The church at the conference office - I preached here on Sabbath
Group picture after church
Evening meetings in the larger auditorium
Messy eating utensils
Greetings at the airport - the Leis smelled great!
Optional journal entries:
Monday, June 19
This morning I ate Muesli for breakfast. It was so nice not to eat rice for breakfast. I guess I am not Asian yet.
After breakfast I walked around Chiang Mai. I strolled over to the museum but it was still closed so I walked to one of the parks and read for a while and then continued strolling around the moat until I got back to the apartment.
I ate Muesli again for lunch (because I could) and then prepared to go to the airport. I used the app “Grab” to summon a taxi. He was there too soon! I didn’t have time to get my luggage outside before he was calling asking where I was. We eventually connected and I made it to the airport very quickly.
Everything went smoothly for my flights today. I flew from Chiang Mai to Bangkok and then from Bangkok to Chennai, India. My suitcases weigh too much (just barely) and it is causing me constant headaches. I had to pay extra at one point. Note to self: next time pack lighter!
At the Bangkok airport I was very hungry (having eaten only Muesli all day) so I ate a foot and a half of whole-wheat Subway. It was delicious! I find myself craving bread lately.
The flight was delayed for about an hour, but we eventually made it to Chennai. Chennai is 1.5 hours earlier than Bangkok. I’ve never heard of any time zone on the half hour, like that, but there it is.
When we arrived, Israel was there to greet us and to put wreaths of flowers around our necks. The flowers really smelled great! Then we went directly to Israel’s house and went to bed. It was about 12:30 a.m. when we went to sleep and we were up at around 6 a.m. So, as Jon put it, “It seemed like a short night.”
Tuesday, June 20
This morning for breakfast we had little bun-like things made of rice. We also had crepe-like things made of the same material. Along with this bread there were two sauces. One was made of coconut and the other of tomato and onion. The idea is to dip the breads into the sauces. It was quite delicious and I filled up well..
At 10:15 we headed out to the rented hall for the morning meetings. Israel and I went by motorcycle. There’s an exercise in faith. It can be scary riding on the back of a motorcycle in India traffic. I just had to trust that Israel knew what he was doing, and enjoy the ride.
I am sharing two presentations (in English!!) each morning with the pastors from area churches. There are about 25 of them. Then, in the evening, I will share another presentation that is interpreted for the church members. I shared this morning about the Holy Spirit (#4) and how to become surrendered (#7). I was a little anxious to see how it would work out, but I should not have worried. God knows what He is doing and what He wishes to accomplish. Afterward Israel told me that the presentations were easy to understand and powerful. That is a great combination! God is really, really good.
In the morning presentations we also had some prayer time, some Q & A time and lunch. Lunch was delicious consisting of vegetable rice with a somewhat spicy sauce. But the sauce was separate so you could mix it with the rice as needed to get just the right amount of spice. The only downside is that you need to do this all with your fingers. At first I started eating with my let hand, but was told that was not a good idea. So I switched to my right hand. Then I was instructed how to scoop up the food with my fingers together and push it toward my mouth with my thumb. It actually worked quite well, but I ended up with messy fingers.
When I got back to the room it was time to update my diary, read a little, and take a short nap.
After the nap, I took a shower, or should I say, I took a bucket. It’s a really simple system, dip container in bucket of water and pour over body as needed.
We took a motor cab to and from the meeting place. It is amazing to me that people can drive in the chaotic disaster that they call traffic. But we made it there and back safely!
The evening program went very well. Jon gave a short health talk, and their were several special music presentations. After my presentation (#1 How can I enjoy God) the interpreter commented on how simple and clear the presentation was. He said that when he heard that I was a university professor, he began to be worried that I would use a lot of big words. Ellen White says that when Christ taught, He used simple but deep words and illustration. That’s what I want. By the grace of God.
Wednesday, June 21
Today was a day of blessing and fatigue. The morning meetings were a real challenge. But God got me through. Afterward I went straight to the house and slept for over 3 hours. Then I got up and ate some lupper. The food here is really great. I like almost everything.
For the evening meeting I shared about the purpose of obedience (#2 Enjoying God to the Fullest). I got some smiles from the congregation when talking about how we sometimes give obeying God a bad name. It’s like a child saying to the person giving them a gift, “Ah, do I have to?” Yet we say the same thing to God as He tries to lavish His goodness on us through His commandments. They also seemed to like the ice cream illustration. My translator seems to be doing a good job of keeping them energized as well. God is doing His work!
Thursday & Friday, June 22
Worship, eat, share, pray, share, rest, eat, prepare, eat, share, sleep
Sabbath, June 24
This morning I woke up with severe cramps in my stomach and I diarrhea. So I prayed hard about my health. And God blessed. My stomach felt fine during church and I was able to share the message without trouble.
I was taken to a nearby church this morning to give the sermon. It was about 15km from the house and was quite the ride in a three-wheel car. I was not sure what I would find when I got there. They were in the middle of Sabbath School when we arrived. It was a small church with about 20-30 attending. My translator was the pastor’s wife. She did fine as long as I spoke slowly, clearly, and simply. Which is actually a good way to speak, even without a translator.
There was no projector and the translation was too simple to use one of my regular presentations in the “Delighting in the Almighty” series so I just shared my testimony about how I fell in love with Jesus 30 years after my baptism. It worked out very well and I know that God really blessed all of us.
My part in the preliminaries was varied. I prayed a couple of times, and I held a tray for envelopes during the offering. I assume that the envelopers had tithe in them.
After the sermon we had a song and a prayer. Then we all got together for a group photo. After the photo they put all the children together and asked me to pray over them and to touch their head or shake their hand. While I was waiting for lunch, they brought some buttermilk. It was actually quite refreshing. The pastor’s wife told me that she put ginger in it. When I finished the milk, the pastor’s wife asked me to pray for two women. One had a hernia that could not be operated on, and the other was just coming back to God and was suffering persecution from friends and neighbors.
The evening meeting was very well attended. I shared my testimony and Israel translated for me. It was a great experience. Afterward we stood outside and prayed for people. They would come and ask for a special prayer and we would lay out hands on them and pray. It was nice to be able to encourage them and ask the Lord’s blessing on them. After the prayer line went down we returned to the hall for a group picture.
Then it was back to the house to pack. Jon and I also had a special prayer of healing for Israel’s mother. She has a brain tumor (and the x-rays to prove it).