I logged onto the internet today and saw something about the Olympics… In fact it said Olympics 2006… winter Olympics…. “Winter 2006,” I thought. “That would be now….” I’m ashamed to say that I’d had no idea that there was an Olympics about to take place. Whoops! I thought I was doing pretty well with keeping up with what’s going on in the world. Apparently not.

Last night was the start of the LOT (Language, Orientation and Cultural Training) retreat. Originally we were supposed to go to a Christian camp called Haang Naam but it was decided that it would be better if we stayed in Lopburi. Not many of us have much excess energy these days. A number of people have been sick lately with colds, etc. and the weather’s getting hotter again. I’m kind of thankful that we’re not going to Haang Naam as I’d heard some stories (one of them had to do with finding a big snake in the bathroom in the middle of the night – it had come up through the squat toilet) from my friends who stayed there for a period of time, when they were a part of a soccer ministy last summer. Although if we had gone, I’m sure I would’ve survived. [I’m sure Ill acquire my own share of snake, etc. stories eventually, especially when I move up to the village, up north.] But it is nice to not have to pack my bags for this retreat – especially after just coming back from Chiang Mai and will soon (Tuesday!) take off for Ko Tao for vacation.

Adriano and Fabiana, an amazing couple from Brazil, shared some testimonies from their expereince in missions. They’ve been missionaries for 10 years now. First in Uraguay, and now in Thailand. They talked about the culture shock that they experienced in Uraguay and then when they came to Thailand and even the culture shock that they sometimes still experience. This is the beginning of their second term here in Thailand and I was encouraged to hear that they still experience hard things about being here. He had an illustration using a clay pot that I’d seen before, but it was still powerful and clearly illustrated his point. Basically he was comparing each of us to a clay pot (makes me think of 2 Corinthians 4:7) and how from our experiences, we’ve been filled up. But coming over to do missions work, and coming into a new culture has put a lid on that jar. (I wasn’t totally clear on that part.) But… God wants to open us up again. We become broken (Adriano then dropped the pot) and the Lord wants to rebuild us and shape us into being useful vessels for His kingdom. He may strip away things from ourselves but He will rebuild.

I was encouraged as he reminded us that God will rebuild us. I’ve been feeling as if I’ve been stripped down and broken over the past few months. I’m confident that what God is doing in me is a good thing and that He will rebuild, but I can’t say that it’s been enjoyable. What experience of being broken is really enjoyable? One thing I can take joy in and I pray that I will take joy in is that He’s not doing these things in me and around me for no reason. I want to grow in Him, and I’m excited and thankful about that, but it has certainly been hard. Add to that the continued transition to life here, dealing with culture shock (I really hate calling it that – I think because it makes me sound weak… but it’s okay), still trying to make friends that I can really connect with and also constant attack from the evil one, and it makes for quite a trying time. But He continues to lift up my eyes to Him, and for that I’m thankful. Please pray though.

3 thoughts on “Olympics?

  1. Good to hear you being encouraged by members of the family. I’ll bet you feel ‘gloomy’ sometimes and I’ll bet (I hope) you cry. Know that some of us cry for you too because we love you and sometimes all we can do is pray for you instead of ‘making it better’. Have a wonderful vacation Beth.Dan


  2. Hey Beth, don’t feel too bad about missing the Olympics thing. I live a few hours away from Torino, and just found out about it a week or so ago. Gonna try to watch the opening ceremonies, always like watching the “nations” come in, reminder of what it will be like some day. I hear you about the clay pot. Sometimes I feel like I’m being broken and melted down again, to make an entirely new pot. Not a comfortable transformation, but I see the Lord scooping out a lot of garbage and putting in Truth. Thank God that the strength to struggle to become more like Jesus doesn’t originate from us…it comes from the Spirit Himself. He is the Creator and Finisher of our race.Continue to life your eyes up to Him, Maker of Heaven and Earth.Jen


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