoes, and I saw the same Thai standing there still. He began talking to me about everything under the sun, but it eventually became clear that he was trying to sell me a new suit, from a taylor down the street. It took about 25 minutes to politely tell him I wasn't interested! I then hiked further, past a school yard (where 75 middle school boys-scouts were lazily flopping their bodies against the ground in the worst display of pushups I've ever seen), and past many Buddhist temples. One was truly magnificent in size, I'll have to be going back to visit with more time, and a better camera.

I did my first official motorbike ride last night, all the way downtown to a mexican restaurant called Miquels, and then over to the Church for a seminar I attended about sharing my faith with Muslims. It was extremely interesting, and I was equipped with a tool called "The Camel Method." I had no idea that the Qur'an mentioned Jesus, much less exalted him as most holy, and most powerful, and the only way to heaven! It right there in the text of the book! It also says that to be a true believer in the Muslim faith, one must read and understand "the books that have come before" (meaning the bible!) Apparently the problem is this: Most Muslim's believe that the only true Qur'an is the one written in arabic, which they can read aloud from, but most have no idea what the text means, they just know how to read it. However, the King of Saudi Arabia has used his personal money to have the text translated and printed in all the languages spoken by Muslim countries. Through this, we (Christians) can bring Muslims to reading the text of the Qur'an in a language they understand, and for many, it stirs a great deal of thought. I left the book I got from the seminar at my dorm, but I'll do another post about this later, after I've read it.

Something the pastor said at Church on Sunday has really resonated with me for the last few days, so I'm going to try to put my thoughts into words here. He said that, "many of the most important people in scripture have spend a great deal of time alone in the desert, just them, and God." Here's why it has meant so much to me: As you know, I've been here 10 days now, and I've spent 8 nights alone in an apartment building where (to the best of my knowledge) I'm the only white person living within a half-kilometer radius. I can't communicate with these people, essentially living within a language desert. My room has no TV, no computer, no pictures or posters, no dressers or desks, no carpet, no flush on the toilet, no kitchen sink, no speakers, and most shocking to me, no other people. By comparison to the world in which I grew up, I'm living in a "stuff" desert. Now, I'm NOT trying to compare myself to Paul or Moses, or even say that I'm going to become an important person in the scripture of the future of my religion, but I am feeling my relationship with the Lord strengthen faster, and to higher levels than it ever has before. Without parents, friends, or roommates to say goodnight to, the only person with me, that knows me, that can comfort me when the world feels strange and uncomfortable is the Lord. I've always tried to rely on the Lord, but how much do you really expect me to lean on and lean into someone when I don't feel that I need them? Leaving the comfort of home on the other side of the world has thrust me into a situation where I NEED God. I feel that it is no coincidence. I've never lived in a world where my only creature comfort is my faith, and my relationship with the Lord. I've never been somewhere, where the most comforting thing I can hold in my hands is my Bible. Terry, if you're reading, I think I'll actually be sticking with "surrender first, listen daily" this time :-)

I can't help but to some of The Cars lyrics in my head, this trip is "Just what I needed! Yeah, yeah, yeah."

However, Nothing could sum up the way I'm feeling better than a song by Relient K.
I Need You:

"I've dug up miles and miles of sand
Searching for something I can't see
And I've just got bruised and battered hands
And a brand new void inside of me
Complete with walls I did create
From all the earth that I've displaced
A mess that I have made from what
I've just let pile and pile up
I have not been abandoned, no I have not been
Deserted and I have not been forgotten

I need you
I need you here
I need you now
I need security somehow
I need you
Like you would not believe
You're the only thing I want
Cause you're everything I need

Explore the cave that is my chest
A torch reveals there's nothing left
Your whispers echo off the walls
And you can hear my distant calls
The voice of who I used to be
Screaming out "someone, someone please
Please shine a light into the black
Wade through the depths and bring me back

I have not been abandoned, no I have not been
Deserted and I have not been forgotten

I need you
I need you here
I need you now
I need security somehow
I need you
Like you would not believe
You're the only thing I want
Cause you're everything I need

When my hopes seem to dangle
Somewhere just beyond my reach
You say you've heard my prayers
And read my words there on the beach

I need you
I need you here
I need you now
I need security somehow
I need you
Like you would not believe
You're the only thing I want
Cause you're everything I need"

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mecincle on

Reliant K
Thanks for keeping us posted. Need to get some pictures up on the blog! I know it's weird to be separated from pretty much all that's familiar, but you can make the new familiar too. Interesting how we first focus on the differences but, in time, begin to see a lot of similarities.

I thought I'd include the url describing what Reliant K means to someone of my generation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plymouth_Reliant

The 4-cylinder job was a corporate fleet staple in the 80s. It was ugly, performed poorly (0-60 in about 30 sec)but it was cheap!

I hope you have some great experiences in SA. Be sure to write!

Love, Dad

lukelovessteve on

Love you steve
Hey, so i just discovered that you were keeping this blog, and so ive just now been reading all of them..

great to hear about all the great things your getting to do man.
i was really moved by this post to hear about the growth in your walk with Christ.
I've been doing alot of growth in that area myself, granted its in a much different way seeing as how im in the United States and in no way near a 'stuff desert' or any other desert for that matter.

Miss you like crazy man, Lookin forward to seein you at christmas.
Love you bro.


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